How to choose music for the Triduum
  • Friends,

    Not having planned music for a Triduum in many, many years, I'm a little rusty. I know that on Holy Thursday & Good Friday, the closing hymns are omitted -- that much I know. ("Depart in silence" -- even I could figure that one out!) However, are there any of the following?

    - Opening hymn on Holy Thursday
    - Kyrie on Holy Thursday
    - Offertory on Holy Thursday

    - Opening hymn on Good Friday
    - Kyrie on Good Friday
    - Offertory on Good Friday

    - Opening hymn on Easter Vigil
    - Offertory on Easter Vigil
    - Closing hymn on Easter Vigil (or does the Vidi aquam take care of that?)

    Thanks -- the decades in the Protestant church have wiped out my memory of these details.

    L.
  • This will all depend on the level of "sophistication" (orthopraxis?) your parish is accustomed to.

    What I attempt, given that I'm in a "spirit of Vatican II" suburban parish, is to connect the hymns (and songs *sigh*) as closely as possible to the texts of the liturgy. For instance, we sing "Lift High the Cross" as the opening hymn on Holy Thursday, as the entrance antiphon in the Sacramentary quotes Gal. 6:14, "We should glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, for he is our salvation, our life and our resurrection; through him we are saved and made free." Given a choice, I'd rather use the actual entrance antiphon and psalm verse either from the Gregorian Missal or the Graduale Simplex, but, well . . . you know.

    From what I can tell, there's no penitential rite (kyrie) sung on Holy Thursday; the Gloria is sung.

    A setting of "Ubi caritas" is prescribed by the rite on Holy Thursday. (I won't tell you what setting we use. I have my reputation, or what little of it is left, to maintain). Again, I'd have the choir sing the Durufle setting if I had the option. You could also use "At That First Eucharist," a hoary chestnut, though not as liturgically appropriate.

    Good Friday begins in silence, no opening hymn, no kyrie. The liturgy begins with the Sacred Ministers entering the sanctuary in silence, lying prostrate for several minutes, then proceeding to the sedilla ("presider's chair") for the opening prayer, then into the Liturgy of the Word.

    As for the Offertory on Good Friday, now here's something I never noticed: there is a hymn which comes at the end of the second set of Reproaches, with a refrain. I'd never noticed that before. (Does anyone sing the complete Reproaches plus this hymn?) We sing "My Song is Love Unknown." Technically, this is not an "Offertory," as there is no Mass. We sing this hymn during the collection, which is not a part of the rite as laid out in the Sacramentary. It is customary for a collection to be taken up on Good Friday, the proceeds go to the Holy Land.

    Easter Vigil, no opening hymn. We sing an anthem (title and composer's name withheld, *eh-hem*) at the offertory. There is a chant prescribed in the Gregorian Missal. Closing hymn: "Jesus Christ is Ris'n Today" (Tune: EASTER HYMN 77 77 with alleluias).

    There's a lot more music required for these liturgies than those you've asked about. As you've been working in a Protestant church, it's easy to overlook some of the little details like the Litany of the Saints at the Vigil, music for the Mandatum on Holy Thursday, etc.

    Best wishes! You'll always find lots of friendly help here!
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    For a great Triduum, the place to start is the Easter Vigil - the central celebration of the entire liturgical year. Much of the music success of the vigil comes from choosing the best settings of the songs between the readings, whether your parish chooses three readings or seven. Since the organ will have been switched off after the Gloria on Holy Thursday (we hope, or at least work toward doing that in future years), choose settings which work well unaccompanied. Some resources include the chants of the Roman Gradual, the simple responsories from the Graduale Simplex (or the English versions in By Flowing Waters), chant based psalms by Marier, Kelly, Ostrowski, and others; or psalms which may be sung in four parts, such as those of Gelineau (though you might have to look around for better antiphons than found in the GIA edition) or, dare I mention, Alstott (for which you might want to chant the verses to psalm tones, rather than the tones provided).

    Follow all of this with a rousing Gloria (you may use the organ and other instruments if you wish, or just bells) and your vigil is off to a great start.

    The Vidi aquam is the antiphon for the sprinkling rite during the Easter season, and there is no such thing as a closing hymn. You may certainly add a hymn after communion or after the dismissal especially on this festive occasion, but it is completely optional.
  • incantu,

    Oops, silly mistake. . . closing hymn. I guess my Episcopalian/Anglican past was showing through.

    By the way, I've looked and looked, and can't find documentation regarding the silence of the organ from the Gloria on Thursday through its return at the Vigil, although I've heard of the custom. Where does it appear? A colleague of mine said it appears in the Ceremonial of Bishops. Is that true, and does it appear anywhere else?
  • David,

    It isn't the organ that has to be silent during the Triduum (it's allowed, but only to support singing, not as a prelude/postlude), but the church bells (Paschale Solemnitiatis paragraph 50). I think having a silent organ adds a nice touch though; my little group is doing everything a cappella throughout Lent, other than Laetare Sunday, Palm Sunday, and the Holy Thursday Gloria.
  • Jscola30
    Posts: 116
    I think there's a kyrie on Holy Thurs., remember Pange Lingua instead of closing hymn during the procession!
  • Chris Allen,

    I've heard, time and again from various sources, that the organ is to be "turned off" after the Gloria on Holy Thursday and not turned back on until the Gloria at the Vigil. (See Incantu's post above, "Since the organ will have been switched off after the Gloria on Holy Thursday (we hope, or at least work toward doing that in future years), choose settings which work well unaccompanied.") So my question is, is the silencing of the organ a custom or a rubric?

    Jscola30,

    [If anybody read what I'd written here before re-editing, disregard what I said. Jscola30 is correct, there is a penitential rite on Holy Thursday. We don't sing it, and I'm so busy getting ready for the Gloria that I miss it.]

    BTW, well-spotted on the Pange lingua at the end of Holy Thursday. I guess I've never considered that to be a "closing hymn" (general rubrics regarding a closing hymn aside), and for someone who's been out of the liturgical loop for several years, as our friend here, that is exactly the kind of detail that could be easily overlooked.
  • I believe PL should be deemed a processional.
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    To my knowledge the most recent document is the Ceremonial of Bishops which states the organ is to be used only to support singing during Lent and from Gloria on Holy Thursday to the Gloria at the Easter Vigil. And if we are following the ideal of singing chant, the organ should not be necessary to support it. So it's not a rule per se, but I feel we musicians should make it part of our code. If unaccompanied chant of any kind is ever going to work, Lent and the Triduum are the time to do it. The very presence of such a directive suggests that something different should be happening at that time.

    And of course many places still sing a hymn or song after the dismissal, which is by no means prohibited. I just object to the term "closing hymn" on a crimespeak basis. When you refer to it as such, it creates the impression that such a thing exists. And it does not. You are simply singing a hymn after the dismissal. I prefer, if there's a *really* appropriate hymn I just don't have room for anywhere else, to sing after communion. That way people aren't out the door by the time you get to the second verse. I feel we will have made progress when instead of "Why didn't we sing a closing hymn?" people ask "Why wasn't the Offertory chanted today? I know it's not printed in the English missal, but couldn't you have at least chanted it from the Roman Gradual?"
  • I have a question right now on this subject. Do any of you use the same mass settings that you do for Triduum for the whole Easter Season?? The director before me only used those mass settings for Triduum and it seems a shame, because they're nice settings, and if we keep them all Easter, people will actually learn them.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,108
    Old post, to be sure, but still timely. It amazes me that despite Vatican admonitions that there is to be no mixing of the old and new rites, many try to do exactly that. Individual preferences are not liturgical law. So comments follow on the whole topic.

    "So my question is, is the silencing of the organ a custom or a rubric?"

    This is a hold-over from the old rite, no longer a requirement in the current missal. Some prefer it, but it is nothing more than a preference. Current legislation states the organ is to be used only to accompany singing, but that is true for all of Lent.

    Yes, there is a "Gloria" on Holy Thursday. Also an offertory and an opening hymn if you are not using the Proper. We sing, old chestnut or not, "At That First Eucharist" for the entrance. Check with your priest as to what he prefers, keeping both of you happy. Pange Lingua is sung at the end while the Sacrament is processed to the temporary tabernacle. It isn't really a recessional hymn although it occurs last. We are supposed to leave in holy silence which works to varying degrees from place to place and year to year. LOL.

    Good Friday is not a mass, so no opening hymn or Kyrie. We are singing a choral version of "O Sacred Head" at offertory. If you do the full liturgy for Good Friday, there is Adoration of the Holy Cross. We sing the "Reproaches" at that time, no longer required and many don't do it, but we do. Since the Reproaches are not long enough, the choir will be singing the hymn, "Ah Holy Jesus" afterwards.

    There is no opening hymn at the Easter Vigil, but the service begins with the Lucernarium containing the blessing of the fire and preparation of the paschal candle. Then the "Exsultet" is sung while all stand holding lighted candles. Depending on your circumstances and resources, your priest may tell you to shorten parts of this. Readings and psalms follow, either 7 or 4 according to your priest's instructions. The service is so long, we are doing readings and psalms for 1, 3, 5, and 7 only. The Gloria is sung while the church bells ring and the altar candles are lit from the Easter candle. After the Epistle the "Responsorial Psalm" is sung which is a Gospel Acclamation with multiple verses. The homily - you can never get away from them can you, LOL - is followed by the Baptismal Liturgy which contains the Litany of the Saints. After the renewal of baptismal promises, then the "I Saw Water Flowing," or vidi aquam is sung while the congregation is sprinkled with baptismal water. The recessional hymn comes at the end of the mass and we are singing, "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today," Lyra Davidica tune.

    "I have a question right now on this subject. Do any of you use the same mass settings that you do for Triduum for the whole Easter Season?? "

    Block quote is not working for some reason. We use a Latin chant mass for Lent which we keep through the Holy Thursday liturgy. We change back to the ICEL English chant mass at the Vigil and keep it the rest of the year. YMMV and there is nothing legislated as to which mass setting you use.

    This is a very brief rundown and is not an exhaustive list of events for Holy Week and the Easter Vigil.

    Pray that we all survive Holy Week and the Vigil this year. What an exhausting time of year. LOL.
    Thanked by 1Mary Ann
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    Using the traditional rubrics to guide the new missal praxis isn’t mixing of the rites.
    Thanked by 1Jahaza
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,108
    I would disagree. We have, for example, GIRM which is law pertaining to the NO. It is not a collection of suggestions, but has legal authority. The rubrics for the EF apply to it, only, and have no bearing on the NO unless specific rules are carried over into GIRM and promulgated by the conference of bishops - wishful thinking to the contrary.
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,003
    We have for some years now used "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" (Picardy) as the big Entrance Procession on Holy Thursday. Once followed by the Kyrie and Gloria (de Angelis, with tower bells ringing) the organ goes silent. Yes, I know, there are three "Alleluias" at the end of the fourth verse. I have fixed that, and share it now with y'all.
    6012 x 6550 - 3M
    Thanked by 2MBW CHGiffen
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    GIRM 42, for starters.

    Second, when it doesn’t prescribe how to do it, the rubrics of the traditional Mass help to be consistent and liturgically sensible... The incensing of the altar, for instance, is done any number of ways if one doesn't just follow the old missal.

    Third, no one says you can’t go beyond the prescriptions of the missal, e.g. why is it such a bad thing that people follow the traditional practice to completely silence the organ from the Gloria to Gloria of the Triduum? (It also seems that restoring traditional practice is made difficult by such permissions... A common sense of what constitutes supporting singing does not and cannot exist...)
    Thanked by 1rich_enough
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,108
    It was never the intent of GIRM or current legislation to restore traditional practice. That is wishful thinking on the part of those who, liking the old mass, want to inject it into the new. There is no legitimate basis for it.

    "Third, no one says you can’t go beyond the prescriptions of the missal..."

    We have been down that road for 50 years and we all know where that has sometimes led. That is a slippery slope if ever one existed. No one says you can add, delete, or make up things as you go along in either rite.

    "why is it such a bad thing that people follow the traditional practice to completely silence the organ from the Gloria to Gloria of the Triduum?"

    The legislation has changed. It is just as bad to bring things into the new mass as it is to take things from the new mass and put them into the old. I amazes me that some who want to bring in items from the old rubrics would get their mantillas in knots over the reverse.

    "A common sense of what constitutes supporting singing does not and cannot exist...)"

    I have no difficulty with it. When the choir or congregation sings, I may play the organ to accompany.

    Is it just me, or is block quote not working for anyone else?
  • MBWMBW
    Posts: 175
    mantillas in knots

    And, if you in any way cause this to happen, AMSEC the Aquatic Mammal Safety and Enforcement Commission, will put you up against the wall and execute you with their birettas.

    block quotes are boycotting me as well.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,300
    Charles... I suspect you are typing it wrong...

    blockquote, that is.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,108
    Fear not MBW. AGO will protect us.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,108
    No, the exclamation marks above do not work. Try using them in a blank message box.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,300
    are you on a mac or a pc? could be something weird with that.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,108
    PC. Normally, one clicks on the quote sign and then types. Not working. That's two of us who find it is not working.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,300
    try typing the code. [blockquote][/blockquote] ... of course you use the less than and greater than symbols, not the brackets.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,108
    I can do that, but why are the quotation marks not working?
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,003
    Bells: to ring or not to ring. In the Old Missal, the ONLY time bells OF ANY TYPE are mentioned is during the Candlemass Procession - that the church's bells should be rung during it. There is no mention of tolling, pealing, Sanctus bells in the tower, little bells rung at the Elevations, etc. Those are all traditions, and with a "t".

    Organ: to play or not to play. Again there doesn't seem to be anything ABSOLUTE about this. We don't use the organ between the two Triduum "Glorias" ar our OF Masses, and that is our Pastor's choice. Neither do we play Pre- or Post-ludes, nor inter-ludes (i.e. needling to fill in) during Lent. That is our choice, and there is no rubric that says that we MUST do either. I realize there is a lot of "sacred music" repertoire based on Holy Week hymns and chants, but many of those are borrowed for Protestant sources to begin with. If I really wanted to hear them, every year, I would re-join the AGO, and organization that has not been on my interest radar for almost 30 years now. No, I don't attend organ recitals.

    Organ: to accompany or not. As much I love accompanied Gregorian chant, there is no rule ANYWHERE that says it MUST be accompanied. But, please do N.B., there is neither ANY absolute prohibition of accompanied chant. (US academia - please note!) We use more chant-like music in the middle of the Triduum, and any polyphony is also unaccompanied. On regular Sundays, while the choir at their Mass might perform repertoire unaccompanied, we sometimes use the same repertoire with the Cantor, accompanied, at the other Masses.

    Comparing EF and OF (multiple editions!) of the GIRM might show some "T"raditions, only a few of which are continuations or mandated. Most of what we're discussing are "t"raditions.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,108
    " Most of what we're discussing are "t"raditions."

    Wars have started over less. LOL.

    I don't play preludes or postludes during Lent. However, when my choir is not up to fully singing a piece unaccompanied, I accompany them. I also accompany hymns.

    BTW, I don't play travelling music or musical "cover" for actions during Lent, either.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 737
    at the end of the fourth verse

    (Button does nothing for me on Google Chrome, but it works on my blackberry's browser)

    I like the idea.
    When I looked at it, though, I thought more of
    "Glory, praise(/laud), and honour be_ to_ Thee; Be to Thee, O Lord, most_ high."
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,003
    I think we are both reflecting on the Introit for the Feast of Christ the King, "The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength and honor; to Him be glory and empire for ever and ever." (Apocalypse 5: 12; 1, 6)
    I wanted to keep the meter, including 4-note melisma, and not repeat any phrases.
  • May I make a distinction?

    Using the principle (in Canon Law) that a canon which is not explicitly abrogated remains in force -- is it possible to INFORM the GIRM without placing in it things which are left unsaid?

    For example -- in the new Franciscan rules for Maundy Thursday, "men" is removed" and "who are chosen" is used instead. Since it does not, in its words, required people other than men to be used, could one read the new rule as removing an "offensive" word, without changing the practice?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,108
    I think the problem in that canon law, is that the Vatican has turned over authority for liturgy and rubrics to the national conferences of bishops. Now that they are the lawful authority, the canon law is superseded.

    Didn't Francis - not ours, not the talking mule, but the pope - allow the washing of women's feet? If so, we will be there forever what with removing the panty hose or footies, carrying out on stretchers priests blinded by fluorescent toe polish, and the ladies totally distracted looking at each others shoes. What's the world coming to, or more appropriately, going to?

    Thanked by 1MBW
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,907
    the Vatican has turned over authority for liturgy and rubrics to the national conferences of bishops

    This is an overly broad generalization. Some matters are delegated specifically to the conferences for decision; some are to be done by the conferences, with approval of the Holy See required; some are retained by the Holy See.


    Thanked by 3eft94530 Jahaza kevinf
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,108
    Let's say the Vatican has turned over considerable authority for liturgy and rubrics that it once kept for itself. Even with items requiring approval from the Vatican, Rome rarely interferes once approval is given.
  • bkenney27bkenney27
    Posts: 444
    Related question:
    I've never actually done Holy Thursday correctly. My last Parish had a few ...ahem... inventions before Mass that muddled the order of things.

    Is the Gloria sung IMMEDIATELY after the Processional Hymn, or is the Sign of the Cross and Greeting retained in the Introductory Rites? The Missal is a bit difficult to piece together on this.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,108
    I solved that same problem by asking the priest to intone the first few words of the Gloria in Latin. Then I know when to begin. LOL.
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,003
    The place of the Gloria is exactly the same as usual. The only question is which Penitential Act is done, i.e. whether or not there is a "Kyrie", or if you start after the prayer for mercy. Unlike Good Friday, Holy Thursday is just a Mass.
  • bkenney27bkenney27
    Posts: 444
    I have no idea why I thought the penitential act was omitted, but thanks for saving me!