Gregorian Semiology Condensed
  • A discussion arose on another thread about the development of chant notation done by Solesmes, especially as it is seen in the responsories of the Liber Hymnarius. It is understood that this will likely be the notational style of future editions of the Graduale Romanum, Divine Office, and other Solesmes editions of chant. There do not seem to be many resources available that distill the information found in Gregorian Semiology that could help illustrate the newer developments in these neumatic designs. (If there are please do let me know!) So last night I picked up a project that I began and abandoned a few years ago: Semiology Condensed. Here is the first page (still very much in development) of a table of neumes and brief descriptions of them from Gregorian Semiology alongside the modern notation that is used to express them.

    I'm wondering how useful such a resource would be to readers of this forum--please share your thoughts.
  • This is great. Combined with audio examples it would be fantastic.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,273
    Excellent... the more we can unearth and explain the mystery of chant into laymen 21st century terms, the better we can win them over.
  • bgeorge77
    Posts: 190
    YES DO IT!

    Anything that can be used to de-arcane-ify the whole process of learning chant will be greatly helpful, especially if Solesmes insists on adding complexity to the notational system.
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    looks like a great idea and a great start
  • BGP
    Posts: 215
    Yes, please continue! Gregorian Semiology in plain English!
  • Keep going! This is great!
  • bgeorge77
    Posts: 190
    Bump. How's it going on this project? Keep it up!
  • Very helpful.
  • Yes, this still going, but I'm taking a bit of a detour to make sure that it is done correctly. Dom Saulnier of Solesmes has offered his help with this and he is reiterating that much of what semiology offers is "microcosmic nuance", but that the important thing is to place this nuance upon the foundation of a natural declamation of a text. So I fear that just compiling a chart like this could enable inappropriate exaggeration if some accompanying foundational materials are not also included to which the nuance can be applied. Be patient!
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    I'm sorry I didn't chime in on this earlier. I was reminded of your project last night when I looked up from the bar and saw someone wearing a Philadelphia Phillies cap and did a double-take, wondering why this dude had a clivis with diminutive liquescence on his hat. One more drink and I might have asked.

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that this effort is most worthy and most welcomed, necessary even.
  • @incantu-- That's hilarious! I've often seen St. Gall and Laon neumes pop out at me from wallpaper or rug designs, and the like... I'll probably never look at a Phillies cap the same way again!

    Re: Semiology Condensed-- Yes I know that this is needed, and it will happen. I want to make sure that it is accompanied with proper narrative, though, that puts the nuance in proper perspective, and that describes how it helps shape the natural declamation of a text, which is more important even than the neumes. It will happen soon though...
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Also, I'm sure you've thought about this at length, but I don't know that I can abide modern notation in the second column. This seems to be rather backward looking, rather than forward looking. I would imagine the MS notation first, followed by "rendered in modern editions as" in the next column. If this chat is really to be considered "condensed." I'm not sure it's necessary to include the addition of a t-tenete to the clivis, for example, as if it is a separate neum. Does the t not mean the same thing every time it appears? Maybe significative letters could be listed on their own, rather than attached to every isolated neum. Again, I'm sure you're thinking about thhese things.
  • @incantu-- You have some good insight into this, and apparent enthusiasm for it... Do you want to help get it done? I've done quite a bit of prep work in compiling the St. Gall neumes, and the 'modern chant' neumes and yet have to get the Laon. What remains is to work through "Gregorian Semiology" and find the essential information on the interpretation of the neume for the far right column. If you would like to help on this I would warmly welcome your help! Email me if you would like.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    I was going to offer to help until I read that Dom Saulnier was providing input. That made me feel way out of my league. However, I will be happy to help with some of the grunt work.
  • Well, Saulnier is way out of my league too! But I sought his council to make sure that this was being done correctly. I haven't heard from him on this since January and sent an email to him again this morning. It may have to be something that that we have to put together and seek approval from the 'big-leagues'. I would love your help--many other things are demanding my attention right now. Shoot me an email and we can coordinate.
  • I hope you bring this to fruition. There is a gaping need for a semiological primer that says what chant scholarship and Solesmes is saying TODAY; not what it and a plethora of methods old and new said several generations ago. There is, of course, Cardine's own introduction; but it is a little complicated for use with uninitiated scholas.
  • AOZ
    Posts: 369
    I'm fascinated. This is a great resource. Please keep working on it.
  • awruff
    Posts: 93
    Hi friends,
    For what it's worth, I hope to wrote a comprehensive textbook on chant with a non-ideological (I don't mean that as a red herring) discussion of rhythm and accessible information on how semiology works in practice. The book will cover pretty much everything, but I don't want it to be too huge. It should be for practitioners, not a few musicology profs. My goal is to put in one place in English a useful summary of everything said in Italian, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, etc. in Europe in the last 50 years - with the goal being, what it means for practice and for use.
    If things fall into place I hope to have this as my main project for the next academic year. We shall see.
  • This sounds fantastic, Father. I hope that you'll be able to work on it and get it into our hands as soon as possible!
  • Is this document still available? It might be interesting, but says the page doesn't exist.
  • My apologies for the dead link. I have changed hosts and am still working out the kinks. I hope to have this fixed soon. In the meantime the document linked to above can be found here.

    This project was held up essentially because of a need for a nice set of graphical neumes to use for the table. The final result would be several pages long, at least 5. If anyone would like to help in the grunt work that will make this possible, please email me.
  • Geremia
    Posts: 183
    @AdamBartlett Your link doesn't work.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,501
    Well, you can't expect much of a link posted here over nine years ago. Have you looked for the link in the Internet Archive?
  • Sadly the internet archive doesn't work. I'm actually interested in this document as well. I've started placing the simple english propers into worship aids now that we have singing again and I'd like to use some of the empty space right above the credits to start providing little keys for basic neume shapes. If anyone is aware of a similar document please let me know. Sadly, most of the scans of old chant manuals are too fuzzy and have way more text than I want to throw at parishioners.
  • edit: I just found this document which might help someone.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Felicia