Best of both worlds?
  • CantorCole
    Posts: 47
    Hello all,

    I have been thinking of a possibility the will enable the usage of a gradual chant within the context of a responsorial psalm.

    This idea involves composing a simple antiphon in the mode of the graduale chant, which is to be sung in the following manner:

    1. Simple Antiphon
    2. Gradual Antiphon
    3. Simple Antiphon
    4. Gradual Verse
    5. Simple Antiphon
    6. Gradual Verse #2 if applicable (or repeat Graduale Antiphon + Simple Antiphon if so desired)

    I have attached an example (adapted to English in this specific instance, using the Tract/Canticle Sicut Cervus).

    My question is this: Could this be a way for parishes that desire to have congregational participation in responsorial psalmody to also utilize the Gregorian repertoire? Or is this just an example of misguided melodic machinations?

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  • I think Tracts are a bit of a different form than Graduals, an so they're their own separate issue. But I think many people would find your proposition undesirable due to the length of time it would take. What you're suggesting would take even longer than simply singing the Gradual once through, which is already something most people unacquainted with full propers would deem too long.

    That said, if it works well for your situation, go ahead and do it. Different parishes have different needs, at least when it comes to the matter of how best to transition a NO parish to the ideal music proscribed by the Church. But I wouldn't expect this route to be a sort of wide spread solution that benefits countless parishes across the country. Maybe I'm wrong though.
  • JacobFlahertyJacobFlaherty
    Posts: 329
    I have been doing a similar thing, with some differences. I think there is merit to the idea, and if it were not Holy Thursday (and I still have to finish the Liturgy Guide for tonight!!!) I would have more mind for being thoughtful about the details. But I think there is a path here - congregations get something easy-enough to sing and the verses have a beauty and depth and reflectional quality. Obviously your pastor/priest has to be on board, but if there is an openness there, it might work out.

    The challenges include realizing that not every single note of the original Gregorian Chant can be utilized in an English translation - a particular instance in the chant you wrote out above that might not work as well is your opening phrase: "that yearns for" that has a half-bar at the end. It feels like an ending when the grammar is not an ending. But beyond those nitpicky things, the idea, in my mind, is awesome! I'm attaching one that I did like that.

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  • CantorCole
    Posts: 47

    Thank you for your feedback!

    Regarding Graduals vs Tracts, you are correct, but I thought the example I provided was similar enough to illustrate my point.

    I also see your point about the extended length, although if you only do the first 5 steps, that would only add around 15-30 seconds to the chant due to the short nature of simple antiphons that would be composed. Some may consider that acceptable, some may not.
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  • CantorCole
    Posts: 47

    I like your example!

    And yes, there are often many small things that need to be adjusted when adapting chants to English (that I often overlook). I suppose in the specific example you provided, I could change the half-bar to a breath mark and remove the dot on the last note to indicate that it shouldn't be sung as if it were the end of a phrase.

    This Sicut Cervus adaptation is something that I floated to my choir director this year, but it got turned down. He was interested in the idea though, so perhaps next Easter Vigil I can chant it.

  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,780
    I get the Responsorial Gradual (there have been other threads about florid cantor verses), but why begin with "Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God. Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God. Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God." ???
  • bangerman
    Posts: 45
    Reminds me of something they do at Westminster. For the Deus, Deus meus tract, they use this simplified response to some of the tract verses.
  • CantorCole
    Posts: 47
    @Richard Mix

    There is precedence for this. See Cantate Domino (Communion antiphon, the suggested ad libitum verses begin with the same verse as the antiphon).

    Also, it happens all the time in the responsorial psalms of the new missal
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,780
    If I look at the 1979 Gradual Romanum, Cantate Domino, setting Ps. XCV:2, has the recommended verses 1, 3, 4…

    I suppose Precatus Moyses is a precedent for twofold longwindedness though.