Sung Antiphons in 1960 Office
  • Gilbert
    Posts: 106
    So, according to the rubrics of 1960,

    191. The whole antiphon is always said before and after the psalms and canticles, at all the Hours, Great and Little.
    The asterisk, which is marked after the first words of the antiphon, indicates that the intonation is carried to that point.
    - and -
    198. When the psalm or canticle begins with the same words occurring in the antiphon, these words are omitted, and the psalm or canticle begins from the word before which the antiphon ended, provided that Alleluia has not to be added to the antiphon.

    In the Liber Usualis, when what is described in #198 occurs, such as in the first antiphon and psalm of Sunday vespers (p.251 in 1961 Liber, p.363 in pdf. Liber), something strange goes on in the music. The antiphon starts out with the antiphon melody, then it switches to the first half of the psalm tone up to the asterisk, and then finishes with the rest of the psalm tone.

    Why is it shown this way? Are we to sing it this way? Doesn't it make much more sense to sing the antiphon to the antiphon's melody on both ends of the psalm, and sing just the psalm to the psalm tone? Does the rubric in #191 imply that the melody of the antiphon would be used entirely on both ends? Why does rubric #191 exist? Were they skipping the antiphon on either end before 1960 or shortening one of them? It seems to stress the fact that it must be the "whole" antiphon on both ends. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 940
    The Liber Usualis, even the 1961 edition evidently, reflects the pre-1960 practice with regard to the antiphons for the office. You will notice that for the antiphons before the psalms, the Liber prints only the first part of the antiphon (as you can see with all the antiphons for Sunday Vespers, pp. 251-56, as well as Sunday Compline, p. 264 and p. 266). Strange as it seems, only the first part of the antiphon was sung before the psalm proper; it was sung in its entirety only after the completion of the psalm. #191 is written to change this practice. (I (Whether or not this was officially sanctioned by the rubrics, I do not know. Sometimes you will hear it sung the old way way even today by those who are evidently unaware of the 1960 changes.)

    It looks like what is printed on p. 251 of the Liber also reflects pre-1960 practice. It must have been too complicated to change the layout of the Liber to reflect the changes. According to #198, you would sing the complete antiphon on p. 252 ("Dixit Dominus Domino meo: Sede a dextris meis") and then begin the psalm (on p. 251) with verse 2: "Donec ponam" etc., and then sing the antiphon again at the conclusion of the psalm.

    Sam Schmitt