Shortening the Tract
  • IanL
    Posts: 3
    Is it allowed for to cut verses from the tract from the Gradual and sing only 1 to 2 verses? This is for an OF vernacular mass. I am wondering if this could be a way to introduce the tract to a parish that usually sings the gospel acclamation.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 690
    (Related question) Is the tract a text of the Mass in the OF?
  • @IanL

    I do not think it is allowed to do so. On the other hand, the tract can certainly be shortened if you sing it with a simple psalm-tone.
    For instance, here is how the tract is sung sometimes, at Saint-Eugène-Sainte-Cécile, in Paris:

    The tract is certainly permitted in the OF, though not mandatory. You will find it in the Graduale Romanum.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 1,643
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 900
    I think that it is not forbidden to skip a couple of verses from the tract from the Graduale Romanum. The integrity of the tract isn't compromised, because musically, each verse can be sung on it's own.

    On the other hand, there's also the tract from the Graduale simplex. It's usually five verses, sung to a psalm tone, so not too long.
    Thanked by 2Salieri IanL
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,038
    Ian, welcome to the Forum!

    We have been singing the Tract, at the principal Mass only, for the past ten or so years, in English (translation from the 1965 Missal), set to Tonus Peregrinus. The version that we use is from a booklet of psalm-tone English propers produced for the '65 Missal by GIA when they were still the Gregorian Institute of America (my, how the mighty have fallen!). There were a couple Sundays set to Tonus in Directum, but I re-set them to Peregrinus for consistency's sake. (Plus Peregrinus sounds more like music that in Directum.)

    When we introduced these so very many years ago, I skipped a few verses in Lent I (at the suggestion of a Benedictine of the Solesmes congregation, so I assumed it was kosher): I believe we did the first 4 verses, then the last 4, for a total of 8 verses. (Lent II-V are short, so we just psalm-toned them complete.) The next year the same thing. Then the third year we added back a few verses; then the fourth year we did the whole thing, still to Peregrinus; we also started singing the tract for Lent IV in full chant in English (Palmer-Burgess Plainchant Gradual). If I had had By flowing waters (Graduale Simplex) at the time, I might have started with the Tract for Lent I from there, with the others from the Graduale Romanum.

    If you haven't done the Tract before, it might be worth using the Simplex ones first.

    There are also the psalm-toned Tracts, in English, in The Complete English Propers for the High Mass, (1965) edited by Rev. Paul Arbogast, which is available on the resources page. (If you look at the contributors you will see Fr. Columba Kelly, O.S.B. listed among them, so you know that these are quality, even if simple. I regularly use this collection for English Graduals when we sing them instead of the Resp. Psalm., if we're not up to adaptations of the full chants.)
    Thanked by 2Jehan_Boutte IanL
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,038
    P.S.: One advantage to Psalm-toned Tracts, using the same tone every week (it's only 5 weeks, since Palm Sunday uses the Gradual Christus factus est before the Gospel) is that, if you print worship aides, you can have the congregation join in alternate verses. It isn't the historical method of singing the Tract, but it works very well, and appeases those who (erroneously) believe that participatio actuosa means that everyone must do everything all the time.
  • Ian,

    Is it permitted? Probably.,.. somewhere, perhaps many somewheres. Is it a good thing?

    1) Opening the Scriptures more fully?
    2) Neither adding nor removing anything on one's own authority?

    Such a practice ought to be forbidden, and punished severely where it takes place, but it won't be either of these things.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • IanL
    Posts: 3
    Thanks everyone for the replies. It seems like this is one of those things in a grey area. If the length of the chants were not an issue, my preference would certainly be for the tracts from the Graduale romanum, rather than a psalm-toned one.

    I didn't know one could sing the tracts or graduals in English. That would open up some other possibilities.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    There have been multiple times where, for the “sake of time” or just to avoid doing only psalm tone tracts, I’ve chanted every other verse to the corresponding psalm tone, concluding with Gregorian. Example attached.
  • Andrew_Malton
    Posts: 1,054
    @IanL , if you are determined to follow the written rules, then you will not sing the Gradual or Tract in English, for there are no approved translations. If on the other hand you are willing to bend the rules (and good for you!), which is pretty normal in the Novus rite (“ordinary form”), then by all means get the pastor or celebrant to agree to bend them with you. Also don't be surprised if someone complains to the Bishop.

    There are authorities who say that the use of the Gradual and Tract are restricted to Latin Masses, even in the Novus rite.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,900
    ... And, by all means, use a Scripture text that is approved for liturgical use.
    Thanked by 2Liam tomjaw
  • Nisi
    Posts: 113
    There are authorities who say that the use of the Gradual and Tract are restricted to Latin Masses, even in the Novus rite.

    Hmm, is there a discussion here about that? If they say that, why not restrict the Introit, Offertory, Alleluia & Communion for that reason? Or the Mass Ordinary for that matter? Thank you!
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CCooze
  • CGZ's considerations are well taken on why not to omit parts of the Tract.
    Does one omit parts of the responsorial Psalm?

    I've often used psalm tones, and alternation between full chant and psalm tone to reduce the time. Aren't the longest Tracts those for first Sunday of Lent and Palm Sunday? I've also used psalm tones with just the opening intonation and closing phrase from the graduale, which means sticking to the mode in the graduale.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,012
    The Graduale Simplex has Responsorial Psalms and a rubric that where more than five verses are provided at least five must be sung. Only one of their Tracts has more than five - six.
  • David,

    Thank you.

    Let me take it a step further. If we go from the Procession on Palm Sunday to the Exsultet at the Easter Vigil, we get the impression that the Church teaches that Christ didn't suffer -- because in Holy Week we have celebratory processions and joyful chants.

    That would, to be putting it mildly, be missing important details.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw