Syllabic English Credo
  • In another thread (What did you hear today?) Pes asked for a syllabic English Credo. Here is my adaptation of Vatican Credo I to the English translation CURRENTLY used in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    This is great. Our schola is asked to sing Masses in the OF, and this will sound much more consistent with settings of the Ordinary that are not triadic-sounding, like VIII and XVII. It takes work to set this stuff, so Bruce, we are mucho obliged!
  • This is very nice. Thank you so much!

    Can you look at "bap-tism"? Not sure about that.
  • Jeffrey:

    Are you suggesting that I treat "baptism" as a three-syllable word?

    People may sing it that way, but there's no way to write it that way. A syllable (in English, at any rate) has to contain a vowel. I can't very well write "bap-tis-m."

    Or did you have some other concern?

  • Baptism may not be a three-syllable word, but Jeffrey is right to recognize the difficulties that word creates. Theodore Marier solved the "baptism" dilemma in his English Profession of Faith (#13 in Hymns, Psalms and Spiritual Canticles). He places the accent on "tism" and extends it with three notes:

    "bap" (eighth note C#) - "tism" (eighth notes C#,D, quarter note B).
  • Randolph:

    Thank you for drawing my attention to Marier's setting. I have just looked at it, and I regret to say that I don't think he's handled this troublesome word successfully.

    I haveconsulted both Webster's 2nd (the pre-1961 "prescriptive" edition) and the American Heritage dictionary. Although W2 gives "bapTIZE" as the ONLY pronunciation, and AH gives both "bapTIZE" and "BAPtize," both give "BAPtism" as the only possible pronunciation.

    In the text of the Creed the word "one" is accented, as well as the first syllable of "baptism." Where one accented syllable immediately follows another, we always lengthen the first of the two (in normal speech). Marier seems to scan the phrase as: "we acKNOWlege ONE bapTISM" rather than as "We acKNOWledge ONE BAPtism."

    Everyone, in fact, pronounces "baptism" as a three-syllable word. There is just no way to write it that way. Perhaps I should write two short notes over "tism" to reflect what people actually sing.

    On another note-- Justine Ward's Fourth Year textbook, accessible on this site, contains on pages 184-187 a diagram illustrating Mocquereau's analysis of the Credo I melody. Winfred Douglas worked from this analysis in drafting his adaptation of the chant to the 16th-century Anglican translation. I've taken the same approach. The piece is fundamentally psalmodic--composed almost entirely of three "set-forms" that are in their own way almost as regular as psalm tones.
  • yes, that's what I was referring to. Sort of tripped me up.
  • Good grammar can only be helped by good pronunciation. Baptism is only two syllables. Maybe the congregation learning to sing the word properly will carry over into their every-day speech. Another word is "choir". It is better as one syllable, at least poetically. And there ARE times where contractions ARE appropriate. "HGWPTN" has a number of examples: verse one "... All in heav'n above adore Thee"; verse 2 "Angel choirs above are raising" and "Fill the heav'ns with sweet accord". Hymns ARE metrical, and these are tools that are common to keep these meters. It's neither rocket surgery or brain science! I think we have gotten quite lazy about the English language with all the G&P songs which defy metric categories, and have every verse through-composed.
  • Nevertheless, I think we can all agree that "baptísma" and "chorus" are inherently more singable than "baptism" and "choir".