Organ accompaniment books?
  • Geremia
    Posts: 193
    What are some good books on organ accompaniment of chant?
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 200
    For starters, the Nova Organi Harmonia is pretty great. Are you looking more for a technical guide as opposed to sheet music?
    Thanked by 1Geremia
  • Geremia
    Posts: 193
    Yes, more technical.

    From what I've discovered, Niedermeyer's Gregorian Accompaniment: A Theoretical and Practical Treatise Upon the Accompaniment of Plainsong (he was founder of the École de Musique Religieuse, and the intro. contains a very good overview of chant's modes) and Springer's The Art of Accompanying Plain Chant (dedicated to Pope St. Pius X!) both seem good.
  • Geremia,

    I've never seen the point I'm about to make in print, but it must be there somewhere:

    How you accompany chant depends on two fundamental questions, which are "Does the organ constitute an independent voice?" and "Must the melody's notes (all or some of them) be in the right hand)?
  • Ted
    Posts: 186
    If you are looking for technical instructions on accompanying Gregorian chant on the organ ad-lib, I would suggest anything by Henri Potiron who followed the Solesmes school of chant interpretation. His two chant accompaniment books were translated into English, and available online:

    https://www.ccwatershed.org/2013/03/19/1933-potiron-gregorian-accomp-treatise/

    https://www.ccwatershed.org/2013/03/19/1949-practical-instruction-plainsong-accomp/

    Potiron was a very good Gregorian scholar, musician, and composer. His work on Gregorian modality is one of the best, but, unfortunately, not well known in the English speaking world. He also wrote full accompaniments for the Graduale Romanum and others (eg Kyriale, Vesperale, etc.) to help singers in average parishes and monasteries, which, at least in the French speaking world, became classics.
    Thanked by 1Geremia
  • Palestrina
    Posts: 338
    Geremia, had a look at both the books you recommended and they seem useful to me insofar as an organist might:
    1. Want to imagine the exact opposite of their method and use that, or
    2. Use their method as the basis for some kind of Durufle-esque choral arrangement (adding in a few tablespoons of impressionism for good measure).

    To their credit, both writers have been clear about their principles... and I rather wish more authors would set out their work so neatly!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,570
    All the methods I have looked at are too vanilla for my taste... the NOH is just soooo good, why use anything else?
    Thanked by 1Geremia
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 881
    The NOH and its offshoots are excellent for accompanying chant, but far from ideal for leading chant from the organ (where some change on every ictus is really necessary to keep a less-skilled ensemble moving along)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,570
    I lead chant from the organ from the NOH... but I get your point. However, I think a less skilled organist is the issue, not the schola. The NOH is challenging even when not directing. The chant should lead the organ accomp, not visa versa.
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 881
    It should, and that's why I said it is an excellent accompanimental resource. There is a limit to how much motion can be shown from the console when the singers are not a) fully in sync with each other as to the intended tempo of the chant, and b) wanting to drag in the first place. Adding notes to the accompaniment is the only way to accomplish this purely from the console, short of absolute witchcraft or beating the singers into submission elsewhere. If you have a conductor or a competent schola, this is a moot point.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,570
    short of absolute witchcraft or beating the singers into submission


    I have not tried either of these two methods...
  • Geremia
    Posts: 193
    @francis: Yes, NOH seems awesome.
    Here it is as one giant 1.1GB bookmarked PDF.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,570
    @Geremia

    hmmm.... link not working.
  • Geremia
    Posts: 193
    @francis The link to the 1.1GB PDF works now.

    There's also a torrent link or magnet link, which might be faster to download.