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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“Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed pope Celestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place in this holy synod.”
— Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431)

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Sloppy 1953 Schwann
published 7 October 2015 by Jeff Ostrowski

HAVE OFTEN SPOKEN of the “pure” Editio Vaticana rhythmic system. Those who wish to learn more can read my 2008 article in Sacred Music on this subject. This method was supposed to have been used for singing the official Graduale. For better or worse—and mostly because the system itself was needlessly unclear—the editorial markings of Dom André Mocquereau stole the show … and the rest is history. I sometimes consider having my choir sing the “pure” method but always end up balking, because the Solesmes rhythm really has become the traditional one. (In the 1950s, perhaps coming to the same realization, the Holy See officially gave permission to use it, saying it could be “tolerated.”)

The 1953 Schwann Edition—edited by Abbot Urbanus Bomm, Karl Gustav Fellerer, and Msgr. Johannes Overath—was perhaps the most valiant effort to revive the Editio Vaticana method. However, the “white notes” (as Dr. Joseph Lennards called them) are quite inaccurate, and this took me by surprise:

230 Schwann sloppy


Ultimately, the 1908 Vatican Press Edition is the best way to see the correct “white notes,” although even this edition contains typos. The Solesmes editions are also (surprisingly) faithful to the blank spaces.

Sometimes, Pothier wanted to make it absolutely clear there was to be a mora vocis, and here’s an example from the 1908 Vatican Press Graduale Romanum which drives home this point:

229 Vaticana


Abbot Pothier hinted at his opinion of Mocquereau’s rhythmic changes in a 1906 Letter. When the Vatican officially gave permission for the Solesmes alterations during the 1950s, presumably the 1910 Letter by Cardinal Martinelli was abrogated. Some claim the Martinelli letter applied only to Haberl, but that assertion is false.