About this blogger:
Veronica Brandt holds a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering. As editor, she has produced fine publications (as well as valuable reprints) dealing with Gregorian chant, hymnody, Latin, and other subjects. These publications are distinguished on account of their tastefulness. She lives in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her husband Peter and five children.
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A lot of the favoured new settings are musically illiterate, almost is if they were written by semi-trained teenagers, getting to grips with musical rudiments. The style is stodgy and sentimental, tonally and rhythmically stilted, melodically inane and adored by Catholic clergy “of a certain age.” Some Catholic dioceses run courses for wannabe composers to perpetuate this style. It is a scandal. People with hardly any training and experience of even the basic building blocks of music have been convinced that there is a place for their puerile stumblings and fumblings in the modern Catholic Church because real musicians are elitist and off-putting.
— James MacMillan (20 November 2013)

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Ut Queant Laxis time soon!
published 22 June 2013 by Veronica Brandt

HE 24TH OF JUNE is the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist. It falls three months after the Annunciation and six months before Christmas. I’ve written more about the feast day over there.

The vespers hymn is very famous for being the source of solfege. Guido d’Arezzo chose the first syllables of each line to represent the pitches of a diatonic scale. They were “Ut, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La”. Later the Si was added (short for Sancte Ioannes) which some change to Ti, and Ut became Do to be easier to sing.

An extra detail for anyone who has faced singing in public with a sore throat:

Durandus says that the hymn was composed by Paul the Deacon on a certain Holy Saturday when, having to chant the “Exsultet” for the blessing of the paschal candle, he found himself suffering from an unwonted hoarseness. Perhaps bethinking himself of the restoration of voice to the father of the Baptist, he implored a similar help in the first stanza. Catholic Encyclopedia

The first stanza has been translated as: “That thy servants may be able to sing thy deeds of wonder with pleasant voices, remove, O holy John, the guilt of our sin-polluted lips” (The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal, Rev Matthew Britt, OSB). It reminds me of our prayer before choir practice Let my mouth be filled with thy praise, in order that I be able to sing; my lips will rejoice for as long as I sing unto thee.

And tying in with previous videos on using using Illuminare Score Editor and the Propers Tool, here is a video on using the Hymn Tool.

After that I added in the brief translation from CPDL.

Click here for the finished pdf.

And utqueant.gabc is the gabc code ready to be pasted into Illuminare Score Editor.