Simplex misunderstood...
  • I have had the opportunity to study the Simplex this last week after immersing myself in BFW for awhile and I was excited to be able to do this.

    The first thing that struck me was while I have heard that the Antiphons are too simple, I have to disagree. They are very, very good at getting people chanting and doing so with confidence. Because they introduce neume groupings and melodies in small chunks, I see that they would be much more accessible to the new singer who can master them....and may well be a fish at sea when facing the multiple groupings and leaps in a chant in the Romanum.

    The indication that this was for small churches may have been a mistake in promoting the book, because in the forward to the original typewritten English translation it is clearly stated that these are not for use exclusively, but in tandem with the use of the Romanum....churches should be using both.

    Now if permission was given to scan and distribute both of these books, it would be a huge help....the expense of single copies alone make them beyond the budget of many Catholic church music budgets.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    How did your responsorial psalm project go?
  • It really is unreasonbaly expensive, and I have reservations about it durability as a softcover. If it is designed for smaller churches, it should be priced accordingly. It also has a bewilderingly vast choice of kyries, glorias, etc. that could have been pared down.

    I have used it, however, with some success. I lead two chant masses a year at my parish. For the 3rd Sunday of Advent, I plan on doing the Gaudete from the Grad. Rom., but will also do the Ave Maria antiphon for offertory, and the Gustate quam suavis Dominus from the appendix.
  • The Simplex is rather pricey, but as with anything, if there's an increased demand and a stable market for them, the price will come down.

    We've alot of work to do in advancing the Simplex and one of the music books of choice in the American churches.

    I just heard a broadcast of today's Mass from the Cathedral of St. Paul and was amazed to hear (after the commonplace "opening commentary" by the "commentator") a schola of women's voices singing what I believe was the appointed Introit for the day from the Gregorian Missal. Although I can imagine that the ministers were processing to the altar while it was being chanted, they probably did the "full procession" common in American churches, from the back to the front, rather than the short procession from the sacristy to the sanctuary.

    So, here's the questionable part: at the conclusion of the chanted introit, the organ broke into an introduction to "Lift HIgh the Cross," and the entire hymn was sung. Now, either the introit was done as a novelty, and the opening hymn is what they wanted to serve as the principal processional music, or the introit served its appointed purpose, and the inclusion of the hymn was a redundancy.

    Either way, the problem, which has been discussed in other threads, is that unless and until the inclusion of chant be done with an approach to and understanding of its purpose, its inclusion in the liturgy becomes nothing more than a novelty. To that end, nobody is going to want to shell out the large amount of money putting the Simplex in the hands of the choir, let alone the congregation, if it's just "one among equals."
  • Not to be pedantic, but if supply remains the same and demand increases, the price will rise.

    We've sometimes used Introit as prelude and a hymn for entrance but that was before we were permitted to do the introit as THE introit.
  • Responsorial Psalm project is getting its first airing in public this Saturday, I believe, Jeff O!
  • Point taken, Jeffrey.

    Perhaps this is what they're doing at the cathedral as well.
  • I agree with what Noel says about the possible utility of the Simplex. But I cannot for the life of me figure out why its editors decided that the dotted punctum was too complex for singers. There doesn't appear to be a dot in the entire volume--which is why I returned my copy within a few days of receiving it from Cantica Nova earlier this year. It was useless for my schola (*not* an especially advanced bunch of chanters, by the way) because I would have had to tell them to pencil in untold dots.

    And if a new and not-especially advanced schola can sing the simpler propers from the Graduale, why is it necessary to dumb down the Simplex?
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Isn't the dotted punctum a fabrication of the Solesmes rhythmic method?
  • Incantu--

    That's a good question, and I don't know the answer. But whether the dotted punctum is a fabrication or not, it is a useful bit of shorthand that communicates precisely how the note is to be sung. And of course, all of the other chant resources we use incorporate this bit of shorthand.
  • "And if a new and not-especially advanced schola can sing the simpler propers from the Graduale, why is it necessary to dumb down the Simplex?"

    I think the idea was that on a weekly basis, a new introit, offertory, and communion, leave asside gradual, was simply too much to master for all but the best scholae. The story I've heard is that even at Vatican II, some of the choirs were having a hard time with some of the more come complex chants.
  • Marymezzo observes:

    I agree with what Noel says about the possible utility of the Simplex. But I cannot for the life of me figure out why its editors decided that the dotted punctum was too complex for singers.

    As I understand it, it has been the practice since the beginning of the twentieth century of all Vatican editions of the chant not to use any of the Solesmes signs.
  • Well, my copy of the Liber Hymnarius is certainly free of any Solesmes marks.

    (Seems like this is a topic that was thrashed out last year . . . the whole Solesmes edition thing.)
  • The less the indications of performance practice I see in chant editions, the more I wonder...of course, before the work of Blessed Notker Balbulus, it was all chant of mouth....

    Which leads me to a less serious question....when you attend a Chant Mass in France, what prevents you from finding people smoking Gitanes and playing guitars? What is a guitar Mass called over there?
  • At the National Shrine, the choir used to sing an introit before the procession. That was when Leo Nestor was directing.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    frogman: "... Simplex ... BFW ... expense of single copies"

    Just noticed that BFW is on sale ...

    By Flowing Waters (BFW)
  • Snap it up, that's what we did back then. The invoice came at full price, but one phone call and they applied the discount. It's some sort of annual sale that has something to do with taxes, they told me. It does not mean the book is going out of print.