QUILISMA. do not hold
  • The verdict is in. The evidence is in the neumes . Do not hold the note before the Q: but the not after. There it is.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • stulte
    Posts: 204
    oh? I personally don't hold the 2nd note of a salicus, but this is a new one to me. Could you elaborate further please?
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,595
    I still have the impression semiotic chant performance practice (whatever that is) is something under construction. Cardine makes an excellent case that, as a reconstruction of Carolingian singing, the Solesmes interpretation is built on sand, and has left us a nice little pile of sawdust instead.

    Donning asbestos...
  • Nice to advertise this for them that don't yet know it, or think the Liber Usualis method, so-called 'Solesmes', was brought down the mountain by Moses along with the ten commandments.
    The quilisma is not the only thing that Cardine's book sets the record straight about.
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 390
    Tut, tut.

    I say: of course authorities differ, and will continue to differ.

    The "evidence in the neumes" is why folks were advised to lengthen the note before the quilisma in the first place.

    From Dom. Mocquereau's book, we have this:

    § 2. — The MSS. The Retroactive Effects of the Quilisma.

    534. — The Latin quilisma has a retroactive effect, and even prolongs the note or neum preceding it.

    To this rule there is no exception : it is proved in one way or another by those manuscripts of every country which have preserved the rhythmic notation, whether wholly or in part.


    —Le Nombre Musical Grégorien, p. 415.

    And the same is true for the other oft-despised characteristics of the Mocquereau's Solesmes method.

    To wit, the expressive rendering of the middle note of the salicus, and of the first note only in the case of the clivis with an episema are likewise derived from the evidence of the neumes.

    Regarding the usual treatment of the middle note of the salicus, we find on p. 402 that:

    512. — This interpretation is supported by the following facts:

    1° Neumatic equivalents in the St. Gall manuscripts ;
    2° Romanian letters ;
    3° The use of the same sign for the pressus and the salicus in the manuscripts of Metz, Laon, Verceil and Milan ;
    4° Equivalents in the manuscript of Laon ;
    5° Adaptation of the text to the salicus


    And on p. 175, we have a very clear table showing the clivis with and episema, with parallel Solesmes and modern notation alongside it showing explicitly that such a figure is to be regarded as a "clivis with an episema on the first note": for this was how Mocquereau read the evidence of the neumes.

    If you sing from the neumes of the Graduale Triplex, are you really basing your decisions on more evidence than was consulted by Dom. Mocquereau and his colleaugues?

    Thus, please remember that what we have with our standard editions of chant, marked with the Solesmes rhythmic signs, is a recommended, practical way of singing this body of repertoire according to findings of scholarly semiology.

    Also, please note that when interpreted discretely, these indications made in the name of Solesmes are in fact still compatible even with such seemingly contradictory assertions as were made by the original poster, for those who ascribe to such conclusions of modern research sufficient credence as to find it necessary to reflect this in their singing.

    [And as a postscript, let me add: it is abundantly clear that the intent of the Solesmes signs is definitely not to have the notes marked with the episema or the note before the quilisma tripled in value, which I feel that I have heard done inadvertently by more than one ensemble.]
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,225
    [And as a postscript, let me add: it is abundantly clear that the intent of the Solesmes signs is definitely not to have the notes marked with the episema or the note before the quilisma tripled in value, which I feel that I have heard done inadvertently by more than one ensemble.]


    It is all too easy to sing without the subtlety suggested...
    Thanked by 1MichaelDickson
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,464
    hold that thought

    or don't
  • BGP
    Posts: 205
    "The verdict is in." would mean it is decisively and definitely proved for all time. These sort of details will be perpetually debatable (barring the discovery of a clear, unambiguous, yet undiscovered explanation from the period stating 'this is how we do it').
    Thanked by 1CCooze
  • I am hardly an expert, but I had thought Mocquereau's understanding--while he performed important work--- was largely superceded. Certainly, Solesmes has abandoned all of that in their new editions, as has the Graduale Novum. I have made it through Cardine's Semiology, but cannot claim to have been enlightened too much beyond the basics. I don't have the book in front of me, but I think it is Cardine's "Chant year One" I am singing through and it is very enlightening. There's lots to read but of course it comes down to the conductor and the singers he has available.

    Kenneth
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,330
    I dated a girl named Quilisma once. We had to break up because we could never agree whether I should hold her or not.
  • stulte
    Posts: 204
    Some of us are only concerned about the scholarship behind the neumes to the extent that it provides us with a workable musical score which we'll then sing in a manner we feel works best musically. Even if what's written about rhythm in the LU is absolutely how it was sung when Charlemagne was crowned (or take your pick of event), why do we have to sing it exactly the same way?
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • CGM
    Posts: 419
    I once did a course on the Graduale Triplex with a noted chant expert at one of the CMAA Colloquia, and I asked him about "definitive" renderings of various chant symbols. His reply was that there will never be a definitive rendering (because scholarly understandings continue to evolve), and that the most important thing is that everyone singing together in a particular ensemble interprets the neums in the same way. In other words, agreement within the ensemble (steered by the director) is more important than a knock-down-drag-out about what symbol [x] means.
  • CharlesSA
    Posts: 44
    Even if what's written about rhythm in the LU is absolutely how it was sung when Charlemagne was crowned (or take your pick of event), why do we have to sing it exactly the same way?
    I would say this: I am a proponent of the "old Solesmes" method (well, mostly because it's the only way I've learned, so y'all may take this with a grain of salt) not because of any notion that it might have been "absolutely how it was sung when Charlemagne was crowned (or take your pick of event)" - but a) because it seems more practical to teach a choir - and also works best for groups from different places joining together and singing knowing the same basics; and especially b) because it seems more beautiful.

    His reply was that there will never be a definitive rendering (because scholarly understandings continue to evolve), and that the most important thing is that everyone singing together in a particular ensemble interprets the neums in the same way. In other words, agreement within the ensemble (steered by the director) is more important than a knock-down-drag-out about what symbol [x] means.
    Adding to/following on what I just said above - in my opinion: well, obviously it is important that there is unity/agreement within the ensemble; but I think it is equally important to consider the beauty of whatever "method" a choir is agreeing upon.

    This is probably a really, really bad and, I don't know, maybe unfair? analogy, but it popped into my mind, so I'll just use it:

    I had a friend at college, in the music department of which I was a part; he was so very interested in Schoenberg. If you got to talking to him, if you let him talk about it, he would get so, so excited talking about the theoretical ideas behind the various atonal systems Schoenberg employed. And he was pretty much able to convince me that it actually is very interesting and, in a certain sense/to a degree, amazing, some of the music theory and scholarship, shall we say, in how he created his musical pieces. But the reason I could never stomach Schoenberg (his atonal music, at least) - is because, no matter how theoretically interesting it is, it is...well...ugly! Haha.

    OK, and so the reason I'm saying this is probably a terrible analogy is because I don't really think that the "new Solesmes" method is ugly...though I do think the more one strays from what I perceive to be the rhythmic principles and nuances involved in the "old Solesmes" method, I do think it becomes less beautiful. But the reason I am saying this is an analogy: sure, the scholarship behind whatever advances we are discovering in the chant manuscripts is interesting, but in the end, I think one has to ask oneself if whatever discoveries are being made are actually making the chant, in practice, more beautiful.

    I hope that I can one day actually make a more detailed study - even just in terms of listening, because hearing goes a long way - of the "newer" Solesmes method, so that I can feel more secure that I'm not just blindly/vehemently sticking to the method I've always known. The method about which I grew not only a bit more knowledgeable, but which I internalized to the very depths of my soul, having just spent 11 months at a monastery which utilized the "old" Solesmes method.
  • MarkS
    Posts: 231
    Off topic, but I have to take a moment and defend poor Schoenberg, who is unfairly maligned in these threads. Am I the only one who finds a work like 'Erwartung' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIQssywUirE (a pre-twelve tone, freely atonal period work) absolutely beautiful? Pierrot Lunaire? Anybody?

    Okay, back to neumes.
  • I do too, though I prefer Berg.
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 390
    Do you know Schoenberg's Sechs kleine Klavierstücke ?
    Thanked by 2MarkS Andrew Malton
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,890
    Too many of these threads have deteriorated into discussions of Schoenberg and other members of the Second Viennese School.
    Thanked by 1Jeffrey Quick
  • What happens if for some reason you do hold the note before the quilisma?
  • >> What happens if for some reason you do hold the note before the quilisma?

    The OP will round up other CMAA forum posters to surround your house and try to stone you to death with popcorn.
  • bonniebede
    Posts: 751
    I am happy if any member of my choir manages to hold a note without being distracted, run out of breath or otherwise disengage from the process. If they manage simultaneously to hold the right note, well, I am thrilled.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,403
    Too many of these threads have deteriorated into discussions of Schoenberg and other members of the Second Viennese School.

    ...who wrote no liturgical music. (and I LIKE Webern's religious music)

    These discussions remind me of similar, even more detailed and impassioned discussions, in the Caecilia and elsewhere, in the late 50s and early 60s, when singing the chant exactly right was the Most Important Thing. And then the meteor hit.
  • CharlesSA
    Posts: 44
    Off topic, but I have to take a moment and defend poor Schoenberg, who is unfairly maligned in these threads. Am I the only one who finds a work like 'Erwartung' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIQssywUirE (a pre-twelve tone, freely atonal period work) absolutely beautiful? Pierrot Lunaire? Anybody?
    Well, in my post above I did use the qualifier, when saying how ugly I thought Schoenberg's music was, of "his atonal music, at least" :) I do actually recall listening once to a composition of his which was not atonal; though it was obviously a late-Romantic style piece (still a good amount of chromaticism and not completely conventional), I do remember thinking, wow, that is quite beautiful!
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,188
    This reminds me of Charles Cole's reminiscence of the cafe Le Quilisma, down the road from the Abbey of Solesmes, which is owned and run by the Abbey Organist.
  • Cantus67Cantus67
    Posts: 166
    This post is EXACTLY (well, one reason) why the Vatican doesn't change it's mind about official methods of music every two weeks. If only it would do that regarding policies about sung masses for bishops performing in the 62 liturgy.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,565
    All this time I thought Schoenberg's "Friede Auf Erde" was a Christmas/religious piece. And beautiful, too. Pre-dodecaphonic.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,403
    I thought Schoenberg's "Friede Auf Erde" was a Christmas/religious piece

    Show of hands of MDs with a choir who could sing it. (I've sung it, with a college choir.)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,878
    I've never sung nor heard "Friede auf Erde" .... but I have heard "Friede auf Erden."
    Thanked by 2Jeffrey Quick dad29
  • How foolish it was of Dom Eugene Cardine to have wasted his time penning Gregorian Semiology. Can it really be that we've all been duped? If only he had known (how, even, could he not have known!) that Mocquereau and Trent had in common the ossification of their respective concerns and that anything to the contrary that followed them was anathema in their respective fields. In Mocquereau's defense one feels in due deference obliged to add that surely he, himself, would not have thought his conclusions beyond revision by future scholars. But, then....

    (Ne'ertheless, one DOES [indeed, who wouldn't!] hold Mocquereau in the highest respect and esteem, is in awe of his accomplishments, and would like to have known him, even worked beside him. Still, though, he hadn't all the information, all the data, nor all the answers.)

  • BGP
    Posts: 205
    Seems to be an uptick in these type of discussions on here lately. These sort of details it seems to me are the least we should be concerned with when the average Catholic at the average parish is (generally speaking) completely ignorant of chant and true liturgical music.

    As far as ossification is concerned being dogmatic about any specific detail of interpretation be it Cardinesque or Mocqueruan, seems undesirable.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Jenny
  • These sort of details it seems to me are the least we should be concerned with when the average Catholic at the average parish is (generally speaking) completely ignorant of chant and true liturgical music.
    I disagree. I have encountered a good number of cases in which people don't like chant, and in many of these cases, it seems that is in part due to the fact that what they hear is just not very good. True, in turn, some of this is simply because no matter what 'method' they might be using, they just sound bad; but what I am saying is - even people with no musical training can and do have at least some inner sense of what is beautiful, when they are presented it. In this sense, it is definitely important what 'method' one uses in a parish.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,395
    I find that some people just have an agenda and if you don't fit into that agenda they are automatically against you. Some people really do hate chant, no matter how it is performed. I used to not believe that but have found it to be true.
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  • Chanting according to Cardine's interpretation is, in a sense, a return to the first method of Solesmes: the rhetoric of Dom Pothier (which is in fact the method described in the introduction to the gradual of 1908), without definite ternary and binary rhythmic schemes But with cadences determined by the melody and the text. Cardine's method is actually a blend of Dom Pothier's general approach with the taste for authentic singing according to the earliest manuscripts sought by Dom Moquereau. As for the quilisma: what would differentiate it from a salicus if the previous note is not held? The melody? (The quilisma that occurs in weak degrees B and E?) PS: Sorry by any grammatical errors, I'm not perfectly fluent in english.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • BGP
    Posts: 205
    I disagree. I have encountered a good number of cases in which people don't like chant, and in many of these cases, it seems that is in part due to the fact that what they hear is ........

    well
    I don't have statistics. I seem to encounter 4 different kinds of people.

    1. People who know what chant is and hate it. They are (with rare exceptions) nearly always over a certain age and apparently take issue with daylight savings... always going on about "turning back clocks" along with indiscernible mumblings about "pre vatty can too". I don't think it's the quality that bothers them.
    2. People who know what chant is and are grateful.
    3. People who kinda vaguely recognize the words 'Gregorian Chant' and associate it with a vague impression of an Alleluia jubilus which they have picked up from movies and TV commercials.
    4. People who have no idea.

    Most people I meet seem to fall into the 3rd and 4th categories, especially if they're younger than about 50.

    ------
    how do I make this purple?(There is a 5th category consisting of snobbish, white, NPR listening, northeast US liberals who think G Chant is just "lovely" but they're never Papists)
  • ...we should least be concerned with when...

    Let's see: could we make a list of all the things we shouldn't bother ourselves about because 'most people' have never heard of them or don't like them, etc.?

    Shakespeare
    Theatre in general
    Chaucer
    Literature in general
    Brahms
    Classical music in general
    da Vinci
    Art in general
    Latin
    Language in general (including literate English)
    Gregorian chant
    Historic church music in general
    Chartres cathedral
    Architecture in general
    Lepanto
    History in general
    Armenians
    Other cultures in general
    Anything to which the champions of ignorance and cultural grinches would attach the 'E' word.
    And anything else that doesn't pop up on the internet or a TV screen

    Yes! anything that 'most people' don't know or have never heard of we shouldn't waste our time teaching them. Just leave them to wallow in their ignorance. That seems, all too often, to be the Roman way.
  • BGP
    Posts: 205
    Not sure I follow Mr. Osborn.

    Shakespeare for example. I think it highly important that High Schoolers read him. I think it less concerning that they fail to use historically correct pronunciation.

    I think it important that Gregorian chant be used in the Liturgy of Saint Gregory (outside of the tiny handful of marginalized and insignificant pockets in which it currently exists, chant that is). I think it of very little relative concern that the historically correct rendering of quilismas be used. (Especially if it is debatable that it is historically correct)

    The entire question is straining gnats and I guess I'm the sort of person who will down a beer with a gnat in it.
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,395
    If I were not getting close to retirement, I would take up the serpent and join with the Benny Hinn crusade. All feeling, no reason, and praise the Lord, hallelujah! Take your chant and shove it, I ain't comin' here no more - well, maybe I will if you serve drinks.

    Anybody else thoroughly sick and tired of the culture wars and the destruction of Western civilization?

  • stulte
    Posts: 204
    There is a 5th category consisting of snobbish, white, NPR listening, northeast US liberals who think G Chant is just "lovely" but they're never Papists

    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,890
    even people with no musical training can and do have at least some inner sense of what is beautiful, when they are presented it.


    The problem is when they have been presented with that which is not good for so long that they no longer trust in what could be the most beautiful. I have a feeling that this is why some priests won't allow chant in their parishes: they're afraid it won't be good, even if they've never heard you try it. Either that, or they're afraid of people complaining about it because that's what their experience has been, and there's now just a bias against it.

    As for the quilisma, my music history text mentions that it may be a symbol used in a chant for when a vocal ornament was sung during the oral transmission.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Elmar
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,595
    How do I make this purple? (There is a 5th category consisting of snobbish, white, NPR listening, northeast US liberals who think G Chant is just "lovely"
    I guess I can overlook your snubbing of us West Coasters and point you to
    the Read-This-First category.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,395
    We southerners listen to NPR, too, at least the music. I turn off the political stuff. It's the only classical music station in town. And we are not liberal. Snobbish? Maybe, but you may have asked for it with your actions.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • Now that I think about it, I dated his much younger sister, Fermata, afterwards. She was a LOT more clear in her expectations!!!
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 337
    "The notes which precedes the quilisma are almost always written with long signs" (Gregorian Semiology, 200)

    "The melody obviously tends towards the note which follows the quilisma. This note is brought into relief by the ornament which follows and by the fact that the same note is repeated as the first note of the next syllable…. In these formulas, the St. Gall MSS underline the note which follows the quilisma by the addition of an episema to the clivis…. Let it be added, however, that in the formulas [quilisma-clivis] the lengthening of the last two notes is so normal that copyists did not always think it necessary to point this out by the addition of an episema. L indicates the length of the two notes by detaching them from one another and by the occasional addition of an [a]." (Ibid. 201)

    "When the note which follows the quilisma is a "subpunctis", the St. Gall copyists almost always underline its importance by the addition of an episema." (Ibid. 202)

    "There are also instances in which one or two higher notes follow the quilisma pes. These notes can be either light or long. But the virgo after the quilisma still remains important. It is always followed by an intentional pneumatic break and it often carries an episema." (Ibid. emphasis mine)

    "The higher note which follows the virgo of the quilisma-pes is sometimes the principal note, but this does not diminish the rhythmic value of the preceding note which is prepared by the quilisma." (Ibid. 203)

    It's not as clear cut as Ralph implies, but it is true that the quilisma tends upwards, but this is not necessarily to the detriment of the preceding note, which is often also lengthened.

    Cardine also discusses the similarities between the quilisma and the oriscus of the salicus, "since they are both passing notes in a group which ascends towards a principle note." Yet they are used differently in different melodic relationships: "The quilisma, a passing tone preceded by one or several lengthened notes is normally placed on MI or SI – weak degrees of the scale…. The oriscus of the salicus - a passing tone preceded by one or several light notes is usually found on the important degrees: FA or DO." (Ibid. 209)
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  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 337
    I think the important thing here isn't getting caught up in the details or being a pedant, but in taking into account the nature of Gregorian chant, which is the Word of God vivified by melody. To that end, understanding the proper relationship between melody and text is crucial. It's not as significant with the quilisma, but in the case of the salicus, the textual and melodic integrity is greatly disrupted by the false accentuation of the oriscus as is falsely implied by the vertical episema of the old Salesmen editions. Take the incipit of the "Requiem" introit.

    We might not be able to recreate a perfect 8th century Gall Latin pronunciation, but are we consistent in our pronunciation, as well as treating and proclaiming the text as the living word of God, and giving the right emphasis to the right syllables and accents based on the vivification by the melody? Things like the misinterpretation of the salicus hinder that relationship.

    I don't think that understanding such relationships requires having read Gregorian Semiology, things like the neumatic break, the repercussion of notes, the oriscus, are simply parts of chant theory that should be taught to the uninitiated like all of the other rules that have been taught in the past. They're just different because the scholarship has progressed. A choir member might not be able to recognize a neumatic break, but the choir master could easily point it out if the chant edition doesn't make it clear.

    It seems like a lot of the problem is simply that Cardine's findings have not been well disseminated, as well as the fact that some things are different, and change is difficult, especially in a time when so much else has changed in the Church. But the basic tenets and changes called for by a technique informed by Cardine's work is no more beyond the grasp of a choir member than such a technique informed by so called "old Solesmes".

    Just my two denarius.
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 337
    Ah, that felt good. I always feel so mentally refreshed digging into chant theory and semiology after I've been away form it for a time.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 720
    Just because a note is important does not mean it must be lengthened.

    Perhaps you could surmise its importance by the value of the notes preceding it:
    the lengthening of the note before the quilisma is proving the "importance" of the note following the quilisma by approaching it with deliberate trepidation.
    Thanked by 2Vilyanor CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,395
    Just because a note is important does not mean it must be lengthened.


    What, what. what? I have a loud soprano in my choir who thinks the last note in any phrase is a fermata.
  • Ah, isn't that a common problem - getting certain singers to count the full number of beats due a lengthy note within a phrase or a piece - but when it comes to those last notes they want to stretch them out indefinitely and with great authority.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,890
    They want to hear themselves echoing in the room.
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,003
    Ok, so my pet peeve for notes held too long - WAY too long - is the typical congregational response:

    ... per omnia saecula saeculorum.
    Aaaaahhhh - mehhhhh-ehhhhhhhhhhhhnnnnn.

    Please! Pick up on the tempo of the minister, and stop turning one word into a mini opera!