Chant website
  • mjcurtis
    Posts: 62
    Hi all. I am currently working on a project to have the complete Mass Proper for the Church year recorded along with a bunch of Ordinaries. I am designing a website as well so everything will be available to download. It will include everything from the newest edition of the Gregorian Missal and the new Communios book that is out. This amounts to probably around 600-700 chants well over 100 hours! I am about halfway done already in 3 weeks. I want the site to be a tool for those who may struggle with chant notation, which I'm sure are many. I have a couple questions for anyone out there:

    1) I am a starving college student and sacrificed a summer of work for this project. I don't want to make money and become rich from this project, but would like to be somewhat reimbursed for equipment/time/website/etc. Do you think there would be interest and demand out there? Also, what is a price that most would be willing to pay. I want to have one set price for access to everything. I could also charge for each chant, but that is probably less appealing and more difficult to create!

    2) My interpretation of the chant is pretty good. How important and certain is it that one should lengthen the 2nd note of the salicus with the vertical episema? I know this is controversial. I am singing everything solo, so breath is an issue. It is very difficult to sing some phrases and sing through some of the quarter and half bars where applicable. Therefore, I sing the chant with quicker flow than many would.

    Thanks for your help! I hope to have everything recorded in about a month. It will then take a couple months to edit everything. I also have to design the website. I hope to have it up by 2009. It will be at www.chanttracks.com

    Matthew Curtis
  • Jan
    Posts: 242
    There are some Belgium monks who have produced a set of 17 CDS with all the Mass propers for the year. So it already exists. Don't know the monastery or the price.
  • mjcurtis
    Posts: 62
    I would like that information if anyone has it. Are there any websites out there that have all the propers?
  • gregpgregp
    Posts: 632
    This one is out there: http://198.62.75.1/www2/cantgreg/index_eng.html

    It's better than nothing, but it's recorded live and so there's lots of coughing, thurifer-ing, and crying babies.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    There is a similar project, recorded during the liturgy with organ accompaniment, found here. They sound pretty good, but it makes me realize how much I wish Solesmes would take the quarter bar out of their editions. I think most people see it and think it means "breathe," but in a group of even three people this should not be necessary and may only occasionally be desirable.

    I don't think your treatment of the salicus or the episema is an issue as long as you are consistent. I think something that would improve upon your work is adding a second voice. Rather than charging a fee for the service, you might want to consider seeking one or more substantial donors to fund the web hosting, etc. If well done, this could be a considerable resource for parish choirs.
  • gregpgregp
    Posts: 632
    mjcurtis, I saw your post on the other thread - I'd be interested, depending on usability, quality, etc. Maybe do a couple of samples and show what would be offered.
  • mjcurtis
    Posts: 62
    Thanks gregp. The quality of that is pretty bad, but is a resource nonetheless.

    incantu,
    I agree with your thoughts on taking the quarter bar out. It is pretty confusing. It says somewhere in the Liber Usualis that difficult and elaborate chants (Graduals & Alleluias) have phrases that are so long that it is necessary to breath while not interrupting the rhythm and flow. I guess it is nice to leave some aspects open to interpretation by the performer.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    I think that assumes that the verses of graduals and alleluias would be sung by a cantor or a few cantors. I can't imagine why an entire schola would need to breathe even in the longest phrase in the Graduale. There are places, no doubt, that one would choose to breathe for artistic reasons, but necessary? I don't buy it. But for you, since you're own your own, breathe wherever you want to! Hopefully you're recording in a nice acoustic in which, if your timing is just right, you won't hear the breath anyway.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    "I would like that information if anyone has it. Are there any websites out there that have all the propers?"

    Search for "Schola Bellarmina"
  • mjcurtis
    Posts: 62
    Thanks Jeff. I wish it would be easier to find some of these great sites! They have a 19CD set for a discount price of 192 Euros. For my site, I wouldn't want to charge anything over $20 for everything. I just have no idea what the demand is out there and what people would be willing to pay if anything for good quality, digital tracks. Maybe no one would since there are free versions out there.

    Are there any sites that anyone knows of that offer FREE tracks with the complete Mass propers with good quality singing and recording?
  • mjcurtis
    Posts: 62
    Incantu,
    There is definitely no way that I can sing all those phrases, and I haven't been! For consistency sake, I have been breathing at every quarter and double bar with a quick breath that minimizes loss of flow. I would definitely clarify that on the site. I'm recording in a nice church with good reverburation. I also have good editing software that can cut breathing time if necessary and add/subtract reverb to help cover it.
  • mjcurtis, this is a great effort on your part and another piece of evidence that there are dedicated people out there wanting to help. I wonder if it might be a good idea to ask the chanters at large to send in recordings of good scholas doing Propers, which would necessitate only recording "gaps" in the Liber on your own (at least until a schola sends a recording). This could be a nice communal project and save you some time. Just a thought.
  • RobertRobert
    Posts: 343
    mjcurtis, in my opinion if you are going to do this you should definitely lengthen the second note of the salicus, if only because this is standard "Liber Usualis" interpretation that the existing online recordings of the propers (the ones by the Brazilian monks) do not follow at all. This makes them not as useful as a learning tool IMO. Something like what you propose has the potential to be a very useful resource, especially if it follows the classical Solesmes interpretation to a T.
  • There is a good Dutch site with the Propers. It's a female Schola from Utrecht. You can find a lot of chants in good quality on: http://www.scholacatharina.nl/code/MuziekInhoudPaginas.php
    Greetings from the Netherlands.
  • janetgorbitzjanetgorbitz
    Posts: 959
    Ben... I have listened to many of the Utrecht schola. What I found very helpful is that (of those I heard) the recordings were of one voice singing. This made it easier to hear the subleties of the chant breathing, phrasing, etc. We used those quite a bit when our schola was just beginning...
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Standard salicus gets my vote too. Too much individual interpretation limits pedagogical value. Scholas can always add their own interpretation later.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 993
    Many thanks for the mention of the Utrecht schola. Somehow I'd missed this one. It's very useful to hear women's voices. And the single, not overly beautiful voice is more instructive and encouraging to the listener who is a would-be singer. And I agree with Jeffrey, keep it standard if it's pedagogical. I can double the speed and do whatever else I have in mind after we've got a basic chant. (Plus knowing the still-standard "style" means you have singers who can work well within a larger group.)

    The rather eclectic appearance of the schola in rehearsal warmed my heart. Not mention the small size.
  • mjcurtis
    Posts: 62
    How do you attach an audio file? I am trying to upload a sample of what I've done