Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Simple Propers for the 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C

Download Simple Propers for the 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C

This week's installment of "Simple Propers" are a continuation in our experiment in music resource production. As Jeffrey has so deviously shown, I am indeed still working on the melodic formulas that will eventually be used for an entire cycle of antiphons to cover the liturgical year. The plan is to have 8 formulas for each proper–the Introit, Offertory, and Communion–one in each mode for each set, so this will total 24 melodic formulas. The hope with these formulas is that they will be able to meet the diverse demands of the English language while remaining within the bounds of the laws of the Gregorian compositional language. The goal is to arrive at melodies that can adapt to virtually any English text, and the result, it is hoped, is that average parish musicians, even congregations, could learn these melodies and sing them easily to a variety of text settings. Compiling these formulas has not been easy, and the work is far from done, but with the guidance of Fr. Kelly I have great hope that they will be a success.

As Jeffrey has shown, the Introit formulas seem to be mostly stabilized, although there could be changes made to them in the coming weeks. I'm pulling together the communion tones, and the Offertories are still largely unfinished. So in the mean time I will continue with the "simple settings" always, which emply St. Meinrad tones, and there will be cases (such as this week's Offertory) where this is the only setting available.

While we're posting handwritten manuscripts today, let me add one more. Here is this week's offertory harmonized in 4 parts according to the Meinrad Tone accompaniments given by St. Meinrad Archabbey:

It occurred to me this past week that this sort of arrangement may be incredibly useful to the "trained parish choir". This sort of edition could be seen in continuity with many of the resources that parishes are currently used to, such as Respond and Acclaim, et cetera. There could be the benefit of having it in modern notation (accompanying, of course, a chant edition), the 4-part harmony could be a simple organ accompaniment, or even could enable 4-part singing for choirs that are used to singing figured choral music. Since many such choirs are not very familiar with the non-metered style, this perhaps could serve as a bridge to the chanted style, while retaining some of the elements of the current common practice. The benefits are that parish choirs could sing the propers in a somewhat familiar fashion, there could be an immersion in Gregorian modality, and a practice of singing non-metered music. I sense that if a parish choir could sing this beautifully then this would be a big step toward singing more elaborate settings of the propers.

Take a look at this arrangement and try to invert some of the harmonies. I found that this can add a very nice contrast. This arrangement can very easily be sung in the following ways:

1. Swap S and T (cantus firmus in the tenor)
2. A up an octave (becomes S), B up an octave (T), omit T, keep cantus firmus in A [becomes SAT with high soprano]
3. S down an octave (T), A up an octave (S), T up an octave (A), B unchanged [becomes SATB with high soprano]

There could be other possibilities such as harmony in just two voices. These harmonizations seem like a real treasure, and I'm glad that I've discovered this approach. I think that I will try it with my own parish choir!

Lastly, if anyone among our readers is able to typeset this score in an engraving program I would be most indebted to you. For the life of me I can't find a reasonable way to do this. If anyone could find a solution and share a template I would be most grateful!

I also hope to get the propers for 29OT out within the next few days in order to keep us a little ahead of the game.
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