Chant Books: Beyond the Basics
  • There are arguably more chant resources available now than ever before. Here is a quick guide. Suggestions for additions are welcome.

    Kyriale. Solesmes. Contains the 18 Mass Ordinaries, 6 Credos, plus ad libitum chants, as well as Alleluias for major feasts. Intended for the modern form of Mass.

    Communio. CMAA. 2007. Communion antiphons of the Mass propers, with Psalm verses from the modern Graduale Romanum. Liturgical indexes for both Roman Missals make this volume useful for both forms of Mass. Available from the CMAA.

    Cantus Selecti. Solesmes. Reprint of 1949 edition. Supplementary chants for seasons and feasts of the Church year. Includes devotional chants for the Blessed Sacrament, the Sacred Heart, and the Blessed Virgin as well as the litanies of the Sacred Heart, Loreto, and St. Joseph.

    Chants of the Church. Gregorian Institute of America. 1953. Originally published for the older form of Mass, this book contains 13 Mass ordinaries, 3 Credos, Mass responses, the Requiem Mass, plus 60 selected Gregorian chants. Available for download or purchase from the CMAA.

    Graduale Simplex. Vatican Edition. 1987. For the ordinary form of Mass, this volume contains office antiphons with psalms for use as Mass propers, along with five of the simpler Mass ordinaries. Prepared in response to Vatican II’s recommendation that a chant edition “be prepared containing simpler melodies, for use in small churches.” SC 117.

    Graduale Triplex. Solesmes. This volume corresponds to the 1979 Graduale Romanum, with the addition of the ancient manuscript neums of St. Gall and Laon, along with the more familiar square notes. For those with an interest in paleography (study of ancient manuscripts).

    Offertoriale Triplex. Solesmes. 1985. The only source for additional Offertory verses. This book is useful mainly for accomplished cantors, who might sing the additional verses. Like the Graduale Triplex, this book shows three types of notation for the Offertory chants (but does not include the rhythmic marks).

    Antiphonale Monasticum. Desclee. 1934. The primary resource for the older form of the Divine Office. Contains antiphons, psalms, responsories, and hymns for the day hours. Its wealth of chants, particularly hymns and antiphons, could be used at Mass (ordinary form) as “another suitable chant.” Reprinted by Solesmes.

    Liber Hymnarius. Solesmes. 1983. This volume contains the hymns for the modern office, along with invitatory antiphons and psalms, and some long responsories. Another source of hymns and chants for the office, which could also be used at Mass when additional music is needed.

    Processionale Monasticum. Solesmes. 1983 reprint of an 1893 edition. This early Solesmes edition predates the rhythmic signs and contains processional chants used at the monastery throughout the year. These chants could be used for a long procession, or at a Mass with many communicants.

    Comitante Organo. (organ accompaniment). Solesmes publishes organ accompaniment books for the Liber Cantualis and the modern Graduale Romanum. Accompaniment books for the older form of Mass also exist. If needed, those prepared by Achille Bragers are recommended.
  • While I would like to have a copy of the Bragers chant accompaniment, I am very pleased with the photocopy I have of "Nova Organi Harmonia". It is strictly modal in its harmonies, also quite "thin", especially compared to something like Windre Douglas' accompaniments to the Office hymnody in "The Hymnal 1940". I think it would be really great if this work could be re-published - by some one, somewhere. Meanwhile, I do have a few selections from it scanned to share - at least enough for people to get an idea of what it sounds like, and continue with discussion.
  • While not an official liturgical book (I don't think), Fortescue's Ceremonies of the Roman Rite has been very valuable to me in planning a solemn Vespers.

  • Jan
    Posts: 242
    I have a question about Vespers. A friend recently returned from the Vatican (St. Peter's) and brought back a program from their Vespers service which only showed 3 psalms. Is there post-Vat II form for Gregorian Chant
    Latin Vespers? My 1950's Liber shows 5 psalms. What resource book should I use for planning a post-Vat II Vespers
    service? (or does it matter??)
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,005
    Steve Collins:

    Interesting that you mention the "Nova Organi Harmonia" - it's held up as the model of Gregorian accompaniment in a very interesting essay on the topic here:

    Sam Schmitt
  • Jan

    The Vatican II Liturgy of Hours is substantially different from that of the Traditional Rite. It has only 3 psalms, a homily, a second (Revelation) canticle and most unfortunately no music except for those elements held over from the Traditional Rite (Magnificat, psalm tones, and opening versicle). I had to create 3 nights of Evening Prayer (as it is now called) and found myself pulling my hair out trying to figure out the vague directions. Anyway, to answer your questions, there is a modern Rite Breviary in several volumes. Good luck finding, or creating, music for the antiphons.

  • "NOH"

    I'm familiar with the author of the article - he supplied me the copy I have.

    Last week, I downloaded the Potiron accompaniment from another website. Sunday afternoon, if compared the Introits and Communions for Advent side-by-side. I just cannot warm up to the Potiron. It sounds a bit too "western" to me, and not enough "modal". There are occasionally passing tones, and they are similar to the NOH. But the NOH seems to treat every arsis and thesis with some sort of motion between dissonance and consonance. The Potiron tends to find a chord, and just sit there for a few syllables of text. The NOH also keeps the harmonies a bit "tighter" - fewer wide spreads between tenor and bass lines. It gives me more of an impression of the angelic chorus.

    It seems that the most important organ accomaniments are quickly becoming available on-line, and I have hopes that the NOH can some day join them.
  • Jan & moconnor,
    There is a Solesmes book, Psalterium Monasticum, which includes the music for the antiphons, psalms, and canticles for the post-Vatican II Office. I use it every day. The Solesmes book retained the older pattern of 5 psalms, so I cross-reference the psalms and canticles from 'Christian Prayer' to the Psalterium. The antiphons in the Psalterium and those in Christian Prayer are not always the same--when they are different, I just use the musical setting in the Psalterium.

    This is indeed an awkward way to operate. Music for the Divine Office hasn't really settled down since the Council. There are also quite new Solesmes books (post 2000), "Antiphonale Monasticum" volumes I and II. I have them, but haven't used them extensively. One issue is that they have abandoned the Solesmes rhythmic markings.
  • Jan
    Posts: 242

    Thanks for you response on Vespers. I have the modern Rite Breviary in several volumes. Not helpful for planning.
    The program from SSS. Papalis Basilicae Vaticanae: Commune Plurimorum Martyrum ad II Vesperas published
    by Cura et Studio Cappellae Musicaliss SS. Papalis Basilicae Vaticane, MMVII. Looks almost like the extraordinary form. But 3 psalms with hymn at the beginning. Is this a hybrid? Not sure why they chose these 3 psalms?
    Is this the 'official' ordinary form in latin? Any ideas?

    V. Deus, in adiutorium ....
    R. Domine, ad adiuvandum...

    Hymnus: Sanctorum meritis...(chant notation)
    Antiphona 1: Corpora Sanctorum...(chant notation)
    Psalmus 114
    Antiphona 2: Absterget deus...(chant notation)
    Psalmus 115
    Antiphona 3: Isti sunt Sancti...(chant notation)
    Canticum: Dignus es, domine et Deus noster...(etc) Ap 4, 11;5, 9, 10, 12
    Lectio Brevis (1 Petr 4, 13-14)
    Responsorium Breve: Exsultent iusti * In conspectu dei. V. Et delectentur in laetitia. V. Gloria Patri...
    Antiphona ad Magnificat: Gaudent in caeli...(chant notation)
    Canticum Evangelicum: Magnificat (Mediatio Sollemnis)
    Preces: Hac hora, qua Rex....
    Te, Domine, celebramus (response)
    Pater noster: (chant notation)
    Oratio (Oratio propria; qua deficiente, dicitur ut infra:)
    Vel: Beatorum martyrum N. et N.,....etc
    Dimissio: Ite in pace. R. Deo gratias
    Salve Regina

    Not sure
  • Jan
    Posts: 242

    I think you answered my question. I wrote the 'above' before I got your response.
  • Wow (expression of happiness to see this forum take off like this!)
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,005
    Mr. Connor,

    I figured that you knew Mr. Ostrowski.

    Yes, I have the same impression of Potrion.

    Where would I find some of these chant accompaniments online?

    Sam Schmitt
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,005
    I'm sorry, that would be Mr. COLLINS.
  • Jan et al. Thanks for the info on the Latin version of the LOH, but I was in charge of 3 nights of English Evening Prayer. Finding melodies for those antiphons was not possible, so I used mostly recto tono (the congregation found that quite easy). The liturgy you cite looks to be the modern one in Latin.

  • mahrt
    Posts: 517
    Concerning vespers, it is my opinion that the breviary published after the Second Vatican Council was designed for private recitation; this is against the council's position that the sung form of the liturgy is normative, but one must acknowledge that before and after the council the overwhelming preponderance of priests, outside of monastic orders, praying the Divine Office did it privately, not in choir, and that is probably the reason.

    What is not always recognized is that the Divine Office is much less regulated than the Mass. Even before the council, if you did not have a canonical obligation to the office, you could use whatever form you wished: traditionally, orders of nuns often said the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, rather than the full Roman Office. Likewise, before the council, a number of different "short breviaries" were published (you can sometimes find one in a used book store), setting out the office in a form that suits the needs of a particular community.

    Thus, for laity, and by implication, for parishes, one can easily and with good conscience use the old form of the office, straight from the Liber Usualis. This is how my choir has sung vespers for 32 years. The advantages: the psalms are already pointed for you, indeed, the whole service is there to be sung; the hymn comes after the psalmody (see Lazlo Dobszay's article in Sacred Music on that subject); the entire office can be sung, without the interpolation of any spoken texts. Even for priests with a canonical obligation to the office, there is a provision that if the office is being sung in any form by a community, they can fulfill their obligation by singing with that community. So, simply using the Liber usualis, I would propose, is a simple and satisfactory solution.
  • Prof. Mahrt, good to see you here. What do you all do about the ceremonial for Vespers? Solemn Vespers seems to require a priest with or without assistants. I love the movements in the classical Vespers and I hope my schola is up to doing them. I'm just wondering how much in good conscience could we leave out (like the pre-intoning) due to practical necessity.

    You are absolutely right about the Vatican II LOH and it does leave us in a quandry when we wish to celebrate solemn vernacular Vespers.

  • Rich, et al.

    The NOH is not on-line, at least yet. I have placed an international phone call to get more info on possibly reprinting it, and my message was passed on to some one not on campus when I called. If I have not heard back from them soon, I will follow up yet again. I think it is very important that we have this accompaniment available to us - an accompaniment that is both strictly modal AND quite easy to play.

    I do have a couple of Ordinaries scanned, but no Propers yet, and I hesitate to share it too much without some sort of official "go ahead" from across the "pond". You're welcome to email me privately so we chat about the NOH some more.