Spanish Chant -
  • I believe this subject has been discussed here before. However - at St Basil's chant class this morning the topic was modern and English chant, which was very well received. We concentrated on the work of Fr Columba and Bruce Ford, as well as By Flowing Waters. Afterwards I was asked about Spanish chant. Does anyone here have information or sources about such? I told the lady that I would see what I could find. I know neither Spanish nor what is available musically for Spanish masses.
  • Earle
    Posts: 6
    Define your terms a little bit, as in most Hispanic parishs chant is completely unknown. Use of the organ on the parish level doesn't happen and to often either. Perhaps in the Cathedrals, but not elsewhere. So are we talking about a typical Hispanic parish in New York, the Cathedral in LIma, Peru, or Spain?
  • What was asked for specifically was Gregorian chant adapted to Spanish; this, presumably, for use in a local (Houston) parish church. That is to say, is there anything that would be a Spanish equivalent to the work of Bruce Ford or Fr Columba Kelly, or By Flowing Waters?
  • Maureen
    Posts: 671
    Not that I know of or can easily find. But that doesn't mean it's not there. (Frankly, with the closeness of Latin to Spanish, the need may not have been felt. I've certainly had a hard time finding translations of Latin hymns into Spanish, whereas other languages seem to have been obsessed with versification and translation.) "Canto gregoriano" and "traduccion" are your search terms, I'd think.

    Schola Cantorum Bogotensis (Bogota, Colombia) has some informational text translations, and maybe some of them are singable.

    Office of the Dead

    Various stuff: Mass parts, hymns, etc.




    Marian hymns

    I'll look around some more.

    You might find more luck with "canto mozarabe".
  • I wish that I knew of a Spanish language chant collection. I need this desperately as I am in a 50/50 English/Spanish speaking parish with much work to do with the Spanish liturgies! Here is a sample of the Easter Vigil Responsorial Psalms that I used this past year at our bi-lingual Easter Vigil Mass. Fr. Columba helped me set the Spanish antiphons, but he has said that a native Spanish speaker is really needed in order to properly set Spanish texts.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 671
    Here's a Spanish Liturgy of the Hours site. It has a ton of hymn texts, but they seem to be Office-usable, not Office hymns per se.

    A much more complete site, with Spanish Liturgy of the Hours texts, Mass readings, etc.

    Here's a Spanish academic society for studying Gregorian chant -- maybe you could email them? The books they offer for sale seem to be the usual suspects in French:

    Here's the Amigos of Gregorian Chant:

    Honestly, translation doesn't seem to be much of a priority!
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  • Maureen
    Posts: 671
    Capilla Catolica seems to have gone to Power Point for its hymns! Aaagh!

    The Hermit has the Mozarabic breviary with Spanish translations:
    Office hymns for St. Francis

    Apparently in the 1700's, a Jesuit named Faustino Arevalo put out a book of translations called Hymnodia Hispanica, which has now been reprinted and edited by a professor named Elena Gallego Moya:

    Wow, I'm really not finding anything useful. Maybe Spanish-language church music publishers have stuff. But honestly, it seems like you'd have an easier time just getting a Mexican missal (since that's what we use in the US for Spanish Masses) and setting the chant yourself. It'd be a big PITA, but a lot easier than running around looking for something that might not exist.
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  • Maureen
    Posts: 671
    Re: native speaker

    Delegation is good. If you intone the chant and record it, and provide someone who speaks Spanish with the neumes/score, it would seem that they could bang something out. And that would move the PITA away from you and delegate it onto others. :)

    Er... I meant that it would empower the laity of the community. Yeah, that's it. :)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,956
    Isn't Paul Ford working on a Spanish counterpart of BFW?
  • Yes, Paul Ford and his prize student are working on a Spanish counterpart to the Graduale Simplex. There are 680 chants and we have 5% done. My colleague is setting them in square notation.

    Do you need anything in particular?
  • Liana
    Posts: 1
    Hello Paul: I would like to know if you have finished that spanish version of the Graduale Simplex, I am very interested in singing spanish versions of the gregorian chants.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,682
    There will be a presentation at the 2014 Colloquium on Spanish proper chants.
  • I've been reading the previous discussions about Spanish chant, but notice that these took place in 2009...... Has anyone published Spanish propers yet, or Spanish psalms??? I'm desperate to use something better than OCP Respond and Acclaim in Spanish. My cantor does not read music, and sometimes each verse has different music!!!! Please help!

    Desperate in Milwaukee
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  • To bump this up... I recently had a call requesting chant versions of Marian hymns in Spanish... any help?
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,682
    The GIA hymnal has the Salve Regina in Spanish. I, as a non-Spanish speaker, find some of it kind of awkward, but the congregation at our Spanish Masses have picked it up exceedingly well. In fact, other than our Mode V chant Gloria, it is by far the most vocal participation during those Masses.
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  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,375
    The wording of the Spanish translation of the Salve Regina that is recited at the end of the rosary is:
    Salve Reina y madre de misericordia: vida, dulzura y esperanza nuestra.
    A ti clamamos los desterrados hijos de Eva. A ti suspiramos clamando y gimiendo en este valle de lágrimas.
    Oye por tanto, abogada nuestra, vuelve tus ojos misericordiosos hacia nosotros.
    Y a Jesús, fruto bendito de tu vientre, muéstranoslo después de este destierro.
    Oh clemente, Oh piadosa, Oh dulce Virgen María.

    As is immediately apparent, the text is not a "singing translation" that can be used with the Latin chant. (Most, if not all, of the texts referenced above by @Maureen in 2009 are not singing translations either.)

    Why are there so few Spanish-language singing translations of Latin chants? Primarily because, until after Vatican II, they could not be used in the liturgy. They had to be sung in Latin. So apparently few thought it important to make Spanish translations.

    In the early-1950's the great Argentinean poet Francisco Luis Bernárdez translated into Spanish about 50 hymns from the Roman Breviary. Most were not singing translations, and those that had a strict meter were often not in the same meter as the Latin hymn. Bernárdez was especially fond of 11 11 11 11 meter.

    There may also have been but a few English-language singing translations of Latin chants before Vatican II if Anglican divines such as John M. Neale had not made them for use in the Anglican Church. (When Edward Caswell and John Henry Newman came into the full communion of the Catholic Church, they continued to make English translations of Latin hymns, but their translations could only be sung at Catholic devotional services, not in the liturgy itself, which had to be in Latin.)
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  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,582
    There's an awful lot of 11 11 11 11 in too.

    Are there any Spanish/Hispanic tunes or should one use ST DENIO?
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,375
    Ah, but when one studies all those 11 11 11 11 translations, it is discovered that meter often changes from line to line - trochaic, iambic, dactylic, anapestic. There's little consistency, which is necessary for regular metrical hymnody.
  • Alas, Spanish-language culture never (?) seems to have had a J. M. Neale, Fr. Caswall, Percy Grainger, or the like to create really fine vernacular translations of Catholic hymns.

    I found some success this past Pentecost setting the Dixit Dominus from the Spanish-language LotH to one of the St. Meinrad psalm tones. But it’s not a straightforward affair necessarily because of the vowel-combining that can happen; for example:

    Gloria al Padre y al Hijo

    ^^ That would be sung with 7 (!) syllables: “Gloria” has two, the “al” gets smushed in with the previous word, “Padre” has two, then “y” gets “forward-smushed” into “al”, though it’s kind of halfway between “back-smushed” into the previous syllable, too. It’s hard to explain.

    (I’m not fluent in Spanish, but when I’ve done pointing like this native speakers have told me it’s spot-on. And I played and sang for Mass in Spanish for two years besides.)
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  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,007
    Any word on Paul's project to render the gradual in Spanish?

    After a recent discussion with my pastor, it appears as though I will be doing funerals in spanish, perhaps with some regularity, and I'm looking for appropriate resources. I'd also love to know if there are any good spanish hymnals... so far, the only thing I've found is an old methodist hymnal from the 1880's that, oddly, has very orthodox hymns and speaks of the true presence. (go figure).
  • CGM
    Posts: 583
    Janet Gorbitz, who posted above, has spent the last several years adapting all the Proper chants into Spanish, and at this point I think she's got a pretty exhaustive set. Check out her website:

    You might be interested particularly in her All Souls Day / funeral Mass music:
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  • Very nice and beautifully done.
    I've been hoping that their must be a Spanish Palmer-Burgess somewhere.
    Now we need a French P-B. And a German one. And.........
    Thanked by 1Jehan_Boutte
  • "Now we need a French P-B."

    I have begun something like that.