Nova Organi Harmonia Transcription
  • Hello all, I've lurked on this forum for a little while but recently made an account.

    I wanted to take up Andrew Hinkley's project of transcribing the Nova Organi Harmonia, so I've done some work on formatting the scores, and I finished transcribing the Missa pro defunctis from Volume 5. I've also proofread all of Volume 5. I'm looking for feedback on these scores from real musicians. When this project has been mentioned before, people have asked for these scores in MusicXML format. Should I work on doing that?

    You can download all of the scores from this page:

    I put the Asperges Me, Vidi Aquam, and Masses I and VIII below.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen GerardH
  • francis
    Posts: 10,694
    very nice! thank you! i play these from my ipad and therefore xml would be a great asset as i would be able to change the size of page (7 x 10, no margins) and size of staff/notes.

    thanks again!
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,746
    Very nice, indeed. I had considered doing some of these myself, so I’m happy you’re working on this project and saving me the trouble, lol!

    If I may be so bold, I have one minor critique: sometimes your text gets oddly far from the staff, which makes it a bit harder to read if you are also trying to cantor. Apart from that, it’s lovely clear engraving. And I love that you kept the qualismas as too.
  • CGM
    Posts: 685
    Piggybacking on Serviam's point about text placement, I'd recommend putting the words between the staves, à la in a hymnal. The eye already has to travel that vertical distance anyway, to see the right and left hand lines. Contrarily, putting the text above the top staff means that the eye has to travel further vertically, and the brain has to work just a bit harder.

    This is a mammoth undertaking that you and Andrew have begun; I'm sure many people will be grateful for your work.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,746
    CGM— I confess this is one oddity about the NOH that’s always puzzled me. I suspect that the NOH was produced solely for the organist and the assumption was that the organist was not cantoring into a mic at the time while they were playing too. In the OP’s defense, this is the style of the NOH, however I’m with you, my preference is always for the text between staves. CCW always produces scores this way too, however I’ve gleaned from little comments made in various articles that Jeff has a borderline phobia of reading more than a single line of text with his music, hence he’s embraced this style fully too.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • francis
    Posts: 10,694
    Yes... I have surmised that what Serviam puts forward is most likely the case. I suppose the text is simply a guide for the organist to keep subserviant to the chant. One of the things that is difficult with the NOH is that when a schola follows the Solemnes method, one needs to mark the music appropriately. The full bars are almost always (possibly unanimously) representative of a dotted punctum. However, episimas and other pauses are not represented as the music was composed before the rise of Solemnes. Jeff of CCW mentions that the method follows the 'pure vaticana' rhythm.

    In my thinking, these are by far the best way to accompany chant as it truly keeps the organ as a fluid non driving accompaniment with its most beautiful modal harmonies.

    (FYI, You can find some of the most common settings which I have remarked (and condensed the systems on less pages) and posted them on this forum.)

    Here is the beginning portion of a very interesting preface by Van Nuffel...

    Several years ago, in order to realize a project of personal interest as well as to fulfill frequent requests from various circles, we considered one day developing and publishing a new accompaniment for Gregorian chants.

    Conscious of the enormous labor that a work of such scope would require, and knowing on what slippery terrain we would engage ourselves, we decided to postpone execution until, another careful consideration and much deliberation, we could formulate a precise and definitive plan that would fully satisfy all of our collaborators. is preliminary cooperation proved fruitful, and the Nova Organi Harmonia could be justly considered the work of the entire Lemmens institute. Surpassing the means of one or two people, the project in question was produced through the close collaboration of the director and the professors of the Institute, with such success that the organ accompaniment of the entire Gradual – without excepting or omitting a single melody – could be sent to press aer a relatively short period of time.

    Although the parts of the work were harmonized by different individuals, giving each harmonization a unique color – which one cannot hold against us – the unity of style and conception is nonetheless guaranteed to assure a perfect homogeneity of the work as a whole.

    We would like to emphasize that we did not intend in any way to challenge either the merit or historical impact of the Organum Comitans of our venerable predecessors, Messieurs Alph. and Aloys DESMET and Monsieur Oscar DEPUYDT; we, more than any others, respect its importance, as it constituted, for the era in which it appeared – nearly thirty years ago – a pioneering work. The Organum Comitans rightly holds a place of honor in both the history of sacred music and of our institute.

    Since then, we have had the privilege of closely studying the new Vatican Edition, so as to examine in depth the structure, spirit, and character of new Gregorian melodies both individually and in relation to the organ accompaniment which, in our opinion, fits very well. On the other hand, the musical art has evolved since then, producing certain advantages not denied by any contemporary musician and increasingly influencing all composition, including Gregorian harmony.

    These favorable circumstances, including the exceptional experience in Gregorian
    art of the eminent professors of the Institute, increased our confidence in the likely success of our endeavor. Additionally, we could never have undertaken a task of such great scope and difficulty without the prospect of a satisfactory result nor without conviction in the usefulness of this work. In effect, so many musicians wanted to have a Gregorian accompaniment which, unlike the majority of similar works, offered both graceful harmonization and easy execution. We sought to produce a Gregorian accompaniment whose artistic value was not compromised by its ease of execution.

    The Nova Organi Harmonia demanded of each of us an unusual commitment; we
    have dedicated to it the best of our energies. Would it be, therefore, presumptuous on our part to be satisfied with the result and to expect its welcome reception in the musical

    Thanked by 1ServiamScores