A must of an Gregorian schola is a so called gradual, a book collecting all musical items of the Mass for the whole liturgical year. It contains chants for ordinary (invariable parts of the mass like Kyrie, Gloria, Credo…) and for proper (parts of the mass that varies like Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, Communion…). Apart from texts of these chants it contains of course the melody of it in quadratic notation.
The official gradual of Roman Catholic Church is currently Graduale Romanum (GR) published in 1974. Graduale Triplex (GT)(1979) is actually Graduale Romanum supplemented with two neumatic notations. Above the quadratic record there is black transcription of Laon neumatic manuscript and beow the system is red neumatic record of St. Gallen family of manuscripts. The majority of proper is notated in this manner. This is where its name comes from.
Here you can see samples from the same site in GR and GT. (Click to the picture to see the whole image in bigger size)
Publishing of GT was inspired by “Graduel neumé”, by Dom Eugène Cardine. After the release of GR in 1974, two members of AISCGRE disposed to transcribe neumatic manuscripts into this Gradual: Marie-Claire Billecocq (Veniere, France) on the neums of the Laon manuscript (in black) and Rupert Fischer (Metten, Bavaria) on the neums of the manuscripts of the Saint-gall family (in red).
The following manuscripts have been used (mainly the first three of them):
|L||Laon, Bibl. Munic. 239||after 930||PM X|
|C||St. Gallen, Stiftsbibl. 359||end of the IXth century||PM deuxieme serie, II|
|E||Einsiedeln, Stiftsbibl. 121||beginning of the XIth century||PM IV|
|G||St. Gallen, Stiftsbibl. 339||first half of the XIth century||PM I|
|SG||St. Gallen, Stiftsbibl. 376||XIth century|
|H||St. Gallen Stiftsbibl. 390/391||between 996 and 1011||PM deuxieme serie, I|
|B||Bamberg, Staatsbibl. lit. 6||third third of the Xth century|
At the beginning of each piece of chant there are given the sigla of the manuscripts from which the neums have been drawn, together with an indication of the page and folio number. In addition the sigla of the oldest Antiphonaries of the Mass without notation, which contain the pieces under consideration have been added; this data has been taken from the “Antiphonale Missarum Sextuplex” (Dom René-Jean Hesbert):
|M||Cantatorium of Monza||second third of the IXth century|
|R||Graduale of Rheinau||about 800|
|B||Graduale of Mont-Blandin||VIII-IXth century|
|C||Graduale of Compiegne||second half of the IXth century|
|K||Graduale of Corbie||after 853|
|S||Graduale of Senlis||between 877 and 882|
For example you can see in the picture from GT that the introit “Omnes gentes plaudite manibus” occurs in all the named manuscripts (RBCKS) except for Cantatorium of Monza. The above notation is taken from Laon 239, folio 152 (L152) and the red one under the text is from Einsiedeln 121, folio 319 (E319).
You can buy GR and GT by the publisher – Benedictine abbey in Solesmes.
You may have already learned from our Article, that the copy of 1961 GR is available online. The most important difference between it and the current GR is the order of chants. We can simply use index of GR 1974 and substitute it in this manner. But we will probably not find GT online for a long while. We could try to transcribe neums from one of St. Gallen manuscripts – it is not simple work, I could confirm it. As you will read later on, there is one more possibility.
AISCGRE works diligently on the restitution of GR chants. The goal of this process is to apply the new results of the research of old manuscripts. The result should be a chant book, which would be (by its content) as close as possible to chant praxis in the gold era of chant (approx. 9th century). Some of the results publish AISCGRE in its magazine “Beiträge zur Gregorianik“. Thanks to Mr. Anton Stingl Jr. we can find these results also available online.
In booklets, published continuously on his website Gregor und Taube there are chants for particular celebrations in quadratic notation (modified in accordance with BZG) along with st. Gallen neumatic notation above the line. So, if you don’t mind the difference to GR melodic version of chants, these booklets are the ideal solution for chant schola. Already today there are files for almost every sunday of liturgical year. One more advantage over GR/GT is the fact, that there are no ictuses – deprecated “feature” of GR and GT.
Ictus – the vertical rhytmical sign
The theory of ictuses was introduced by Dom Mocquereau from the Abbey of Solesmes firstly in GR 1908, and it was used by hundreds of thousands of people in the whole world. This theory was disproved by his later colleague in Solesmes – Dom Cardine – who with his work “Gregorian Semiology” (1968) is indelible written in the history of restoration of Gregorian chant. But still today scholars meet ictuses on almost every step.
Despite the big progress in the research (or maybe that’s why), publishing of new gradual is not near. Some of the problems connected with it have been analysed by Dom Daniel Saulnier in his article published in BZG.
The performance of Gregorian chant with the use of Semiology really seems to be the right way. Therefore, if you think about buying GR or GT I absolutely recommend GT. Its price is a bit higher than the price of GR, but the value is almost 3 times higher. The next step would be to learn to understand these mysterious signs. We might discuss this topic in future.
- GR – Graduale Romanum
- GT – Graduale Triplex
- AISCGRE – Associazione Internazionale Studi di Canto Gregoriano
- PM – Paleographie Musicale
- BZG – Beiträge zur Gregorianik
- Graduale Romanum. Solesmes : Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes, 1974. 918 s. ISBN 2-85274-094-X.
- Graduale Triplex. Solesmes : Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes 1979. 918 s. ISBN 2-85274-044-3.
- Associazione Internazionale Studi di Canto Gregoriano
- Gregorian Chant – Plainchant – Gregoriaans