A look at Dom Pothier’s performance instructions for a communion antiphon reveals a great deal of complexity in this pre-Mocquereau interpretive approach.
melismatic morae vocis
“The Vatican Edition … contains absolutely all that is needed for the exact rendition of the liturgical chant.” —Sacred Congregation of Rites (1911)
For this coming Sunday (Passion Sunday), there’s only one “MMV” singers must observe—and I placed a little arrow above it.
The early history of Solesmes plainchant research provides a historical parallel for responding to current Vatican liturgical rules.
Vatican II said: “Pastors must see to it that Vespers is celebrated in parishes on Sundays and the more solemn feasts” (SC §100).
If you look at the 1961 Solesmes Gradual for the 11th Sunday after Pentecost, you will see that somebody in the 1960s was trying to figure out the “melismatic moræ vocis” (a.k.a. “Vaticana white notes”) which we have spoken of so frequently on this blog.
From one of my composition teachers…
I recently conducted an experiment…with surprising results.
Abbot Pothier included a section called “De Ritibus Servandis In Cantu Missae.”
“Variae Preces” (1892) — “Cantus Varii” (1902) — “Cantus Varii” (1928) — “Cantus Selecti” (1957)
For years, I couldn’t understand this business about “the eyes and the ears.” What did Pothier mean? Then it hit me. • Topics include Dom Joseph Pothier, the mora vocis, Abbot Pothier’s brother (Dom Alphonse Pothier), Dom Lucien David, Dom Paul Jausions, and a truly magnificent story about Pope Pius X and Abbot Pothier, which is essential reading+
The “Pre-NOH” editions have quite an idiosyncratic way of lengthening the neumes. • Fulsome illustrations are included examining and explaining the mora vocis of the Vatican edition; also mentioned is Dom André Mocquereau, Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, and Pothier’s Liber Gradualis (1883)+
I’ve been searching for this book for twenty years! • For the first time in history, the Graduale Romanum from 1908 (with Solesmes rhythmic markings) has been scanned and uploaded • Includes copious and detailed information about the rhythm of the Editio Vaticana (“Vatican Edition”) you won’t find anywhere else+
The «Kyriale» contains very few melismatic morae.
The “white notes” (as Dr. Joseph Lennards called them) are quite sloppy, which really took me by surprise.