Simplified Latin Propers
  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    Friends, I would like to share my new project called the "Simplified Latin Propers." I thought of this because I was looking for easier settings of the Roman Gradual chants in Latin. There are many wonderful English settings that are simpler, such as those by Frs Weber and Kelly, and Adam Bartlett. I couldn't find a similar collection in Latin, except psalm tone propers. One poster on another forum just today commented that the Graduale Propers seem to "jump" to the hardest level of difficulty. I imagine these adaptations might be useful to the busy schola director at an EF or OF parish, less experienced choirs, or those attempting to make the transition to Latin propers from English in the OF. Constructive criticism welcome. Would anyone be interested in seeing this project move forward?

    They are free at my website here:
    https://www.antiphonrenewal.com/simplified-latin-propers

    Here's an example of a comparison between the Graduale Proper and the Simplified Latin Proper. https://www.antiphonrenewal.com/_files/ugd/a10150_4220ca977e9e464bbccce973e36ad55f.pdf
  • I'm overjoyed at the concept! Richard Rice has some simplified settings of Lenten and Advent propers which I've used, and the Graduale Parvum has some useful stuff, but I'm glad you're considering this as a comprehensive work.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,487
    Beautiful! And the website is so pretty!
  • Nicely done!
    Certainly a boon for all those who would like chant but just can't master its GR originals.
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 924
    Luke, this is a wonderful initiative! There are already other simplified Latin propers available (the Graduale Parvum comes to mind), but your project keeps close to the original melodies.

    Could you tell us more about the process of simplifying the chants? For example, I wonder:
    - whether you also take into account the recent restoration of the Graduale Romanum (Graduale Novum, Anton Stingl, Liber Gradualis by Alberto Turco, etc.)
    - whether you start with an analysis of the structure pitches of the chant, like Fr. Columba Kelly osb used to do
    - how you determine which melismas are "most characteristic"
  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    Thanks folks. smanroode, here's my process:

    I start with the Solesmes edition. I try to keep at least the first word of the incipit the same. I sing through the chant and analyze the direction and emphases of each phrase. Each phrase seems to have a reciting tone (the central pitch) around which some of the melismas dance, and a goal/resolution. Whatever is the goal/highest pitch, I make that my goal to reach on the same syllable. I have not read Fr Kelly's analysis before (thanks for that) but I think I intuit those ideas for the most part. If a syllable gets a huge melisma, I'll honor that with a shorter melisma but probably not a single note. If a melisma decorates a word around the "reciting" pitch I've identified, I may eliminate it in favor of a single note. But if a melisma occurs at the height or end of a passage, I keep those because they are more memorable. I'm thinking of the word "conventum" in the first line of the introit for Lent 4 Laetare Jerusalem - it reaches the highest pitch so I kept that. Many of the final melismas are familiar throughout the repertoire so I keep them. I favor step-wise motion when possible to improve the ease of reading. Those are my initial thoughts! Thanks for asking
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,033
    Thank you, so much, for doing this. Frankly, all of your work is a wonderful service to Holy Mother Church. I've been using your entrance antiphon hymns almost exclusively for nearly a year now and I've really enjoyed it.

    I think your natural intuition as to how to simplify a chant is sound. I've operated along the same lines myself. I looked at the Ash Wednesday example and it seems to me that you did a nice job keeping the overall ethos of the original chant, albeit simplified. To be frank: I'm sure there are souls who will cry 'foul' at any attempt, no matter how trivial, to change the original chants. To those skeptics, I simply reply that this project is not for them. But I would not want them to discourage you in this work.

    I think this project fills a very real need. I have simplified chants for my choir in the past for the same reason as you describe above: sometimes the 'real thing' is just too hard for the average schola (especially a novus ordo schola that isn't at all accustomed to singing this type of florid/difficult chant) and yet some of the other options are just... boring. I have nothing against the simplex or the Bartlett (which I leveraged quite a bit in the beginning) but there comes at time when you need more than what those resources offer, but you still cant hand your schola a liber. We use Fr. Weber's book every week, but I find that we often need to resort to option ii for many of the chants; not all, but many. His option i's tend much more closely to the originals (which is great) but again, they are just too much for us to learn in one sitting sometimes. So this project, to me at least—as a novus ordo director that tries to put a lot of chant (including Latin) in front of my choir—supplies a real need, especially for solemnities. I certainly wouldn't use these every single week in my particular situation, however I might for all of lent, and certainly for other solemnities.

    The only thing I would like to see changed is that it would be wonderful if you could find a way to include a translation below the chant, as I suspect these will get most traction with novus ordo choirs aspiring to chant. This would require taking the PDFs to an editor like affinity publisher, but I think it would help the novus ordo crowd considerably.
    Thanked by 2trentonjconn Bri
  • MarkB
    Posts: 865
    There is also this online tool that will provide a full set of Gregorian propers for any liturgical celebration, with drop-down menu options to psalm-tone any or all of them, including choosing a different mode.

    https://bbloomf.github.io/jgabc/propers.html#

    After you select your options, you can export or print all the chants.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Bri
    Posts: 49
    These are really great, lmassery! I sang through a number of them, and they are very lovely. I could envision using these with our youth choir.

    A few thoughts and some (genuine!) questions:

    (1) I agree with ServiamScores that a translation would be very helpful!
    (2) It might be helpful to have information listed at the top, like "Lent 3 - Introit." This could help to choirs and their directors more organized. :)
    (3) I notice that some do not have the Gloria Patri at the end. Was that intentional?
    (4) For the Lent 5 Introit, I notice that there is a more complicated "Judica" at the end. Can you share more about that?

    Thanks!
    Bri
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • PeterJ
    Posts: 87
    What a splendid idea, Imassery. I can the Offertories being particularly useful in both the OF and the EF - I’m sure we all have experience of their (beautiful) complexity often being a “bridge too far” for even very keen choirs to learn well in the available rehearsal time. I can also see the Introits being very useful in OF Masses where one might want to insert a short antiphon after an initial entrance hymn. Thank you for your creative efforts!
  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    Bri, thank you so much!

    1. Adding a translation would require several more steps since I'm exporting the pdfs directly from the score editor which doens't have that capacity to add random text - but I will sincerely try to make that happen somehow as others have also asked! I agree it would help.

    2. same as 1.

    3. My understanding is the gloria patri at the end of the introit are not included from Lent 5 to Easter, as a tradition. Not sure why Easter Sunday didn't have one in the score I looked at though. And just the introits contain the verse and gloria patri, the offertory and communion do not.

    4. Good catch! That's an error on my part, I forgot to revise the incipit at the end, which was included to remind the singer to not sing a gloria patri and return to introit.
    Thanked by 1Bri
  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    Serviam thank you for the encouraging words and for using my work. I will see about adding the translation! PeterJ, thank you
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    Furthermore, to asnwer smvanroodes question again, I am consulting this book by Fr. Kelly I was shown. https://www.saintmeinrad.org/media/1387/chant_manual03.pdf
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,141
    These are wonderful! Personally, I think that this is closer to what No. 117 of Sacrosanctum Concillium called for than what ended up as the Graduale Simplex. (YMMV) I will definitely be including some of the offertory settings in my Lenten roster this year.

    I haven't looked through all of them yet, but I noticed that in the Introit for Ash Wednesday, the neum over the syllable '-us' of 'Deus noster' is written as three puncta inclinata (diamonds), which is something I've never seen before: it looks like you based this off of the melisma over 'De-' in the full chant where the first note of the four-note descending neum is a virga on A, followed by the three descending puncta inclinata. I would write the three-descending notes in your adaptation ('-us') as a virga (F) followed by two puncta inclinata (ED): this would be a more graphically idiomatic way of write a three-note descending figure.

    My only quibble is that the Communion 'Visionem' is already one of the easiest (if not the easiest) Communion in the repertory, and I wonder if your reduction, logical though it is, is really necessary, or makes it easier; e.g. the original begins and ends on the tonic (D), which is intuitive to modern ears, whereas your version begins on the E, which could cause trouble if verses are sung using the solemn tone for the verses (cf. Communio), which ends on the D. Just my $0.02.
  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    Salieri - these are excellent suggestions. I agree with your suggestion about the US in Deus and will make that change. That's funny, I thought to myself as I worked on Visionem that this would probably be the most pointless revision - it's already so easy. I chose the 'me' because of the episema but you've changed my mind and I'll revise it back to 're.'

    I too think that this is really what SC 117 called for. I was rather astonished actually that it hasn't been tried in this exact way before.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,958
    It might be worthwhile to compare Luke's work with the process used by Fr. Guy Nicholls, C.O., in his Graduale Parvum project.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    The similarity is both set the proper text. It seems the main difference in process would be that the GP uses preset melodies for each mode, as the Simple English Propers did. From the forward: "The use of the Graduale Parvum is facilited in this collection by adapting nearly all introits and communions to one model from a set of 14 melodic type (Mode I: 3 models, II: 2, III: 1, IV: 1, V: 2, VI: 2, VII: 1, VIII: 2)" Whereas this Simplified Latin Propers attempts to retain the structural notes of the original chant similar to Frs Weber and Kelly did in English.
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 924
    Personally, I think that this is closer to what No. 117 of Sacrosanctum Concillium called for than what ended up as the Graduale Simplex.


    I too think that this is really what SC 117 called for.


    I tend to disagree. After reading Eckhard Jaschinski’s Musica sacra oder Musik im Gottesdienst?, I think the Graduale simplex is very close to what the Council Fathers intended. Two points were important in the discussions: using psalm tones to simplify chants was out of the question; using authentic gregorian chants was a must.
  • Palestrina
    Posts: 353
    lmassery, this is an interesting project.

    What I would like to see is a more comprehensive introduction to the work, including the specific principles used in reducing the original chants. Is there any specific scholarship you use for determining what is structural and what is not?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,129
    SC 117 only has two sentences in Latin. One calls for the completion of the restoration of the GR, and the publication of a critical edition. In that context "editio simpliciores modos continens" seems more likely to mean authentic chant from the treasury.
    The project was dear to Bugnini's heart, his only parochial experience was getting a slum parish to sing. And he had to fight hard to get GS published.
  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    Palestrina, sure, I will draft an intro eventually. The project is just beginning. I started off using only my musical intuition, but now I'm relying heavily on the principles laid out by Fr. Kelly in the book linked above. Around page 100 he gives many analyses on how to find the structural pitch in a chant. I don't think I will be a purist about it though, as there are other considerations besides merely finding the structural pitches.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,141
    Luke: One thought, since you seem to be doing Lent/Easter first, for the Communion "Passer invenit" on the III Sunday, because of the modal mixtures in the Gregorian setting, you might find it useful to compare with a "corrected version" like the Cistercian gradual (which oughtn't to be confused with a Corrected Version, like the Graduale Novum), where the modal mixtures have been "corrected".

    [Also, I wouldn't worry about simplifying the Communion "Oportet te" for IV Lent, Gospel of the Prodigal Son: It's almost entirely syllabic, repetitious, and the only leaps are to the reciting tone of the mode ("quia frater", in fact, is just the intonation of the simple psalm-tone).]
    ----
    smvanroode: Where the Graduale Simplex fails for me, is in that its strength is its weakness. That is, there is such a big leap from the difficulty of the chants from the Simplex to the Romanum, that if one started with the Simplex with the idea of graduating to the Romanum that day would never come. Even if the Simplex was intended to be a complete substitute for the Romanum it fails there, too, since, again, its great strength, seasonal chants, is also its downfall, because it destroys the idea of chants that are "proper" to a specific Mass, except for feast days and, for some reason, Lent. I don't have a problem with a corpus of seasonal chants being provided; but, they should have, in my opinion, followed the format of the time "per annum" used in the Antiphonale Missarum ... Mediolanensis, and grouped, for each season, the Introits together, the Responsorial Psalms together, etc., and then had a table specifying which chants should be used on a specific day, while also allowing a certain flexibility for less experienced singers. This would have retained a sense of the chants being "proper" to a given Mass, and allowed the Pauline Rite to speak more universally, rather than just being the whim of a choirmaster: in practice there really isn't that much difference between the Simplex and alius cantus, except one is Gregorian, the other (usually) isn't.
    Thanked by 3tomjaw CHGiffen Elmar
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,141
    Addendum: The Kyriale Simplex, on the other hand, is a stroke of genius.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,033
    you might find it useful to compare with a "corrected version" like the Cistercian gradual (which oughtn't to be confused with a Corrected Version, like the Graduale Novum), where the modal mixtures have been "corrected".

    This leads me to think of something else: Luke, you might want to reference the Dominican chants in gregobase as they are also simplified and might provide a better launching point.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 924
    …if one started with the Simplex with the idea of graduating to the Romanum that day would never come.
    Even if the Simplex was intended to be a complete substitute for the Romanum it fails there …

    The intention of the Graduale simplex is clearly stated in its introduction: to be a recourse in case a schola, for whatever reason, isn't capable to sing a piece from the Graduale Romanum. The Graduale Romanum was (and still is) thought to remain the norm.

    If the Graduale simplex was to be used as you describe (as a starting point towards the Graduale Romanum, or even a complete substitute), it would indeed be a quite poor source of chants.

    I regard the simplex as a valuable collection of easier chants, grouped per liturgical time and occasion, which can be employed when in need. From that perspective, the seasonal collections of chants are understandable.

    Our schola at times takes recourse to the simplex, for example when a piece deems too difficult or if there's not enough time to rehearse a piece adequately.
  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    Salieri - good tip thanks.

    Serviam - are the dominican chants based off of the same exact melodies? I don't want to be further removed from the Latin tradition nor have to compare contrast each Solemnes with teh Dominican before each attempt.

    Regarding simpler communios - I will plan to revise them even simpler to probably syllabic or close to it. While it probably isn't necessary, I don't want the collection to be incomplete if I make a hard bound book someday to offer on Lulupress.
  • Thanks a lot for these ressources!
    Thanked by 1lmassery
  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    If anyone out there feels inclined to help this project out, I really could use someone willing to edit each pdf to include the Feast day and the translation from the Gregorian Missal. Between the couple jobs I have and 4 kids, I simple don't have time to take that extra step right now! ANd I don't have decent pdf editing software which can get pricey. Please let me know if you would like to take on this labor of love!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,958
    Did you save the GABC for all the chants?
  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    Chonak yes I saved them all in a word document.
  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    To Saieri’s point, even if the simplex or the Graduale Parvum is what the council intended, there’s still a great a gap in difficulty between that and, say, one of the endless offertory chants in the Graduale if one is growing the repertoire of one's choir from the ground up.
  • I'll be using your Easter Sunday introit this Easter. I was thinking about making the jump from the Parvum introit to the full one, but we have a short aisle in our small church, so the full introit is too long since it'll be sung after the hymn. Your setting is perfect. It's better and more interesting than the Parvum setting, but short and uncomplicated enough to be easily learned and make logistical sense.
    Thanked by 1lmassery
  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    I'm glad to hear that trenton. One of my concerns is that some of these simplifications are still too hard.

    What say some of you regarding the level of difficulty? Too complex, too simple, just right?
  • I would agree that some of them are perhaps still not quite "simple," but they're all definitely easier than the full original versions. If I had to lean one way or the other, I would lean toward them being maybe a little more difficult than they ought to be as simplified propers. Just my two cents. Either way, they're lovely and useful and practical, and they fill a gap for sure.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,033
    Luke, I’m willing to help with this project.
    Thanked by 2StimsonInRehab Bri
  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    Serviam, send me an email at lmassery@sjohio.org
    Thanked by 2StimsonInRehab Bri
  • Bri
    Posts: 49
    ServiamScores and lmassery, let me know if I can assist as well!

    Really love this project!

    Bri
  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    Bri email me lmassery@sjohio.org That’s L for Luke!
    Thanked by 1Bri
  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    I had someone on Facebook recommend keeping the Incipit exactly the same no matter how difficult, for the sake of continuity with tradition. I did keep some, but simplified others that I felt were too complex. What do others say? Is it necessary to keep it? This one for example, seems in need of simplifying https://archive.ccwatershed.org/media/pdfs/12/04/09/15-32-03_0.pdf

    WhereasResurrexi I kept unaltered
  • I imagine with some of the more complex incipits that it would sound odd to begin with an elaborate passage and then transition into syllabic chant.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,033
    I understand the desire to keep the incipits as intact as possible, but you're either going to simplify the chant or you aren't. I think that's a soul searching type of issue: you have to decide what scope you want the project to take. Original incipits plus simplified chant? Or just... simplified chant? (I vote the latter.)
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,033
    Also, here's an example of what can be done pretty quickly in Affinity Publisher, especially if we set up a template file and just import each graphic.
    Thanked by 2Bri CHGiffen
  • Bri
    Posts: 49
    Looks great, ServiamScores!
  • Bri
    Posts: 49
    I actually like the idea of keeping the incipit the same as the original for the reason your Facebook commentator shared: "the sake of continuity with tradition."

    I could see where some of these might be challenging for some choirs though.

    I also wonder if trentonjconn might have a good point about some sounding odd if they are very complex and then transition to very simple. Then again, in looking through the ones you have posted on your website, none seemed to be particularly jarring to me.

  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    Wow, Serviam, that is awesome! Looks sooooo good, thank you. Perfect font. A couple thoughts - could we use the formal names, like "First Sunday of Lent" instead of Lent I. I also just noticed my first staff line is blue. I have no idea how that happened but I will have to fix that. So before you do any more, let me check them all. Also, if you email me, I can send you the pdfs directly moving forward, and you can send them back with the titles and translations, then I'll post them.


    Regarding incipits, here's my thinking, in light of these comments: I respect the desire to keep them. I'm all about tradition (obviously). Trenton makes a good point about it being jarring to move from complex incipit to simpler chant. This project has to be practical and useful. So, for introits, I will attempt to keep them as these are the most memorable (the first words of the Mass) and many of them are not too hard. If they are too hard, I'll try to keep at least the first word. I already kept many unaltered like Invocabit, Laetare Jerusalem, and Resurrexi. I'll revise a couple back to the original incipit. Communios are the easiest of the 3 so that should not be hard to keep the incipits. Offertories - well, I don't see how I can keep the incipit. These are the hardest and most melismatic, and therefore least accessible to the average OF choir and even the EF choir. I think I will risk the offertories remaining out of reach if I keep the incipits. Also, the transition to the rest of the chant would be jarring. So it might be the authentic incipit, but what good is it if no one in my target audience is going to use it?

    Thanks so much! Bri, I have an idea for how you can help too. I'll email you
    Thanked by 2trentonjconn Bri
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,141
    As far as the incipit goes: I could see it going either way. Something like the ubiquitous Mode I "Gaudeamus" intonation that happens all over the place all the time should probably be kept (Bartlett, after all, used it in the SEP, which I don't think anyone said was "too hard"). But it think the most important thing regarding the incipits is, rather than "continuity with tradition", coherence and logic within the chant itself: If the original is not too florid and works with the simplified version, fine, if not, change it.
  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    Salieri, couldn't have said it any better. Agreed re: the Gaudemus pattern - I already did keep one here for Lent 5 offertory https://www.antiphonrenewal.com/_files/ugd/a10150_75f0ffefccf34360a9fc5d3294765498.pdf
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,141
    If you don't mind: I've taken the liberty of re-setting the Offertory for Lent II (Meditabor) in the new Source & Summit editor. There were a couple patterns that were not, to my eye, idiomatic for chant. What do you think?

    At the second "quae dilexi", I added a note: while Solesmes just give a clivis (c-b), St. Gall gives a torculus with the first note the same as the note preceding, so G-c-b, which I think might help with the leap of the fourth. Attached is the pdf; below is the GABC.

    title:Dominica Secunda Quadragesimae;
    subtitle:Second Sunday of Lent;
    text-left:;
    text-right:;
    annotation:Offert. 2;
    %%
    (c3)ME(e)di(f)ta(fhg)bor(f.) *(,) in(e) man(f)da(hi)tis(hh) tu(gf)is,(gf..) (;) quae(hg) di(h)le(hji)xi(hji) val(h_g~)de:(f.) (:) et(f) le(f)va(hi)bo(hh) (,) ma(fhh)nus(f) me(fh)as(hihhvFEf.) (,) ad(e) man(f)da(hih)ta(h_g) tu(fgf_)a,(e.) (;) quae(ehg) di(h)le(hji)xi(hhiHFED) (,) (eff!gwhvGF.) (::)
    Thanked by 1Paul F. Ford
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,141
    P.S. I think that this project is important: Otherwise I wouldn't have taken the time to typeset this example; so I hope you're not offended. If you would like, I would be very interested in helping with this type of editing for the series (as, of course, time allows for a church musician).
  • Andrew_Malton
    Posts: 1,077
    What does the notation mean? A propos of a recently restarted thread, is it ok to read these mensurally?
  • lmassery
    Posts: 359
    Salieri - I'm not offended, please keep it up. I accept your reasoning on the leap of the 4th, so that's a good correction. I am using the source and summit editor and I didn't know you could add titles and subtitles! Can a translation be added to the bottom without disturbing the bottom line of the chant? Or, could it be added as a subtitle?

    I think we should avoid using the feast names from the EF calendar and just call it 2nd Sunday of Lent. Why? Because I'm an OF musician and am using the Gregorian Missal which does not include the old titles. Also, I think much of the target audience will be OF musicians who don't know what Quadragesimae means. EF musicians are probably better at finding their settings in our books than us finding our settings in theirs.

    I'm including my GABC for what's up there now. You can post the pdf or the code right on this thread (serviam, you can too!) I think we should establish that each chant contains:

    Title
    Translation from Gregorian Missal
    Uniform font size.
    Thanked by 1Bri