Toward the Singing of Propers - An Open Source Experiment (please join!)
  • Dear Friends--

    I would like to invite you to join in an experiment in sacred music resource production. http://www.chantcafe.com/2010/08/experiment-in-sacred-music-resource.html">Here is some background at the Chant Café, and here are some early production examples. Please take a look at these posts for more on the philosophical framework of this project.

    The project is called "Toward the Singing of Propers" and the immediate result might end up in a book of simple English antiphons and psalms for use in average parish settings by average parish musicians. Another result will be a open database of liturgical texts and source material for the development of future and various projects. The fruits of everyone’s labors will remain in the Creative Commons and in the open forum so that others can benefit from your work as they take on similar projects of their own.

    The goal of this experiment is to see how and to what extent a group of volunteers can participate in an organized effort of production that seeks to create something greater than the sum of its parts. The immediate need is to assemble all the texts and materials that are needed for a project or projects involving entry level musical settings of the propers for average parishes. It is possible for many musical settings of these antiphons to come into being, this is even encouraged by the Church and reinforced by Msgr. Wadsworth's magna carta on the propers. So much of what is involved in assembling a project like this is the organizing of texts, the copying and pasting of psalm verses, cross referencing citations, etc. Our immediate goal will be to build a database of source material that can be used for composers and engravers who are setting out to create such projects in service of the Church.

      Volunteers are needed for:-compiling antiphon texts from the books of chant, both English and Latin-compiling text sources and scriptural references-compiling other pertinent data from the chant books such as incipit and mode-compiling psalm verses for introit, offertory and communion antiphons (in Latin and English)-"modernizing" the Douay Rheims psalter with standard replacements of "thee's" and "thou's" with modern adverbs -this will make for a Catholic modernized psalter in the Creative Commons that can be used for the psalm verses of processional chants without copyright restriction-engraving in "Gregorio" chant notation software-layout and design work-proofreading of texts-many others soon to come


    You do not need to have any special skills in order to contribute in some way. If you can copy and paste and have an extra half-hour on one night of the week you could be a great help to the project! Even if you simply offer to proofread texts this would be an invaluable contribution. The goal here is not to have everyone do everything, worse yet to have one person do everything, but to find out what everyone can offer and in what way and to assist them in making that specific contribution. I hope that you'll be able to help. Future generations of Catholics may thank you!

    Check back for updates!

    Here is the text database, as it is now.

    Here is the list of sources that we're working from, as it is now.

    If you would like to participate in this experiment in sacred music resources "Toward the Singing of Propers", even in a very small way, please join in this forum discussion. For further questions, please feel free to also contact me.
  • The spreadsheets are amazing and will be helpful for this and any other similar project. Hard to believe that this hasn't been done before! Actually, one can say that of the whole idea of simple propers in neumes for the OF based on the Graduale texts.

    Fr. Weber has a similar project based on the Missal texts. He working for the full year, which is great.

    To me the great merit of this material is that it gets singers used to do the things that are most lost in our time and thereby constitute the biggest barriers to progress: 1) singing in free rhythm, and 2) singing without instrumental help. without those skills, without the sense of how to do those two things, there is no chance for Gregorian chant. This approach is very nice because it provides a bridge and provides something of a stopgap. Even experts in Greg chant can use these as a fall back Sunday to Sunday
  • bgeorge77
    Posts: 190
    Wow! That spreadsheet is gold!

    I would suggest adding a column that has the GABC for the Latin as well, first of all simply as a resource, and secondly as an example for those writing English GABC files.
  • Thanks, Ben! Do you want to help us fill it out? Most of the source material is ready to go, it just needs to be organized in the spreadsheet.

    Good suggestion. There are many many possibilities and I think it all should be done! But one step at a time. This would be a great next step after we get the current configuration completed!
  • Chrism
    Posts: 663
    Excellent kickoff to the project.

    For GABC - not volunteering yet, but:

    1. You've listed the desired Mode, but not the ending.
    2. The pointing of English text is more of an art than pointing Latin, which can be done by strict rule: see the Ford introduction to the American Gradual, for example.
    3. Not sure quite how you wanted it typeset. Here's a version of Ad te levavi. Note there are no vertical episemas anywhere, the English text is unaccented, etc. I chose to start the second part Psalm style (do do do) not Canticle style (sol la do). Using only one annotation line because I couldn't get two lines to work on gregorio.gabrielmass.com:

    name: Ad te Levavi (Advent I);
    annotation: Int. 8G;
    %%
    (c4)UN(g)to(h) you(j) I(j) have(j) lift(j)ed(j) up(j) my(k) soul.(j.) (;) O(j) my(j) God,(j) I(j) trust(j) in(j) you,(j) let(j) me(j) not(i) be(j) put(h) to(g) shame;(g.) (:)
    Do(j) not(j) al(j)low(j) my(j) e(j)ne(j)mies(j) to(j) laugh(j) at(k) me:(j.) (;) for(j) none(j) of(j) those(j) who(j) are(j) a(j)wait(j)ing(j) you(j) will(j) be(j) dis(i)ap(j)point(h)ed.(g.) (::)

    Let me know what you think. Now is of course the best time for tweaks and style guides.

    Edit: fixed earlier problem with the gabc compilation.
  • Why do we have to remove the "thees" and "thous?" Just curious.
  • Andy--

    The only reason is so that the textual style of the psalms matches the style of the English antiphons, which are being taken from the Gregorian Missal. Another reason is that it blends more nicely with the textual style of the new translations of the Missal--dignified and elevated, but according to the norms of modern language. I love the Douay translation and do not want to "defile" it, but there seems to be little other choice in finding a good modern English translation of the psalms that can be shared freely in the commons.
  • I'm nuts for thees and thous too, but we can only take on so many battles. If the new trans had used them, that would be another thing. But the new trans did not.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 652
    Re: thees and thous -- Of course, one can always put them back in for oneself, if one wishes. :)

    Re: Bible citations -- Obviously for a Douay/Vulgate-based translation which uses the older numbers, the older citation style is fine, and it's probably best not to muddy the waters with more. But if you put the spreadsheet up as a more general-use reference for other purposes, you'll want to the newer citation for each one, as well. It's a pain, but not doing it is even more inconvenient.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 663
    Also, I was thinking that it might be possible to build a Psalm-tone gabc generator, taking syllabified and versified text as input and automatically applying a tone and generating the gabc to render it.
  • Chrism:

    1. You've listed the desired Mode, but not the ending.


    Yes, this is just a copying of the mode of the chant in the Graduale. Other settings than standard psalm tone settings can, should, and probably will be set as a part of this "experiment".

    2. The pointing of English text is more of an art than pointing Latin, which can be done by strict rule: see the Ford introduction to the American Gradual, for example.


    Indeed it is, and I have read Ford's instruction. I have tried very hard for a very long time to find a satisfying way to use the Gregorian tones with English texts and I have to say that I haven't, for myself, found it. Mostly when I do English psalm singing in my music program I use tones that were composed for the accentuation and termination patterns found in the English language. I'm not against doing the best we can with them for this project, but I know that there are many opinions on how to best do this and many will likely disagree on the final product. I would gladly give the responsibility of setting English antiphons to Gregorian tones to someone else.

    3. Not sure quite how you wanted it typeset. Here's a version of Ad te levavi. Note there are no vertical episemas anywhere, the English text is unaccented, etc. I chose to start the second part Psalm style (do do do) not Canticle style (sol la do). Using only one annotation line because I couldn't get two lines to work on gregorio.gabrielmass.com: Let me know what you think. Now is of course the best time for tweaks and style guides.


    A very nice job. Yes, we have to establish the style guides and protocols still. I only put the gabc files into the spreadsheet for 22OT so that Steven van Roode could access them with the rest of the texts, saving him work.

    Also, I was thinking that it might be possible to build a Psalm-tone gabc generator, taking syllabified and versified text as input and automatically applying a tone and generating the gabc to render it.


    Yes! Actually Andrew Hinkley says he already has these done and I think that he has the entire Nova Vulgata pointed to work with the psalm tone scripts. I haven't seen this in action yet, but this would certainly be a great way to go, at least getting the bulk of the manual labor done. Of course we could go back and make editorial adjustments where needed.

    Thanks for your input. Are you ready to join in yet? ;)
  • Adam,

    I just e-mailed you I would be glad to lend my humble talents. To a worthwhile project

    David Deavy
  • Wonderful, David! Several others have also contacted me through email. It looks like we're getting a nice group together which will make this project very productive.

    There's still room for more help though!
  • Thank you to the several people who have emailed me with interest in participating in this! I am humbled by this example of good will and service to the Church.

    But we can still use more help!
  • bgeorge77
    Posts: 190
    Adam:


    Is there a top priority now on the to-do list? Something that's holding the other listed items?

    It would seem like a lot of the work on your original to-do list is done already in your spreadsheet and by Hinkley's gabcs.
  • "Is there a top priority now on the to-do list? Something that's holding the other listed items?"

    Well the spreadsheet needs to be completed. I would say it's about 10% done. I have a team of 2 working on the issue of the psalms. Here is the spreadsheet for the psalms. Once this is complete then psalm verses will be taken from this source and arranged in the master spreadsheet. All of this really has to happen before we can undertake a systematic engraving effort.

    So I would say we just need people to copy and paste the needed texts into the master database. This is priority 1. And we will need help proofreading these texts after it is complete.
  • Here is another set of simple propers, a fruit of the labors of this project.

    We have several volunteers but need more! If you would like to help assemble this please contact me! The only skills needed are the ability to copy and paste.