A Basic Chant Bibliography

By Ruff, Anthony W. | Pastoral Music, June/July 2008 | Go to article overview

A Basic Chant Bibliography


Ruff, Anthony W., Pastoral Music


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. Here are published collections of congregational chant.

Iubilate Deo ("Shout to God" ), Libreria Editrice Vaticana, expanded edition, 1987. Includes 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.

Kyriale Simplex ("Simple Kyriale"), Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1965. A kyriale is a collection of Mass ordinaries. This "simple" version offers 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.

Liber Cantualis ("Book of Chant"), Solesmes, 1978. The 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.

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.

Graduale Triplex ("Triple Gradual"), Solesmes, 1979. Identical to the 1974 Graduale Romanum but with early lineless neumes written 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 in understanding how to interpret and convey the Latin text in chants of all levels of difficulty.

Gregorian Missal for Sundays, Solesmes, 1990. This book offers English translations next to each Latin chant. The chants are excerpted from the Graduate Romanum to include all the Sundays and feast days. Other liturgical texts (e.g. presidential prayers, Eucharistic Prayers) are also included in English.

Easier Chant Books for the Choir

Along with 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.

Canrus Selecti ("Selected Chants"), Solesmes, 1989. This extensive excerpt from the 1949 version of this collection contains 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.

Graduate 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 by most congregations. In practical use, this volume offers a handy fallback for choirs unable to learn the propers from the Graduale Romanum. The collection offers 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.

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 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). …

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