Musicam Sacram: Gregorian Chant should have pride of place in liturgy when it is celebrated in Latin
  • That seems overly alarmist (and perhaps fussbudgetly) for at least two reasons:

    The second part of that paragraph was supposed to reduce the alarmism, though apparently it did not work. In short, while the academic question of the rigid limits of "Gregorian chant" is interesting, the real world -- including the Church -- operates more fluidly. Equivalently, questions of nomenclature like "What is a planet?" and "When did the Baroque end?" are not apt to have exactly, naturalistically-derivable answers, since nature (including organic human activity) does not concern itself with obedience to artificial constructs like nomenclature.

    You must admit, though, that it is interesting that we don't have a better and more universal definition of what Gregorian chant is. I imagine most people would include modern Latin chants in a Gregorian idiom, and probably exclude modern vernacular chants in the same. (Cf. debates on "What is a hymn?"). But it's hard to be sure. The end result of the confusion is not terribly important in practical matters, except inasmuch as it tends to make our language less coherent.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,905
    Since the repertoire in the Ordo Cantus Missae is from the '61 Graduale, which includes some 'neo-gregorian' pieces, I think the Church considers the 'neo-gregorian' pieces legit repertoire; moreover, it's approved the use of newer books containing new compositions such as Fr. Lentini's hymns in the Liber Hymnarius. So I guess academic/historical authenticity is not required.

    Kevin, is there really an issue? The qualified version of the statement says nothing about Masses offered in the vernacular. So if Latin propers are OK with your pastor, do 'em (after appropriate catechesis and gradual preparation: e.g., English propers first, etc.)

  • Since the repertoire in the Ordo Cantus Missae is from the '61 Graduale, which includes some 'neo-gregorian' pieces, I think the Church considers the 'neo-gregorian' pieces legit repertoire;

    Yes, that much is I think clearly true. But what if some said, "While such pieces are acceptable and may be admitted into the liturgy, it is preferable [or, the Church prefers] that neo-Gregorian pieces be replaced by music from the authentic Gregorian repertoire wherever feasible?" That's not a conclusion I'm particularly inclined toward, but is it an unreasonable view?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,099
    Again, define authentic. Does anyone really believe Pope Gregory wrote every single chant? This is music that developed, not in a vacuum, but organically over a long period of time. I suspect within that body of work exists old Gregorian, middle Gregorian, and newer Gregorian. Does anyone really know, and has the Church been that precise in defining what is or isn't chant? I am not trying to argue, just not so clear on all this myself.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "The repertoire includes what?"

    The Roman Gradual, chants of the Breviary, and the Liber Usualis.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Is it really useful, for every day parish work, to define "Gregorian"? I think not. Do good music. And Gregorian chant as much as possible. We all know what we mean: open the books, and do it. (I STRONGLY object to Ryan's statement about CCW's ordinaries being "Gregorian", though I do not at present have the will to argue against it.)

    However, it IS useful to clarify to what it is we refer when we speak of Gregorian chant having "pride of place". I contend, as per my above comments that, worthy though they are, this does NOT mean the Simple English Propers, the Palmer-Burgess, the Chants Abreges, or (ESPECIALLY NOT) the Rossini propers.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,152
    "The repertoire includes what?"

    The Roman Gradual, chants of the Breviary, and the Liber Usualis.

    What? Chants of the Liturgy of the Hours are not included?
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Wendy and I were going to the airport with Mahrt from the Chant Intensive in NOLA and all flyIng back to CA. We talked about something that came up frequently through the week in the advanced section led by Mahrt and attended by Ed Shaefer, Adam Bartlett and an array of very knowledgeable folk. This subject was how to reckon with the inherent tensions between the triangle of chant dynamics and practice: the documents/traditions, the axiom necessities between praxis in the OF and EF, and the personal biases and convictions that each of us who are DM's or schola masters bring to bear upon our decisions. During that week, in fact, the very term "Stuffed Mass" was coined by Mahrt in a response to my question regarding liturgical justification for a propers/hymn (or vice versa) normative mode. That, for long time followers, resulted in a post at the Cafe inwhich I discussed Mahrt's answer about employing circumabulation. I digress.
    I have some serious concerns about this thread.

    You'll notice that voices such as Mahrt, AOZ, Bartlett, Rice, Ostrowski, Turkington, Cole, Morse, Poterak et others don't chime in here in this thread thus far, or most others for that matter. I mentioned Ed Schaefer. Some of us may remember an article deacon wrote regarding his most heartfelt and convicted realization that, for him, he had to make his liturgical lodgings exlusively in the EF. It was powerful testimony to the question of how all these tensions above ultimately are resolved- namely as individuals. I am not speaking for experts who don't speak to us here. I'm saying we should listen to what they're not saying here.
    The remaining hope of 07 MP SP is that attributes of each would inform and compliment each other. There wasn't much more specificity other than that goal and hope because B16 is brilliant beyond measure to know that this is a living, organic process that cannot be viewed at a moment in time, deconstructed by any court of review, or intended at all (and for the worst) to divide our sensibilities and thus ourselves.

    I feel/see a fair amount of counting angels on pins, or the blind sages describing an elephant in some of the argumentation above. All fine and well, carry on, as I don't wish for the umpteenth time to be charged with stifling a forum discussion. But I do ask- what, other than we can be as pedantic and myopic historically and practically, does our extreme scrupulosity about chanting practices witness to for any who are interested in shifting the paradigm of their worship involvement AND to those who might rightly claim that RotR/Trad/NeoCon Catholics haven't got their own act together with some consensus upon some pretty basic common sense notions. What is the motto of music we call as fit for worship in the Divine Liturgy:

    "Sacred, universal and beautiful."
    PS. As some of the thread discussed Bach, didn't all of us hear in our initial theory classes that by learning how to craft a chorale in the manner of JSB was not only a benefit t our own base of knowledge, but a pre-requisite for knowing when and how we could then bend or break those rubrics to other sonic vistas?
  • What? Chants of the Liturgy of the Hours are not included?


    Gavin mentioned the Breviary.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,152
    Oops.
  • SkirpRSkirpR
    Posts: 854
    I'm sorry for stirring up such passions. Despite common usage, that the OCM and Solesmes Graduale make distictions between Gregorian and neo-Gregorian chants, it seems to me that there IS a difference of some significance which, rightly or wrongly, we gloss over. I'm not a musicologist, but I might venture that "authentic" chants are received in manuscript form - ideally several manuscripts that more or less agree with one another - and were not known to be composed or adapted by specific people or committees - essentially closer to folk music than attributed composition or adaptation.

    (I am almost certain Msgr. Lentini's coposition of the hymns, referenced above, refers to the texts, not the melodies. The melodies of chant hymns, being metered, do not - and IMO should not - suffer alteration from setting other texts to them, English or Latin. This is despite the tendency of some to "improve" those received chant hymn melodies to better fit English translations. But I digress.)

    In any case, I am inclined to agree that for practical purposes, including Musicam Sacram, it's all Gregorian chant, but we were looking for possibilities to interpret that line in Musicam Sacram - and I offered mine.

    How come whenever we have a nuanced discussion of terminology, we get chided by one or two people to the effect that "nobody else worries about it so much, and we shouldn't do either"? All of those "greats" mentioned who don't chime into these discussions, have perhaps already been through it all.

    I'm not out to convince people that my interpretation here is correct - even when I doubt it is myself - but if we've all taken some time to consider our opinion of the term "Gregorian chant" or even to make us all stop and think if maybe we've been careless with it (even if we decide we haven't), I would argue this conversation has not been pointless. This is a forum, for goodness sakes, where ideas are to be tossed around and developed, not just a Q&A depository.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    There is "Gregorian Chant" which refers to the Latin plainchant from the middle-ages, which the church has preserved and handed down through generations.

    There are also other forms of "plainchant" or "plainsong" which is common to the church. You will find that there are several plainsong hymns or "chant hymns" such as "Jesu Dulcis Memoria" and "Adoro Te Devote" and "Pange Lingua/Tantum Ergo"

    There are also several other collections, many of which are in fact more ancient in their use than the current graduale romanum or the solemnes editions. This would include things such as the Dominican Rite Gradual, which is generally similar but simpler than the Graduale Romanum. They are usually the same texts, although they may use different psalm verses or have slightly different psalm tones.

    Then there are various collections of vernacular "plainchant/plainsong." Popular collections include the Simple English Propers, and several other various plainchant graduals and collections have been published over the years.

    The Graduale Romanum is the "Gold Standard" for the Roman Catholic Church. The Graduale Simplex is the "simpler graduale" intended for the average parish church. There are other collections out there such as By Flowing Waters and the Simple English Propers which form a useful corpus of chant. Indeed, it is not unusual for me to use one chant from BFW and another from the SEP in the same mass. Sometimes I even create my own settings based on the SEP or even using the Anglican Use Gradual's practice of a Psalm Tone VII introit.
  • Ignoto
    Posts: 126
    I agree with those who have noted that a collection of vernacular plainchant/plainsong is not called "Gregorian" chant. For example, BFW does not use the term "Gregorian" to describe the work (it just says "Chant for the Liturgy").

    I also think hartleymartin makes a good point about the plainsong "chant hymns."

    Regarding the more general concept of "chant," #8 in Pope Pius XII's Musicae Sacrae seems to consider the biblical "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" as "chant" in a generic sense: "St. Paul showed us clearly that sacred chant was used and held in honor from the very beginning in the Church founded by the Divine Redeemer when he wrote to the Ephesians: 'Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs'."

    In #11, it says that "new forms of sacred chant were gradually created and new types of songs were invented" ("new" when compared to the earlier "psalms and hymns of liturgical worship"). Then, #12 indicates that St. Gregory the Great "collected" and "arranged" all of this sacred chant from the past (this point in the document corresponds to Gavin's comment about "labeling a repertoire").

    Next, Pope Pius XII gives a potentially defining explanation of Gregorian-specific chant when he says this in #14: "The choral chant began to be called 'Gregorian' after St. Gregory, the man who revived it. It attained new beauty in almost all parts of Christian Europe after the 8th or 9th century because of its accompaniment by a new musical instrument called the 'organ'."

    Finally, in #45, Pope Pius XII says that the "unity of the Church...is one of the most important reasons why the Church so greatly desires that the Gregorian chant traditionally associated with the Latin words of the sacred liturgy be used."
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,895
    I would be careful of this. It's a great way to get chant in the door, but it runs the risk of people thinking, okay, "I guess I'll give up the songs we like for Lent, so I'll sacrifice and put up with this chant until Easter and then I won't have to deal with it until Advent."


    This was regarding the last statement of my last post.

    @SkirpR, I think you make a good point here. Expecting the congregation not to sing when the season is more introspective is ok sometimes, but one should be careful not to completely eliminate that participation for the season, especially in parishes that like to sing. At least, I think that's what you're getting at.
    Thanked by 1SkirpR
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    Was it Gregorian Chant in 19th Century Russia?!
    It was not!
    Thanked by 1Andrew Motyka
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    How come whenever we have a nuanced discussion of terminology, we get chided by one or two people to the effect that "nobody else worries about it so much, and we shouldn't do either"? All of those "greats" mentioned who don't chime into these discussions, have perhaps already been through it all.

    I assure you, Richard, no passion on my part was enflamed in my post. And you virtually make and echo my primary point in your last statement. But, you are incorrect to characterize my thoughts as a chiding, particularly when I took care to encourage further discussion, which has since occured.
    All fine and well, carry on, as I don't wish for the umpteenth umpteenth +1 time to be charged with stifling a forum discussion

    Secondly, the caricature of my words within your quotes are your words, not mine. You have missed the nuance of my concern entirely and then misrepresented what and how I framed my thoughts. That's not cricket, Richard.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,905
    Does the OCM make reference to some chants as neo-gregorian? When I mentioned it above, I was thinking of Solesmes, which decided to exclude certain '61 pieces from the '74 Graduale, pieces which it described in a footnote as neo-gregorian. But I'm not aware of whether OCM uses the term.

    As for what is authentic, I think the Council of Trent might offer a handy point of demarcation, with most of the authentic repertoire coming before it, and the modern era starting about that time. What was composed after then: Credo III?
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • SkirpRSkirpR
    Posts: 854
    I don't know whether the OCM makes specific reference to neo-Gregorian chants or not, but without doing a full study on it, I believe where there are neo-Gregorian chants referenced in the OCM, there are alternatives provided from the "authentic" corpus. In some of these instances, the neo-Gregorian melodies were left out of the Solesmes Graduale (which most of us use), and only the "authentic" melody provided.
  • Considering what is 'authentic' or 'original', does anyone here know the reasons or the 'story' behind why a number of hymns in Liber Hymnarius (Verbum supernum prodiens nec Patris comes to mind) are not paired with their cumstomary tunes as found in Liber Usualis or the tunes associated with these respective hymns in Baroque and earlier alternatim organ literature?

    Also, some of the hymns for new feast days (such as Implente munus debitum at II. Vespers, Baptism of the Lord) are not found in older books. Whence came they? Are the texts and/or tunes newly composed, or are they borrowed from elsewhere. If they are new, who wrote the text and/or the tunes? This information would be helpful for scholarly purposes. Oddly, such citations are lacking in any of the Solesmes chant books.
  • SkirpRSkirpR
    Posts: 854
    Very basic info about the source of the hymn texts in the Liber Hymnarius is given in the index. The texts in the Liber Hymnarius come directly from the Latin Liturgia Horarum and follow that liturgical book quite precisely. Many mention Msgr. Lentini, as if he authored the texts for the 1983 Liber Hymnarius. If he wrote the texts, he would have had to write them before the publication of the Liturgia Horarum in the 1970s where those texts (sans melodies) first appeared.

    I don't know much about which melodies are "authentic" but given Solesmes' preference against including neo-Gregorian compositions, I would assume melodies that were replaced were later compositions not included in "Medieval manuscript tradtion" I spoke about above - but I could be wrong.
  • SkirpRSkirpR
    Posts: 854
    And, given the metered nature of chant hymns, it is not awkward at all to sing different texts to different melodies, as is the case with modern four-part English-language hymnody.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,545
    MJO

    While you may like to think that the melodies used in the Liber Usualis are customary, this is not strictly true...

    Older editions of the LU say 1909, have different melodies, or small changes to the melody found in later editions... Comparing the Liber Antiphonarius 1891, with the Antiphonale Monasticum 1934, to the Antiphonale Romanum 1949, will show change of melody and changes within the melody.

    A look at the Dominican books will show other melodies not found in the above books, but also show melodies familiar to those found in the L.U. (ed.'s 1930-1960).

    If we take our search back in time to the Augsberg Antiphonal we will also find melodies similar to the L.U. for some Hymns but others will have totally different melodies.

    Really when we are looking at melodies the L.U. is not a good place to start, it would be better to look at the Antiphonale Romanum, that has extra alternative melodies. e.g. Ave Maris stella has 5 suggested melodies (3 in the L.U.)

    As a summary the melodies have been changed a number of times and it is no surprise that more modern books have further changes. No doubt Solesmes will be able to tell you why...

    New Hymns in the Liber Hymnarius...

    As SkirpR above has noted some (most?) were written by Msgr. Lentini.
    It can be noted that the Roman breviary (c.1950) does have a good selection of Hymns, but many famous saints use hymns from the Common. This has not always been the case and many Saints have Proper Hymns (see Analecta Hymnica Vols. 1-50), while some of these older Hymns have been brought back into use with the modern Liturgy of the Hours, many of these ancient hymns are not to modern tastes. Also some Saints have very few if any Hymns written for them.

    I do have access to some information about Lentini's compositions, but will have to dig it out.
  • It seems that a 'companion' such as that that complements The Hymnal 1940 and others would be most helpful and in order for each one of the Solesmes chant books. Without doubt, this would be a major undertaking! But, it is needful. (But then, knowing Solesmes publications, it would likely be priced beyond all telling.)
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Gavin
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,087
    I can attest to tomjaw's commentary. Tournemire in his l'Orgue Mystique suites uses the 1891 Antiphonale in his chant quotes from the office. For years people have looked for the chants in the 34 Antiphonale but noticed there were variations or the chant was not even there. Finally someone had the bright idea to look in the 1891 Antiphonale and voila, there they were. One must also use the 1909 LU for L'Orgue Mystique.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,747
    Gregorian chant at a vernacular Liturgy excludes the faithful from active participation by singing (which is the primary meaning of a.p. as is well known).


    Really? You mean that after 40 years of "Lamb of God....(etc.)" YOUR congregation does not understand the translation of "Agnus Dei"?

    Sorry to hear that.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,747
    Singing the pertinent responses (and paying sufficient attention to know when to) is what actuosa p was originally meant as


    No. The actual meaning of "a.p." is that the laity conform themselves to Christ in offering self-sacrifice to God. This can take many forms, including spoken or sung responses, singing or actively listening to the Ordinary and Proper parts, or adoration of the Eucharist--or living the Beatitudes daily.
  • Both SS and MS assume liturgy comprised of diverse roles for singing:
    choir, celebrant, cantor, and the lay. All of these players are the congregation- the body. ( I have always felt slighted when liturgist dismiss the work of the choir as excluded from congregation.) Notice how many time we see the words "singing their part" The documents never assume the lay will sing everything but only part.
    I have actually been told that we must read all the documents thru the eyes of the "full and active participation" paradigm. "Everybody sings everything" is unfortunately the misunderstood the criteria .


    Here are two good quotes;

    54 Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them SS

    33. It is desirable that the assembly of the faithful should participate in the songs of the Proper as much as possible, especially through simple responses and other suitable settings. MS Who's doing this? raise your hand

    We should also follow MS's prescribed degrees of participation. In the 1st degree we are singing the Creed, and that is necessary before including any hymn like "Gather Us In" or "Ave Verum". Who's singing the Creed? in English?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    I have heard Dr. Marht either say directly or imply (I think the former) that "Gregorian Chant" means not just a genre or a corpus, but rather the right thing being sung at the right time. So (his example) if you are singing the Mode VI Triple Alleluia as a Gospel Acclamation, you aren't really singing "Gregorian Chant."

    Particularly when thinking about the nexus of concerns for any musical decisions making other than "open the Graduale and sing that" (concerns like giving Gchant pride of place and what constitutes "alias aptus" and what sort of compositions most closely adhere to the form and style of Gchant) - this "definition" from Dr. Marht seems very helpful.
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 726
    If you are singing the Mode VI Triple Alleluia as a Gospel Acclamation, you aren't really singing "Gregorian Chant".

    This isn't a good example, because a mode VI triple Alleluia is allowed* (cf. Graduale Simplex). A better example would be, for instance, singing "Veni Creator Spiritus" as entrance hymn.

    *I'm wrong here: the Graduale Simplex only uses the mode VI Alleluia as Communion Antiphon...
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    Or what I do at my Episcopal parish: Gregorian hymns and sequences as Offertory Anthems or Post-Communion meditations.
    (I still tell people we sing Gregorian chant...)
  • scholistascholista
    Posts: 109
    Gregorian chant at a vernacular Liturgy excludes the faithful from active participation by singing (which is the primary meaning of a.p. as is well known).

    OUCH! This is a very incomplete definition of the rights and duties of the laity when participating in the Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Mass.

    A quote from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is apropos:

    Pope Benedict XVI: The renewal of external forms, desired by the Council Fathers, was intended to make it easier to enter into the inner depth of the mystery. Its true purpose was to lead people to a personal encounter with the Lord, present in the Eucharist, and thus with the living God, so that through this contact with Christ’s love, the love of his brothers and sisters for one another might also grow. Yet not infrequently, the revision of liturgical forms has remained at an external level, and "active participation" has been confused with external activity. Hence much still remains to be done on the path of real liturgical renewal. (VIDEO MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI FOR THE CLOSING OF THE FIFTIETH INTERNATIONAL EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS IN DUBLIN 2012) (Emphasis added.)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,905
    Yes, I think someone was writing ironically in the quotation above.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "'Gregorian Chant' means [...] the right thing being sung at the right time."

    I kind of can see this point... but perhaps then we ought to make "Gregorian chant" a verb, rather than a noun....?
  • It's ironic all right. Look what St Pius originally wrote.
  • scholistascholista
    Posts: 109
    Yes, I think someone was writing ironically in the quotation above.

    I'm not so sure after re-reading the posts on page one. But then, I'm way off topic any way. ;D
  • I had no intention of writing ironically. "Active participation" has under the influence of "full conscious and" come to denote "good" liturgical participation, however that may be for the speaker. But originally ("primarily") it meant singing the ordinary parts of the Mass, in Latin. The irony, if anything, is that singing in Latin has come to be seen as elitist. (Not universally, of course.)