Chant Books for the Congregation

The starting place for congregational Latin chant is any major Catholic hymnal-see the Mass Ordinary, Order of Mass, and easier hymns and antiphons. Published collections of congregational chant: Iubilate Deo (“Shout to God”), Libreria Editrice Vaticana, expanded edition, 1987.The entire order of Mass for congregational singing in Latin, including all the responses and some settings of the Ordinary, plus a few other miscellaneous chants. The idealistic wish of Pope Paul VI was that this would become the core repertoire known by Catholic congregations around the world. Liber Cantualis (“book of chant”), Solesmes, 1978. T he Order of Mass, seven chant Ordinaries, the Mass for the Dead, the four sequences of the postconciliar liturgy, and various antiphons and hymns for seasons of the liturgical year. Kyriale Simplex (“simple Kyriale”), Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1965. A kyriale is a collection of Mass ordinaries. An interesting collection of Mass ordinaries, astutely drawn from non-Roman traditions of Latin chant (e.g., Mozarabic, Ambrosian) to provide the most singable congregational Mass settings.

Chant Books for the Choir

Graduale Romanum (“Roman gradual”), Solesmes, 1974. A large book of Mass propers-those difficult masterpieces of the chant repertoire-with the Order of Mass and Mass ordinaries also included. Gregorian Missal for Sundays, Solesmes, 1990. English translations next to each Latin chant, excerpted from the Graduale Romanum to include all the Sundays and feastdays. Other liturgical texts (e.g. presidential prayers, eucharistic prayers) are also included in English. Graduale Triplex (“triple gradual”), Solesmes, 1979. Identical to the 1974 Graduale Romanum, but with early lineless neumes written in above and below each chant melody (hence the “triple” in the title, with a total of three notations for each melody). A book for specialists, but some study of it will be helpful to understand how to interpret and convey the Latin text in chants of all levels of difficulty.

Easier Chant Books for the Choir

Alongside any major Catholic hymnal, which has Latin congregational chant which can also be sung by the choir, here are some easier collections of chant for choir. Graduale Simplex (“simple gradual”), Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1975. Although intended for congregations, the scope of this collection and the fact that it is entirely in Latin makes it rather unusable for most congregations. In practical use, a handy fall-back when the choir is not able to learn the propers from the Graduale Romanum . Easy chants for Mass-entrance, Psalm, Gospel acclamation, offertory, and communion-with an easy antiphon and several pointed Psalm verses, for use at any Mass within a given season. The short, easy antiphons were taken from the Psalm antiphons of the Latin Liturgy of the Hours. Cantus Selecti (“selected chants”), Solesmes, 1989. A large excerpt from the 1949 version. A broad selection of chants for every season and for occasions such as Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament or devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary-hymns, sequences, tropes, and antiphons. A choir able to sing a repertoire this extensive would probably be ready to make use instead of the Graduale Romanum. Psallite Domino: Canti per la Messa (“Sing to the Lord: Chants for Mass”), Solesmes, 1997. An excerpt from the Graduale Simplex , a very useful smaller collection for choir. The text of each chant is translated into Italian. It has recently been reissued in expanded form.

Chant Books for the Liturgy of the Hours

Antiphonale Romanum (“Roman antiphoner”), 1912. The preconciliar Roman Office, from which the Psalm antiphons were taken for the Graduale Simplex after Vatican II. It has not yet been revised for the reformed Roman Office, with the exception of the Liber Hymnarius (see below). Antiphonale Monasticum (“monastic antiphoner”), Solesmes, 1934. The preconciliar Benedictine Office, with much overlap with the Roman office (although the melodies have been corrected to be more accurate). Liber Hymnarius (“hymn book”), Solesmes, 1983. All the Latin Office hymns for the revised Liturgy of the Hours in both Roman and monastic form, with texts and melodies corrected as called for by Vatican II. The foreword is highly important for explaining the revised four-line notation and the subtle rhythmic interpretation intended by it. Antiphonale Monasticum, Solesmes, 2005 and since. Three of the four projected volumes of the revised monastic Office have appeared so far. A wealth of resources to draw on for various ways of celebrating the monastic Office. Unfortunately, rhythmic signs (e.g., the horizontal episema) are not included, although these were part of the revised notation presented in the 1983 Liber Hymnarius.

Introductions to Gregorian Chant

Gregorian Chant: A Guide by Daniel Saulnier, tr. Edward E. Schaefer (Solesmes, 2003), 128 pages. An excellent musicological introduction to the chant repertoire by a monk of Solesmes; treats historical development and chant genres. Learning About Chant, CD Recording (Solesmes, 2005). A highly informative spoken narrative with chant sung by the monks of Solesmes; overlaps with much of the material in the above guide by Saulnier. An Overview of Gregorian Chant by Eugène Cardine, tr. Gregory Casprini (Paraclete Press, 1992), 49 pages. Similar to Saulnier’s guide, primarily historical. Plainchant for Everyone: An Introduction to Plainsong by Mary Berry (Royal School of Church Music, 1979), 53 pages. A practical guide to reading Gregorian notation and singing chant according to the Old Solesmes rhythmic interpretation. Gregorian Chant : Songs of the Spirit ed. by Huston Smith (KQED Books, 1996), 152 pages. An interesting and informative illustrated guide to many aspects of chant and medieval culture by respected authorities, with an accompanying CD recording. The Sound Eternal by Betty C. and Richard J. Pugsley (Paraclete Press, 1987), 2 vol., 84 and 61 pages. The story of the author’s discovery of chant and their use of it with the Community of Jesus, the basics of reading and singing chant, and several easier chants in Latin and in English. Cantors: A Selection of Gregorian Chants by Mary Berry (Cambridge University Press, 1979), 48 pages. A delightful collection of anecdotes and historical information illuminating aspects of medieval culture and liturgy, with several easier chants in Latin and English. Chant Made Simple by Robert M. Fowells (Paraclete Press, 2000), 57 pages. Brief and accessible introduction hinting at the possibilities of modern semiological interpretation (based on the early lineless notation) without offering a comprehensive treatment. “Recent Developments in Gregorian Chant: A Summary,” Anthony Ruff, OSB, Pastoral Music June-July 2005, 10-13.

Textbooks on Gregorian Chant

An Introduction to the Interpretation of Gregorian Chant: Foundations by Luigi Agustoni and Johannes Berchmans Göschl, tr. Columba Kelly (Edwin Mellen Press, 2006), 328 pages. A translation of the first of three volumes issued in German, Einführung in die Interpretation des gregorianischen Chorals (Bosse, 1995), the most accurate and comprehensive guide available for chant interpretation based on the earliest neumes. Gregorian Semiology by Eugène Cardine, tr. Robert Fowells ( Solesmes, 1982), 254 pages. Beginning Studies in Gregorian Chant by Eugène Cardine, tr. William Tortolano, (G.I.A. Publications, 1988), 74 pages. Two books by the father of the new chant interpretation–interesting but rather difficult to follow pedagogically. The following three textbooks teach the Old Solesmes interpretation. The first is a reprint of the book by the longtime choirmaster of Solesmes Abbey. The Solesmes Method: Its Fundamental Principles and Practical Rules of Interpretation by Joseph Gajard, tr. R. Cecile Gabain (Liturgical Press, 2001), 86 pages. A Gregorian Chant Master Class by Theodore Marier (Abbey of Regina Laudis, 2002), 82 pages. A Gregorian Chant Handbook by William Tortolano (G.I.A. Publications, 2005), 67 pages.

Translation Helps

Guide to the Graduale Romanum: Preface, Rubrics, and Titles in English to Assist in Using the Graduale Romanum (CanticaNOVA Publications, 2004), 32 pages. Guide to the Graduale Simplex: Preface, Rubrics, and Titles in English to Assist in Using the Graduale Simplex(CanticaNOVA Publications, 2004), 28 pages Gregorian Missal for Sunday (see above, under “Chant Books for the Choir”). By Flowing Waters (Liturgical Press, 1999), 466 pages. Not only a collection of singeable English chants, but also a handy translation guide for all the chants in the Graduale Simplex . “Words” by William Whitaker, Any Latin word typed in is translated into English, with complete explanation of the declension and conjugation. A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin by John F. Collins (Catholic University of America Press, 1985), 451 pages. An excellent textbook for learning the basics of Latin grammar and vocabulary. Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin, ed. Leo F. Stelten (Hendrickson Publishers, 1995), 330 pages. Dictionary of Liturgical Latin by Wilfrid Diamond (Brice Publishing Co., 1961), 156 pages. Translations and Annotations of Choral Repertoire. Volume 1: Sacred Latin Texts by Ron Jeffers, (Earthsongs, 1988-), 279 pages. Interlinear translation of many choral texts, many of which are also chant texts, along with much historical and liturgical information.

Reference Books and Scholarly Studies

Gregorian Chant Intonations and the Role of Rhetoric, Columba Kelly, OSB (Mellen Press, 2003), 208 pages. The last half of the book studies a piece of chant in each of the eight modes and shows a student how to practice it, using the insights of semiology. With accompanying CD. Gregorian Chant by Willi Apel (Indiana University Press, 1958/1990), 529 pages. A comprehensive musicological overview; mostly superseded by Hiley (see next entry), but not entirely. Western Plainchant: A Handbook by David Hiley (Clarendon Press, 1993), 661 pages. Now the standard reference work. Pierre Combe, OSB of Solesmes Abbey has written two books of history which are available in translation. The first treats one of the most important promoters of the Old Solesmes method in the U.S. and around the world. Justine Ward and Solesmes, tr. Philipe Lacoste and Guillemine Lacoste (Catholic University of America Press, 1987), 410 pages. The Restoration of Gregorian Chant: Solesmes and the Vatican Edition, tr. Theodore N. Marier and William Skinner (Catholic University of America Press, 2003), 480 pages.