The Great Musica Sacra Forum Hymnal Thread
  • TCJ
    Posts: 966
    This is an offshoot of a discussion here:

    MJO made the following statement:

    I'm hereby planting a seed - it is the seed for what would be The Musica Sacra Hymnal. This would be a hymnal exclusive in scope: It would contain only hymnody by our extraordinary hymnists and tune composers.

    Every one of us, THE MUSICA SACRA FORUM HYMNAL - plant a seed.

    > We have poets
    > We have motet composers
    > We have Anthem composers

    In order to do anything of this sort, we would need to dig through years of compositions posted in this forum and catalog them. Composers would have to be reached to see if they would want their works to be a part of it, or if they've made new versions since.

    For now I'm just wanting to make a spreadsheet cataloguing what we have on the forum so whatever has been posted over the years is at our fingertips. Composer name (or forum name) and contact (if composer desires), type of work, SATB etc., language, season, you name it. It will have links to the pages where they are listed here. Eventually, maybe I could format the actual post to have that information in it, but I think a spreadsheet is easier to work with.

    So if you know of stuff here, just start feeding links to it in this thread and I'll get to them eventually -- probably after Christmas.

    Discuss, discuss, discuss.


    Points made during discussion concerning the project. People are free to discuss the points made here, but I am putting them here to catalog them. I do think the three below should be non-negotiable, however.

    1. Should contain only works by composers who use the forum.
    2. Must be Catholic in content.
    3. Composers must be Catholic.
  • As a starting place, I would suggest that we begin with the many office hymns that have been translated very beautifully by the Anglicans in the height of the Oxford Movement. A few are known (Conditor alme syderum, Te lucis ante terminum), but most are nearly completely forgotten, and I'm personally entirely unimpressed with the translations in the Office hymnal the USCCB just put out. I set a few of the Victorian translations for a series of booklets for the Office at my parish which is run by the Dominican Order, and even a priest here who studied medieval liturgy extensively throughout seminary had never heard of any of them.

    In keeping with Vatican II's desire that local cultures be taken into account in the liturgy, I think it would also be very good to investigate ways that the Church has intersected with non-Christian cultures over the centuries, and the ways that religious missionaries especially have found ways to bridge the gaps between pagan traditions and Catholicism. An example that comes to mind this time of year is Jean de Brébeuf's Huron Carol; in many cases, like this, we would need a new metric translation that's actually faithful to the original language, rather than the culturally problematic translation everyone knows.

    I would caution strongly against using only tunes from the Catholic tradition. We must always keep in mind that most of our repertoire was never intended for congregational singing, and in the post-Vatican II era, there's plenty of excellent hymnody from the ancient Protestant traditions that is nice to sing and can be set to Catholic texts.
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • TCJ
    Posts: 966
    Thanks for the input.

    However, the idea of this is hymnal is, as MJO put it, "exclusive in scope: It would only contain hymnody by our extraordinary hymnists and tune composers."

    The idea is to use content that is original from the people who frequent this forum, not to pull things from elsewhere (however good that idea might be).
  • Drake
    Posts: 219
    While I know my compositions occasionally suffer from a voice leading flaw here or there, please feel free to use anything I have posted on my website for this effort. I mostly write motets in Latin but do occasionally compose or arrange a hymn.

    You can also find some good constructive feedback on some of my pieces here on the forum that could be incorporated to improve the piece. For example, the syllabic placement of He is born the divine infant leaves something to be desired in my posted arrangement.
    Thanked by 2TCJ tomjaw
  • TCJ
    Posts: 966
    Thanks, Drake. You just helped bypass the big step of contacting composers. As for errors and stuff, I expect a project like this wouldn't come about instantly, so there would be plenty of time for review of music and checking for errors.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,668
    I personally am interested only in composers or authors who are Roman Catholic and contribute to that end. If others on this forum wish it encompass more than that, I would bow out.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 966
    I suppose that was assumed... but things shouldn't be assumed I guess.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,668
    In keeping with Vatican II's desire that local cultures be taken into account in the liturgy, I think it would also be very good to investigate ways that the Church has intersected with non-Christian cultures over the centuries, and the ways that religious missionaries especially have found ways to bridge the gaps between pagan traditions and Catholicism.
    I was referring to this. Personally, I am not interested in doing anything like this.
    Thanked by 1LauraKaz
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,157
    Good luck with the project.

    Just taking the inventory of what composers and authors have shared on the site will be a good work.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Please let me know if any of these hymn tunes or texts are worthy of inclusion.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,499
    I'll go ahead and commit to writing or translating as needed 10 hymns, offering them AMDG et pro bonum.
  • Feel free to use any of these hymns (et al) from my Christus Vincit Gradual project. In most of the cases, while the texts are not original (but public domain), the tunes are original.

    Lord, I lift my soul to thee (New 25th/Offertory for I Advent)
    Lord, you have greatly blessed your land (Benedixisti, based loosely on the Graduale Romanum chant/Offertory for III Advent)
    Ave Maria (Offertory for IV Advent-Sunday and December 20)
    -- note: Two keys included, the lower for use as a hymn, the higher for use as an SATB motet. Originally written when I was barely old enough to drink lol.
    To us a Child of hope is born (Puer Natus, based loosely on the Graduale Romanum chant/Introit for Christmas-During the Day)
    Blessed is he who comes (Offertory for Baptism of the Lord, et al)
    -- note: Two settings, the second being in polyphony
    Lord, I will praise thy Name (New 30th/Offertory for Ash Wednesday) - my newest hymn tune, written XII-11-23, and my first ever using 66 66 86 meter.

    More to follow.
  • I've got about two dozen works at this link within the forum. (if this shortcut isn't acceptable, I can post details.) Some of these are my own texts with the music of others; some are my own texts, tunes, and harmonizations.

    (I am happy to write more...)
    Thanked by 1Brian Michael Page
  • francis
    Posts: 10,668
    I might have 100 or more pieces on this forum, but I maintain the copyright of everything I have posted. Anything that I would release would have to be done on a legal basis considering the entire scope of each individual project.

    Otherwise I may publish something that I think would be worthy of the Catholic Church, including everybody’s work here. All contrapuntal works in Latin will be considered, hymnody in English will be considered. Ordinary settings in Latin only.

    You can PM me if you are interested.

    Please include a PDF and an MP3 if you have it, of your submission. All works will receive royalties.

    This would be a monumental endeavor, and it would give testimony to the Roman Catholic Church in its traditional magisterium concerning Sacred Music in the 21st-century.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 966
    I started a catalogue of music posted here on the forum, but haven't gotten too far yet. There are a lot of dead links, missing music, and defunct websites, so much of the music would not be able to be found without directly contacting the forum members who posted them, assuming they are around or alive at this time. For that reason, I've not bothered putting those pieces into the catalogue right now.

    Only 35 more pages to go, then I might sift through some other topics to see if anything fell through.