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Using the roman gradual
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Author:  TP [ Sat Jun 04, 2005 11:40 am ]
Post subject:  Using the roman gradual


In the GIRM it gives a heirarchy of music to be done at mass: first is music from the Roman Gradual-- relatively complex gregorian chant in latin. Secondly, it gives the Simple Gradual -- which is simplified gregorian chant for parish use, and still in latin. Thirdly, approved psalms to be sung. And Lastly, approved hymns.

My guess is that most parishes are doing the approved hymns. I had never even heard of the Roman or Simple Gradual until Girm was released.

My question is this: Does anyone's parish actually use the Roman or Simple Gradual? How is it received, used, etc.?

The latin elements of this is also difficult for me to think about in my parish. Currently I am just getting them to the "Approved hymns" part. I have had many people and a very popular choir leave the parish because they could not do contemporary christian music off the radio and bad 70s music that doesn't even mention God. I know many of the approved hymnals are not much better, but at least they fit the criteria.

This leads me to think about some English Translations of both the Simple gradual and the Roman Gradual. Has anyone used "By Flowing Waters" in your parish? This is an english translation of the simple gradual trying to follow the gregorian chant. Another option I am thinking of is "The American Gradual" which is actually an Anglican usage translation of the ROMAN Gradual with the Chant. It also looks very good.

My thought is: If I can get the chant in, the slowly I could bring in some of the Latin. Just slowly.

Do you have Chant in your parish? If so, have you always had chant in your parish or is it something recent?


Author:  Csquared [ Sat Jun 04, 2005 11:52 am ]
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I don't, but I know that ChildWise (who rarely posts) is in the choir and does chant at her parish in Chicago.

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Sat Jun 04, 2005 11:53 am ]
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Once a month we use it at the seminary, on Saturdays (when people can go to other Masses if they want).

Author:  TP [ Sun Jun 05, 2005 8:15 pm ]
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In other words NOBODY is doing the music in the way the church sees music.

Even traditional churches tend not to use the gradual, but just sing old hymns. Whether they are old hymns or new hymns, they are still the 4th thing on the list for music.

I have a friend in an anglican church and they do a lot of chant and even use the graduals. I found that odd.


Author:  Hazel-rah [ Sun Jun 05, 2005 8:24 pm ]
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Well, how many choir directors understand Gregorian Notation? Look, I had Steve Angrisano at Mass this evening. A Mighty Fortress is our God would have been an improvement. Baby steps. Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of baby steps.


Author:  Pro Ecclesia Dei [ Sun Jun 05, 2005 11:48 pm ]
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Gregorian Chant is simple

Author:  sparky [ Mon Jun 06, 2005 6:21 am ]
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Gregorian chant is simple, but many are intimidated by it. And for choirs it presents the problem of singing acapella in tune. If you have a volunteer, non-auditioned chorus you end up with all sorts of voices (some can't carry a tune! They usually get buried by the organ) that don't lend themselves to unison chant singing.

Many are intimidated by the Latin, too.

Father, here's what I'd do. Ask your choir director to do the Latin mass parts for one mass every Sunday and/or for all masses during a special season, say Lent or Advent. Then expand their use from there. The Chant mass is included in the OCP yearly hymnals (not sure which one you use). But they are very simple. Most people might even recognize them. Also, write a little introduction in the church paper saying what masses you'll be using the latin mass parts.

Don't make a complete shift all at once. Maybe after you get them used to it a one mass, you can put it at two masses and so on. Soon...the evil Creation mass of Marty Haugen will be dead in Appleton! (

Now, you just had to squish two parishes together-did you have to move into one church building or are you still operating out of two? If two, do you have two choir directors and two choirs? Maybe you can start with one church then move to the other with the progression...

Anyway. Start with him doing only the Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Latin. Then add other small things. Then add the Gloria.

Do this at ONE mass a weekend, slowly expanding the inclusion of Latin until you got one full Novus Ordo done with latin responses.

Then expand to other masses.

Now what's great about this, is if you do just the sanctus, your music director can start finding other cool sanctuses for the choir to do in four parts--Sanctuses from the great masses of Gounod, Mozart, Vivalidi....Cherubini...etc. The sanctus can get reallllly holy there for a while. The choir director will love it.

Then suggest to him doing other cool parts in latin. He'll start finding all these great classical piece for the choir to do for the other parts. Can you imagine all the cool glorias he could find! Wow. People will start going to that mass just to hear the cool old classical music of the choir, and they'll come to EXPECT the latin. Slipping it in as responses after that point, should be truly easy...AFTER you get the main sections of the mass in place.

Pieces. Tiny pieces.

Oh yes, one more thing. Sell this one mass as the high mass with the choir. Maybe change the name of the choir to "schola" so they start to realize how COOL this mass is.

And, educate people on what the new parts are when you add them. Give them the lyrics in Latin and English on photocopied papers left the pews --maybe laminate the pages and leave them there, though that may cost more intitially.

Wow, I'm loaded with ideas on this. If you get it started, let me know. We've got to go visit hubby's parents in Appleton anyway soon... :)

Let me know what you think of that.
PS: It also occurred to me if you start doing these mass parts in latin, especially if you ask the choir to do choral pieces for them, you'll have to expand the length of this mass in time and shift your mass schedule because the mass will take longer as a result.

Author:  Bonaventure [ Mon Jun 06, 2005 6:33 am ]
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Father, we sometimes have the simple gradual here, but mainly because the Choir director is into Latin and the TLM. She also teaches gregorian chant at the local Catholic univ. So she is not your typical director, I presume.

Author:  Kenny [ Mon Jun 06, 2005 10:37 am ]
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Iubilate Deo might be something you'd want to have a look at, Father.

Author:  sparky [ Tue Jun 07, 2005 6:49 am ]
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Also, father, on my site I have an accomplished music director and historian doing a breakdown of the Graduale Romanum and Liber Usualis--doing recordings of all the chants (and they do sound so very cool!). If you want, you can take a look and listen at how it's to be done. Maybe you can even point your music director over there (we'd love to have him or her anyway...).

Here's the thread, though you will have to register in order to post.

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