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 lives with his wife and two children.
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A lot of the favoured new settings are musically illiterate, almost is if they were written by semi-trained teenagers, getting to grips with musical rudiments. The style is stodgy and sentimental, tonally and rhythmically stilted, melodically inane and adored by Catholic clergy “of a certain age.” Some Catholic dioceses run courses for wannabe composers to perpetuate this style. It is a scandal. People with hardly any training and experience of even the basic building blocks of music have been convinced that there is a place for their puerile stumblings and fumblings in the modern Catholic Church because real musicians are elitist and off-putting.
— James MacMillan (20 November 2013)

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“Agnus Dei” For Three Voices • Guillaume Dufay
published 19 September 2015 by Jeff Ostrowski

E HAVE BEEN ENCOURAGING choirmasters to use Solfège when training their choirs, but many readers are confused about why Solfège would help. The following piece demonstrates very well why Solfège is the best way to train amateurs in polyphony. During rehearsal, if your singers are missing a phrase, you can easily correct it when it’s done in Solfège. Isolating the incorrect pitches is much more difficult without Solfège:


For the record, my choir absolutely loves singing this Agnus Dei. It took us a while to learn, but has become one of our favorites now that it’s “clicked.”

    * *  PDF Download • “AGNUS DEI” by Guillaume Dufay (d. 1474)

EQUAL VOICES : YouTube   •   Mp3 Audio

HIGHEST VOICES : YouTube   •   Audio

MIDDLE VOICES : YouTube   •   Audio

BOTTOM VOICES : YouTube   •   Audio

The lowest voices must sing very, very softly when they ascend to the high notes—in falsetto if possible—otherwise the balance will be wrecked.