Choosing propers?
  • AngelaR
    Posts: 260
    Hi all, I am shortly going to start planning the music for the Cathedral Chant School's '09-'10 academic year, and need some help understanding how much liberty I have in the music planning. We will be singing for the Saturday Latin Novus Ordo Mass at the cathedral twice a month (one Mass women, the other men). Since this is still a new project, the scholae are not ready to learn and sing the full introit, offertory, and communion antiphons yet, especially when the propers are especially complex. We need to spend our rehearsal time very prudently, learning things that are a bit simpler, or can be used in multiple contexts. I want to stick with the Gregorian propers as much as possible, though.

    Is there any license in choosing other propers that seem appropriate to the Mass? For example, it seems Communion propers could be easily interchanged when they have a more generic text. Another case in point: we are preparing for the diocesan anniversary celebration for Archbishop Fulton Sheen, at which the schola will sing at least one piece. The propers for that Sunday are particularly troublesome. Might I choose another proper which relates to the theme of priesthood, or to the readings of that Sunday?

    And one last question: where might I find a good source for Latin hymns?
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    yes, you can choose another Communion chant under the "alius cantus aptus" provision --- you might also look into those from the GRADUALE SIMPLEX
  • AngelaR
    Posts: 260
    Ooh, do tell more about that provision; it's new to me. Where can I read more about it?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,331
    It's in the GIRM, para. 87:


    87. In the dioceses of the United States of America there are four options for the Communion chant: (1) the antiphon from the Roman Missal or the Psalm from the Roman Gradual as set to music there or in another musical setting; (2) the seasonal antiphon and Psalm of the Simple Gradual; (3) a song from another collection of psalms and antiphons, approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) a suitable liturgical song chosen in accordance with no. 86 above. This is sung either by the choir alone or by the choir or cantor with the people.
  • Dear Angela, welcome.
    Would it be too much an imposition to detail or identify the specifics that are "difficult" for the scholae?
    There are so many resources CMAA can provide to assist, but the nature of the obstacles to skills acquisition would better help us help you.
    The processional propers can provide vexing issues, but not compared to the gradual, tracts, sequences or alleluias. I would try to adhere to the proper Communio as much as possible.
    Another option, of course, is to consider the use of the assigned propers to psalm tones, which have their own noble beauty and can keep the proper texts within their rightful calendar.
    If there are notational issues, you can learn a great deal about "translating" from neumes to standard and/or five line notation from Bruce Ford's AMERICAN GRADUAL and a little time spent learning stemless notation in Finale/Sibelius, as a starter.
  • G
    Posts: 1,389
    Angela, it's the Famous Frightful Fourth, (Option, that is.)

    "Aptus," I think?

    In the GIRM after the first option for the three procession, the Gregorian proper from the Gradual, there are three other options,
    The last and least, "another suitable song" is the one that most opt for, usually a hymn that kinda sorta fits.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Also, "Eagle's Wings" is always an option as well....just FYI

    ;-)
  • "...or can be used in multiple contexts."

    As J.O. remarked above, the Graduale Simplex (Simple Gradual) would be a good place to start. The idea is that it contains--for most liturgical seasons--more than one set of seasonal propers that can be used. You can mix and match depending on what might fit better to the mass at hand. For instance, you can use the introit from the mass 1 for ordinary time on every day of ordinary time but some days you can use the offertory from mass 2 and others from mass 3.

    Toward the back, there is an appendix that includes two chant settings of psalm 33 that may always be used for communion. If you're a little braver, there is something similar in the Graduale Romanum but with more elaborate settings.
  • AngelaR
    Posts: 260
    "Eagle's Wings", LOL! Maybe Scapulis Suis.... Thanks for pointing me to the GIRM; it's been awhile since I've looked at it, and will have to review it.

    Charles, the main difficulty is in general a lack of reading skills or familiarity with the Latin pronunciation; I don't think translating into modern notation would help. The men are particularly challenged in these points. I am interested in the Simplex, but cannot fork out the money right now for copies of it, and to my knowledge it is not offered as a free resource on the CMAA website. Psalm tones still pose a difficulty because they cannot read the Latin quickly enough to render it well (they struggled even with singing the basic Magnificat in Mode 8; it took quite a bit of practice for them to get it right). I am spending time teaching them about reading and solfege; it is just going to take time to build the necessary habits. Many of my members are not accustomed even to singing in choirs, and their reading skills are very primitive. We do not sing Graduals and Alleluias at our Masses.
  • RobertRobert
    Posts: 343
    It's permissible to substitute any proper chant with another from the same season (as per p. 13 in the Graduale); furthermore, any of the seven "Eucharistic" Communios can be substituted at any time (p. 391 of the Graduale).

    This isn't the dreaded "alius cantus" option--it is a legitimate way (though not the ideal way) to follow the GIRM's first option: the Graduale Romanum.
  • AngelaR
    Posts: 260
    Ah, thanks so much. This is all extremely helpful. :)
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Angela - may I ask at which Cathedral your Chant School is offered?
  • AngelaR
    Posts: 260
    Peoria, IL. We just started last November, so we're still quite new. We try to meet and sing at times which do not conflict with parish music schedules, so people can be involved in both. We just sang solemn first vespers of the Assumption, which was quite beautiful. Hopefully in a couple weeks, when my life is a little more together, I can post a link to that audio file.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    We have the resources to sing the proper communion ever week, but for the past three Sundays we've used the Qui manducat (general use communion antiphon) for one Mass or another. I've got to say, there is something about being able to perform that chant from memory. I see no problem with singing only seven communions through ordinary time in your first year.

    I'm not aware of a specific provision for this, but I'll often use the TEXT of the Graduale Simplex in the more sophisticated chant settings from the GR (Tu mandasti, Introibo, Cantabo). It's a nice way to transition from "option two" to "option one."
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Congratulations on getting things going in Peoria! For starters you should definitely have a copy of the Parish Book of Chant. It's available at Parish Book of Chant (free PDF download) or you can buy copies from Aquinas and More books Parish Book of Chant at Aquinas and More. Frankly if you're wanting more than one it's likely cheaper to buy them (only $11.99 at A&M) than pay for toner cartridges! That will keep your team busy learning and preparing for the move to bigger and better things.
  • AngelaR
    Posts: 260
    Thanks, priorst. As a matter of fact, that is a change I have already implemented; everyone going through our 3-evening crash course has a copy now, and I'm asking everyone in the schola to buy a copy (unless they decide to make the leap to buy the Gregorian Missal instead).
  • "There is something about being able to perform that chant from memory."

    Indeed, this is true for many of them :¬)

    "I see no problem with singing only seven communions through ordinary time in your first year."

    My particular schola used the list on p. 391 of the Graduale Romanum the first year we were weaning ourselves off hymns. Highly recommended strategy in certain situations.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Angela, here are the Communion antiphones for general use, ad libitum

    Ego sum vitis
    Gustate et videte
    Hoc corpus
    Maducaverunt
    Panem de caelo
    Panis quem
    Qui manducat
    This list is from Communio by Richard Rice. Very useful one to have, at least the director to start. Eventaully our schola should have the copies. In the mean time it's free to download.

    Our beginning schola learned two communios so far and about to start 3rd one. They sang the same one over and over, varying groups and solos for verses. We love Qui manducat. We really feel we know this one so well now. Alsso there is a CD by Stepping Stone Chant Project by the group here. It has 5 communio out of the list above. We listen to CD a lot in the class ,and I also send the link from Jogues Project, http://isaacjogues.org/, for the chanters to listen at home to practice. Not too much solfege yet for us, it's pretty hard, maybe just some troubling part. Since our group is still beginners, they learn mostly by ears, but I add solfege a little by little and not more than about 10 minutes every week.
    I also pick out a special neum to remeber from each chant, starting with podatus and mora vocis then salicus, quilisma , porrectus.... Lots of vocal excercises on pure vowels, (I really don't like english diphthongs) and sing on the neum of the month. I actually write down on the board,
    i,
    e,ae, oe,
    a,
    o,
    u
    and add some consonants too like 'm' 'n'....
  • AngelaR
    Posts: 260
    I bit the bullet this morning and ordered 5 copies of the Simplex for my men's schola. I think you all are right about that book. I'm going to use my precious scholarship fund for them.