Chanting the Entrance Antiphon OF for Lent?
  • Carol
    Posts: 849
    For Sunday Mass, our pastor has been speaking the entrance antiphon as soon as he arrives at the altar. Our parish uses an OCP hymnal and I noticed a page where the various Meinrad Abbey chant tones are listed with brief instructions on how to adapt them based on the length of the antiphon. I tried chanting a few antiphons, and I think I understand how to apply the tones. But I was wondering how to decide which tone is best. Sometimes the accent of the words seems to fit with one tone better than another, but are certain chant tones recommended or proscribed for Lent?

    Before I broach the subject of chanting these entrance antiphons, I would like to know if I have the right idea. I am not sure I will try this, but I am curious to know. Thank for the advice and enlightenment I know I will receive from all of you. If you want to advise against it, that's fine too, since (if I do this) it will add more stress to my Sundays. The only antiphon I have ever chanted is the chant for Palm Sunday- "Hosanna to the Son of David." I find it difficult to just start "cold" without any support from the organ.
  • It is good to sing the entrance antiphon: you have the right idea.

    There are no proscribed tones, at least. The organ can certainly intone a few notes of the antiphon before the Cantor starts.

    If you are doing this for true first time and with no aids except the mentioned instructions, then I'd say find a tone that works well for your text and use that. Keep it simple. Reuse a tone when it's familiar. Practice in advance. Mark up the text or write it out under the notes for practice and performance.

    More commonly the antiphon has a tune of its own, and the chant tones are formulas for psalm verses between repetitions of the antiphon. You might hear this suggested instead.

    Expect stumbling blocks.
    Thanked by 2Carol Gustavo Zayas
  • Carol
    Posts: 849
    Thank you for these suggestions. I definitely would copy out exactly how I would sing it. I have been singing the Owen Alstott psalms for about 8 years, so I am comfortable with this. The difference there is that the antiphon is played through first and that makes it easier. With the entrance antiphon, the bell will ring and then I will have to begin singing.
  • So you foresee no processional hymn? But what happens now is that there's a hymn (e.g. from OCP) followed by the antiphon read out by the celebrant? And so you would replace both with the chanted antiphon?

    If so, then the faithful would not sing until the Lord Have Mercy or even the Glory To God. That may be a stumbling block...
  • An often-taken course in the OF world is to sing a processional hymn like normal, and to follow it with the introit as the altar party approaches the altar/sanctuary or begins incensing. This way the PIPs still get their hymn, but the antiphon doesn't get chucked out.
  • I would pick the tone based on the mode. Whatever mode the original chant is in, I would use the same one for the tone. Ex: 4th Sunday of Lent Introit is in Mode 5, so use the Mode 5 tone from Meinrad on the 4th Sunday of Lent.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • @Nathan_the_Organist, if what would be chanted is the Missal antiphon (currently read by the celebrant); and if the antiphon itself (not any verses) would be adapted to a Meinrad tone, then: wouldn’t the mode of that Sunday’s introit as in the Gradual be a rather remote basis to choose the tone?

    (Granted, on Sundays in Lent the Missal and the Gradual introits pretty much correspond.)
  • Carol
    Posts: 849
    Nathan, all I have to go on is the OCP Heritage Missal which has three or four lines of text and no music or modes. It is the general missal that all the congregation has. I do have the Respond and Acclaim book for the weekly Responsorial Psalm and Gospel Acclamation settings. I happened to notice the Chant tones on page 57 and got curious about them. This is an idea of my own and I am just a fairly experienced, but volunteer, cantor. The organist really has the responsibility to speak to Father about any changes, but I was curious as to how I would go about it, if I were to volunteer that I could chant the entrance antiphon. The organist probably has more information in the Missal or Gradual. This is beyond my expertise I see.

    Andrew, when we resumed singing after covid, we stopped singing any processional hymn so the celebrant enters from the sacristy, goes about 25' to the altar and reads the antiphon. The first singing is usually the "Lord have mercy" chant and response, and then the Gloria follows shortly thereafter. Of course, there is no Gloria during Advent and Lent. When we first resumed having any singing, the first sung part of the Mass was the Responsorial Psalm. At present, the organist plays several verses of a hymn prior to Mass and eventuallythe sacristy bell rings as the celebrant enters and the organist improvises a quick but sensible exit from the music. He is really skillful at stretching/deleting musical phrases to make the timing work out.

    My sense is that Father would like to phase out the "4 hymn sandwich." He also reads the communion antiphon before he leaves the altar to begin distribution of the Eucharist.
  • A better alternative to using the missal chants is to use the chants from the gradual. The Lalemant propers set these texts in English to very simple tunes. This would remove any guess-work, as you don't have to point any text nor would you have to decide on which mode to use.
  • The Lalemant propers are indeed pre-arranged for just this purpose. Not the Meinrad tones, mind you. Alas, however, the Lalemant propers are not in an approved translation. Rightly or wrongly that's another possible stumbling block.

    Carol, thanks for the explanation. I do think it would be best to continue using the text in the missal you have, so that the proposed change is small. I think also that since the faithful at this Mass have become used to not singing at the entrance, but singing the Lord Have Mercy, that that would be good to keep as well, for the time being.

    The Cantor's entrance chant would then accompany the celebrant’s ten paces of procession to the altar.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • Alas, however, the Lalemant propers are not in an approved translation. Rightly or wrongly that's another possible stumbling block.

    They are certainly advertised as being in an approved translation...are they not?
  • Carol
    Posts: 849
    I think that using the same text as Father has already been reading would be preferable to Father. What IS a joy to me is the way the congregation sings the Mass parts very well. Overall, I guess I am on the right track with the entrance antiphon and think I will try to master the Lenten ones using the Meinrad tones before I speak to the organist.
  • Carol
    Posts: 849
    I did look at the Lalemant and, unfortunately, they are not the same exact text as the OCP Missal.
  • Regarding approval: the translations in Lalemant of the psalm verses are from the Grail, which (I believe) are approved for liturgical use in the United States at least.

    However the translations of the antiphons in Lalemant are from Solesmes’s Gregorian Missal, and so 1/ are translations of the Gradual (singing) antiphons, not of the Missal (reading) antiphons, and 2/ even where t he Gradual and the Missal agree on Latin, Solesmes’ and the English official Missal’s are not the same in translation (as observed by Carol above).

    That's not at all to say there's something wrong with Solesmes’ translations. Also their books have the imprimatur, for what that's worth -- as Lalemant's introduction itself says. But that's not the same as “approved for liturgical use”.

    Does it matter? Well, not hugely: but a very careful priest might object, and it makes it slightly harder to press the case for using them, because you can't quite say, Well Father we’re just going to chant the text right out of the Missal.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,025
    Fr. Samuel Weber's hymnal, The Proper of the Mass, has set the Missal's antiphons to a variety of melodies, including simple psalm tones. I recommend purchasing that book, but all the music is in chant notation.

    Organ accompaniments in modern notation are available for free download on his website:

    You could download the organ accompaniments and sing the chants either accompanied or unaccompanied using that music, if you don't read chant notation or if you don't want to purchase the hymnal.
  • Carol
    Posts: 849
    I am not trained in chant notation, but the organ accompaniments with modern notation could solve two problems. I could sing with organ accompaniment which would be wonderful, as I am very timid on unaccompanied chanting. Funny story, many years ago the pastor sent over a fuzzy copy of Tenebrae and asked me to sing one of the Lamentations. This was way before YouTube. To learn it, I just pretended there was another line of the staff and, since the notes were mostly single notes or double, I did the best I could. Thank you all for your assistance.
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • Andrew, you make a good point. I would say whatever mode the latin chant for the same text is in. As you said, during Lent this is basically a non-issue. Even during the rest of the year, it could still work. I know for a good number of the Sundays of OT, they are the same Introit. There are also times where the Graduale gives different antiphons for years A, B, and C, but the missal antiphon is, for example, the same as year B. If you wanted to do the missal antiphon each year, just use the mode of that year B text.
  • roy2
    Posts: 15
    Carol: let me preface my comments by saying that you should start doing this whenever possible. But, I noticed you said you have chanted the Hosanna to the Son of David on Palm Sunday before. So if you expect potential resistance, maybe you could start this new practice on Palm Sunday rather than at the start of Lent, and then continue through Easter, as "something special and joyful that we do for the Easter season". And then once people are used to it, keep going from there. One thing I worry about with adding chant things for Lent is that people who have not had exposure to chant may associate chant with sad/penitential.
    In any case, I hope your parish appreciates the thought you are giving to this!
    Thanked by 2Carol LauraKaz
  • I have a version of Hosannah Filio David in english, if you need it. Better than not doing it at all! (if they won't accept the Latin)
  • Carol
    Posts: 849
    The last couple of years we have been having unaccompanied chant as Father enters, but it was not the entrance antiphon. In the past I have sung the refrain of "Attende Domine" unaccompanied a few of the Sundays and "Miserere Domine" a few others and "Hosanna to the Son of David" for Palm Sunday in English. Then Father reads the Entrance Antiphon when he reaches the altar. I don't think there would be resistance to having a sung antiphon. Actually,it seems to me that he would welcome the Entrance Antiphon chanted, but we have never attempted to sing it. I think it is just that no one has done it this way in our parish before, but I think we CAN do it. There are two versions of the Entrance antiphon for the First Sunday of Lent with text that matches the OCP missal's antiphon. In Fr. Webers settings, suggested above, I see two settings of the same words and I see the second setting for Lent one Entrance Antiphon is less ornamental than the first. I know I could sing that.
  • There’s also always simple English propers which are free. (A bit boring, at times, but for a lenten diet for people who aren’t used to chanting, perhaps they are just the ticket.)
  • lmassery
    Posts: 404
    Carol, taking into account your situation, I am recommending here some of the easiest settings that will match the texts in your heritage missal.

    See this blog I wrote on the English proper chants by Ainslie

    And these
    Thanked by 2ServiamScores Carol
  • Carol
    Posts: 849
    Imassery, this looks exactly like what I was looking for. Am I correct- the second link is something that is in public domain? Thank you so much for both of these links! That Benjamin O'Brien has a beautiful voice and puts my diction to shame!
    Thanked by 1lmassery
  • From the front matter:

    Gratis permission is granted to Peter R Johnson to post to the Internet digital files of musical settings of the Revised Grail Psalms. These digital files may be distributed to, and downloaded by, the general public for use within their religious communities, provided no remuneration is exchanged for this use.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • Carol
    Posts: 849
    Thank you, Serviam!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,158
    If I remember right, the Lalemant Propers were approved by the local bishop in the diocese where they were published. At the time, USCCB's liturgy committee was not reviewing music publications, but treated the approval by the local bishop as sufficient to allow for usage anywhere in the country. That was some years ago, and the committee's current staff isn't following that policy any more, but (since old approvals remain valid) the old implicit approval seems enough to make them lawful for use.