Unusual accidentals? In my antiphons? It's more likely than you think.
  • DCM
    Posts: 70
    I was browsing Joerg's OCO2015 pdf to learn some of the Holy Week antiphons, and saw something I've never seen before: F-sharp?! Since when are they putting F-sharps in chant? It's not that I think it's a bad idea; this particular piece sings better with an augmented fourth than without, recasting a hopeful text into something like a major key. But I've only ever seen B-flats before.

    Only one of Gregobase's 3 versions of this text use a fa-sharp, and the source for this version is something called "Verona", which isn't a hugely helpful or googlable reference. Cantus, out of ten melodies for this, doesn't show any using fa-sharp. So where does this come from and why is it the odd one out?
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  • DCM,

    There is another F in the piece, down an octave, which is not sharped.

    If I had to guess, it's a well-meaning misprint.
  • DCM
    Posts: 70
    A few other things occur to me:

    1: The incipit starts on D and ends on G, so there's a nice interplay between the expectations of the two major scales that start on those notes. In both, F is sharp. You start on D and climb up to what's functionally a major third. Then, as you slide downward, the C-natural shifts you into a different key and pushes you toward G as the final.

    2; Since I'd be chanting the psalm text (72:12-19) in English, I'd be using Meinrad tone 7, which uses F as the reciting tone in the second bar. This obviously doesn't pair well with the antiphon as printed.

    3: If you're chanting the psalm in Latin, tone 7 hits an F in the first cadence, which also doesn't pair well with the antiphon as printed. The reciting tone is D, but it starts on C so there's no expectation of an augmented fourth.

    4. As printed, its a lovely melody which fits the mood of the text (after all, why would you sing "liberavit" on a minor third?), but it doesn't pair well at all with any of the typical psalm tones.

    5. One could retranscribe the incipit downward a full tone, turning that F-sharp into an E and the C into a B-flat. This preserves the "major" feel of the incipit and produces a score that looks "normal." This does slightly narrow the melodic range but the mood is the same. This score is a nice compromise.
  • DCM,

    When the Gregorian chants were assembled, G-major and D-major were foreign concepts.
  • joerg
    Posts: 137
    This is the so called transposed 7th mode. In the usual 7th mode the sequence of two whole steps on the syllable -ra- can not be notated. So one can either transpose the piece down a fourth (Cf. e.g. Caro mea: gregobase 10086, Me suscepit: gregobase 9095), but then the psalm has to be transposed as well, or one introduces the sharp sign and then one can use the ordinary 7th mode for the psalm. So it's just a matter of notation.
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  • DCM
    Posts: 70
    I looked for recordings of this antiphon, found these three, and all but the third one I linked are singing a fa-natural on that note. I'm curious if they're making a mistake on that note, if their scores are wrong, if the existing melody was somehow incorrect.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,173
    Transpose down a fifth? ... not a fourth, which would yield a C-sharp.

    It's better to B-natural and down a fifth.
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  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,697
    We all use scandalous scores sometimes
  • Making Passer invenit even weirder... impossible!
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