Bartolucci speaks.
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,601
    This is an english translation of a french translation.

    REMOVED....Adam has located a much better translation, thanks!
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    Excellent forthright critique of Solesmes--very nice. Some here could take heed.

    Terrible English translation (guessing it's internet-derived), but thanks for passing this along.
  • Adam Bartlett
    Posts: 533
    Here's a better translation of the same inverview.
  • Michael O'Connor
    Posts: 1,637
    To the last he defends the so-called virility of Roman style chanting. If that's what they want to do in Rome, I'm all for regional styles, but I'd rather sing my prayers prayerfully. The Roman style seems like they are always demanding things from God (like many of the 18th-c Mass settings).
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    Yes, I find that strange as well.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    "The "Acta Apostolicæ Sedis" (1910, pp. 145 sq.) contains a letter from the Prefect of the Congregation of Rites to the president of the German Cäcilienverein, which by this publication becomes binding on all. In this letter the direction is given that the rhythmical interpretation of the Vatican edition is to be in accordance with the rules laid down in the preface to the Graduale. The wish is also expressed that no contrary methods should be advocated in the press, as they would only cause confusion and retard the progress of music reform. Theoretic discussions seem not to have been prohibited, except in so far as they might interfere with the introduction of the Vatican edition (cf. the decree of the Congregation of Rites quoted above, which was issued under similar conditions — Decr. auth., n. 3830). A considerable latitude is allowed in the interpretation of the document. The attempts, disapproved of by the Holy Father, are characterized in a rather mild manner; critics are asked to abstain from attempting that which, in the present state of archæological studies, can have no other result than to spread confusion and divert attention from the real work of restoring the Gregorian chant to its rightful place. In spite of the many differences of opinion, we should make every effort to introduce the Vatican edition in conformity with the will of the pope. By studying the symmetrical construction of the melodies in the light of the explanations of the Benedictines, which are undoubtedly of high æsthetic value, the execution becomes not only much easier but the profound beauty of the chant is revealed to us." http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10648a.htm
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    I have been familiar with the Solemnes method for five short years.
    I am still observing the method and keeping an open mind to those who promote it. Our schola has not yet approached the rudiments it prescribes. The main reason is one alone. Too much mechanical thinking is introduced into the artfulness and prayerfulness of the chant. I will continue to watch and listen, but I am still not convinced of it's importance.

    I would add an observation here. The main objection that I have held in the past five years is turning chant into a metered music. By it's very nature that it is not. So I don't understand the need to make it so. Can someone enlighten me to the contrary?
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Although I'm very interested in semiology and believe in having different interpretations which can lead to more positive progress in many things, I think Semiology is still in the early stage for many people to use. Also I object calling classic Solesmes method '1-2 and 1-2-3,' as if that is the only thing there is. Do we learn to count half note, dotted half notes in metrical music and group them with the time signature? and does that make our music making unmusical? Maybe many people who use the method don't go beyond 1-2 and 1-2-3. If you stops at that stage, or emphasize on counting without other elements of the chant, that is a problem. Solesmems method go much beyond the counting and give deep regard to texts, and it is solid. (And it also allows various interpretaions for the mastetered chanters. Some are explained in "The Technique of Gregorian Chironomy by J.R.Carroll)

    While I'm open to Semiology and try to learn more, until it comes out with more practical method of teaching chant singing, not just research and theory, I will stay with classic Solesmes method. (I have a big question on how fast with melisma in semiology. I often hear too much emphasis on fast melisma, which becomes rather distracting.)

    Noel, very sorry. This thread seems to have been sidetracted. I feel that discussion on Solesmes methods wasn't your focus of posting the article.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    He also says this,

    "Master, then where are we in the restoration of sacred music and liturgy?
    Bishop B.: I am not denying that there are some signs of recovery ... but I still persist
    see a kind of blindness, as some convenience for all that is vulgar, crude, tasteless, and
    also what is doctrinally bold ... Do not ask me, I beg you, my opinion on "guitarades"
    and the songs they sing to us again during the offertory.

    The liturgical problem is serious: we must stop listening to the voices of those who don ' not like the Church and
    oppose the Pope."
  • Charles in CenCA
    Posts: 2,416
    Dear Mia,
    Yes, many liturgical issues we face are serious and problematic. And we here have, by and large, thrown our lot in with solutions as articulated by documental legislation garnered over centuries to this day by our magisterium, and as advanced and advised by scholarship and guilds such as our beloved CMAA.
    B-b-b-but, I am very wary of framing any and all discussions within a kind of "black v. white" confrontational rhetoric, such as "you're either with us or you're against us." Monsignor Bartolucci, he of decades of faithful service to the Church, has a sonorous and dominant voice, and deserves to be heard. But his personal history and legacy does not necessarily elevate his opinions to that of a sole arbiter of what's gone right nor what's gone wrong.
    I try to avoid wholesale stereotyping of the intentions and actions of peoples if for no other reason that I know there will be exceptions to "my rules" and I will be thus a hypocrite. But moreso, I think to demean folks is patently an un-Christian act, and divisive. I'm not comfortable with that. If monsignor is so predisposed as to castigate guitarists and their offertory tarantellas as anethema, one might wonder what he did to try to re-catechize such folks when he encountered them towards his view of orthopraxis. Any of us who've been around for a while have had the opportunity to do this and have worked for consensus within the prevlent legislation.
    Humility is the key.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Charles, I understand the various situations. But the 'humility' for me is being able to take the big 'I' in me and follow the Church's teachings. Just because one is not perfect, doens't mean that he can't tell the truth. When I was doing music for my parish, no one told me what the Church teaches about the liturgy and sacred music, no priest, no other musicians. When I asked to music director about a certain music, his answer was 'every music is blessed.' So basically he was telling me whatever you want. I wish someone had told me what I was doing was not the right way, instead of just telling me that music was pretty. I also think there are musicians like the Bishop in the article who might be frustrated with what he has seen in his life. We help each other to learn the truth. Sometimes truth hurt. But truly humble heart will hear it.
    I have seen many musicians who are not perfect, but try their best, more than their best, and being criticized, instead of just following what they like and defending themselves. I have a high repect for those truly humble musicians, no matter how much talent they have.
    (The part what I like from what he says was actually the last part
    "The liturgical problem is serious: we must stop listening to the voices of those who don ' not like the Church and
    oppose the Pope.")
  • Michael O'Connor
    Posts: 1,637
    Francis, perhaps it would be best if you told us how your keep your schola together. Is it mental telepathy? The Solesmes counting system seems to aid this but it does NOT create metered music. Rather it offers groups of 2s and 3s WITHIN a free PULSE. You can still accelerate, decelerate, and do all the things I suspect you do, but the groups give the ensemble something (at least) to use to stay together. Do I think this is a truly historical manner of singing chant? Not really, but if you have a group of average to pretty good singers, it works very well.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    Michael, they are all native Latin speakers. :-)
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,601
    L'originale italiano è molto, molto più forte. Tarantella è male tradotto dal momento che i mezzi, e sembra che ha fatto, "una danza veloce con tamburelli ". E l'uso di purulenta non ha prezzo.


    Original:

    Maestro a che punto siamo, allora nella restaurazione della musica sacra e della liturgia?
    Non nego che ci siano alcuni segni di ripresa, tuttavia vedo il persistere di una cecità, quasi un compiacimento per tutto ciò che è volgare, sguaiato, di cattivo gusto e anche dottrinalmente temerario…Non mi domandate, per favore, di dare un giudizio sulle chitarrine e sulle tarantelle che ci cantano ancora durante l’offertorio….Il problema liturgico è serio, non si dia ascolto a quelle voci che non amano la Chiesa e che si scagliano contro il Papa e se si vuol guarire l’ammalato ci si ricordi che il medico pietoso fa la piaga purulenta.

    Both translations fail to accurately translate, as his terms were often much, much stronger.

    Tarantella: specifically refers to a fast dance accompanied by tambourines.

    Purulenta: purulento m (f purulenta, m plural purulenti, f plural purulente)
    purulent, festering, pus.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    Observe monks or sisters singing chant in a monastery. It just works.
  • Adam Bartlett
    Posts: 533
    "...perhaps it would be best if you told us how your keep your schola together. Is it mental telepathy?"

    This really isn't the topic of this thread, but I'll bite *once* :)

    If chant is sung speech, and I contend that it is, then there is no need for counting or grouping anything. Does a congregation need to count groups of 2's and 3's to recite together the Creed or Our Father? Nope. They don't need to do this to sing it together either. The rhythm is the rhythm of speech, something that is naturally intuitive to all who ...speak. When larger neume groups are introduced, these can be seen as ornaments as fundamental "structural" pitches in a chant, which need to be treated properly, something that takes study and practice. But once one knows the "language" of chant (the "licks", if you will) there is no problem. This is the distillation and most pragmatic way of saying what I have taken from Gregorian Semiology.

    I say to Francis: Keep following your intuition. I think you'll remain very close to the heart of what chant is all about if you do. (And, of course, study Semiology too when you have some time ;)
  • Jeffrey MorseJeffrey Morse
    Posts: 202
    Adam, you are absolutely correct! I, too will only "bite" once. I have been directing Chant scholas for the past 20 years, for the past 10 years it has been my full time job. I have choir and choristers numbering 50. All the Choristers as probationers spend two years studying the Chant, they neither count nor follow an ictus. My adult schola numbers 28 cantors. Most weeks two or three mass propers are prepared- all propers taken from the Graduale. Again, there has never been any "counting" or following of the "tyrannical" ictus as Dr Mary Berry used to call it. This is not to say that one must discard the WHOLE of the "Method", indeed, there are somethings I believe it gets right- the "lifted" accent for example. Remember that in the past, the Vatican "editio typica" of the chant books would not allow the Solesmes rhythmic markings, not an ictus, not a dot, nor even a horizontal episema. How does my schola stay together? A thorough study of the subtle rhythmic shadings of St Gall and Laon as I treat my schola as a real school- each practice is a study and a perfecting, and indeed looking at the TEXT of which the Chant is the servant. I now have gotten to the point where I rarely even direct- 25 people singing the melismatic chants of the Gradual and Alleluias without anyone directing. Mental telepathy? No, just good choir training.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    Of course whether it sounds good is more important than how it is directed (or not directed, as the case may be). And maybe being 100% together isn't the ideal in the first place.

    Why does going "off topic" produce so much anxiety? It's a conversation, after all.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Well, this has been one of the most exciting (?) topic for long discussions for many chant lovers in this forum. (I don't know the exact titles of the threads, so I cannot help for 'search.' But I remember some discussions were very informative.)

    I want to thank those who put lots of effort to make Semiology available to other chanters, and I have no doubt that their work will bear fruits in chant history. But I also hope you remember that there have been church musicians who humbly devoted their life to keep the Church's music alive with the method they knew. I can't even imagine the depth of their sacrifices for keeping this Church's beautiful music while so much litrugical abuse was going on after Vatican II. There are also still many who inherited this method and attribute to restoring sacred music

    We know very well that Dr. Marier was a musician with great talent and education. But most of all, he is a model of the most humble church musicians I've ever known. In his classes he didn't spend time on how much he did and accomplished, or what he liked or not liked. Only thing he mentioned was that there are proper music for proper places. I still vividly remember his face was always glowing with his love of Gregorian chant. His love for chant wasn't about "me"(himself), it was about the Church and the people. I was suprised pleaseantly when read about him and his accomplishment after twenty some years. In addition to many awards and honors, he was recognized by Pope J Paul II in 1984 as Knight Commander of St. Gregory the Great for his unparrelled dedication to promoting and understanding and love for chant throughout the world. (from "A Gregorian Chant Master class)". !984! then I was stuying with him after he recieved this title. Didn't have a clue. He helped me even by bringing teaching materials to where I taught Ward method. He also played organ for my small children's choir. Didn't have a clue he was such a legendary master until recently.
    He taught classic Solesmes method. He was a highly musical person and humble. When people talk about the method, please don't describe it as just '1-2 and 1-2-3' or use word tyranny of ictus and so on. I think those are very ignorant expressions. Without classic Solesmes and such humble musicians, chant might not have survived. (Although everything is in God's hand, they are the ones who humbly said 'yes' to his calling.)

    At this point Semiology is like having icing on the top of birthday cake to me. (I'm sure Semiologists will not agree with it, and probably say they are different cakes.) Frankly speaking trying to sing those squiggly signs are almost like trying to play Beethoven's Sonata from his own manuscript. So I have to study more, but would love to see it in a better organized method that many people can adapt to their chant singing. I know many people are working on it. (I'm sure Dr. Marier in heaven is happy to see another interpretaion of chant is emerging and looking forward to hear more.)

    Thank you and God Bless.
    (Sorry for another long post)

    (Noel, I'd like to know what the 'original' says. Is it the same as the translation above? If not, and you are able, can you send it to me by "whisper' if you think that might be better. Thanks)
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,601
    Translation added above, always interesting to read your thoughts.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Thanks, Noel. I hope 'Kimchi' helps your understanding of my poor English :-)
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,601
    Last thursday I had Bulgogi with two kinds of Kimchi, one blazing hot and the second sweet...that then morphed into blazing heat, exceeding the first.

    Kyung-mi's comments always give a hint to her Korean upbringing, not so much from the small variances in the English, but more so in her deep thought and kindness, something that seems to be uniquely Korean. I have spent the last 3 months with students, 40 of them from Korea, and they have been, without exception, kind and friendly.
  • I will add a comment (or 3) as well: In these discussions I believe it is helpful to distinguish two aspects of the Solemses method: on the one hand, there are the rhythmic editions of Solesmes and the underlying scholarship that justifies them. On the other hand are the specific choral training and conducting techniques which reached a pinnacle in the 1950s and which presuppose rhythmic editions, but don't necessarily require one to accept the choices made by Solesmes. It is unsurprising that semiology can be understood as a critique of the Solesmes method understood in the first aspect. After all, the Solesmes rhythmic editons are intended to translate into accessible notation of the same manuscripts to which we apply our semiological tools. Any new (valid) insights should necessarily displace the old.

    But in regard to the Solesmes method understood in the second aspect - as a method for training and conducting choirs - it is unclear to me that semiology has any relevance. Isn't the interesting question whether the neo-Solesmes method is in fact effective for training and conducting choirs? There may be all sorts of other approaches that people may use effectively as time and circumstances allow, but how would they invalidate the ictus-and-counting approach if it can be shown to work?
  • Michael O'Connor
    Posts: 1,637
    For my own part, I'm only trained by the counting method offered by workshops at Colloquium so that's all I really know. I have to reject outright that notion that a group need not "be together" -- well, I guess they don't need to be together to offer a prayer, but I'm not sure I would be all that edified by hearing chaotic chant. I have my own notions on how chant should proceed, but at this point I'm still willing to learn the methods. I have seen the counting system work with real people who were having a hard time singing together, so for now I'm good with it. Maybe when our group has been singing for 20 years, we can go on intuition and experience, but not for now.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,777
    Hmmm

    MO

    I suspect you are saying our schola is not singing together because it is not possible without the use of chironomy or semiology.

    Actually, I have developed my own method of conducting and directing our rhythms and rubato which is also based upon directing from a large single manuscript utilizing a pointing instrument (my finger!) along with my own style of directing sung prayer. I choose to "shield" the schola from the burdens laden in the mechanics of ictus, Arsis and Thesis and other elements of rhythm, pulse and pitch and communicate that intuitively, illicting almost the same results. Our schola sings fluidly with the approach of one voice in perfect blend.

    Because of this intensive close and personal formation during rehearsal, I am able to eliminate direction (or minimize it) during execution of liturgical prayer. There is nothing more distracting than a director especially during liturgical prayer, both to schola member and PIPs.

    It is an entirely different philosophical approach to that of "bearing the soul" that is so common in our society today. It is not all that different to raising children. You give them only what they need to know as they develop. If you insist on teaching them all of the mechanics right from the start you may gross them out! Let them become curious about the mysteries!

    Although unconventional, it is quite effective and very musical. Just because it is "prayer" does not mean it is not executed artistically and/or musically. We spend 6-10 hours a month practicing, (and this is a dedicated schola cantorum apart from the SATB choir) and studying the rubrics of chant using various teaching aids, the PBC, the Liber, listening to recordings including JO's great site for the Kyriale and more. So I would caution you not to be so quick to critique what you have not even heard or observed.

    After I have been doing this for twenty years, I may consider offering a workshop or two on my methods. Keep me in mind !
  • Michael O'Connor
    Posts: 1,637
    Thank you Francis. I was not suggesting that your schola did not sing together, but simply reacting to a challenge to the system we use. Sounds like a wonderful group. I too would like to leave the burden of marking up my chants, but I guess that may come in time.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    Just to clarify, there are moments when the monks from Santo Domingo de Silos aren't exactly together. It's not chaotic, which isn't what I meant at all. I was thinking more like 98%.
  • Michael O'Connor
    Posts: 1,637
    Yes, the monastic communities do have a special "something" in their chanting that goes beyond any loose ensemble singing. I think we should strive for the best we can offer though. I think that's why we rehearse chants.