About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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“As liturgical art, church music is obliged to conform to ecclesiastical law. But to construct artificial polarities here, between legalistic order and a dynamic church music, demanded by the alleged needs of the day, would be to forsake the foundation of a music rooted in liturgical experience. What is in fact the pastoral value of the shoddy, the profane, the third-rate?”
— Dr. Robert Skeris (1996)

Tutorial For Priests: Singing The Prayers After The “Asperges Me”
published 29 November 2014 by Jeff Ostrowski

625 Oration Demonstration 1513 AD F THE QUESTION asks for the capital of Tennessee, “Nashville” would be CORRECT, but if the question asks for Nebraska’s capital, “Nashville” would be INCORRECT. In other words, the question determines whether a particular answer is correct. Pretty obvious, right?

Wrong. Many priests ask me, “Am I singing this Collect correctly?” Others ask, “Am I singing this Gospel correctly?” It depends on which tone they’re trying to sing.

Here are the texts 1 :

Osténde nobis, Dómine, misericórdiam tuam.
R. Et salutáre tuum da nobis.
Dómine, exáudi oratiónem meam.
R. Et clamor meus ad te véniat.
Dóminus vobíscum.
R. Et cum spíritu tuo.
    Orémus.  Exáudi nos, Dómine sancte, Pater omnípotens, ætérne Deus, et míttere dignéris sanctum Angelum tuum de cælis, qui custódiat, fóveat, prótegat, vísitet, atque deféndat omnes habitántes in hoc habitáculo. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.  R. Amen.
Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy.
R. And grant us Thy salvation.
O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
    Let us pray.  Graciously hear us, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, Eternal God; and vouchsafe to send down from heaven Thy holy Angel, to guard, cherish, protect, visit and defend all who dwell in this house. Through Christ our Lord.  R. Amen.

They’re supposed to be sung like this (pay special attention to the “Dominus Vobiscum” section):

      * *  PDF Download: “Simple Tone”

      * *  Mp3 Recording: “Simple Tone”

Yet many priests sing these prayers incorrectly. To understand how such a mistake is possible, one must realize that several tones can lawfully be chosen. Priests often mix the various tones unknowingly, which is not allowed. Even popular reference books get this wrong! For example, the CMAA’s Psallite Sapienter (2008) and Nicola Montani’s St. Gregory Hymnal (1920) give erroneous information about this tone. 2

If you don’t believe me, download the official rubrics from 1961. Or, you can consult the official rubrics from 1908, which reproduce my version exactly. 3 These same rubrics can also be found in the 1912 Antiphonale Romanum (Editio Vaticana). Their technical name is “Toni Communes” and I could easily include many more versions. 4

WITH REGARD TO the “erroneous version” sung by most priests, they confuse the “Simple Tone” (given above) with this one:

      * *  PDF Download: “Ferial Tone B” • This tone may also be used.

To discover the origin of “Ferial Tone B,” one must carefully examine Page 99 in the Liber Usualis. Even though these words have remained unchanged for 109 years, few people are aware of their existence.

In the famous 1941 Mass, 5 the priest correctly sings “Ferial Tone B,” but the choir sings the “Amen” incorrectly. For proof, you can watch the video excerpt, but you have to listen carefully because Msgr. Sheen speaks during some of it. The SSPX priest shown in this video excerpt from 2006 almost sings the tone correctly, but turns the “Oremus” upside down (and the congregation fails to sing “Et cum spiritu tuo” properly).

By the way, here is how the “Vidi Aquam” and “Asperges Me” appear in the St. Edmund Campion Hymnal, which is the only congregational hymnal for the Extraordinary Form.


1   The word Alleluia is added to several of these prayers during Eastertide, when the Vidi Aquam is sung.

2   Both books assume only one tone can be chosen, which is false. By the way, the St. Gregory Hymnal contains a surprising rubric about when the choir sings the Gradual.

3   The only difference is that I took advantage of the “descending fifth option” on the word «HABITACULO» which is specifically allowed by the 1961 rubrics for a Full Stop.

4   If you visit the Lalande Library, you’ll discover that most versions of the Kyriale contain the “Toni Communes.” The 1905 version from Styria is notable, since its font sizes are gargantuan. However, before the Vatican Edition appeared in 1905, there was great melodic variation. For example, the 1895 Liber Usualis of Abbot Pothier only includes one version of the Collect Tone, called the “Monastic Tone.” Notice, too, the interesting melodic variant chosen for the Pater Noster (people’s response) in that 1895 book.

5   A Traditional Latin Mass filmed in Our Lady of Sorrows Church (Chicago) and narrated by Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen.