Recto Tono Preface
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 340
    Is it licit, in either form of the Roman rite, for the preface itself to be sung recto tono? Has anyone ever heard this done?
  • Where's Adam Wood when we need a goofy comment about recto tono singing?

    Anyway, if the preface can be sung, it can be sung recto tono.
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,601
    I have never heard it done. For what pertains to the preconciliar form, Stercky in his manuel de liturgie et cérémonial doesn't even mention the possibility: he explains that the solemn tone of the preface and Pater Noster is used on doubles and semidoubles (1962 feasts of the I and II class as well as III class — despite the reduction of semidoubles to simple, they are treated as "real" feasts in 1962's reforms, and double major got knocked down to III class as well), whereas one uses the simple tone for simples (1962's IV class commemorations), vigils, any ferial day, and Masses of the dead as well as most votive Masses (most priests are not aware of this rubric).

    It would be better to sing the simple tone, even when the solemn one is called for, which would allow one to sing the preface in Latin or in English respectively, if one is then able to build up to the solemn tone. (My somewhat-opposite view on this is that while I think that priests committed to the Requiem Mass and to public sung Masses of Ash Wednesday, the most likely times to use the simple tone, should learn the prescribed tone of the Pater Noster, if they really can't, they should probably sing what they know, i.e. the solemn tone, rather than sing it recto tono.)
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,018
    De musica sacra et sacra liturgia
    21. ... c) But if for some reason a choir cannot sing one or another liturgical text according to the music printed in the liturgical books, the only permissible substitution is this: that it be sung either recto tono, i.e., on a straight tone, or set to one of the psalm tones. Organ accompaniment may be used. Typical reasons for permitting such a change are an insufficient number of singers, or their lack of musical training, or even, at times, the length of a particular rite or chant.

    Musicam sacram
    8. ... If, however, a choice of this kind cannot be made, and the priest or minister does not possess a voice suitable for the proper execution of the singing, he can render without singing one or more of the more difficult parts which concern him, reciting them in a loud and distinct voice.

    I think I remember hearing Bp Patrick O'Donoghue, when at Westminster, singing the preface vago tono, whether it was intended to be the simple tone or a straight tone I could not tell, but it might have been better to take advantage of 'rendering without singing'.
  • Vago tono?

    Is that supposed to mean that he tried to sing a straight pitch and failed?
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,569
    Periculosum tono?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,018
    Yes, POD had no ability to maintain a pitch, when singing. vago tono ⇔ in a meandering pitch
    I did not enquire whether he was trying to use the simple tone, but I think it likely.