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 six children.
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The soul is distracted from that which is sung by a chant that is employed for the purpose of giving pleasure. But if the singer chant for the sake of devotion, he pays more attention to what he says, both because he lingers more thereon, and because, as Augustine remarks (Confess. x, 33), “each affection of our spirit, according to its variety, has its own appropriate measure in the voice, and singing, by some hidden correspondence wherewith it is stirred.” The same applies to the hearers, for even if some of them understand not what is sung, yet they understand why it is sung, namely, for God's glory: and this is enough to arouse their devotion.
— St. Thomas Aquinas

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Practising from back to front
published 28 August 2015 by Veronica Brandt

trolley of possibilities OST OF OUR LATIN MASSES here in Australia are Low Masses with hymns. We average one Missa Cantata a month. Most of the singers struggle to read music, so I make recordings.

At the moment I’m preparing for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost—which has some particularly memorable moments in the music for the propers.

When it came to the communion antiphon I used the technique of working backwards through the piece to cement it into my head. I hope you enjoy this recording – the little accompanying voice is my 2 year old daughter.

An example of practising a piece from the end to the beginning – with a small child on my lap (the communion antiphon Domine memorabor, from the 16th Sunday after Pentecost

Read along with the score.

Listening to it now also brings home how much easier it is to sing along with someone. If you have one person who can sing a piece, the rest can lean on that person. Of course it sounds better when everyone knows what they are doing – but by being the person who learns the piece you are supporting the other singers.

Someone pointed out to me the problem with admiring talent. The real key to making beautiful music is practice. Talking about talent tends to excuse ourselves for not putting in the time and effort. I’d much rather be praised for working hard than for merely being talented.