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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When you consider that the greatest hymns ever written—the plainchant hymns—are pushing the age of eight hundred and that the noble chorale hymn tunes of Bach date from the early eighteenth century, then what is the significance of the word “old” applied to “Mother at Thy Feet Is Kneeling”? Most of the old St. Basil hymns date from the Victorian era, particularly the 1870s and 1880s.
— Paul Hume (1956)

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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.