OU MAY REMEMBER the videos showing me loading our choir binders—an activity that was totally exhausting. Today, I’m thrilled to share with you something I’ve kept secret for almost a year: the Goupil Gradual books!
You can skip what I have to say by scrolling to the bottom, but make sure to read the important disclaimer before ordering these books.
Scroll to the bottom to purchase hard copies from Lulu.
(1) LATIN-ENGLISH INTERLINEAR TRANSLATIONS
Pope Benedict XIV (d. 1758) said the Latin words “should be sung clearly and thoroughly understood.” Decades of singing plainsong has convinced me of the value of a word-for-word translation:
In addition to interlinear translations based on Fr. Lasance, we provide a more fluid translation by Fr. Philip Caraman. Occasionally the Latin phraseology was so idiomatic that an interlinear translation was difficult (e.g. Introit: Dum médium siléntium) … but this was rare.
(2) PRECEDENT FOR THIS PROJECT
Ours is not the first to provide an interlinear vernacular translation. In 1909, Rev’d Karl Weinmann published his remarkable “Gradualbuch auszug aus der Editio Vaticana,” which we placed online in 2008. Weinmann writes the staves with medieval notation—but on a modern clef. Look how meticulous he was:
Even if you don’t download the entire book (posted at the Lalande Library), please download the fascinating Preface, released today in English for the first time:
What Fr. Weinmann says about singers “not seeing the forest for the trees” is absolutely correct, and that’s why Abbot Pothier never supported rhythmic markings. On the other hand, the practical value of such markings cannot be denied.
(3) SINGERS REQUIRE FREEDOM TO VANDALIZE
When we produced the CAMPION HYMNAL—a book intended for use by the congregation—we spent months making every page pristine:
About a year ago, desperate to mark a starting pitch, I marked in pencil on the Campion Missal. Click here to see what a horrendous mistake it was to tarnish something so beautiful. It became obvious to me that singers need freedom to mark up their scores—and the Goupil Gradual books are perfect for that!
(4) USE GREGORIO OR NOT?
Before embarking on this project, we spent considerable time—too much time!—trying to decide whether the entire thing should be done in Gregorio. In the end, we decided to use Gregorio for psalm tones only, and numerous reasons support our decision. Most importantly, even though Gregorio scores look gorgeous when viewed on computer screens, the Solesmes scores (scanned at high resolution) look even nicer when printed. I realize some may doubt this, but seeing is believing.
Moreover, in spite of the sensational work done by websites like GregoBase, the scores still contain errors and wrong notes. Again, this is not to disparage the electrifying power of Gregorio, which (for the record) was used exclusively in the Campion Missal. However, even the way the lines are broken in the Solesmes editions bear testimony to their diligence in printing for the last 150 years, and this cannot be ignored. Much more could be said about how we made our decision, but the general populace probably wouldn’t care about such minor details. 1
(5) THE CHURCH’S OFFICIAL EDITION
Another reason the Solesmes scans were chosen has to do with “white notes” in the Vatican Edition. If you don’t know what white notes are, you’re in good company; almost nobody does. Nevertheless, the white notes represent the authentic rhythm of the Vaticana, and some prefer this system to Dom Mocquereau’s. Gregorio scores often ignore white notes, and this was difficult for us to accept. (Many will undoubtedly criticize our scrupulosity in this area.)
(6) CHOICE OF PSALM TONES
For the Graduals, Tracts, and Alleluia verses, we have included two different psalm tones. Advanced choirs will not tolerate singing the same mode each week, while amateur choirs appreciate this option. Indeed, it’s important to remember that 92% of your congregation will never hear the Divine Office chanted, so Mass is their only opportunity to hear a psalm tone. Cognizant of this, we have also included an (optional) psalm tone version of the Offertory antiphon:
(7) THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT REALIZE ARE VALUABLE
A powerful aspect of our project is the inclusion of starting pitches and GLORIA PATRI notation for every Introit and Communion antiphon. Extra verses were also added to the Offertory. Such items may not seem earth-shattering, but when you’re standing in front of 40+ choir members, their value becomes clear.
(8) LIFE WITHOUT PLAINSONG?
Speaking of essential items, can you instantly prove the power of plainsong? I can; just imagine Mass without Gregorian chant! For instance, can you imagine Holy Thursday without the Nos Autem sung as they process in? What could ever replace the Gregorian repertoire? Let’s remember this when we get discouraged over how few churches sing plainsong.
The Goupil Gradual books make it possible to introduce your entire choir to Gregorian chant, and you’ll save tons of money, considering the Liber Usualis—which has tiny print and zero psalm tone options—costs $160.00 per person!
Saint René Goupil Gradual :
* * Holy Saturday Booklet (forthcoming)
Save money with this Lulu Coupon—but notice the expiration date.
PUBLIC DISCLAIMER :
The Goupil Gradual is very much a work in progress. We make no guarantees whatsoever. Each person should order a single copy to determine whether this resource is right for your Schola Cantorum. My choir here in Los Angeles has used them with great success! Moreover, using these books saves me tons of time each week.
Placing verbatim translations under each Latin word for the entire Roman Gradual with careful formatting—avoiding all page turns!—required more effort than I initially guessed, and more work still needs to be done. For example, I didn’t finish “cleaning” all the quilismas, there are «J vs. I» consistency errors, the first twenty psalm tones are not formatted as nicely as they could be, and I’d like to finish moving the asterisks back to the 1908 positions, since Solesmes displaced several in the 1960s (just as the Vatican Edition displaced several in 1908). It will be obvious that many of these scores are not formatted perfectly; e.g. the authentic Offertory antiphons. As time goes on, I’d like to add all the holy days in the Campion Missal, even though they don’t always replace a Sunday. The cold reality, however, is that delaying the publication of these books until they’re “perfect” would be silly. If I’m 100% honest, they may never be “perfect.” These books correspond to the Extraordinary Form calendar; but it bears repeating that the exact same Gradual chants are used for the Ordinary Form.
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 I am speaking of minutiae such as how syllables are broken, diphthong consistency, accent consistency, and so forth.