PRAYERCAzT/PODCAzT: Pentecost – the whole nine yards – WDTPRS POLL

I inflict my singing on you for most of this project.  There is also a POLL.  This is also PODCAzT 120.

Quite a while back I started a PRAYERCAzT series, wherein I read and/or sang the prayers and readings for upcoming Sundays and Feasts for the Extraordinary Form.  I meant to be helpful to men who were faced with singing the texts and who were, perhaps, not so familiar with what to do.  It was also meant to help people in the pews get the sounds of the Latin into their ears so that their participation at Mass would be more comfortable and fruitful.

Not long ago I received a very useful new book which published by the Canons regular at St. John Cantius in Chicago.  The book is called Canticum Clericorum Romanum, and it is the first volume.

In the celebration of the older, traditional form of Holy Mass in the Roman Rite, the Extraordinary Form, when Mass is celebrated with greater solemnity, the texts are sung.  The prayers or orations, the readings, the preface, every thing is sung.  This volume has all the texts for all the Sundays of the year and most major feasts in Gregorian musical notation.  Not only that, since there are different tones or melodies we can use to sing texts, the book has the alternative tones as well.

Some time ago I started an audio project, especially intended for priests, who might have to sing the texts during the Extraordinary but who may not be very familiar with these old Roman ways.  Priests, deacons (actual deacons and priests who serve as deacons), laymen who serve as “straw subdeacons”… must sing texts, which for some men is nerve wracking enough.  You wind up looking at examples of paradigmatic texts in, say, the Liber Usualis, and then you look at the Missale, perhaps making a photocopy, perhaps penciling in lines under the vowel where you are supposed to go up….

This new book from the canons in Chicago book has it all laid out.

What I do in this audio project is sing through all the texts of the Mass, in the different alternatives, for Pentecost Sunday.  For the collect there will be a festive tone and a solemn tone.  The epistle, from Acts, has its own tone.  There are three possibilities for the Gospel, the tonus evangelii, tonus antiquior, tonus ad libitum.  There is no tone, of course, for the Secret because it is silent.  And then the two tones we had for the Collect also used for the Post Communion.

This book does not have prefaces, which are in the Missale Romanum.  But there are three tones for the preface of the Holy Spirit, the most usual of which for Pentecost is the solemn tone. There is, however a more solemn tone, or tonus solemnior.  There is a ferial tone, which you would not probably use on Pentecost.  It would more likely be sung for a votive Mass of the Holy Spirit.

So, first I’ll sing through the prayers and texts using the new book from the canons.  Then I will switch books and sing all three versions of the Preface of the Holy Spirit. You will notice the different introductory dialogues.  I suggest before singing the tonus solemnior that perhaps you could start with the tone for the tonus solemnis, which people are more likely to know, and then switch seamlessly into the tonus solemnior.  That way, you don’t have chaos at the beginning.

I am doing this so that people can hear the different tones, with the same texts, and, if some priest or deacon out there finds them useful as he looks at the texts and wonders how to sing them, well… this is a public service as it were.


The little music clips the Grandes Heures Liturgiques à Notre-Dame de Paris by the Maitrise of Notre Dame in Paris.  I don’t think this is easily available.

Veni Sancte Spiritus from Pomerium’s Musical Book of Hours.

Arvo Part’s Veni Sancte Spiritus from his fantastic album I Am The True Vine.

And I am very curious about the tones for the prayers, the Gospel, and the preface you prefer.

First, the orations or prayers such as the Collect and Post Communion.

Which tone for the orations (e.g., Collect) do you prefer?

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Second, the tone for singing the Gospel.

Which tone for the Gospel do you prefer?

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Lastly, the tone for the Preface, keeping in mind that the Ferial Tone, isn’t to be used on feasts and Sundays.

Which tone for the Preface you prefer?

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Feel free to use the combox to say why you like one tone or the other.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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3 Responses to PRAYERCAzT/PODCAzT: Pentecost – the whole nine yards – WDTPRS POLL

  1. AnAmericanMother says:

    No need for modesty – your singing voice is very pleasant, very well modulated, your breathing is excellent.
    There’s a conflict between “easier to sing” and “easier on your voice”. The longer the series of repetitions on a single note, the more it hurts! For the Collect, the Tonus festivus is more familiar, but the Tonus solemnis sounds easier to sing. In the Gospel, the Tonus antiquior is unfamiliar to me, more difficult, but easier to sing and to listen to. For the preface, the Tonus solemnior is very well known to me, so I prefer that.

  2. Clemens Romanus says:

    I have been searching, though not very thoroughly, for information on the history of the Tonus solemnior for the Preface. Does anyone know of a good resource explaining its history? Thanks.

  3. Andy Milam says:

    Quite simply put, I voted for tonus solemnis and tonus Evangelii, because they are the most recognizable and they are always appropriate for a sung Mass.

    In other words, if we are a people of worship and we take our cues for participatio actuosa within the tones as sung, it would stand to reason to use the tones which are not only appropriate, but also familiar. The tones that we use can be catechetical as well.

    Plus I like those tones better…