PRAYERCAzT/PODCAzT: Corpus Christi: singing the whole nine yards

I again inflict my singing on you for most of this project.

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 Form 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 Corpus Christi, often transferred to Sunday. For the collect there will be a festive tone and a solemn tone. The first reading 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 Common Preface, in the ferial, solemn and more solemn.  The ferial tone would not be used on Corpus Christ.

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 Common Preface. 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.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. jmhj5 says:

    Thank you! You have a beautiful voice.

  2. Patti Day says:

    Thank you Father. That was wonderful and this is probably the only opportunity I’ll get to hear it. Our pastor has been bringing out some Latin singing lately. He has a lovely tenor voice which is surprisingly strong for someone who is over 70. I hope he will continue. I know he’s got more.

  3. The link to “PRAYERCAzT Series” doesn’t work. :(

    My little schola is practicing the propers for the Feast of the Precious Blood (for a votive Mass later in July). Would that there were audio of these somewhere on the Internet! They are tough.

  4. irishgirl says:

    Thank you, Father Z, for this; you have such a wonderful singing voice.
    It’s interesting that there are different ‘tones’ in chanting the Mass propers.
    The sound of your voice was so soothing, I nearly fell asleep in this chair at a well-known bookstore!
    Was that ‘The Sixteen’ I heard at the end?

  5. Jim in VT says:

    My first thought when I saw this was the anecdotes of St Louis de Monfort preaching. He would turn a public place into a place for people to hear the word.

  6. Mark of the Vine says:

    PrayerCaZt link isn’t working :-/

  7. Mark of the Vine says:

    Thanks for fixing the link, Fr. Z!

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