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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Much of the beauty of the older forms was lost and the hymns did not really become classical. We have reason to hope that the present reform of the breviary will also give us back the old form of the hymns. But meanwhile it seems necessary to keep the later text. This is the one best known, it is given in all hymnbooks and is still the only authorized form. Only in one case have we printed the older text of a hymn, number 57, “Urbs Jerusalem.” The modern form of this begins: “Caelestis urbs Jerusalem.” But in this case the people who changed it in the seventeenth century did not even keep its metre; so the later version cannot be sung to the old, exceedingly beautiful tune.
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (1913)

A Homely Slant on Bertalot's Sight-Singing
published 7 March 2015 by Veronica Brandt

student teacher piano HEN I FIRST READ LUCAS Tappan’s article from a few weeks ago, What If You Never Again Had To “Teach” Your Choir Notes? my first reaction was to wish that I had a “proper” choir.

Curiosity got the better of me and I looked around John Bertalot’s website and even ended up buying a copy of the book Five Wheels to Successful Sight-Singing. I am very glad I did.

The book is aimed at conducting a children’s choir, but many of the lessons are very useful for parents too. Having only a small number of students is actually an advantage for teaching sight-singing.

Sight-singing has been something of an unattainable ideal in my head for as long as I can remember. I’ve always needed some instrument to turn sheet music into something audible. It turns out that I had all the first steps in place to learn sight-singing all along. It was like seeing that I have been riding with training wheels all this time.

Bertalot’s book is pretty short. It is unlike any other book I have read on music. Instead of diagrams and explanations it is written as a lively dialogue between a student and a master choir director. This is really helpful as one of the main lessons is learning how to talk with students so that they listen and learn – a very handy skill in all areas.

It is also heartening to hear that learning to read music, just like learning to read words, does not require specially formulated textbooks. Bertalot uses a blackboard and a regular hymnbook.

I look forward to reading more from Lucas Tappan as he sheds more light on how to apply these lessons.