Chant Books: The Basics
  • This list was developed by David Sullivan for posting here (in 2 parts).

    The kind of book you need depends on what you want to do. If you want to sing at a Mass in the Ordinary Form, chant books for the Extraordinary Form (1962 Missal) will not do, and vice versa. The same applies to singing the Divine Office (now The Liturgy of the Hours). Therefore, we present the following resources in two main categories.

    I. For the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite

    The Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite (also called: Mass of Pope Paul VI, Mass of Vatican II, Novus Ordo: 1970 and later editions). The chant books are available in the U.S. from Paraclete Press: , and from CanticaNova Publications:, and may be acquired online ( or through bookstores. Chant books may also be ordered directly from the Abbey of Solesmes,

    1. Liber Cantualis. Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes. 1983. Contains the Order of Mass, seven Mass Ordinaries, two Credos, Requiem propers, Sequences, Compline, and a selection of basic chants. A good introductory book.
    2. Gregorian Missal. Solesmes. 1990. Contains the full Kyriale (18 Mass Ordinaries, 6 Credos, plus ad libitum chants), Order of Mass (with official English translations), Mass propers for Sundays and major feasts. Includes the Mass prayers in Latin and English, references for Scripture readings, and English translations of the proper chants.
    3. Graduale Romanum. Solesmes. 1979. Contains the full Kyriale, Mass propers for all Sundays, weekdays, feasts, Saints’ days, and votive Masses, Order of Funerals, and chants for the Order of Mass, including formulas for the prayers, readings, prefaces, Gloria Patri, etc. This book is entirely in Latin.

    II. For the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite

    Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (also called: Mass of Blessed John XXIII, traditional Latin Mass, Tridentine Mass: 1962 and earlier editions). Old chant books may be purchased from used book dealers, may be found in various places, and have been reprinted in several versions. In addition, some are available to download from the Church Music Association of America (CMAA):

    The motu proprio Summorum Pontificum specifies use of the 1962 Roman Missal. The chant books printed during the 20th century up to 1962, which contain most of the same material as the 1962 edition, can be very useful. In 1955, there was a major revision of the Holy Week ceremonies, so earlier editions should not be used. In 1950, the Mass propers of the Assumption were changed, so earlier editions should not be used. It is recommended always to compare chants and rubrics with a 1962 edition or a 1962 Missal.

    1. Liber Usualis. Desclee. Various years up to 1962. Contains the full Kyriale, Mass propers for the entire year, including ferial days and Saints’ days, chants for Sunday and feast day Vespers, and very useful prefatory information on the rules for chant, including how to sing the psalms, prayers, and readings. Various editions have the rubrics and introductory material in either Latin or a vernacular language (such as French or English). The 1961 edition is available to download from CMAA.
    2. Graduale Romanum. Desclee. Various years up to 1962. Contains the full Kyriale, Mass propers for the entire year, including ferial days and saints days, and prefatory information on the rubrics and rules for chant, including how to sing the psalms, prayers, and readings. The explanatory material is entirely in Latin. The 1962 edition is available from CMAA.
    Thanked by 1andreasadi
  • I love the idea of this forum. I'm quite sure it will be immensely helpful to a person like me who is leading the music program at my Catholic parish with few resourses, a love of liturgical beauty and LOTS of questions! Regarding chant, we began using the traditional mode of Salve Regina as a post-Communion chant during ordinary time (our parish is Roman Rite and uses only the Ordinary Form). After a couple of weeks of singing it virtually alone, I was pleasently pleased that people of all ages began quickly picking it up (the music was provided each week as an insert, in treble-clef form, not chant notation). By the end of OT, virtually everyone chanted the Salve at each Mass (and our parish averages c. 900-950 per Sunday). It was wonderful and a vindication against the stalwart nay-sayers who hate anything remotely "traditional."

    Anyway, I want to move to the Alma Redemptoris Mater as a post-Communion chant during Advent. My question is, is it even liturgically correct to chant a Marian antiphon during the Sunday Mass. I'm aware of the fact that Marian antiphons are traditionally part of Night Prayer, but is it wrong to sing them during Mass after Communion? I want to be able to defend myself when challenged so, if it is kosher, please fill me in on the rubrics, etc. that will bolster this practice. Thanks in advance to anyone who can help!
  • Jan
    Posts: 242

    We sing the seasonal marian hymns at mass as a recessional. Thus no problems with appropriateness of placement.
  • Yes, it is perfectly traditional to sing the antiphon after the "thanks be to God". That said, you will most likely have to intone it yourself since the opening of Alma Redemptoris mater is a beautiful melisma and might be a bit difficult for a congregation. Also consider transposing it down for those of us who dwell in the bass section!

  • Yes, I agree. We do the Alma in the 2nd half of Advent after/during offertory and post-communion (OF). We also fight over who gets to sing the opening words!
  • We're also doing it to close our Epiphany Vespers. Just noticed that we are supposed to sing it while kneeling! Gotta love the Roman ceremonial.

  • If you're going to pick up a copy of the Graduale Romanum, I'd recommend doing so through CanticaNOVA, as they include a free booklet with English translations of the instructions with your order.
  • Jan
    Posts: 242

    good idea