Alternatim Chant/Polyphony for Vespers
  • I'm currently working on arranging Solemn Vespers, and was surprised to not find a lot of composers who have written alternatim styled music for the psalms (Dixit Dominus, Beatus Vir, etc.). Think the style of the Grassi Magnificat.

    Searching the IMSLP database, I was surprised at how many Renaissance composers did write beautiful 2-choir satb-satb psalms. Unfortunately, when I tried to turn one of them into an alternatim piece, I found later in the score that the two choirs overlap. This is the case with most of these kinds of pieces.

    So if any of you have composed, or know of a composition of alternatim psalms, then I'd love to have a listen.

    Gratias tibi Ago,
  • davido
    Posts: 900
    I think it was more common to use a falsobordone (fauxbourdon) or organ versets in alternation with chanted verses than it was to write fully composed polyphony.
  • Could you provide an example of something like that, David? Thanks.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,093
    Well, it's just that you have to memorize each verse… Victoria here.

    The chant melody is not quite the Roman one as found in the Vatican edition of 1912, but it's pretty close. Assuming that you are doing Vespers with the 1911 psalter: you could just substitute that plainsong for what is in the edition above; the same would be true for the setting at the editor's page for ps. 112 (listed under Laudate Dominum), though you'd have to set your own for ps. 110 Confitebor and fix the ending for ps. 111 Beatus vir (changed when they stupidly changed the antiphon in 1911). Only the antiphon would have to be changed for In Exitu. (That said, if someone were to do solemn pre-1911 Vespers… I wouldn't complain.)
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,040
    There are some alternatim psalms on CPDL (i.e. chant alternating with SATB) such as Anerio -Psalm 112. More can be found by consulting the bottom half of this page on CPDL, searching for psalms by their initial words ("Dixit Dominus," "Confitebor," etc.).

    I've supplied the attached score of Victoria's Psalm 109 with the chant that was missing in the score on CPDL. More of Victoria's vespers psalms for SATB (without the chant verses) can be found on this page under "Vespers Psalms".

    Is this that kind of thing you were looking for?

    I've also arranged Sunday Vespers with some of the psalms set to Renaissance and modern fauxbourdon (attached - scores for soprano and for remaining voices are slightly different).
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • There is a German composer Christoph Dalitz writing, among other things, Magnificat and psalm settings alternating chant with simple (quasi renaissance) polyphony. Perhaps you even can order some specific piece from him:
    Thanked by 1igneus