Holy Wednesday chants from the Graduale Simplex
  • We're planning to celebrate the Ordinary Form Mass on Holy Wednesday as part of a one-day retreat. The celebrant wishes the Mass to be in Latin, ad orientem, and with Gregorian chants. Though the Graduale Romanum propers are our first choice, our fledgling schola has very little time to rehearse the Graduale Romanum propers for the day, so we decided to resort to the next best chantbook -- the Graduale Simplex (GS).

    The GS, however, does not provide the chants for Holy Wednesday. Should we just use the GS chants for the previous Sunday (i.e., Palm Sunday, which, according to the GS, uses the same suite as that of Lent Week 5)?

    Also, where can I find an online English translation of the GS's praenotanda and rubrics? We'd very much love to be able to sing the GS chants according to its internal rules, but none in our schola is proficient in Latin. Thanks in advance for any help that you can provide.
  • For the OF, the Mass for Ash Wednesday is used on weekdays of Lent in the 1975 GS. That said, the 1975 GS Mass of 5th Sunday in Lent is actually the 1967 GS Mass of Passiontide, so it would make sense to me to use that Mass for Spy Wednesday. Just make sure to use at least 5 verses for the Responsorial Psalm. I believe there's only 1 reading before the Gospel on Spy Wednesday, so you have a choice of Responsorial Psalm I, II, the Acclamation (with verses from the previous Responsorial Psalm that weren't used), or the Tract.
  • @ClemensRomanus, I found this rubric after the chants for Ash Wednesday in my scanned copy of the 2007 GS (which I got from the downloads section of Musica Sacra):

    Hi cantus resumi possunt in omnibus feriis temporis Quadragesimae.


    which Google Translate renders as "These songs can be resumed at any time during Lent." I think that's what you were referring to when you said that the Ash Wednesday chants are used for Lenten weekdays. I admit that I glossed over that rubric, since I jumped directly to the section on Holy Week.

    Regarding your suggestion that the Mass chants for the 5th Sunday of Lent can be used for Spy Wednesday — I'll probably go this route, since we've rehearsed this chant set before. Though, will such a choice not be a violation of the above-quoted rubric? (Or maybe we can seek refuge under the alius cantus aptus umbrella? :D)

    Thanks for the reminder about the Responsorial Psalm, Acclamation, and Tract. We will be singing all verses of the Responsorial Psalm. This is an unhurried Mass for a one-day Lenten retreat.
  • @ClemensRomanus, is the older GS available on-line?

    It seems to me that the (ordinary form) GS has little to say about ferial masses, except for that one Ash Wednesday rubric. And since (apart from the responsorial psalm) the OF rubrics leave so much freedom to the choice of chants (cf. GIRM #367) I'd read it as permissive or encouraging -- "These songs can _well_ be chosen for any weekday in Lent" -- rather than restrictive.

    As for the responsorial psalms, I think they are the glory of the GS, the best reason to keep it. Unfortunately they are so unusual, so far from common usage, that in my experience priests and people and choirs are reluctant to choose them. Not sung the usual antiphonal ish way, but more like responsories. Not the same texts as the Lectionary. And longer, as you mention above. Weirds people out. You're lucky to have a priest who's keen on them.

    (We are using By Flowing Waters, which is the GS in English, sort of. But we have to sing the responsorial psalms from the lectionary.)
    Thanked by 1Paul F. Ford
  • Not sung the usual antiphonal ish way, but more like responsories.

    But, aren't the Responsorial Psalm and Graduale, er, responsories?
  • In theory yes, but in fact and practice not at all.

    The brief responsories in the Office, which is what I mean, are like this
    * the cantor starts with a verse
    * the response follows immediately, completing the thought ("locutio integra" as it says in the GS praenotanda, or "emerges from the text" as Paul Ford says)
    * each verse is responded: the exchange is relatively rapid
    * verse and response are relatively short and simple
    * often there are two response melodies, and/or two verse tones

    By contrast, the usual Responsorial Psalm:
    * the responses are relatively long (eg a whole Psalm verse)
    * the cantor's verses are often sung two at a time
    * the response rarely "emerges from the text"
    * the cantor invariably begins with the response, which is repeated as a first "response" before the first verse
    * the response melodies are often self-contained musical phrases

    The result is more like antiphonal singing, where the "antiphon" can stand alone, and is resumed after some verses of a psalm. Of course the verses are from the cantor alone, usually (though we've probably all seen it done other ways, and the rubric allows several other ways).

    As for the "responsorial" Gradual, as found in the Graduale Romanum, well, historically it's said that this is or was a responsorial form, but
    * There is only one "verse" and the "response" is not usually resumed after it, only sung once before
    * The "response" generally is a whole verse.
    * The melodies are long and florid and glorious, and not at all fitted for the back and forth of a responsorium brevium.

    So whatever the theory, in practice the GS responsorial psalms are not like these other things.
    Thanked by 1balaanghuni
  • Andrew,
    It's not online as far as I know, though I do have a copy of Good Friday and the Litanies (Rogation Days) from the 1967 GS. I also have a copy of the 1968 ICEL Simple Gradual, which is a translation of the 1967 GS. It's cool to see how things were reassigned. There's an old thread about the redistribution of Mass formularies here on the forum. Lent IV used to be Septuagesima; Lent V was Passiontide, OT I was Season after Epiphany, etc.
  • I suppose the 1968 ICEL translation is still normative, isn't it. Heh! Because the Holy See hasn’t recognized any revision of it.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,414
    However, the Gradual is similar to the Prolix Responsories of Matins when the Gloria Patri is omitted:

    Cantor intones the "respond" up to *, which is then taken up by the choir. The cantor sings the Verse, the choir repeats the respond from **; then the respond is repeated from the beginning.

    All that the Gradual lacks is the repeat from **.
    Thanked by 1Andrew Malton
  • @ClemensRomanus, would you know of any online resource providing the English translation of the praenotanda and rubrics of the 2007 GS? Our young schola would like to seriously consider learning the GS chants since we often get invitations to sing at such short notice. The simpler chants are quicker to learn. Though, we still cherish the GR as our first choice.
  • The explanation in By Flowing Waters is fuller, and perfectly compatible with the rubrics in GS, and in English. Consider getting a copy, and then you can sing in English as well or instead, if asked to.

    It's not a liturgical book like the (vernacular) Missal, though, so if you are determined on close readings only of official rubrics, this won't help quite so much.
    Thanked by 2balaanghuni CHGiffen
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,381
    is the older GS available on-line?

    This claims to be downloadable, though I don't know how to get it! (advice welcome)
    Apart from the reassignment needed by the reform of the calendar, are there any differences between the editions? (And of course the rubric changes for the OF)
  • There are a few differences. For example, on Good Friday, during the procession with the Blessed Sacrament from the altar of repose, a Responsorial chant is sung. There are also different interlection chants (Habakkuk and Ps 139).
    Thanked by 1igneus
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 714
    Regarding your suggestion that the Mass chants for the 5th Sunday of Lent can be used for Spy Wednesday — I'll probably go this route, since we've rehearsed this chant set before. Though, will such a choice not be a violation of the above-quoted rubric?


    The rubric itself doesn't prescribe that the Ash Wednesday chants are to be used on the weekdays of Lent.

    Hi cantus resumi possunt in omnibus feriis temporis Quadragesimae.


    Possunt gives a possibility. These chants may be used throughout the Lenten weekdays. I agree with Andrew that rubric is permissive rather than restrictive. The chants of the 5th Sunday of Lent are a good choice for Wednesday of Holy Week, which doesn't violate the rubric.
  • Thank you, @smvanroode, for confirming. I feel relieved. Our schola just wants to make sure that we're serving music that is consonant with the mind of the Church.