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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Why do we never sing “De Spiritu Sancto” (St. Athenogenes) in our churches? There are a dozen translations in English verse. Where could anyone find a better evening hymn than this, coming right down from the catacombs? Our hymnbooks know nothing of such a treasure as this, and give us pages of poor sentiment in doggerel lines by some tenth-rate modern versifier.
— Rev’d Adrian Fortescue (d. 1923)

Motets and Midi practice tracks
published 7 February 2015 by Veronica Brandt

keyboard and headphones WISE SAYING MAINTAINS THAT lazy people take the most trouble. This is very true, especially when combined with another law which states that what can go wrong, will go wrong.

My plan was to make practice tracks for Palestrina’s Jesu Rex Admirabilis. It is a perfect piece for small choirs. It is written in three parts, sometimes given as SSA or SAB. There is a little bit of counting in the last part, but the voices mostly stick together.

Most editions give only one or two verses, but Bernard of Clairvaux’s hymn has many, many verses to extend the piece if desired.

So, I thought that there must be practice tracks already available on the internet. So I searched, and cringed, and searched some more.

Then I found a treasure trove of MIDI files made for choir practice. Each part is separated from the rest using the stereo effect. By adjusting the balance of your speakers you can choose how to balance the part you are learning with the parts of the rest of the choir.

The collection is called SingingPractice.co.uk, or Midi file store and it includes Jesu Rex Admirabilis in amongst the music sung in January 2010. Listening through the Soprano track helped my young soprano to hear the timing for a certain held note.

That webpage contains many, many such midi files. Looking for three part pieces I found

A last note – the midi files do not contain lyrics. The webpage recommends a certain Midi Karaoke player, more for the ease of adjusting tempo and pitch. It’s still best to read the lyrics from the sheet music.