What can you do with the SEP? Harmonized Psalms
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    What amazes me about the SEP is their versatility. They can be sung by choir; by soloist; cantor on verse, choir on antiphon; alternatim men/women; the psalm sung by the congregation(!); in some communities, it may even be possible to teach the congregation certain important antiphons. Musically they can be sung in unison, octaves, with improvised organ accompaniment, with vocal/instrumental drone, with percussive instruments, etc. The melodies are even worthy of a skilled organist improvising upon them.

    But what if we sang the verses... in parts? Believe it or not, I am not copycatting Adam's extant work; rather, last Friday I was playing around with the tones and wrote the attached harmonization of Tone I, as found in the SEP. It was something of a keyboard harmonization, using the "fauxbourdon" style (as I understand it) with the melody in the tenor, and I later added a rather dissonant soprano part. It's true, this is for a choir of good ears, but I think this would rather nicely complement a unison/octave singing of the antiphon. I'd written more using a similar method, but was not as pleased with the results as I am with Tone I.

    A few years ago, I embarked on writing out English renditions of introits that are easy to sing, and posted them online. I didn't find much musical worth in them, but hoped that some may find them useful for parishes which "hate Latin". I also hoped someone better trained would write better versions of these chants. Three years after I wrote my first English adaptation of the Ascension Introit, the excellent Simple English Propers was released. So you're all welcome for it. Hopefully my own feeble efforts with the psalm tones will inspire others to create similar projects of higher quality.
  • Heath
    Posts: 798
    Friends, have we made any headway on harmonizations for the verses? Gavin has submitted one, I know Adam featured one, and it would be good to have a whole set of these ready for download.
  • bgeorge77
    Posts: 185
    TRIPLE AMEN. This would be great, and how hard could it be (says the non-composer)...

    I have mentioned before that what might be nice is propers pointed to those Meinrad-y psalm tones, and then the choir could add 2, 3, 4 part harmony as they get used to the 8 tones throughout the year.
  • On my to-do list, friends. I am experimenting a bit with a few different models here. What I would like to do is release a collection with several harmonizations of each tone, in various voicings, in SATB, cantus firmus in the Tenor or Bass, sometimes also in Alto, in the top voice, etc. And also have some equal voice settings with the cf in different voices.

    There indeed are so many possibilities here, I'm not sure yet how something like this should be organized, packaged and presented.

    In the meantime, I would love to see what others might come up with. It really isn't rocket science. A technique I have employed a few times is to have the non cantus firmus voices (or some of these) change notes on the penultimate syllable, which allows the cf termination to really stand out nicely and achieves a sense of polyphony. Pure homophony could be used here also in the simplest setting. I'd love to see what some others come up with!

    But yes, this will happen. There's just so much to do right now, this is not the highest priority, though I think it will be very important.
  • bgeorge77
    Posts: 185
    Bump. That video Mr Bartlett posted of the choral verses and the unison antiphon was inspiring. How's this project going?
  • Thanks for the bump, Ben. For now I have been experimenting with a few different methods with my parish choir. I have some harmonizations worth sharing, I think, but have very little time to do this thoroughly because of other more pressing work. If anyone is interested in engraving what I have in Sibelius I would be willing to put out what I have. Anyone interested?
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,542
    Hi.


  • Adam/anyone-- Is there a PDF somewhere of the entire SEP tone system?

  • I mean the psalm verse tones specifically.
  • Wait... does this mean that no one can write harmonizations to most of the SEP tones?

    "Psalm tones for Introit modes 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, Offertory modes 1, 5, and Communion modes 1, 2, 5, 7, 8 by Fr. Samuel F. Weber, O.S.B., © St. Meinrad Archabbey, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative
    Works 3.0 United States License."


    I'm curious specifically about the "no derivative works" part.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,113
    I was looking back at this thread, and realized I do have a document with all the SEP psalm tones (plus one of my own to fill in the one blank spot, SEP contains no mode 7 offertories). An old thread, I know, but it may be of help to some, seeing the thread isn't that old.

    My sheet is here:

    http://blog.yankehome.com/liturgy/getFile.php?file=sep-tones&filetype=pdf
    Thanked by 1bgeorge77
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,530
    @bgeorge7: It does seem to mean that permission is not automatic, so it would be best to contact the abbey for permission.
  • bgeorge77
    Posts: 185
    Thank you Mr Yanke. Would still really like to see some harmonizations for the 24 tones in the system.
  • Heath
    Posts: 798
    Here are four harmonizations for the Communion tones (II, V, VII, VIII). If I knew how to add a few editorial markings (e.g. a mark to denote when the three lower parts change before the melody does, etc.), I would, but you can probably figure out my intentions. It usually requires marking up my choir's scores before I print them, but they've been pretty effective.
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,542
    I'll be posting a set of harmonizations for all of these tones by the end of the weekend. I'm out of town for a few days, but will resume the project when I am home on Friday.
    Thanked by 2Ben Yanke lmassery
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,542
    Introit
  • awruff
    Posts: 88
    Dear chant friends,

    I'm excited about this idea. I've done the exact thing - hang on, purists might not like this - with a Latin chant antiphon in unison, English verses in parts. We use St. Meinrad's tones because they're modal. In my experience, singing Meinrad tones to an English text is pedagogically useful because the tones nicely use the primary scale degrees so it gets the "feel" of the mode more firmly into the singers' consciousness. I've done this also with a pedal point for the (Latin) antiphon, or organum at the fifth.

    Most of the time by far we sing the verses in Latin, and that is my preference. But pastorally I win points for being more flexible or reformist or whatever, and I too appreciate the variety at times.

    At the companion website to my new GIA book (I haven't begun yet to put up the website), I hope to provide some examples of harmonized psalm tones. Thanks for sharing your tones with us, everyone.

    Pax,
    Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB
    Thanked by 3Heath bgeorge77 Jenny
  • The more I experience the Saint Meinrad tones (such as last week in a couple of days spent at the Archabbey), the more I like them. Very natural for the Grail psalter, and pointing is not really required. The "singing version" of the Grail does help, as the final stressed syllable is marked (which helps on verses where people could disagree on which one to stress), but the more you sing these tones, the easier it is to just apply one to a psalm. They were meant to be singable by the monks without a lot of rehearsal or teaching, and they work: it's easy to pick them up just by listening to others sing them...by the third or fourth strophe it's easy to jump in and sing along. You can then focus on the text rather than, "Golly, here comes a tricky line...where does the note change, now?"
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    I have managed to make use of the SEP by printing the antiphon in the mass leaflet, with a note under the bottom saying "Verses from Psalm X (vY) are sung by the Schola or Cantor". I usually have one or two friends who then sing along with the antiphon to drop the hint to people in the congregation that they can sing this part too. It does help that quite often, several of the congregation are from my college schola!
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    I've taken a look at the 4 common tone harmonisations that you put online. Are you doing more? I'd love to get my schola to do some of these SEP adaptions!

    Perhaps when you are done, you could publish them in a single PDF file?
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,542
    Here's the Communion. Sorry for the delay. I've been away from a keyboard for the last week ... these are written/voiced from my head. The harmonies (with these, the Introits, and the forthcoming Offertories) should line up with the harmonies as written in the weekly accompaniments as of late.
    Thanked by 1hartleymartin
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,542
    Offertory

    (Seems like there are no mode VII offertories so I just left it blank for now).
    Thanked by 1hartleymartin
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    These are brilliant!

    In addition to the Simple Choral Gradual and plainchant SEP, this will add a great variety into the music program.
  • Heath
    Posts: 798
    (Adding Modes I and IV, Communion)
  • bgeorge77
    Posts: 185
    Latin chant antiphon in unison, English verses in parts.

    Sounds like a good idea to me, when can we expect this? Looking forward to trying it with the teen choir at my parish.
  • Heath
    Posts: 798
    (Finally, Modes III and VI, Communion)