The Parish Book of English Hymns
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,611
    IMHO, it should be markedly Catholic in every way possible. Why would we want anything else?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,733
    As Kathy indicated, Julian is presenting hearsay: describing unsourced complaints about unspecified defects in unspecified works among Neale's translations, vaguely attributed to "The Roman Catholics". I have to wonder what the issues could be in particular cases. They can't be ubiquitous. Most office hymns don't touch on doctrinal matters that would give Protestants pause. Many of Neale's translations have appeared in works that won the imprimatur (e.g., Fr. Britt's 1922 collection which I linked above).

    But no matter: if the source materials for the PBEH are out in the open, we can all see the Latin originals, and make our own judgements about the goodness and completeness of various English versions, and read the judgments of the PBEH editors.

    I figure that people come to a public-domain hymnal looking for a collection of heritage material, as much as possible familiar and unaltered; texts that arguably have stood the test of time, without invented corrrections.

    As I urged above, if Neale or anyone else didn't translate some important aspects of a hymn, the editors can omit the whole thing; or they can use other long-standing PD translations of the same hymn, either in whole or as a supplement.

    As for Kathy's question, "will this hymnal be markedly Catholic"? It's hard to know what is meant by that.

    Some Catholics would take that to exclude any text, translation, or maybe even any tune written by a non-Catholic. Most of us probably aren't that strict.

    Sometimes the desire to vigorously affirm Catholic distinctives has led to distortions in implementation: some old hand missals and prayer books used to present tendentious translations of Mass propers and prayers, making the English versions more pointed about affirming authority than the Latin originals were! Surely the PBEH should not perpetuate inaccuracies, and I trust no one would disagree with that.

    It ought to reflect the Catholic liturgical year, including observances considered distinctively Catholic (such as those of the Immaculate Conception, the Chair of St. Peter, etc.) CMAA should submit the hymnal to the Church's judgment for an imprimatur.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,368
    I don't think translations of office hymns, particularly the most ancient and excellent, should be acceptable if they "omit" this or that.

    I realize that the post-conciliar conception of hymnody is: random words and sentiments, often vaguely religious, sort of strung together and set to music. But that hasn't always been the RC thought about hymns. They've been incorporated into the liturgy and theology of the Church: in some cases they are big-T Tradition. You cannot just say, oh, let's leave that Mary part out of an office hymn, and it will still be liturgically correct for Catholics.

    Julian, a Protestant, grants the point. He admits that Neale changed the meaning of the hymns.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 824
    I thought the hymnal was supposed to be *both* PD and Creative Commons. Mostly vetera, but not without some nova. I'd love to see an Imprimatur.

    The Office hymns in Latin have truly stood the test of time, whereas the English translations are at most 150 years old and there are plenty of variants.

    Some of Neale's work is unassailable. Some of it is questionable. The editors of the Traditional Roman Hymnal included four of Neale's hymns, two of which they alted, and two of which they left alone. One of the alts which would likely cause some to bristle is the change of "Of the Father's Love Begotten" to "Of the Father's Heart Begotten". The original Latin, from the IV Century, is Corde natus ex Parentis. See the texts side by side here, and note that Neale's original title was "Of the Father Sole Begotten"!
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    I want to thank everyone contributing to this thread and to this idea of a hymnal, I'm learning much, it's making me think about the subject in ways I had not before, and it's leaving me less sure of opinions I have held perhaps unthinkingly.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,368
    The publishing of new hymnals has led to schisms among the separated brethren. Obviously we don't want division. But I do think that there is quite a bit more at stake in the words of hymns than is often thought.

    Try this. Google: Summa "the Church sings"
  • The points on Neale are well taken. I've been accustomed to sing composite office hymns that, say for example, start with Neale on the 1st verse but when he gets wobbly on the 2nd verse, a very quick switch to Caswall or someone else. Also, one way to think of Neale is as someone once suggested to me that his work was paraphrase rather than translation. In some cases that is true. I have been more interested in his original texts, but much of his work is very usable and some would serve as a good point of departure for good Roman Catholic editing to overcome the wobbly bits.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    If we have to sing Office hymns in English, it makes sense to me that we should have the text approved by the Church? So the Catholics don't have to sing different texts with often times not so good traslations as stated above. (I know it's not done yet and lots of work, and until then I have confidence that CMAA hymnal will provide the best.) Also if they are in the hymnals, the original text and the accurate traslation should be on the page with the hymn with English text. The texts that are trying to fit the music and make more singable and poetic might loose the accuracy.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,733
    Folks, we're talking about translating poetry, a challenging task for artists greater than you and me. If you insist on a translation that is maximally literal in its rendition of the details of the original text, then really you are insisting on turning it into prose.

    If a translated hymn becomes less beautiful, less memorable, less singable, as the price for making it more literal, then it becomes less expressive of the beauty of God, and the faithful cannot sing it from memory. These are real losses.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Chonak, I didn't mean the text 'translation that is maximally literal.' I mean it sould be 'approved.' And the accurate translation that is not the text also should be provided for the better understanding of the singers (whoever is singing the hymn).
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,368
    I think they should be maximally literal. And beautiful, expressive of the beauty of God, and singable.

    I think the MAIN goal of publishing office hymns should be the recovery of lost theological treasure in the idiom of the people: the hymn.
  • If we're talking about office hymns Fr. Douglas Martis of the Liturgical Institute should be included in the conversation. He was the editor of the Mundelein Psalter and I believe that there may be a future possibility of an English language hymnal for the office from the Liturgical Institute/Hillenbrand Books. He has certainly done a great deal of work in finding the best English translations/adaptations of the office hymns.

    But from what I see so far it doesn't seem that the PBEH would be a hymnal for the office.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,611
    There should be no loss in translation, accuracy or in artistic beauty. It can be done and it should be the goal.
  • If the Mundelein Psalter had been print in the Creative Commons, it would have a much higher status today. That is offline and expensive has not helped that project.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    My opinion having already been stated, I will rely on Chonak's skills to defend it. I'd just like to give a few points:

    - "I think they should be maximally literal." Why? Does Liturgicam Authenticam require the same standards for translating Latin/Greek hymns as for the Mass (as it's not a document I'm familiar with, this is an actual question and not rhetoric)? I get the concern for hymns for the office, BUT I think overwhelmingly this hymnal needs to sell. That requires familiar hymns, which means, yes, using "At the Lamb's High Feast" for "Ad Regias Agni". Since the hours are a liturgy, yes, I see why those hymns should be literal, but let's remember the Pope himself used "At the Lamb's High Feast" when he visited America, and I challenge anyone who watched that beautiful liturgy to say it could have been more in line with his liturgical thinking. Although I will grant that for the less familiar hymns of the hours, a beautiful and "maximally literal" translation would be preferable.

    - "What will distinguish it from the 1940?" Ummm, off the top of my head: hymns in explicit praise to saints, chant notation, hymns which spell out Catholic doctrine (transubstantiation, sacramental priesthood), hymns of adoration to the Sacrament. Other than that, WHY does it need to be distinguished from the 1940?? I thought we've gotten rid of this Protophobia? I can just imagine the ICEL meeting now, reviewing the first, excellent draft of the Mass translation: "This is all well and good, but there's too many thees and thous. What will distinguish it from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer?" And then sad history was made with the next revision. (Yes, I made that up, but it shows the danger of this kind of thinking.)

    - "it should be markedly Catholic in every way possible." What in the world does this even mean? This seems to me extremely unquantifiable. Should we have pictures of the pope on every page? Have the ink mixed with holy water before printing? Should my eyes burn out of my head if I gaze upon it? Will it be titled "The Catholic Parish Catholic Book of Catholic English Catholic Hyms - Catholic, Catholic Catholic!!!1!"? Of course, the implication is that those of us who want a resource of public domain, unbowlderized hymns are looking for a less than "Catholic" publication. See my point above for what that leads to. Everyone knows what a "Catholic" hymnal is (OCP/GIA) - let's try to raise the bar a bit more than "These are hymns that would be in the commons except we trashed them to satisfy our own theological vendetta."
  • Pictures of the Pope on every page, huh? Interesting... ;)
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Why not? All the popes from Peter!!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,368
    Gavin, the urbanite reforms and the 19th century Protestant translations are distinct (though not entirely separate) issues.

    At the Lamb's High Feast was translated by Robert Campbell, a convert to Catholicism.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,368
    I think every hymn should be stood up in front of a stern-faced panel and asked, "Speak up for yourself! For what reasons should you be considered for publication in a Catholic hymnal? Artistic excellence is very good, and yes, you are rousing--but what do you have to offer in terms of tradition and doctrine? Speak up! Are you a Catholic hymn? How so?"

    Acceptable answers could vary, but I would think all the included hymns should be incredibly guilty of collusion with the teaching office of the Catholic Church.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,733
    If there are still pages to fill after we run out of popes, we can go on to the Catholic martyrs of the Reformation.

    First, they're all saints, which puts them ahead of some of the popes.
    Second, you can't get more markedly Catholic than them.
    And we could even include a reminder about which denomination was to blame for martyring each one of them. That would satisfy the need for a little triumphalism.


    (Well, OK, let's not do that.)
  • Any thoughts about this proposed press release?

    Liberate Catholic Hymns

    The Church Music Association of America has put a vast library of Gregorian chant online for free download - no log ins, licensing, or restrictions on use. This action gave unprecedented momentum to the movement for chant in parish liturgy. It provided editions that were accessible to parishes on a budget and for the poor, and underscored a critical point: the chant is part of the common property of all the faithful.

    Part of the result is the Parish Book of Chant, which is being used at the North American College in Rome to train priests, as well as seminarians, parishes, and cathedrals all over the English-speaking world. Everyone is free to photocopy and distribute any page, use and distribute electronic editions, or otherwise put the chants in programs, with no licensing requirements at all.

    For many parishes this still leaves the problem of English hymnody, which most all parishes continue to use as their main source of music. Hymns should never replace propers, but even once propers make a solid return, hymns will surely remain, as Pius XII wrote, an essential part of Catholic life.

    Most of the greatest Catholic hymns long ago entered into the public domain. But even now, there are no high-quality, in-print editions of hymnbooks that are part of the commons. They have been restricted by copyright protection and, most often, mixed with music that lacks decorum and attention to Catholic liturgical tradition. Sometimes changes in texts and harmonization are made solely for the purpose of applying copyright protection anew.

    For this reason, and to overcome this seemingly insurmountable problem, the CMAA is now preparing the Parish Book of English Hymns. It will collection hundreds of outstanding metrical hymn tunes and texts that are in the public domain, ready to serve as the basis of vernacular hymnody wherever this is needed in Catholic life today. It will first be distributed freely online, and then it will be put into print in a high-quality edition at a very low price. The typesetting will be of outstanding quality.

    The entire book is being published into the commons of the faith. Like the Parish Book of Chant, there will be no licensing, copyright restrictions, or enforcements of any kind. Any parish, rich or poor, will be free to make as many copies as they want to, put them in programs, and distribute however people wish, with no restrictions whatsoever – the same model under which the Gospels themselves were written and distributed.

    So far as we know, this is the first effort of its kind, and it could provide new momentum for quality hymns in parish life, which, as everyone knows, is desperately needed in Catholic life today.

    As part of this effort, the book will include a selection of newly composed hymns. The editors are now accepting submissions of hymns texts (English) with suggested familiar tunes or full hymns with texts and tunes together. You might also suggest a liturgical season or alternative tunes. If your hymn is chosen it will be printed in The Parish Book of English Hymns.

    You retain full rights to your hymn even as it becomes part of the commons of the faith through the Creative Commons attribution license. It can be distributed as widely as possible but you retain the right to use it in your own parish or however else you want to use it. Send your submission or any questions to newhymns@musicasacra.com.

    If you would like to support this important project, and have your name printed in the front matter of the final product, write sacredmusic@musicasacra.com.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,733
    "You retain full rights to your hymn": if you haven't run that line by a lawyer yet, do. Some people might interpret it to mean "you retain control of your hymn, you retain the ability to collect royalties, etc.", which of course isn't the case. The author retains the rights to perform, arrange, and publish the hymn, while also granting everyone else the right to do the same.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,368
    I've been trying not to ask this. But heck it's a Sunday afternoon in the summertime, and the weather won't get much better.

    What if someone translated the pachal troparion, but didn't like the image of trampling, so changed "trampling down" to "transforming." And then everybody sang it that way next Easter. Would that be okay or not okay? Why or why not?
  • yes, I have a lawyer who looked at it. With regular publishing contracts, you surrender all rights to a publisher. With CC you retain all rights but those rights can be infinitely replicated.
  • Kathy, since the paschal troparion is being sung in the Divine LIturgy of St. John Chrysostom, in the translation from the Old Church Slavonic смертию смерть поправ would require the use of destructive language in "making Death to die"... "transforming" would be an inappropriate abstraction from the text in my opinion. Western metrical hymnody is a different kettle of fish. And imagining such a question in relation to the Latin Rite one would need to view the translation in its complete form. It may not follow line by line but rather reasonably distributes the doctrinal points across the text.

    The problem as I see it is that there is a place for the hymn that is a Paraphrase or takes as it point of departure different portions of Scripture but it should not be used "in the place of" an accurate Catholic translation. And there are some texts that are a veritable duckbilled platypus. Some of this is the comparison of apples to oranges, and there is a place for a beautiful, popular paraphrase as well as a beautiful, exacting translation.

    And please let me add a quote from David Clayton's article on the NLM blog: "My approach is first to disregard personal taste. Rather than ask do I like it? I ask first, is this true."
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,733
    What about the Greek?

    "Christos Anesti ek nekron thanato thanaton patisas ke tis en tis mnimasi, zoin xarisamenos" has patisas, which looks like it comes from πατεω, to tread upon.

    I think "treading upon" is an important concept in the troparion: it's a metaphor, of course, but the image of "treading" emphasizes that Christ's risen body is real and tangible. "Transforming" is relatively abstract.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,368
    There's nothing heretical, then, if it's rendered "transforming." Some meaning is omitted, but it's still a true enough statement, right?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,733
    Oh -- you're making a lame analogy!

    No good. The troparion is not a poem; it's prose.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,368
    And why would that be a helpful distinction?

    Also, what exactly is the dog you have in this race? Other than being more-sophisticated-than-thou, I mean? Do you prefer inaccurate translations, that is, as long as they're verse?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,733
    Actually, we might not disagree as much about particular cases as we seem to have disagreed in talking about generalities.

    I'm skeptical that all the tradeoffs of accuracy and literary quality in poetry translations can be resolved. I think it's easier to get everything right in prose. Perhaps you're less skeptical. It's probably a difference in temperament.

    I'll leave the topic with these words of the Second Vatican Council (SC23): "there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them."
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    I noticed :

    "It will collection hundreds of outstanding metrical hymn tunes and texts"
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    also, I wanted to mention: The PBC says "copyright 2008" ---- just thought I would toss that out there ---- creative commons copyright, correct? but I don't see where it says that
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,368
    It's probably a matter of experience.

    But I agree, discussing particulars might be more productive.
  • It doesn't say it except on the website. that was done before the full realization that the CC existed. But we've always given it away for free and encouraged wide distribution. Now with CC, this is easier. Actually, I must say that no one put much thought it to the copyright page at all. All I knew is that I did not want the CMAA to restrict Richard's use of his own chants. Now we know all of the issues involved.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 824
    Gavin, I don't think there's ever been a hymnal designed for people in the pews that hasn't gone through theological review. For example, I don't know of any hymnal, Anglican or Catholic, which has brought in Neale's repertoire without review and alteration. (Some, regrettably, have also altered texts for non-theological reasons.) If CMAA were planning to produce the first hymnal which isn't reviewed for theological correctness, that would be a surprising departure not just from the Christian tradition, but from that of all organized religion. Even the Unitarian hymnal represents Unitarian theology. Ultimately, it is more important to get the theology right than the music and poetry, lest we make idols out of the latter. Of course, there should be no need to review again texts that have already appeared in older Catholic hymnals published with Imprimatur such as St. Gregory, St. Basil, and Westminster.

    I don't think there is any disagreement with the above (if I'm wrong, someone correct me). There is some argument about whether theologically problematic passages can be corrected by editorial alteration or if they should be excluded entirely, and then there is the question of how closely translations of Office hymns (which are included precisely because they are Office hymns) should resemble the Office hymns themselves, and again what the remedy should be. Nobody is arguing for modernizing texts, improving poetry, or the omnibus exclusion of work by non-Catholic translators and composers.

    Finally, we all (I believe) agree that an Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat would be very nice to have. We had previously on another thread discussed the difficulty of obtaining one (anecdotes of bishops refusing to give it for a hymnal). If this is the case with the PBEH, then the internal review would need to be even stricter if the desire is to make the product's reputation for orthodoxy unassailable.
  • Ecclesiastical approval is certainly something this would seek but remember that most of these hymns have already been published by ICEL and named as part of the commons, though they copyright protect the book in the end.

    I've added some material in the press release in response to some comments, including e.g., a note that hymns should never replace propers - this is important for all the reasons we know.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 824
    Are there plans for a melody edition, at least available online?
  • melody only? i wouldn't think so.
  • sorry, but are there any further comments on the press release above? If not, I'll forge ahead.
  • jhoffman
    Posts: 29
    Jeffrey, Wonderful idea and hopefully this will be realized very soon!

    How about a melody edition with the tune printed above the text as in the THE CATHOLIC HYMNBOOK published by GRACEWING and complied and edited by the London Oratory? It makes for easy work in publishing a worship aid for the congregation and takes less space than the typical way most publishers produce hymnals in America. This would also allow those of us who work in parish the ease of pasting the text under a different tune if needed.

    Could we also include Christopher Teitze's Introit Hymns in this publication or something like this?

    Just some thoughts ...
  • Yes, I see what you mean about the need to paste the tune in the liturgy program. Good point. Maybe we can work on a page of free downloads of those.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,611
    A few engraving requests!

    It is best to keep the text in between the grand staff for easy Satb singing. It is also good to use shorter stems so that the staves are as close Together as possible for the organist. If there are more than three verses, they can be included after the music at the bottom of the page. Also, larger note heads make for easy reading by us older folk! It is agreat idea to have a version that is melody only, but available as a PDF or better yet in the common music programs. If you do make the digital available, width of systems and economical use of space should be considered in those layouts inluding 12pt Times Roman or something easy to read by older folk.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 824
    Presumably the work is being done in a music editor? Why not (I say greedily) also release the source files? That way we can reformat the output as we see fit.
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,021
    The music editor source files are problematic. None of them are backwards compatible - files produced on newer versions will not even open on older version. And older files often do odd things when opened on a newer version. I would rather see digital graphics files shared - TIF, BMP, PNG, JPG - they can all insert into most any word processor. PDFs are good for the organ accompaniments which would probably simply be printed as such. At least this has been my approach for about 10 years now.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,611
    Steve:

    It might be worth thinking about how the data is initially entered so that it is transportable. If you create a MIDI file of each hymn to start (a single voice part on a single staff), then any music notation program can easily convert the file to a printed score in seconds. With text, you could simply compile all the stanzas in a .txt format. This would also allow the user to transpose any hymn or arrange it for other instruments, or simply use the melody line (MIDI channel 1) as a way to create a melody only version.

    I use Sib. If I had those two file formats, I could quickly import both the MIDI file and the text into Sib and voila! I have a Sib version!

    This would be worth thinking through as we want this to be as widely used as possible. If it is thought through from the start, it would be an incredible value to those of us who do the same thing with cyber-hymnal and other MIDI/Text source files. Priceless for putting together good solid Catholic Worship Aids.

    Let me know what you think. You can learn more about my digital publishing expertise on this website: FrancisKoerber.com. It took me 20 years working in the profession to develop and perfect my philosophy of Media Asset Management (http://franciskoerber.com/mam.html) which is a type of media matrix that allows portability from one platform to another, and one media type to another. In the 90's I was the designer of all Medicaid and Medicare forms for about seven years. I had a simple matrix (instruction for keyboarding) text elements into a .txt file (including line breaks, hard returns, tabs, etc.). That way the burden of the work was not on me, but on the data entry people. I configured my style sheets to recognize the data, and the layout program simply assembled all the elements in the end. In the late 90s I was the Electronic Communications Manger for the world's largest publishing arm of the medical industry (Cadmus Communications). We were well known for having an economical system for automatically producing the entire layout for monthly Journals on the fly. We should apply this kind of technology to this hymnal project.

    In fact, if you requested all hymn submissions to include those two formats (.MID and .TXT) along with a PDF proof when CMAA puts out the Call For Hymns, you would have no work to do for the backwards compatible version! Each person who submits would do that part. You could assemble a hymnal very quickly with those source files.
  • While there's a lull, this has been quite fascinating. I'm happy to soak this all up.
    As there was considerable discussion of the translations by Mr. Neale, likely many of you ran into this post at Fr. Hunwicke's blog:

    http://liturgicalnotes.blogspot.com/2009/08/domina.html

    Cheers.
  • I would like to humbly request that the work on the PBEH be posted online in real time during its development. To add to the litany of hymnal woes my program has a batch of green Gather hymnals being held together by duct tape and a few filing cabinets full of aged photocopies. I would love to print clean copies from a digital and open source to begin replacing these. Posting the work online couldn't happen sooner for those of us who are hanging on for dear life for the new translations to arrive!
  • Yes, this is coming. The propose final hymn list is almost ready and then they can start posting. But my only concern here is version control and diversion from the task. I haven't even sent out the press release! maybe today
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,368
    The propose final hymn list is almost ready and then they can start posting.

    I'm flabbergasted. Hymnals generally take years to produce, and this in organizations that make no claims to be anything other than top-down. Yet this entirely behind-doors process, by appointees, is nearly complete? In a grass-roots organization?
  • Kathy, it is just a list. Nothing final. Jonathan and Noel are doing all the work here, and if they had posted a half complete list they would have spent all their time answering queries (what about this? Why not that?) instead of doing the work that needs to be done. They have been learned from this thread and absorbed every comment and it has helped enormously. In fact, it would not have been possible without this thread. But I've encouraged them to do the work of typesetting and sorting -- endless hours of volunteer work -- rather than doing all the blah blahing that I'm doing. In other words, they have been making adjustments in light of everything here. This is the way to get things done and stay on track. Nothing will go to print without a good period of vetting and commentary in the open air.