HE DECREE of the Sacred Congregation of Rites dated 25 February 1911 declared: “The Vatican Edition of the Gregorian liturgical books, with its traditional notation and the rules printed in the front of the Roman Gradual, contains absolutely all [satis superque] that is needed for the exact rendition of the liturgical chant.” Abbat Pothier—the scholar appointed by Pope Saint Pius X to create the Editio Vaticana—in his famous “De Caetero” Letter (January 1906) warned against haphazardly applying rhythmic signs to the official edition, because the Editio Vaticana takes into consideration the entire Gregorian tradition rather than markings from a particular monastery, manuscript, country, or century.
Demonstration Please? But what does the official rhythm actually sound like? Below is a recording done according to the “pure” Editio Vaticana rhythm, which is (technically) the only interpretation allowed. I don’t claim it’s perfect—but it adheres strictly to the official rhythm:
* PDF Download • Alleluia + Tract (Pentecost Vigil)
—This is identical to the Alleluia & Tract on Easter Eve.
Not Too Difficult: Some claim it’s too difficult to spot the “blank spaces” and apply the moræ vocis; but consider what was happening in 1905. Life was tough! Most did not have electric lights, plumbing, or cars. Airplanes, computers, Google maps, and air conditioning would not arrive for decades. Ordinary people (such as Richard Nixon’s father) often constructed their own homes! If they can do all that, surely we can spot a few blank spaces. By the way, notice how the “melismatic moræ vocis” were often marked by bars in Pothier’s 1883 edition (which was used as the basis for the Editio Vaticana):