Old Roman Chant
  • ClemensRomanusClemensRomanus
    Posts: 1,018
    Where can I find sheet music of Old Roman Chant besides those in the Apel and Hiley books? I'm especially interested (if available) in the Holy Week Liturgies and Paschal Vespers. any help would be greatly appreciated! God bless.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    I know where you can find some good *recordings* (Ensemble Organum), but I don't know about the music. Might it not be in Byzantine notation?
  • Chris_McAvoyChris_McAvoy
    Posts: 385
    Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 74

    A Graduale. Troparium. Sequentiarium

    more commonly known as the Gradual of Santa Cecilia (in Trastevere, Roma)


    or scroll down to # 74 on this link:


    That's the free method, and it is very good, high quality scans, print out fabulously.

    Possibly the best method to sing it is to buy the transcription made by Marcel Peres' organization CIRMA

    (meaning; Center Research Medieval Music something or other in french)


    It is 65 euros + 10 euros shipping comes out to equal a little less than $100 USA.

    Not a bad deal considering that this is a complete gradual which the actual notation is extremely rare and unknown, except among scholars, specialists and certain people of this forum. Even though some of Ensemble Organums excellent recordings have gradually become more well known.

    I quote from the website:

    "Europe since the IXth century had used books of Gregorian chant whose melodicversions were practically identical, books of Roman chant reveal another version of Gregorian chant, very often witch a much more developed ornamentation. After a centhury of research, it now appears that old Roman chant reveals the Roman tradition as being much closer to the origins. The musical notation used is extremely valuable because all the ornamentations are written, whereas with the notations of Gregorian chant of the same period, the embellishments are only suggested.

    A century after its discovery, old Roman plainchant has still not found the essential place which should be its own in western collective imagination and in that of all the civilizations which stem from the same Semitic and Greek origins. For, upstream, it provides us with the key to the filiation between the chant of the Temple of Jerusalem and the heritage Greek music. Downstream, is allows us to follow ans understand the treasures of Koranic cantillation".

    Now lastly, to have old roman chant in the more modern notations, this is even more difficult to find, almost impossible.

    There have been a few scholars who have transcribed Old Roman Chant into modern notation.
    I doubt any have put into the ...12/13th century notation that most people on this forum consider the standard.

    Thomas Forest Kelly from Harvard is the only person I know of to have transcribed some "Old Roman" antiphons into modern notation, on his "Responsories of Noah" article. I suspect more transcriptions of it exist somewhere. If anyone knows of them I would be happy to know about it.

    SO the idea of reviving Old Roman Chant has always interested me. My own opinion is that the Gregorian chant is easier to sing than the Old Roman generally speaking because it is slightly less melismatic/ornamented. But than again sometimes melismas and ornamentation make music easier to remember and recognize.

    Until Old Roman chant is put into the two dominant forms of notation and promoted on a site like this or official church organization it will probably remain neglected.

    I would admit that at the very least, we ought to have at least the Paschal and Resurrection of our Lord vigils propers to be revived in this tradition as it is somewhat undoubted that this was the real roman use of them.

    But for most churches, i think there ought to simply be promotion of english language gregorian chant adaptations for the average parish in the mean time, this is what is contained in the upcoming Roman Missal to soon be released.

    The Glorias are stupendous.

    don't let the one simple one at the bottom fool you.

    perhaps in another few decades this idea of non-gregorian traditions will be more popular :-)
  • Chris,
    Very Cool! Thanks.

    I know that Schola Hungarica also has a c.d. for Easter vespers (B00000306H). Maybe it's what got you to wonder about doing this. Good luck!
  • ClemensRomanusClemensRomanus
    Posts: 1,018
    Thank you all for your gracious and amazing information! God bless.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 831
    Until Old Roman chant is put into the two dominant forms of notation and promoted on a site like this...it will probably remain neglected.

  • mahrt
    Posts: 517
    You can also find a modern edition of the Old Roman Gradual in Monumenta Monodica Medii Aevi, vol 2. This seems to be out of print, and when in print was very expensive. It should be available in music libraries with extensive musicological collections.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Here's the publisher's list of volumes, fwiw. Volume 2 appeared in 1970.
  • ClemensRomanusClemensRomanus
    Posts: 1,018
    Thank you all, once again.
  • ClemensRomanusClemensRomanus
    Posts: 1,018
    I guess now my question is, "How do I read the notation of the Graduale at http://www.e-codices.unifr.ch/en/cb/0074 ?" Does anyone know of any guides or keys? Thanks to you all.
  • Yes, I would also like to know how to read it. Almost nobody knows how to read this most ancient notation.
    I suspect there is a great value in learning to read it.

    There must be a few people here that have that knowledge to share. With all the criticism of the Graduale Triplex and how well it mixes adiastemic neumes in with the newer neumes.