Jeff Ostrowski's Colloquium Talk Is Now Online • Vatican Edition • Mora Vocis
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Some of you asked that I put this online, because you were not able to come to my Colloquium talk. You know what they say: "Be careful what you wish for...."

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    The Forgotten Mora Vocis and a Quarrel of Monks
    Join Jeff Ostrowski for an explanation into how to sing from the "pure" Editio Vaticana. The fascinating (and largely forgotten) history of the controversy over the true rhythm of the Church's official edition is explored. Original documents, historical recordings, and rare chant editions are drawn upon. The “secret” of the Editio Vaticana mora vocis, how and why it was kept a secret, and the significance of the "blank white spaces" are all explored. Also explained and proven is how a single poorly-phrased sentence in a Preface by Abbot Pothier had devastating effects for a century (even to this day). Finally, the presenter explains how the use of technology and bitter controversies due to German/French relations affected the Editio Vaticana. Before you leave this presentation you will know how to sing the true mora vocis, but you will have to draw your own conclusions about what Dr. Peter Wagner bitterly called "a quarrel of monks."


    View All Seven (7) Videos

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  • RobertRobert
    Posts: 338
    I thoroughly enjoyed watching these videos. The subject matter holds particular interest for me and it is a pleasant surprise to see someone delving into the details of it so deeply. Bravo!

    At times, it reminded me of the slideshow presentation scene in Oliver Stone's JFK movie: "Back, and to the left. Back, and to the left."
    Thanked by 1Ragueneau
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Thanks, Robert!
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    All seven embedded here
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Thank you very much for doing this, Jeffrey !!!
  • BGP
    Posts: 205
    This is absolutely fascinating, thanks for turning it into video.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,614
    Fascinating indeed from what I've made it through so far, but for some of us Mac users Vimeo stutters along in chunks of under one second at a time (talk about holes!) Could we impose on Jeff and/or Corpus Xi Watershed to put up a Youtube version as well?
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Dear Richard,

    Thanks for your comments! I've also posted all seven (7) videos on GloriaTV:

    The Secret Mora Vocis and the Vatican Edition

    • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - •

    Part 1

    Part 2

    Part 3

    Part 4

    Part 5

    Part 6

    Part 7

    • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - •

    Thanks, again!
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,614
    Dear Jeff,

    You're very welcome! But shouldn't I be thanking you instead? ;-)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,387
    A round of applause for these informative (and intrigue-filled) talks! Thanks for sharing with us the fruits of your research, Jeff.
  • As I recall after viewing the presentation >•<</b> passed by and said, "Liberating, no?"

    I'd say, yes. I attended twice to try and soak it all in.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Noel, it was great to have you! Despite your rabble-rousing....
  • Chrism
    Posts: 663
    Fascinating, Jeff.

    If I can paraphrase what I got out of it:

    1) there is one official, approved, and mandated rhythmic interpretation of the Vatican Graduale, but it is incredibly confusing, in part too cryptic to decipher, and nobody has ever followed even the parts that can be deciphered.
    2) despite all the bitter fighting about rhythm, most people end up executing the chant in similar ways.
    3) The Solesmes method, while unofficial (and, like all other methods in use, technically forbidden), remains the predominate method today largely because it's easy to decipher.

    and now this leads me to #4:

    With all the various books on Corpus Christi Watershed (and associated saint pages) not in exact agreement about rhythm, how do we know which accompaniments to choose to give to our organist, who may or may not have time to rehearse with us before Mass?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,387
    Choose any, and mark the score to indicate your rhythmic interpretations. Fortunately, "Wite-Out" (tm) is still available for application to unwanted dots.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,554
    Chrism - find an organist who agrees with your methods of interpretation and can read and improvise accompaniments looking just at the neumes.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 663
    @Chonak & Matthewj: Both of these approaches are unworkable -- too much time or talent required.

    I never wanted to come up with my own "method of interpretation" - can I use someone else's?

    Are there any organ scores which at least reproduce in modern notation something that corresponds exactly with the rhythmic markings in the Liber? It would seem that these, if they exist, would be the "preferred" accompaniment books.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,281
    Or... don't accompany it.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 663
    I realize unaccompanied is preferred but organ is often necessary, on account of the bad singing (i.e., when I am alone) or the desire to invite the people to sing.

    Surely there must be a simple and low-budget solution, or if not, there is an opportunity for someone to painstakingly write such a solution.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Dear Chrism,

    All of the "Solesmes" people (which constitute, perhaps, 80% of all the Gregorian accompaniments) follow the Mocquereau markings in every detail (with the exception of 1-2 instances of the Salicus).

    Go HERE and look at (for instance) Bas, Potiron, Desroquettes, Brages, Potier (not Pothier!) and Monsignor Leo Manzetti. THEY ARE ALL IDENTICAL in rhythm and clearly marked.

    You might also find THIS ARTICLE interesting.

    Also: one of the reasons the Solesmes books became de facto the only ones used was because their books were very small and light, whereas the "pure" Editio Vaticana books were huge, bulky, and weighed a TON. I am dead serious. They were so huge SO THAT folks could see the "white" notes.

    As you rightly point out, whether we like it or not, Solesmes has become [historically speaking] the standard. All other printing presses stopped printing chant books (Schwann, Pustet, Styria, Mechlin, etc.). Anytime you hear folks denigrating the Solesmes editions, take a peek into their choir stalls, and see what editions their actually singing from....
  • RobertRobert
    Posts: 338
    Jeff Ostrowski, I remember you saying something in the videos about an article (or maybe a short book) by Peter Wagner about his version of the history of the Commission. Is that article online anywhere?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,387
    It may be good to accompany the people's parts while leaving the propers unaccompanied.
  • If the organist has to lead, then this could be a problem, but if the organist is a sensitive accompanist and rehearsals and put the markings in that you ask the singers to insert as reminders of rhythmic variations, then you should be in good shape.

    For beginners I have explained four instances of rhythmic variation, how to find them, mark them and what might happen along with a reminder to follow the director on every one.

    I need to post about this, so am off to do that.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592

    Robert, believe it or not, it is NOT online.

    image

    I'm sure Jeff Tucker will put it up before too long.


    I could scan this article in (I have it here), but:

    1. I don't have time (somebody want to donate a fast scanner to me???)

    2. There are numerous other articles Rev. Fr. Frank Schmitt reprinted in Caecilia (e.g. Bewerunge's) that are ALSO fascinating, and so I would also feel compelled to scan and post those....
  • Chrism
    Posts: 663
    Bas, Potiron, Desroquettes, Brages, Potier (not Pothier!) and Monsignor Leo Manzetti

    Thanks Jeff! That is *exactly* what I was looking for.
  • btafssp
    Posts: 6
    Thanks so much for posting these videos, Jeff! I watched them all through several times just to make sure I understood what you were saying. I then went and read the Pierre Combe book, and am eagerly awaiting the Peter Wagner critique.

    Poking around, I found this book (not yet on MusicaSacra) on archive.org:

    L. Heckenlively, "Fundamentals of Gregorian Chant" (Desclee, 1950), 323 pp.
    http://www.archive.org/details/fundamentalsofgr00heckrich

    written by a follower of DD. Mocquereau and Gajard, giving a full explanation of semiology according to the S. Gall 359 tradition. Although "mora vocis" occurs in the index 4 times, no explanation is given of the various Editio Vaticana "morae vocis" - supporting Jeff's own findings of the dearth of explanations in contemporary manuals.

    Keep up the good work, Jeff!
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    btafssp,

    Thank you so much for your support !!