In the 1962 Missal, a section called “præfationes in tono solemniore” contains ornate melodies for the Preface. An article posted on the blog of the Church Music Association of America claims the tone comes from “the late 19th century” and said its elimination “is one of the very few good things which the post-Conciliar reform did for Gregorian chant.” The author said: “The Roman solemn preface tone is already beautiful enough, there was no need to give a more Romantic feel.”
Some have asked us whether the tonus solemnior comes from “the late 19th century.” It does not. Their author was wrong by at least 400 years. I have seen this tone in MSS from the 1400s—and it may go back even further. Here is an example from 1494AD. And here’s another from the 1400s. The FSSP priests use these tones on high feasts, and the effect is unforgettable.