Psalm Setting of the Creed?
  • I just saw Jeff Ostrowski's new St. Felix Creed, and got inspired to dabble with one myself. I've been having lots of success with my Schola doing psalm tone settings of the Propers for the TLM, and I figured I would try setting the Creed for the OF to Mode VIII.

    Has anyone else attempted this?

    The reasons why I thought to do it are:
    1)Easy for a congregation to pick up and sing
    2)EXTREMELY EASY to teach choir or schola
    3)Not very time consuming
    4)No worrying about metrical settings (this can be a doosey if you're trying to stay in one time signature)
    5)Easy to produce (with GABC for Chrome or the website, making this is a breeze!)

    Reasons to shy from it:
    1)A LOT of repeating (if that bothers you)
    2)Fellow Liturgists thinking that you took the easy way out

    If time is a concern, it would be fairly simple to have a cantor and the congregation alternate singing. I'm thinking about researving the termination line for the people, so they only have one melodic line to learn. It's already incredibly simple and singable, but why not make it easier right?

    I've never read anywhere that you CAN'T set the Credo to a psalm tone, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's in good taste. Does anyone have some insight for this? (Preferably something in the documents so I can validate/invalidate my idea.)

    I can put up the finished product later if people are interested in seeing it. I just finished lining it out, and will start importing it into GABC soon. Let me know your professional opinions! I'm interested to know!
  • Check out the Psallite Mass.

    There are a couple of weird things in it, but the stuff that's good is really good, including a (harmonized!) psalm tone setting of the Creed.
  • I composed a harmonized original psalm tone setting of the Nicene Creed that was published by GIA as part of my Jubilation Mass in 1999. It was revised according to the new translation of the Order of Mass that went into effect in 2010.

    The congregation’s melody is very simple, as it moves in step-wise motion. The setting also appears in GIA’s Worship IV hymnal at #341, in case anyone is interested.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,570
    I composed a Byzantine chant-inspired setting of the Creed some time ago and posted it here. Rather than hunt for it, I'm attaching the PDF of the chant score (square notes). The SATB choral score and a sound file are published at CPDL.
    Thanked by 1ronkrisman
  • I suppose a psalm tone is better than nothing at all. But teaching the creed in an English adaptation of one or more of the Gregorian creeds is certainly within the capability of a great many congregations. They are NOT that difficult. Fr Columba has done several of these, and they are freely downloadable. There is also one in the back of The Hymnal 1940 (and several in the back of the 1982) which could be easily adapted to the new Roman words, which aren't that different. The creed SHOULD be sung, and it should be sung to one of the Gregorian melodies. Failing this, simpler settings are better that none at all. The trouble with doing things like this to psalm tones is that it is such an infantile solution, not to mention demeaning and insulting for those who have to sing a creed or a gloria to them.

    AND, CHG - I like your Byzantine inspired setting. I might syllabificate a little differently in a couple of places, BUT, it is really nice. It hath the ecclesiastical feel of faith and belief.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • I agree that it is not the end-all solution. The reality is that in the last seven years that I've been a Catholic, I have NEVER heard the Creed sung in an OF Mass. This saddens me beyond measure. We sing the Credo at EVERY TLM that I've done since starting it in Advent. With that being said, it is really just me and the Schola who sing it. The parishioners are still getting used to it. I was looking for something to pitch to my priest while looking for a more permanent solution. This would be something I could teach all of the choirs (3 of which I do not direct) within a week. I have enjoyed greatly most of the solutions presented in this post. It will be a matter of talking to my priest on Wednesday and seeing if he is even open to the idea of the congregation singing the Creed in the OF at this time.

    It's already been an intense culture shock to introduce Propers with a newly formed Basilican Choir, Latin Ordinaries (except for the Gloria and Creed), and getting rid of the bad theology hymns. I have a feeling he may tell me to not bother right now to give the congregations some time to adjust to what we've already thrown at them in the past 8 months. My real pitch for adding something new that we both know is the Liturgical Ideal is to make it as singable and as accessible as possible. In the meantime, I'm greatful for the contributions! I'm seriously thinking about picking one to add to the repertoire in the future.

    Just on a side note: CHGiffen, would it be beneficial to have a choir or schola sing only the melody line, and have the organ fill the rest of the parts for your SATB arrangement? I was singing it, and didn't see anything that would be too earth shattering for my people. We just don't have enough members to cover four parts at this time since the OF choir that I run is brand new. Just something for us to shoot for! Thanks in advance!
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,570
    Barnabus ... it certainly would be fine to have everyone sing melody with (if necessary) organ accompaniment. It could just as well be sung, melody only, without accompaniment.

    MJO ... after having sat on it for almost two years, I agree that the syllabification could indeed be improved somewhat.

    To both of you (and any others) ... I'm going to take this to the woodshed and work on it a bit, to see if it can't be improved somewhat.
    Thanked by 1barnabus1898
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    Ah.... now I just need to find a parish where the pastor doesn't simply omit the Credo.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,900
    I would like for my parish to chant the Creed, but I lost that battle. The masses are close together and can run overtime. I am told singing the Creed, or The Symbol of Faith as we easterners call it, would take time that isn't available. Of course, my suggestion to shorten lengthy sermons did not fall on fertile ground - LOL.
  • CGM
    Posts: 505
    There is an excellent orthodox-chant adaptation of the Nicene Creed by Daniel Sañez, the Organist & Choirmaster at St. Catherine of Siena, an O.P. parish on the upper east side of Manhattan (NYC). With his permission, I attach it here. His notes:

    "This is by no means a 'score' -- parts are added gradually as the creed goes along. The melody is in the Alto. Also attached is the scan (melody alone) for the congregation.

    Use as you wish; please provide credit."

    The choral file is a 2-page PDF; the congregational part is a JPG image.

    If anyone wants to get in touch with him directly, here's here:
    Daniel Sañez | dsanez (at)