UCH OF THE SACRED MUSIC SYMPOSIUM each year is spent discussing how choirmasters can survive in what is undoubtedly a very difficult profession. In the booklet each participant receives, we provide tons of scores with simple polyphony a volunteer choir can manage—and we meticulously describe ways of “sneaking polyphony into the Mass.” One of my favorite ways is to employ choral extensions. This can be done in the EF by mixing the psalm tones given on the René Goupil website with a polyphonic Alleluia like the one below. 1
Please pardon my screechy soprano voice, but I wanted to show how it sounds:
REHEARSAL VIDEOS for each individual voice await you at #3982.
This Alleluia can also be used in the Ordinary Form—as explained. You could write your own Alleluia or grab one from a billion different plainsong sources. (Archbishop Bugnini’s Consilium had tried to eliminate from the Ordinary Form all foreign words—Amen, Alleluia, Hosanna, and so forth—but the Sacred Congregation of Rites was able to prevent that. So the OF still contains a few foreign words.) The Graduale Simplex (pdf) has some nice ones:
A brief word about polyphonic Alleluia #3982: Francisco Guerrero (d. 1599) studied under Fr. Morales, and we often see his traits. For example, Guerrero loved to add variety to his works. The first section might begin with Sopranos, then Altos, then Bass, then Tenors. The next section might be revered: starting with Bass, then Tenors, then Altos, then finally Sopranos. Or he may begin each point of imitation with a different voice.
Fr. Morales often does the same thing in Alleluia #3982—and it’s truly marvelous.
Consider the .WAV files from my Rehearsal video:
The sheet music illustrates this even better.
(But the .WAV files are kind of cool.)
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
This Alleluia comes from a Mass by Fr. Morales (Benedicta es Caelorum Regina) based on a motet by Fr. Jean Mouton (d. 1522), who was also a Catholic priest.