Vidi Aquam Chant in English
  • CantorCole
    Posts: 40
    Hello all,

    With Easter fast approaching, I thought it would be fitting to post my English adaptation of the Vidi Aquam. I tried to be as faithful to the original melody as possible in making this adaptation.

    The chant can be found here, in addition to the attached file: https://gregobase.selapa.net/chant.php?id=18978
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    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,044
    You have “it’s” where it should be “its” and as a small observation: the space before a colon in the Solesmes editions comes from a convention of French where two-part punctuation marks get more breathing room. This isn’t needed in English.
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 970
    I tried to be as faithful to the original melody as possible in making this adaptation.


    When adapting a chant melody to fit another language, this is usually not the best approach. In Gregorian Chant, not the melody but the text takes precedence.

    You might search for the handouts of a course given by a master of English adaptation of chant, Fr. Columba Kelly OSB. He sets out to look for the structural pitches of a given chant, then analyse the different melodic embellishments as to decide how to apply them to the English text.

    I'm no native English speaker, but ‘tem-PLE’ and ‘to whom THIS’ look a bit awkward.

    Also, ‘original melody’ can mean quite different things nowadays. In the Graduale Novum you can find a version that might represent the melody from the oldest manuscripts best (see attachment).

    Thanked by 1Paul F. Ford
  • CantorCole
    Posts: 40
    @smvanroode

    I am aware of your point, which is why I openly expressed the hermeneutic from the outset =). And indeed, there are a few points where it might appear to be slightly awkward. In chanting it myself, however, it doesn't really appear to stick out all that badly. That being said, I'll probably make updates and improvements as time goes on.

    And true, I considered adding some nuance to the wording of my original post to specify which melody I was referring to, but I decided not to. What I could have said was the "most widely used/known melody".
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 321
    Thank you! I would let "whom" cover the next neume, then quarter bar, then put "this" directly after the quarter bar.
    Thanked by 1CantorCole
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,044
    "In the Graduale Novum you can find a version that might represent the melody from the oldest manuscripts best"

    not to beat a dead horse, but there are always choices here.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 970
    Absolutely, I totally agree. I have the Graduale Novum, the Liber Gradualis of Alberto Turco and the work of Anton Stingl. They each make different choices. I should have said "better" instead of "best". But alas, also for the 1903 Graduale Romanun choices were made.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • emac3183
    Posts: 33
    There's a "begining" instead of "beginning" in the doxology.
    Comma after "right-hand side," and semi-colon instead of a colon after the next "alleluia."
    You have an extra hyphen after "saved," which looks a little confusing to the singer.
    That's all my nit-picking glasses can see right now.
    If you're familiar with the original Latin melody, it's very naturally singable. Might serve as a good stepping stone to the real thing with a choir unfamiliar with reading Latin.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,044
    I thought that the extra hyphen was due to the placement of punctuation or a tag, but it's not. It's because the two sets of parentheses are next to each to other without an intervening syllable.

    saved(h!iwji)(hvGF)(f.)

    That gets the extra hyphen.

    saved(h!iwji)hvGFf.) combines everything into one neume, and then you have to deal with "savèd" (not all that weird, but this is what Steven got at earlier.) You could use /manually placed, but since there's no melismatic mora vocis (because there are multiple syllables in the Latin) and because spaces for Mocquereau indicate repercussion but not the mora vocis, this is sort of odd.

    I did take out the extra stuff presumably held over from Source and Summit and fixed the typo. You can make use of the Commentary feature for Scriptural elements, the assigned dates of origin, etc. If someone downloads the gabc file, it'll be filled in the file header automatically (Gregobase does some wonderful things, somehow…). The gabc box should start with the clef.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,775
    to whom this, water came. were…

    is a deal-breaker, with competing versions in the Plainchant Gradual, American Gradual, Chants of the Roman Missal, and presumably in the books by Paul Ford & Fr. Kelly as well.
    Thanked by 1Paul F. Ford
  • CantorCole
    Posts: 40
    Have been having a hard time improving the melody adaption starting at "whom this water..."

    I have attached a photo of an possible solution that begins to take more liberties with the melody, but I'm wondering if it causes more "un-naturalities" than how it was originally.

    Not sure if placing the breath mark after "to" or "whom" is optimal. Each requires a sacrifice to be made in the following phrase.

    Edit: I'm also wondering if I should add an additional note to end the "-ter" syllable that is the same pitch as the first note of "came". This might improve the flow of the chant in this specific location.
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  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    I'm grateful you've done this. It is helping me out immensely since I was just told that mass this evening will include a sprinkling rite, and I didn't account for this in the worship aid, hence the Latin is out.
  • CGM
    Posts: 690
    There's also the adaptation by Fr. Samuel Weber, OSB, available here.
    It's p. 7 of the PDF (numbered page 327, item no. 1081).
  • lmassery
    Posts: 407
    I used the St Meinrad version this year https://www.saintmeinrad.edu/media/1420/eastervigil_booklet.pdf
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    CantorCole, I thought you might be happy to know your setting was chanted today at St. Augustine Cathedral in Kalamazoo (at an episcopal mass, no less).
  • CantorCole
    Posts: 40
    @ServiamScores

    No way! That's wonderful.

    Is this the Mass you are speaking of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPFWJZhWKVU