Tract Alternation
  • FSSPmusic
    Posts: 245
    When alternating between two halves of the choir, does the full choir or only the right sing the first part of the tract? Is there a "correct" procedure? The rubrics are unclear, only saying that it is sung with "its Versicles being chanted alternately by the two sides of the choir answering each other, or else by the cantors and the full choir." Is the first part a versicle or not? If it's not a versicle, then what is it?
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,726
    We sing up to the star with the cantors then full choir. We then alternate between Cantors and choir. For the longer tracts we will have two sets of cantors alternating with the choir ie Cantor I, Choir, Cantors II, choir etc.

    Tomorrow we will be singing the Issac setting, thanks to CPDL and @CCooze
    Thanked by 1CCooze
  • I was told by our schola director that the first part is also a verse, despite the absent on the V/. sign. So I think the first part is a versicle, and you would just have one half sing it. We always alternate cantors and full choir, so we do cantors to the asterisks, then everyone until the second verse (first V/. sign), then cantors, next verse all, ect.
    If the last verse is a cantor verse, everyone comes in at the asterisks, but if everyone is already singing the verse, we ignore the asterisks.

    Our director would like to alternate between two halves someday if we get enough singers (especially for times like Lent I), but I think we might still do everyone for just the first verse (although I realize the rubrics don't say to do it that way).
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • FSSPmusic
    Posts: 245
    I was told by our schola director that the first part is also a verse, despite the absent on the V/. sign.
    That's what I thought as well. In the book Mass and Vespers, the tract verses are numbered. At the first double bar line is 2, not 1. Ditto for the psalm-tone tracts in the Brevior and for Palm Sunday in the 1960s LU. If the first part of the chant is not a verse/-icle, nor an antiphon, nor a respond, I'm not sure what else it could be. Besides, isn't the tract traditionally considered the example of direct (i.e., non-antiphonal, non-responsorial) psalmody in the Roman rite? In Psallite Sapienter, Andrew Mills says that only the first half choir comes in at the star (no. 96), but I'm told the practice at the FSSP seminary is for the full choir to come in at the star, then start the right-left alternation at the double bar line, and someone in my parish insists that's the correct way. But he also claimed that the star at beginning always means the full choir comes in, which is actually not the case for other chants that are sung in alternation.