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:
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:
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.