OWERFUL INNOVATION will always conjure critics. For example, when the Editio Vaticana was released—because it was so “newfangled”—it was the recipient of brazen attacks by people who knew little about authentic plainsong. It was, therefore, not surprising that efforts were made (by various cadres) to attack the Brébeuf hymnal when it appeared. Some didn’t understand the various options provided for important texts—and those people should read this article, paying special attention to the examples.
The Brébeuf hymnal also came under attack for supposedly using the “wrong” tune for a particular hymn. The attackers didn’t realize there is no “correct” tune for many hymns. 1
The Graduale de Tempore et de Sanctis (1871) found an interesting solution for the Good Friday Pange Lingua—mixing two hymn tunes together!
What That Graduale Did:
For the “verses,” they took the melody from Pange Lingua by Saint Thomas Aquinas:
For the “refrain,” they took the melody for the Pange Lingua by Bishop Fortunatus:
Sigh…there’s so much to learn at the Saint Jean Lalande Online Library.
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 When some people say the “correct” tune, they really mean “the one I know”—and that’s quite a different thing. Hymn texts frequently have multiple “correct” melodies to which they can be married. It’s similar to the word mean. That word has multiple definitions: (1) “signify” [flashing lights mean the road is blocked]; (2) “intend” [Susie didn’t mean to hurt you]; (3) “unkind” [you’re being mean to me]; (4) “lowly” [in spite of their mean origins]; (4) “average” [the year’s mean temperature]; (5) a particular tuning system [referring to mean-tone temperament]; and so forth. To sum it up, mean can mean a bunch of stuff! Only a fool would claim there’s only one “correct” meaning for that word.