I recieved my Lumen Christi Missal today
  • Harmonic hints to improvisors have been part of music publishing as long as there's been published harmony. Musicians of all skill levels can and do make good use of them.

    May St Cecilia and St Jean Vianney bless all hard working amateur musicians bringing what they can to small, poor parishes.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,357
    I simply refuse to work with any of those amateur harpsichordists who prefer to just wing it based on nothing more than a bass line and some arabic numerals scrawled under it.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "Any hymnal with guitar chords is a direct indication that there is little interest in attracting trained musicians to lead music in the church."

    Someone should tell this guy to knock it off, then.

    Oh, and the sentence above is followed immediately by: "I would suggest that extremely basic organ accompaniments of two or at most three parts for manuals only would be a very welcome addition to any hymnal"

    Do we want trained or untrained musicians? Or is it that we want untrained organists and trained guitarists? That's a recipe for making the organ an even less popular instrument.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I may be wrong, but I'm likely the only one who uses SEP weekly and also chooses when to employ my guitar at an otherwise choral/schola Mass every Sunday as well as needed. I believe this gives me a perspective, along with my compositional studies and output over the decades, to render an informed opinion.
    The guitar, even a classical guitar well-played, would not prove at all to be of benefit to the chanting of the SEP. I don't find this to be the case with all chant, particularly the ICEL default Mass, though I have severe misgivings over any number of publisher chordal assignments that have surfaced. (I use my own if needed.) But, as all of our esteemed composer colleagues know, particularly JMO, AB, RR, AE, AOZ, CG, FK, NJ et al, the nature of SEP is primarily non-metrically based. Inserting triadically based moments at the beginning, mid-phrase and cadentially would radically alter the flow of the texts in what I would imagine would be predominant in most of the SEP's. Secondly, Adam would be compelled to "re-do" his volume in oval notes, five lines, and assign keys, all of which is also contrary to the ethos of the SEP intent. Lastly, regarding the chordal assignments, as JMO has preached- the guitar can try to emulate some non-triadic modal clusters against a purposed bass movement, but you've then already lost the average"bear" guitar player in most parish experiences. The nomenclature assignments could end up as arcane as jazz charts, eg. CMaj9#4- C7/Bb#6 etc. Such modal and/or exotic harmonies are integral to voice leading on the organ due to the more subtle effects of shifting chords than a guitar or piano cannot easily match.
    I've longed advocated guitar plus chant, but not in the case of the new volumes by those above. You can hear and see examples of that at YouTube "tccovmusicministry"
    But not for the SEP, definitely.
    PS.
    As Adam used to crank out lead guitar for Matt Maher at Steubenville, if Adam had intended there to be power chords for SEP, he'd-a had 'em 'ere in the first place!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • I think that chords should be attached to all hymn type music, and even to a lot of chant as well. I am an organist, and I use chords which I improvise on all the time, the reason
    being that I do not like a lot of the recently composed accompaniments to recently composed chant. They are all written by young men who have obviously been to college and learned there the art of impure and ugly composition. There is way too much discordant conflict in these pieces. These accompaniments sound as ugly as the stuff OCP puts out. I also question a walking bass being done all the time, especially to chant.
    And if you are going to have a walking bass, why not do it in parallel fifths? That would create a more hollow, pure, churchy sound. Why make everything sound so blastedly contemporary?
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    hillluminar, I don't think JMO's ever spoken of maintaining a per se "walking bass line," a term generally associated with jazz. In personal and written correspondence, we've shared an appreciation for what I termed the "purposeful" movement of the bass voice. I believe he and I agreed what that meant was the avoidance of a arbitrary assignment of the root note, or even a pedal tone, as a convenient tool in the harmonic schema box. However, your introduction of the descriptors of "impure and ugly composition" is intriguing. Could you provide examples. For example, are the relatively elongated harmonic bedrocks of Part more or less impure or ugly than the compound dissonances of Lauridsen or Whitacre that are in constant flux? Is the use of secondary dominants, either as transitory or terminal (Wagner), still just a cheap device to accomodate the voice leading of a tritone? We need some meat here, mon ami.
  • When I mentioned chords I did not intent to promote the use of guitars in chant. I simply meant that it would be extremely useful for organists who have no other alternative, either due to lack of time or training, which I have found in my experience is most commonly the case; and that such a help would be better than nothing seeing that it would at least perform the essential function of supporting vocals. It would be rare, in my experience, that a struggling choir, upon seeing that there are no chords, would be spurred on to learn the full accompaniment; but on the contrary, would be forced to reject it as simply not possible due to factors (work, kids, etc.) beyond their control. Otherwise the project would only be feasible for the elite minority of parishes with a professionally trained organist.

    Now I am very sorry for mentioning this topic, causing such a tangent in this discussion about Mr. Bartlett's very beautiful work. I apologize.
  • The flow of chant and hymn singing both relies upon the flow of the accompaniment. Hymns have developed a flowing SATB harmonic style, often referred to as voice leading, that does exactly what it is called - it leads the voice. Chant also relies upon flowing harmonies to support and not impede the singing.

    Chords only provide the cement columns, not the firm roadbed. There are very few musicians alive who can create fluid voice-leading playing live from chords.

    Surely there is a market for simplified accompaniments with chords and they should be offered, but if they are provided in place of a well-written accompaniment, singing can suffer as a result. Without twisting your words, you are suggesting using the Graduale Simplex in place of the Graduale Romanum because it's easier.

    There is a difference between making the music accessible for organists without training and not providing challenging music for organists who wish to excel.


    "They are all written by young men who have obviously been to college and learned there the art of impure and ugly composition. There is way too much discordant conflict in these pieces. These accompaniments sound as ugly as the stuff OCP puts out. I also question a walking bass being done all the time, especially to chant."

    Interesting, interesting....

    "And if you are going to have a walking bass, why not do it in parallel fifths? That would create a more hollow, pure, churchy sound. Why make everything sound so blastedly contemporary?"

    A true walking bass steps up and down octaves as it moves, I've never seen this in chant accompaniment. When the bass moves modally from note to note, as is slightly humorously described as walking bass though inaccurately since the rhythmic octaves are notably absent, it abandons the modern format and goes back to what now seems to be the future. The expansion once again into modal music. Could this be the new contemporary style?

    Because the better accompaniments have been written with ancient modal harmonization rather than modern, predictable 1 IV V progressions, they sound "belatedly contemporary." That's putting the horse behind the cart, but tell us more.
  • Gavin, read what I wrote, "additions" to any hymnal....not replacements for well-written accompaniments.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,413
    At the risk of being branded a heretic or dismissed as a revolutionary ... why can't chants simply be sung unaccompanied ... without the intrusion of guitars, pianos, harmoniums, organs, fiddles, or whatever?
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    If there are no chord symbols, I often "think" of them as the harmonies occur ... but that may be due to my training.

    What confuses me is the purist attitude ... as if playing an improvised organ accompaniment looking at chord symbols (or making one up without symbols at all!) is less worthy of the liturgy than playing the exact 4-part harmony.

    When reading out of a book like Respond & Acclaim, I'm looking at everything ... I almost never play from the notation explicitly, but also look at the chord symbols, or sometimes make something else up entirely.


    And what if I were to simply write roman numerals beneath a 4-line notation chant? I've often done that as well. Is that not the medieval "chord symbol" practice, and should we frown on that as well?


    Whatever works, IMO. Music is sound. Make a beautiful sound.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    Ryan, I'm a little confused by your last point about chord symbols. What is "medieval chord symbol practice"?

    And given that Roman numerals refer specifically to functional tonal harmony and not church modes, I'm not sure they would be giving the organist accompanying Gregorian chant any valuable information. I could see chord symbols with note names being much more useful.
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    Continuo musicians would often play off a melody line with Roman numerals underneath. Maybe not "medieval" ... baroque would be a more accurate time period.

    In any case, the practice of creating accompaniments from a "shorthand" notation system is not a new concept. It goes back centuries. Whether you use Roman numerals or modern chord symbols doesn't matter (although numerals are often easier for transposition! ... as are square notes ... but I digress).

    P.S. you can use Roman numerals for modal music. You just wont find a V7 in a minor mode, or a bVII anywhere. Who's to say, though, that we couldn't look at the SEP communion for Christ the King that I posted, and analyze it as:

    I iii(64) IV(6) V(6) vi iii(64) IV I



    But again, that's not the point I wanted to make. It's not a new thing to work from chord symbols or Roman numerals. Whatever works. Music is sound. Make a beautiful sound.
  • At the risk of being branded a heretic or dismissed as a revolutionary ... why can't chants simply be sung unaccompanied ... without the intrusion of guitars, pianos, harmoniums, organs, fiddles, or whatever?


    CHGiffen, that would be ideal since IMHO, the greater the simplicity the greater the prayerfulness. But in leading a completely untrained choir in the SEPs, adding chords or tonic/bass notes under the chant greatly increases their comfort and confidence. Otherwise, without this support, they refuse to sing above a mumble, and I'm tired of doing solos.

    I'm seriously considering starting to use the antiphons from the LC Missal instead of the SEPs, though I'm afraid it may be unpopular with my superiors since we recently purchased a whole set of the SEPs. The SEPs are great but the LCM is much more complete and the Antiphons are much more simple, which is a huge plus for our community. I wonder if we could re-sell them and replace them with all LC Missals! ADAM, WHY DIDN'T YOU COME OUT WITH THESE FIRST!?
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I'm not sure anyone denigrated (seriously) any form of chordal nomenclature as detrimental to accompanying singing. But like jazz, whether at the compositional stage to the performance stage, the musician has an obligation to accurately notate then realize harmonic construct. That, like continuo figuration, in no way inhibits improvisatory possibilities.


    Points:
    *My thrust simply states that SEP/LCM et al non metrical chant is basically incongruous with what FNJ rightly describes as maintaining the flow and intelligibility of the text. So, in that, I align with Chuck. OTOH, I'm graced to have an organist with perfect pitch and a brilliant improvisational mind, so as SEP is not bound to key, we have a happy and often quite poignant outcome of that providence.
    *The realization obligation: I maintain a strong affection for the boldness of Todd Flowerday's assertions that "the problem" isn't so much repertoire-based, but performance based. This problem in modern RC composition has been with us since the SLJ watershed, when they "insisted" that guitarists/pianists learn and hone their skills to at least observe the bass inversions, or the so-called "walking bass." 38 years later, I'd wager that for every guitarist/bassist/keyboardist who reads lead sheets with precision, there are 1000 who are quite satisfied not to, and who could barely describe suspension, seventh or inversion symbols, if asked. That's why most modern stuff sounds boring. It's just the same six chords capo'd, rehashed, misplayed, etc.
    *The insistence from the editors at major publishers to dumb down chordal assignments. I remember that even GIA's WORSHIP II guitar volume, the best of the lot between the others, still was deficient in that the editors assumed guitarists could not manage left hand shifts per beat as is the nature of hymnody. This is by far, save for mediocre Mass settings, OCP's worst editorial offense.
    *The inability of guitarists and keyboardists to discern a variety of accompaniment styles as appropriate to specific styles and pieces. Strum strum diddily strum or quarter note pounding of double hand chords on a keyboard are incredibly destructive, in fact an assault (no matter how well intentioned) upon the congregation.

    End of lecture.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    The idea that Roman numerals could symbolize a chord's vertical content didn't emerge until the late 18th century, which explains (in part) why Baroque continuo figuration doesn't include them. It arose as an ex post facto method of analyzing pre-existing music, not a template for chord construction in the moment of performance...but I digress. Meaningless distinction for this conversation, apparently.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,632
    Chuck, does that mean I have to stop bringing my serpent to Mass?
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Doug, no.
    Antonio, yes! (Kidding, but I like it when the lady with the sackbut joins in.)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,413
    *wry smile* ... I purposely did not mention serpent, ophecleide, or sackbut - all instruments I happen to appreciate very much. On the other hand, I'm not used to these instruments being used for playing chant melody, but rather in accompanying certain kinds of polyphony and, following known practice in the case of the serpent and ophecleide, doubling lower parts (usually the bass) to guard against pitch drift.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    Charles, by "Doug, no," do you mean I've gone off the deep end? At some point in the post above I was going to say that Roman numerals under Gregorian chant would screw me up because I hear the mixolydian final as V--bright but open. Deleted it because I figured it would peg me as crazy.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Just the opposite, you're still in the spa end!
    Name one poster on the forum besides Pedro D'quino who isn't "crazy"? (Oh, I forgot eft! Crazies do that.)
    Have a great Advent.
    Thanked by 1DougS
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,357
    Name one poster on the forum besides Pedro D'quino who isn't "crazy"?


    I was going to say Adam Wood, but that's probably inaccurate.
    (Also, I agree with Doug about mixolydian finals).
    Thanked by 1DougS
  • a1437053a1437053
    Posts: 198
    Question about Litanies:

    Should the litanies to the BVM (1037) and St. Joseph (1038) read "Pray for us" instead of "Have mercy on us" when referring to the saints?