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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“It is most important that when the faithful assist at the sacred ceremonies … they should sing alternately with the clergy or the choir, as it is prescribed.”
— Pope Pius XI, "Divini Cultus" (20 Dec 1928) §9

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Where do you obtain your Psalms?
published 27 September 2016 by Jeff Ostrowski

NGLISH HAS LAWS of accentuation we seldom think about. For example, notice how the accent shifts: hypocrite, hypocrisy, hypocritical. Those of us who grew up speaking English know this by instinct. In Latin, the placement of the accent can change the meaning. For example, ádvenit has a different meaning than advénit. Likewise, the word cónditor has a different meaning than condítor.

A truly excellent resource is Catholic Bible Online, but accents are not given. So where does one find accented psalms when extra verses for liturgical music are needed?

My favorite source is the 1942 BREVIARY by the Desclée brothers:

    * *  (Part A) Desclée Breviary — HIEMALIS “Winter”

    * *  (Part B) Desclée Breviary — VERNA “Spring”

    * *  (Part C) Desclée Breviary — ÆSTIVA “Summer”

    * *  (Part D) Desclée Breviary — AUTUMNALIS “Fall”

If those massive files are too large your computer, download the 1888 Pustet Breviary:

    * *  (1 of 4) 1888 • Pustet Breviary (“Winter”)

    * *  (2 of 4) 1888 • Pustet Breviary (“Spring”)

    * *  (3 of 4) 1888 • Pustet Breviary (“Summer”)

    * *  (4 of 4) 1888 • Pustet Breviary (“Autumn”)

Those Breviaries are helpful when it comes to Latin syllabification—indeed, there’s no better source. By the way, one of the reasons I’m hooked on the Catholic Bible Online (SEE ABOVE) has to do with acrostics. Do you see the way Msgr. Ronald Knox imitates the Hebrew pattern, where each line begins with a subsequent letter of the alphabet? I never realized Psalm 33 was also an acrostic in the Hebrew.

GETTING BACK TO the Desclée Breviary, notice how every single page is done with unbelievable attention to detail. Consider the beautiful «Æ» employed for the hymn ÆTERNE RERUM CONDITOR:

990 Desclée Breviary


Henri and Jules Desclée were remarkable beyond words. Many readers will be familiar with their intimate relationship with the Abbey of Solesmes, which led to the production of so many stunning liturgical publications. The breviary above is peppered with artwork sometimes shared amongst various books. However, there is so much more to the story of the Desclée family, and this article is a good starting point.