OUNTLESS schola directors and choristers make regular use of the thousands of practice videos published freely here at Corpus Christi Watershed. Among the practice videos are recordings of the complete Kyriale (all 18 Gregorian Masses), the Ordinary of ICEL’s 2011 translation of the Roman Missal, the Simple English Propers, as well as an astonishing collection of polyphonic pieces. The wealth of assistance now available to parish musicians is truly remarkable.
Thanks to the contributions of a start-up website that went live in early 2019, those resources continue to grow.
Entitled Chant for Trebles, this new site is the work of Mrs. Sipkje Price, a Catholic convert, music educator, and director of a women’s chant schola in Jackson, MI. Working with her singers, Sipkje found that many of them expressed difficulty matching pitch with practice videos featuring a male voice a full octave below their own. Thus was born the concept of Chant for Trebles.
The goal of the project is ambitious: to create practice videos for the full Gregorian chant Propers for each Sunday (and select feasts) of the liturgical year, based on the 1962 calendar. The videos will feature sound recordings paired with the printed version of each chant.
Sipkje has begun with the pre-Lenten season. The chants for Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima are presently available on the site, and the plan is to add each week’s videos in time for local singers to rehearse with them. To see an example video, check out the communion chant for next Sunday (Quinquagesima) on YouTube:
The approach Sipkje takes to the musicality of these videos is closely considered. The recordings are being made with high quality equipment in a real acoustic, with no added reverberation and minimal editing. With respect to interpretation, she intends to take a relatively conservative approach, aiming for solid pitches and straightforward rhythmic readings, in order to allow schola directors to shape the chant phrases as they wish.
OT TERRIBLY LONG ago, resources to assist parish musicians in singing the treasury of Catholic sacred music were often crude, sometimes expensive, rarely accessible, and otherwise non-existent. So much has changed in the last decade or two. The Internet, alone, boasts a richness of resources that are free, easily available, and often of exceptional quality, for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite.
Chant for Trebles fills a need and expands these resources. We look forward to the completion of the full year of videos!