Liturgy of the Hours Project
  • Pax Vobiscum

    I am working on a project to set Vespers for Sundays and Solemnities of the Liturgy of the Hours in English to music. This is one of my first projects and I would appreciate recommendations and constructive criticism. Looking forward to the feedback
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  • MarkB
    Posts: 746
    A new English translation of the LotH is pending. Maybe as soon as 2024.

    You should probably postpone your work until the new translation has been promulgated, otherwise you'll spend time creating a lot of musical settings that will soon be obsolete.
  • Theophilus,

    Welcome to the comment side of the forum, and thank you for sharing your work in progress.

    That I disagree with Mark's advice won't come as a surprise if you've followed our interactions. You shouldn't postpone your work in the hope that a better translation will be forthcoming. Sometimes a "work in progress" with a "release date" is slightly more accurate than a CNN news report, but sometimes much less so. We were promised a replacement translation of the 1970's edition, but it didn't finally arrive for... more than 2 years. Since you're committed to a project in one of the English vernaculars, forge ahead. If Mark's prognostication hits the nail squarely on the head, there will be some reconsideration to do on your part, but you will have acted on your creative instinct to make (I trust) a work worthy of the task before it.

    Now, to other comments, since you asked for feedback.

    The only people I know who make the word "prayer" two syllables live (or were raised) in the Midwest (think Southern Ohio) or some sections of the so-called Bible Belt. I would encourage you to treat the word as if it has only one syllable. (The same, in principle, is true of the word "desire"... which doesn't have 3 syllables, and you don't give it three.)

    Out of ignorance, I'm going to ask (because I don't use the OF LotH) if a second choir sings the part where there are notes but no words, or is this a reclaiming of the French practice of having the organ play alternate verses of the Magnificat, or perhaps, something else entirely?

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  • The only people I know who make the word "prayer" two syllables live (or were raised) in the Midwest (think Southern Ohio) or some sections of the so-called Bible Belt.
    This division was common in the English Renaissance (cf. Anon. - Rejoice in the Lord alway) and provides a more satisfying rhythm to my ear. That said, I agree that the current setting would tend to produce the effect you describe because of the ascending line.
  • I agree with Mark. I actually Spoke personally with Father Menke, who is in charge of the project of the new translation. And it will indeed be out by Advent 2024.
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  • Thank you for the replies so far. I am happy to revise the chants when the new translations come out, and these are only drafts for now anyway.

    I think that's a good idea about the word "prayer". Maybe I could treat it as a single syllable and still use two notes?

    I guess I should have written instructions. The notes without the syllables are psalm tones. Each line has a reciting tone and changes two syllables before the final strong syllable. If less lines are in a strophe than in the tone, then lines in the tone are removed accordingly.

    I probably should have put instructions over the responsory as well about where to repeat. I'll add that as well.
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  • I probably should have. .


    Abbreviations are perfectly sensible if everyone knows what to do already. (My Breviary doesn't print the whole text of the Pater Noster, but only the first two words).

    Forgive the stupid question, but about the psalm tones, do the psalms themselves change from Sunday to Sunday, or do they remain fixed (except on Solemnities?).
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,785
    The only people I know who make the word "prayer" two syllables live (or were raised) in the Midwest (think Southern Ohio) or some sections of the so-called Bible Belt.

    This division was common in the English Renaissance (cf. Anon. - Rejoice in the Lord alway) and provides a more satisfying rhythm to my ear. That said, I agree that the current setting would tend to produce the effect you describe because of the ascending line.

    Think Tallis "Hear the voice and pray-er of thy peo-ple," for a prominent example:

    https://youtu.be/9q_50KirxJc
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,436
    The linked Tallis Scholars seem to sing "voice and pray'r o_of" but I think there's probably a broad consensus that 'prayer' has one and a half syllables; c.f. "The my-ster-y vel myst'ry of faith".
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,785
    Not sure that I hear what Richard hears in the Tallis Scholars recording.

    But, that "pray-er" is set as a dotted quarter followed by an eighth tends to convey the sense of Richard's "one and a half syllables" assertion.

    Here is another recording (from a live concert that I sang with Zephyrus in 2002).

  • Point conceded.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,436
    "Prayer" does have to come on the dotted note, but one can avoid having "of" on a beat by singing it to the falling short-long pair, and again on the upward run following "servants," as I hear the Tallis Scholars sing it.

    That word is an awful nuisance at the intercessions, when I have to drawl it out to cover the numerous plural prairzzzz's. Lately we've been getting another version from someone taught that it's a single syllable, unfortunately coming out 'hear our praise' instead of rhyming with 'errs'.