• Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,780
    I must say I dont quite see the place of the simplex or psalmtone propers in the NO. We've had them at St David's and they seem like a useful stepping stone to having the congregation join in, as they do quite lustily on the tone vii gloria patri at the introit. But they are hardly and end themselves, are they? From my selfish point of view it's a drag to have to wait for a tone vii introit to come around before i can sing real music ;-)

    I think I prefer Chris Tietze's idea of metrical introit paraphrases:
    Hymn Introits for the Liturgical Year

    Are these well-known? Our tree-friendly pew-hymnal (CCH) policy makes it hard to think about introducing them yet, but I think they would be perfect for a hand bulletin parish.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,183
    The propers are really designed as something for the choir to sing while the congregation does something more contemplative: e.g., (a) watch the entrance procession; (b) meditate on the first reading; (c) observe the gospel procession; (d) observe the offertory procession and the priest's preparation rites; (e) receive Holy Communion.

    Simplex or psalmtone propers are a stepping-stone, though one for the choir, not the congregation: choirs can sing them with the eventual goal of having the choir sing the full, authentic Gregorian melodies.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,460
    I bought Tietze's book years ago...
    I'm glad it exists, but I have mixed feelings on it, overall:

    One the one hand- I'm in favor of anything that gets the texts of the propers (even metrical paraphrases) into the Mass.
    Other the other hand- the style of the writing is very much Protestant Hymnody. Which is nice, but doesn't work well in either a Traditional Catholic or a Folk Catholic setting.
    For a Contemporary Music parish, I'm not sure the stepping-stone is worthwhile: you might as well just piss everyone off once (from Haas to Gradual) instead of twice (Haas to Hymns, Hymns to Gradual).

    Some of the tunes are well known by average Catholics, but most are not- which dampens the "congregational singing" benefit of such an undertaking.

    I've toyed with the idea of chanting the introit (in Latin) just prior to the procession, and then singing the Introit Hymn during the procession- but that seems weirdly redundant (even if no one understands the Latin), and if no one is going to sing it anyway (because they don't know the tune well), we might as well have had chanting or Palestrina the whole time. (I'd rather do chanted Introit, followed by metrical hymn everyone knows- then we're not duplicating text, and we got to sing, and no one is mad that some "boring old chant" replaced our "Gathering Song").

    I love the idea of the Tietze hymns, I'm just not sure they're the right option.
    Considering the style, though- they might be really great for an Anglican Use parish.... and I've been seriously considering using them at my Episcopal job (one less hymn to pick out every week!.... although I still haven't figured out how to translate Roman propers onto the Episcopalian calendar/lectionary)
  • I use the Tietze antiphons regularly. We have a weekly printed worship aid, and licensing permissions from the required publishers. For those parishes (like mine) that simply aren't ready or willing to take the step into the chanted propers, I find them to be great. I frequently re-set the words to more familiar tunes when he uses less-than-familiar ones.

    Ideal? No, but nothing short of the chant is anyway. It's certainly better than the myriad of things you hear out there.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,072
    For a Contemporary Music parish, I'm not sure the stepping-stone is worthwhile: you might as well just piss everyone off once (from Haas to Gradual) instead of twice (Haas to Hymns, Hymns to Gradual).

    Adam, you're right on the money here. The style is the hot-button issue for those sorts of places. They are more interested in the style of music (if it's catchy, etc.) than in reading/singing/praying the actual texts. For a place that is doing all hymns, all-the-time, though, Tietze's stuff is an improvement since it is using (at least a paraphrase of) the propers.
  • rollingrj
    Posts: 348
    I've toyed with the idea of chanting the introit (in Latin) just prior to the procession, and then singing the Introit Hymn during the procession- but that seems weirdly redundant....

    Adam, I have done that a few times (with another choir member who also loves chant) between Easter and Pentecost this past year and hope to do it again when our choir starts again in September. We have only done it when the choir sings {the 1st., 3rd., and (when applicable) 5th. Sundays of the month at the 11:15 AM Mass (the parish's "High Mass")}. It is just part of a plan to expose the congregation to chant so it can be gradually incorporated into the liturgy. The two weeks give us plenty of time to prepare the Introit on our own; we take about 5-10 minutes to work through it before Mass.

    Redundant? Perhaps, although I think our congregation just thinks it's part of the prelude. But I have notice they are a little more settled before Mass when we have done this.

    Just another "brick".
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,460
    But I have notice they are a little more settled before Mass when we have done this.

    That is a good reason to do almost anything.
  • Adam, I have a WIP that can help, an Excel spreadsheet that correlates the NO propers to the Anglican Use Gradual (neumatic notation) and the Burgess-Palmer English Gradual (modern notation). My 'work church' is Episcopal, so Anglo-Catholic in liturgical praxis that if one couldn't hear the language, one would think it's Missa Cantata. E-mail me if you'd like a copy.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    dont quite see the place of the simplex or psalmtone propers ...
    ... useful stepping stone to having the congregation join in ...
    ... simplex or psalmtone propers ... end themselves

    The easier music for the Propers exists for a reason.
    --the text is primary and the music is secondary.
    --the 1900s-1950s popes encouraged choir and faithful to sing the particular chant that pertains to each.
    --V2 documents repeat the instruction to do that which pertains to each (and only that).
    --V2 documents state why the Graduale Simplex exists: "for use in small churches".
    --GIRM desire (Graduale Romanum music is primary, Graduale Simplex music is secondary, ...).

    They are a useful stepping stone AWAY FROM the faithful singing
    what does not properly belong to them; you wean them away
    from singing during the Propers, while giving the cantor/choir
    something manageable while they take the time to develop the skill to sing the full Gregorian chant.

    And, in the case of small churches,
    even if they never venture beyond the Graduale Simplex,
    they are singing what the Church has officially asked.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 757
    A chant from the Graduale may be beatiful and more complex, but there's something very moving about prayer sung to a moderately elaborated and reiterated tone. That's why it's so deeply affecting in the Office and its Anglican equivalent. The simpler option need not be second best; unless it's done well, the more complex certainly is.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    Chonak and EFT, I apologize for the simplistic question, but how does what you are saying not run contrary to GIRM 48, which lists "choir alone" as the last option for the Entrance chant? Add to that the trailing phrase at the end of option 1 for the music: "...or in another musical setting." Is the musical goal for the Entrance necessarily to have the choir sing the Gregorian chant from the Gradual while the congregation listens?

    Looking at the document without any context, it seems open to interpretation, especially given GIRM 47, which states that the purpose of the Entrance is to foster the unity of those who have gathered. The language is similar for the Offertory and Communion chants, all the way down to "or in another musical setting."

    My question has nothing to do with the Simplex. I am merely questioning why we should take it for granted that singing Propers is a move away from singing by the faithful.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,183
    Yes, Doug, there really are conflicts and even contradictions among the liturgical documents.

    The proper chants of the Graduale Romanum are complex material and seldom repeated, so I'm taking it that they are not designed for the whole congregation to sing. Those chants are listed in the Ordo Cantus Missae (a book which is part of the Missale Romanum), so they have official recognition as the authentic Gregorian melodies for the texts. Following the papal and conciliar teaching on plainchant, it's fair to say that the Church considers them the ideal music, which should be fostered. The Graduale Simplex, on the other hand, was prepared at the request of the Council, with less complex material, "for use in smaller churches" where singers are not yet ready for performing the authentic chants.

    As you indicate, GIRM 48 lists four options for the introit: (1) schola and people alternating; (2) cantor and people alternating; (3) the people; (4) the schola alone.

    Yet the full Gregorian introits are not really structured for alternatim singing, and the only part that the people can sing easily, practically speaking, is the Gloria Patri after the psalm verse [I have heard this done, and it's a bit imbalanced to do it that way, but it exists]; so options 1,2, and 3 are just not consistent with the use of the full Gregorian repertoire which the Popes and the Council want. So the usual thought of treating the four options as an order of preference becomes implausible.

    In the light of that, I presume the GIRM was written by people with no idea about the Gregorian repertoire. [ And people call us an organized religion! :-) ]

    Oh: to Doug's question: the people should be singing the Ordinary (introductory dialogue, Kyrie, Gloria, gospel dialogue, Credo, Prayer of the Faithful, preface dialogue, memorial acclamation, Sanctus, Our Father, Agnus). That's plenty to sing. And people happily sing the dialogues; they love to sing the Our Father. It only requires a little effort from priests. If people have not been singing those, but only singing hymns at the entrance, offertory, communion, and recessional, they start to think that those constitute the people's sung part of the Mass. No wonder they will fear, when the choir starts to sing propers, that the people's part is being taken away. That's an erroneous thought; instead, the people's part is in the Mass Ordinary, while the Propers really are meant for the choir. This fear and this misunderstanding arise because of misleading pastoral practice. It's a pastoral mistake to not sing the Mass ordinary parts.

    Priests need to be man enough to sing their parts of the Mass, so that the people can sing the dialogues. Everything is built on that (see the degrees of sung musical participation in Musicam sacram, 1967, para. 28-31).
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    Thank you very much for the clarification--or at least confirmation of the lack of clarity!

    Perhaps there is opportunity to set the texts of the GR in a more congregation-friendly manner, instead of adhering too closely to the music presently at hand and basing logistical decisions on that circumstance (not that I disagree with this approach, at least as you describe it).

    I am completely on board with what you say about the Ordinary. It just seems that singing propers doesn't have to exclude the congregation by default--that is, if we take seriously the phrase, "or in another musical setting."

    Thinking out loud: the issue of translations seems like a major barrier to opening up the GR texts to other musical settings that could give the NO an entirely different but perhaps no less sacred character.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    Let me add, by the way, that I certainly don't believe that the congregation should necessarily sing every possible note at every possible moment (as Jeffrey Tucker over at the Chant Café claims is a pathological obsession of some liturgy planners). Without having had to fill any liturgy planning shoes, it seems like a transition from a rigid rubric of four hymns to incorporating propers could be made much more simply if there were singable music to assist with the switch. But maybe that is going about things in a ridiculous sequence...
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    The GIRM-2003 (==GIRM-2000 + USA adaptations) makes for interesting mental puzzles.
    There are four music options (GR=Romanum, GS=Simplex, ...)
    and four human-groupings (schola+people alt, ...) to execute them
    for a total of sixteen possible pairs.

    please create a Google Document spreadsheet to share and organize the results. :-)
    After you create the grid, maybe some can populate the squares with comma-separated
    two-character codes to represent various music books/scores and a table of codes and full names.

    Regretably, my ancient Mac (10.2.8) running an ancient Firefox ( is no longer
    GoogleDoc supported, and I am having troubles.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,183
    I've added a link to Musicam sacram to my post above, in case anyone hasn't seen the relevant portions; they present a model in which to present the various sung parts of the Mass, to progressively lead the people to singing more of the liturgy, starting with portions of the Mass ordinary.

    Eft: thanks for the suggestion! I'll get right on it. Well, not right now, but if you want to get started, go for it. :-) Maybe you can try the "Opera" browser?
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    Doug, we also have to deal with differences between the text as read
    in the rest of the world versus the USA with our need-to-have-special-adaptations,
    and the crazy translation of the text into English.
    Maybe the original GIRM is not so confused, but the adaptations coupled with the translation
    makes me think I am reading instructions that reveal ignorance of the topic on the part of the writer.

    In an earlier Discussion, chonak did a good phrase-by-phrase translation
    of a paragraph number or two related to Introit/Offertory/Communion material.

    Just recently again, I did a quick skim-read of the first seven items in the
    Liturgical Music Document Literacy Challenge
    and the whole Dialogues-Propers-Ordinaries division of labor makes sense.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    Chonak, I have never been to a parish that didn't sing most of the Ordinary every Sunday, so I guess it never occurred to me in my theoretical world that one wouldn't be doing that already. And priests not doing their part? I don't even want to touch that.

    So laying all that aside, and laying aside the matrix of music options and human groupings, is there something objectionable about writing new settings of the GR texts? This seems consistent with MS #33 and the GIRM (2000 + USA adaptations, if we insist on calling it that) #48.

    I am extremely curious about this for one primary reason:

    There was a brief period in the 1920s and '30s Paris--and I have published an essay about this in a collection called Messiaen the Theologian--when composers and theologian-philosophers thought very hard and wrote extensively about how to capture the Gregorian spirit in new compositions. It is a shame that this intellectualizing has been lost. As the essay argues, there was a deeply felt connection between the restoration of Gregorian chant and the restoration of Thomist philosophy promulgated by Leo XIII in Aeterni Patris (1879). Once influential theologians like de Lubac and Balthasar arrived on the scene (after being marginalized by the once-powerful Thomists), it spelled the end for Thomism (and thus indirectly for the Gregorian spirit). Although groups like the CMAA are attempting to re-restore Gregorian chant after VII, a concomitant re-restoration of Thomism was effectively put to an end by Pope JPII, thus losing a vital intellectual connection. This last point describes the present situation, and what we lack is the élan with which the French (led by Jacques Maritain) approached questions of new compositions. Neo-Thomism was precisely that: facing the contemporary world with the argumentation, style, and most importantly, the spirit of Aquinas. Why is there no neo-Gregorianism? What I see, compositionally speaking (and liturgically, for that matter), is too often antiquarianism that is passed off as authenticity. It is not the Gregorian spirit, if you will.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,183
    Could new settings of the proper texts be objectionable? Not as far as I know. In addition to recommending Gregorian and polyphonic works, the documents (e.g., 1958, De musica sacra, #50) speak of compositions in suitable "modern sacred music", so that's pretty official.

    Some CMAA folks (e.g., Richard Rice) have published settings of the propers. A couple of Richard's were used at the Colloquium Mass in English on June 22.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    "or in another musical setting."

    This is a special phrase. I came across the explanation recently (see last two paragraphs).

    Thirty-Five Years of the BCL Newsletter 1965-2000 (page 172)

    1969-mar USCCB BCL Newsletter Vol 5 No 3
    Responses from the Holy See: First Series
    Archbishop Dearden also announced that the Holy See confirmed the decision of the American
    bishops regarding approved English translations of the Simple Gradual and of the lectionary.

    The Simple Gradual is a book of alternative antiphons or refrains for use at Mass in place of
    the chants between the biblical readings and at the beginning, offertory, and communion
    of the Mass. This vernacular translation of the antiphons was prepared by the International
    Committee on English in the Liturgy. These refrains may be sung in conjunction with any of
    the translations of the psalms already approved by the U.S. bishops: Confraternity of Christian
    Doctrine, Jerusalem Bible, Grail psalter.

    The new texts have already been made available to composers, editors and publishers. Their
    actual use is optional and official regulations provide for flexibility in choice of antiphons
    and psalm verses.

    A related decision of the National Council of Catholic Bishops also confirmed by the Holy See allows
    the use of similar collections of psalms and antiphons as substitutes for the present chants of Mass.
    The text of the decision refers to "other collections of psalms and antiphons in English ..., including
    psalms arranged in responsorial form, metrical and similar versions of psalms, provided they
    are used in accordance with the principles of the Simple Gradual, and are selected in harmony
    with the liturgical season, feast, or occasion." This provides a wider choice of music for congregational
    singing at Mass as alternatives to the fixed texts of the Roman Missal.

    In English the principal collections of this kind are the Gelineau, Somerville, and Deiss psalms.
    The reason for this decision was to permit substitute texts to be used without waiting for
    the composition of musical settings of the antiphons of the Simple Gradual.

    Finally, the Holy See confirmed the U.S. bishops' approval of the biblical translations of the Confraternity
    of Christian Doctrine version, the Jerusalem Bible, and the Revised Standard Version (Catholic edition)
    for use with the projected lectionary of readings at Mass. [...]

    EDIT: fixed typos
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    GIRM (2000 + USA adaptations, if we insist on calling it that)

    Open a separate browser window and visit the Vatican Website

    Open each language in a separate tab.
    Line up the texts.
    They are not the same.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,780
    Adam, if my memory serves, doesnt Tietze just give recommended tune names? It would of course be nice to have them set under notes, and between hard covers. I'm not sure about the single band-aid pull (has any congregation ever gone Haas to GR?) but that might be even more reason to skip the schola's punt option.

    ...even if they never venture beyond the Graduale Simplex,
    they are singing what the Church has officially asked.

    EFT, I admit I'm taking potshots, provoked at insinuations from certain quarters that offertories by Mozart, Messiaen & Stravinsky have no place in an ideal scheme. Just remember the last of the ancient Chinese curses: "May your wish be granted".
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    EFT (Ed, right?),

    Thank you very much for the helpful citations. I'm going to have to think about this some more after doing a more thorough study of all of the available products called "Gradual" or "Graduale." Until then, I guess I am still puzzled as to why there aren't more musical settings of the complete RG texts in a single collection (Latin, English, or both). Are there more than 3 or 4? It seems like such an important book would create boundless musical inspiration for a new generation discovering it for the first time.

    Point well taken about the different versions of the current GIRM, but I assumed that writing "GIRM" in the United States might be widely understood as the present edition for use here. I would have specified if I were writing about a different edition.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,460
    In my edition of the Tietze book, the texts are set under notes of a fully harmonized (4-part, European Protestant style) hymn. Very Episcopalian (and Lutheran, for that matter). A few have alternate settings, and a few have additional suggestions.
    So if you wanted a different tune, you would have to create the score yourself.
    And- not all of the texts are particular popular meters- a few of them have been hard to find anything vaguely well-known to fit to.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    more musical settings of the complete RG texts in a single collection

    Maybe it is a huge undertaking, and perhaps too restrictive?

    To compose for only the Sunday texts (introit, psalm, gospel, offertory, communion)
    would be 150-plus pieces of music (for the EF, I do not know if there is re-use; for
    the OF, there is some re-use and there are some A-B-C-cycle specific texts;
    and then you have the Feasts and ...).

    The Graduale Romanum texts are in Latin, and therefore you have to overcome
    the anti-Latin problem. Some say that there is no approved translation of the texts,
    but see my post about English translations in the 1964 Roman Missal
    For the OF, remember that the Missal texts diverge from the Graduale texts

    To contain the labor costs, psalm-tone-like composition efforts might be more common;
    you only have to compose a few melodies and re-fit the words until you are done.
    Regardless of melodic variety, the cantor/choir would still have to learn different
    Latin material every week.

    To try to keep this on-topic, the Graduale Simplex is texts approved by the Church,
    set to melodies approved by the Church.

    ICEL translated those texts into English and they were approved.
    By Flowing Waters is the Simplex melodies with those approved texts.
    Despite the approved translation, nobody else has put those texts to their own melodies,
    even though the set of texts is a much smaller than the Graduale Romanum.

    As shown above (1969-mar USCCB BCL Newsletter Vol 5 No 3), alternatives were permitted.
    That might be the real reason.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    "ICEL translated those texts into English and they were approved.
    By Flowing Waters is the Simplex melodies with those approved texts.
    Despite the approved translation, nobody else has put those texts to their own melodies,
    even though the set of texts is a much smaller than the Graduale Romanum."

    Bingo! It seems worth a try.
  • I might have said this before, but I think that a limited set of "modular" melodies in the style of BFW set to the Sunday Propers would go a long to reintroducing them. People would learn the no more than a dozen melodies that could be adapted to changing texts. In about 5 years, these tunes would be very well known then you have your propers for most Sundays that the people could sing (since I'm told that they are dying to sing everything..). The choir could replace these on occasion with a Latin or vernacular setting for a nice variety.

    If someone came up with a few good tunes, we could all volunteer to set 10 propers texts.
  • Doug Shadle--

    Can you email me? (address found in my account)
  • Aaron
    Posts: 110
    "Despite the approved translation, nobody else has put those texts to their own melodies"

    Can anyone comment further on the WLP settings by Charles Thatcher of the communion antiphons? He has composed three collections that I am aware of including Advent/Christmas seasons, Lent/Easter seasons, and Ordinary Time. I have used these regularly with the first coming out in 2007 and the latest (Ordinary Time) just a few months ago. The antiphon texts are all pulled from the Graduale Simplex, with a few from the Graduale Romanum. It cites the English translation as his own, why did he chose not to use the official English translation of the Simplex?


  • ref_scottref_scott
    Posts: 90
    I recently set the introits for the four Sundays of Advent in English to popular advent hymn tunes, then an appropriate psalm tone for the verse. I haven't had a chance to use them but hopefully they will work.
  • Erik P
    Posts: 152