A New Chant Collection

My collection with GIA of 100 easier chants for parish choirs, Canticum novum, with CD, will appear at the NPM convention in Pittsburgh.

Here’s a teaser:


  1. A collection like this is long overdue. A beginning choir is much better off cutting their teeth on the best chants from the authentic repertory that deserve more exposure, rather than the usual plainsong standards (Adoro te devote, O filii et filiae, etc.) that tend to appear in the “easy chant” collections.

    I could do with fewer episemas (or none at all, a la Antiphonale Monasticum), but this is a matter of personal preference I suppose. I am not entirely sold on the benefit of providing singers with paleographic neumes, but I like the statement you are making by including them.

    I definitely plan on picking up multiple copies of this and using this collection with my choir! I hope it is reasonably priced.

  2. This is really fine, Fr Ruff!
    We will be using this at St Basil’s School of Gregorian Chant in Houston.
    I only wish that sqaure notation had been used consistently throughout, but at least you eschewed quavers. The provision of Carolingian notation is definitely a fine feature, as are singable English translations. I can’t wait to get my copy. Many thanks for this!

  3. Fr. Ruff,
    Have you COMPILED and edited these chants from the above listed sources into one book, or have you arranged them and adapted them?

    1. @David Jaronowski – comment #6:
      Dear David, Not entirely sure I understand your quetion. I’ve edited in that I’ve applied the corrections from Beiträge zur Gregorianik to the melodies in the Graduale Romanum – but I didn’t make editorial decisions, I went with the scholarly consensus of the BzG team. In the case of Office melodies, I went with the melodic revision in the new Solesmes Antiphonale. The closest things to an editorial decision is my putting the B-flat in parenthesis, eg the beginning of “Ave Maria,” where the Antiphonale now includes the B-flat though many or most scholars think it should be a natural in Mode I intonations. It was B-natural in the 1934 Antiphonale. Otherwise, I haven’t arranged or adapted anything that I can think of. I’m trying to recall if I ever did so because the sources indicated two solutions and as editor I had to select one of them, but I don’t recall now doing that.
      The 5-line notation is pretty much my editorial device, my way of grouping notes in a neume and of indicating diminished and augmented liquescent. But that’s orthographical, not about pitches.
      Oh, I added episemas to Office antiphons – they’re missing in the new Solesmes antiphonale – and I put them where they belong (following the early neumes) in the Mass propers since they’re hit and miss in the Graduale Romanum. This involved editorial decisions in borderline cases. I went ahead and put an episema before each quilisma, which I think is editorially responsible and helpful to the singers.
      Hope that helps – if not, ask further and I’ll do my best to reply.

  4. This looks great, Fr. Anthony.

    You’ve mentioned in several posts that personally enjoy praying the Divine Office in Latin with Gregorian chant. How about a similar, user-friendly edition of Sunday Evening Prayer II for situations in which the Antiphonale Romanum is still too complicated to follow or too cost-prohibitive?

    1. @Kevin Vogt – comment #8:
      Now there’s an idea. You’vce gotten me thinking seriously about such a project.

      I personally think the way I point the Latin psalm verses here is more user-friendly than in the Antiphonale, which presumes that every user knows all the Gregorian psalm tones by heart and mastered the rules of pointing in novitiate. I’m translator at the Congress of Abbots in Rome this fall and I’m going to push for a more user-friendly layout so that more participants than the abbot of Solesmes and a very few others can participate with ease.

      So I’d like to hear – does this layout work, and is there another layout that would be even better?


  5. GREAT! I’ve got a group of people well-versed in praying and chanting the Liturgy of the Hours in English who are eager to sing Sunday Evening Prayer II with Latin chant. The presumptions of the Antiphonale are precisely the stumbling block of getting started.

    If you need a pilot group to test drive anything just let me know! I’ll think about the layout. This is very exciting!

  6. Am puzzled by the English translation below the Latin. Is it just a translation? Or is English an option to be sung? If so, there will be some difficulties as words and notes do not match up and in some places this will affect the quality of the singing. Also, my preference for chant would be to consistently use neumes (square notes) and Gregorian staff throughout – even for the English only chants. We need to re-educate people in the singing of chant. The SEP by Bartlett is a very good example of this and works well for those with little or not background in plainsong.

  7. A wonderful resource! When browsing through the sample pages, I only was puzzled by the scriptural reference for the antiphon “Ad te levavi” (p. 6): shouldn’t this be Ps 143(142): 8-9 instead of Ps 25(24): 12a? See for example AM-I 45. For the rest, this is an excellent collection!

    1. @Steven van Roode – comment #13:
      Very good – yes, your reference is slightly closer. Actually it’s a typo, and I meant to put 25:1-2a, which is what is given in By Flowing Waters. The Latin antiphon isn’t identical to either psalm text, but it’s a bit closer to 143 than 25. Thanks for catching that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.