Spare the rod and spoil the chant!

Over at NLM (now under new management) there is a fun entry about the baculus cantoralis.

The cliffnotes version:

The Baculus Cantoralis, to give it one of its many names, is a large staff held by a Choirmaster or Cantor which originates in Benedictine Monasteries of the 10th and 11th centuries. It is sometimes called a Baculus Choralis or a Baculus Praecentoris. At Solesmes, where it is still in use, it is referred to as Le Bâton de Chantre.

Now it is a ceremonial object, but once it was used to correct errant singers.

How often I have wanted something like a liturgical paintball gun when some singer on the other side of the sanctuary was drifting flat or ignoring proper dymanics.

Go to NLM to read the whole thing and see spiffy photos.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Just Too Cool, Lighter fare, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Lepidus says:

    Liturgical Paintball Gun – LOVE it! What’s the latin name for that?

    “Let us rise and pray, that the gifts we bring to this altar: our prayers, financial…” {SPLAT} “…I mean, my sacrifice and yours…”


  2. Tim Ferguson says:

    use of a liturgical paintball gun might call for a whole new entry on “berettaquette”

  3. MAJ Tony says:

    Perhaps a Airsoft Liturgical Beretta. Less messy that way.

  4. MAJ Tony says:

    correction “an” Airsoft Liturgical Beretta. If you MUST use a Beretta, at least use the Liturgical model. I personally prefer a Liturgical Model 1911.

  5. VexillaRegis says:

    Those batons are dangerous!From Wikipedia: “(Jean Baptiste) Lully died from gangrene, having struck his foot with his long conducting staff during a performance of his Te Deum to celebrate Louis XIV’s recovery from surgery.” Sic transit gloria mundi.

  6. APX says:

    Now I know where all my band directors got it from! I had one who used to keep a few flute cleaning rods within reach to throw at anyone who wasn’t watching.

    I had another one who would get mad and throw her baton at you if you were off beat, not watching, or some other musical mortal sin like being a saxophonist.

  7. persyn says:

    I remember my musicology teacher, Sister Xavier Mary Courvoisier, SNMJ (RIP, Sister) telling the story of French Composer and Maître du Choeur Jean-Bapitste Lully, who was using the Bacula to pound out the meter and keep the singers from dragging the tempo… he hit is own toe, and died of the resultant infection.

  8. PhilipNeri says:

    I vote for the return of the Verger!

    Specifically, I vote for the return of the Verger Who Whacks Habitual Latecomers to Mass With a Big Stick.

    Fr. Philip Neri, OP

  9. VexillaRegis says:

    Persyn: See above at 11:32PM ;-)

  10. Tom in NY says:

    Versum, “Virgam potentiae tuae emittet Dominus ex Sion: dominare in medio inimicorum tuorum” cantabant. (Ps. CX, versus ii.)
    Salutationes omnibus.

  11. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Is this the ‘Baculus’ of various lively mediaeval Latin songs?

  12. Ben Yanke says:

    I recently heard one of these mentioned…interesting…I think a liturgical paintball gun would be much easier. With the proper liturgically colored paint, of course.

Comments are closed.