Chapter 4 Lessons

4A: The Office: Psalm with antiphon

Unlike the Frankish chant repertory for Mass propers, which (although infinitely varied in a myriad of small ways) slowly become fairly uniform, the office, especially in regard to the sanctorale, was regional, and sometimes even institutional, in many of its features.  See the Primer for an introduction to the Office and its components.  The Office antiphon referenced here is for the temporale, sung during Advent.  As it is an office chant, it will be found in CANTUS, with images, for example (as mentioned above):

Let’s have a closer look at the differences between the entire chant with its psalm written out (as in the Anthology) and what was commonly supplied in a medieval manuscript.   In the source linked above, you can easily find the antiphon “Ecce apparebit”  in the middle of line three, and compare it with the version found in the anthology.   Referring to the set of psalm tones set to Biblical verses for the sake of memorizing (see the Primer), find that for the 7th psalm tone and sing it.  Then look at the intonation and differentia for the abbreviated verse following the antiphon, and you will see it uses the same basic formulae.  The Psalm is “Deus, Deus Meus” (Ps. 22/21), and the euouae formula (explained in the Primer) refers to the final words of the doxology.  With this amount of information, any singer could render the entire psalm, a practice that remain dependent upon the memory through the entire Middle Ages.   You can find several examples of the Vulgate Bible online, with English translations.  If you choose this one, you can flip back and forth with ease between the Latin and English texts:

The set of antiphons to which “Ecce apparebit” belongs was sung both at Laudes and Vespers on the feast, with certain accommodations being made.   On the CANTUS website there is a good introduction to Lauds as an Office, presented at the annual Medieval Conference at Kalamazoo by Susan Hellauer of Anonymous 4 in May, 2013.  Both a power point and a PDF of this “Chant from Scratch” session are provided, and the same manuscript referenced here is used as an example, with psalm tones written out and English translations of all texts, and for the feast of Pentecost Sunday.  Have a look!  The first antiphon of the feast is “Dum complerentur,” also found in the Liber Usualis (this same set of antiphons served for both Lauds and Vespers here too).   Search it using the chantdiscography and see if there are recordings.  A good class project might be to record the whole thing, using the music that Hellauer has provided, and learning to chant the psalm texts to the tones — the most important musical practice of the entire Middle Ages, and far beyond.  Notice that Hellauer has marked the syllables, just as we did for the tone in Anthology 8, where the practice is further discussed.

4B: Discerning Chronological Layers

In chapters 3-5 of Music in the Medieval West, there are many discussions of chronology in the chant repertory, and the problems that arise (both musically and intellectually) when it is treated as a vast grey monolithic slab of sound.   Scholars have many ways of poking and proding into the repertory to discern its multiple chronological layers, but any researcher can tell right away if an office chant is relatively old or relatively new, and if it is a local or more universal by using CANTUS, and the set of concordances that were established by Dom René-Jean Hesbert in his monumental Corpus Antiphonalium Officii [hence CAO]A “concordance” is the same piece…and the relationship between manuscripts are established by the numbers of concordances they may have. In any case, Hesbert assigned letters to 12 early manuscripts of the office, 6 representing the cathedral use and 6 representing monastic use (please see the Primer for further discussion).  Here they are as listed in CANTUS, the twelve early manuscripts surveyed in volumes 1 and 2 of Corpus Antiphonalium Officii:

Sources representing the Roman cursus include:
C  Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 17436 (ninth century, from Compiègne) [RISM: F-Pn lat. 17436]
G  Durham, Cathedral Library, B. III. 11 (eleventh century, from northern France) [RISM: GB-DRc B. III. 11]
B  Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, lit. 23 (eleventh or twelfth century, from Bamberg) [RISM: D-BAs lit. 23]
E  Ivrea, Biblioteca Capitolare, 106 (eleventh century, from Ivrea) [RISM: I-IV 106]
M  Monza, Basilica di S. Giovanni Battista – Biblioteca Capitolare e Tesoro, C. 12/75      (eleventh century, from Monza) [RISM: I-MZ C. 12/75]
V  Verona, Biblioteca Capitolare, XCVIII (eleventh century, from Verona) [RISM: I-VEcap XCVIII]

Sources representing the monastic cursus include:
H  Sankt Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, 390-391 (“Hartker antiphoner,” early eleventh century, from St. Gall)      [RISM: CH-SGs 390-391]
R  Zürich, Zentralbibliothek, Rh. 28 (thirteenth century, from Rheinau) [RISM: CH-Zz Rh. 28]
D  Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 17296 (twelfth century, from St. Denis) [RISM: F-Pn lat. 17296]
F  Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 12584 (twelfth century, from St. Maur-les-Fossés)      [RISM: F-Pn lat. 12584]
S  London, The British Library, add. 30850 (eleventh century, from Silos) [RISM: GB-Lbl add. 30850]
L  Benevento, Biblioteca Capitolare, V 21 (late twelfth century, from San Lupo) [RISM: I-BV V. 21]

So chants that occur in all these sources (and many do), belong to an older layer in general.  Hesbert’s MS C is by far the oldest source represented and has been much discussed in the literature, so any chant text there dates to the 9th century (although the melodies may be different, depending).  Chant texts that occur in a handful of these sources may be older (or younger) than texts that don’t and must be investigated on a case by case basis.  But for many chants, a huge conglomeration of the Hesbert letters means “OK, this piece was all over the place, and dates from at least the 9th century” (if MS C is in the group).

Let’s try our “Ecce apparebit” antiphon and see what happens.  Type in the incipit.  You will get four hits, and you want the first one, the antiphon with the CANTUS ID number of 002492.  Click on it and, wow, look at those concordances CGBEMVHRDFS…everything except Benevento…it’s all over the place, and was already being sung in the 9th century.

What if you want to try to see if a Mass chant belonged to an early layer?  There you have another important tool, also prepared by the great Hesbert, the Antiphonale Missarum Sextuplex.  As you know from MIMW, chapter 3, the first surviving collections of chant texts for the proper of the Mass were copied in the late 8th century.  Hesbert catalogued the texts in 6 of these, and assigned letters to them, here in abbreviated form, with the centuries to which they belong: R, Rheinau, 8/9; B, Mont-Blandin, 8/9; C, Compiègne, 9; K Corbie, 9/10; and S, Senlis, 9.  David Hiley’s fabulous Cantus Planus site, run from the University of Regensburg: includes the texts found in Hesbert’s Sextuplex.  So you can run a search on any of the Mass propers, and see what happens.

So let’s take our beloved “Viderunt” gradual as an example (see MIMW, chapter 3 and Anthology, 3.2).   First go to the Cantus Planus, link above.   Click on “datafiles” at the bottom, and then on the first one for the Sextuplex.    I like “chants listed alphabetically within genres.”  To paraphrase Yogi, “You can observe a lot just by looking.”  A walk through the Alleluia verses is very different from a walk through the Graduals….( the abbreviations for each genre are at the top).  Now go to the section for Gr, graduals, and as they are alphabetical, find “Viderunt.”   Does it belong to an early layer of chant?

4C: Working with Tropes and Sequences

1. Tropes

Working with sequences and tropes is not nearly as easy as working with Mass chants and Office chants.  The great source materials are, in general, not yet digitized for the researcher’s ease of access.    Trope repertories have been much cataloged and studied, but the standard compendium of trope texts, Corpus Troporum, prepared in Sweden by a crack team of scholars, is not completely on line, and sophisticated online tools for navigating the repertory have not been developed.

The volumes you can consult in a research library are listed below; some are still in preparation.   Just to read through gives a fine indication of the many kinds of tropes there are, for proper and ordinary chants, and additions to melismas (prosulae).

Studia Latina Stockholmiensia (SLS) Editor: Jan Öberg
Corpus Troporum (CT) Editor: Ritva Maria Jacobsson

  • CT I = Corpus Troporum I : Tropes du propre de la messe 1. Cycle de Noël, éd JONSSON, Ritva et al., AUS. SLS 21, Stockholm (1975).
  • CT II = Corpus Troporum II : Prosules de la messe 1. Tropes de l’alléluia, éd MARCUSSON, Olof, AUS. SLS 22, Stockholm (1976).
  • CT III = Corpus Troporum III : Tropes du propre de la messe 2. Cycle de Pâques. Édition critique des textes par Gunilla BJÖRKVALL, Gunilla IVERSEN, Ritva JONSSON, AUS. SLS 25, Stockholm (1982).
  • CT IV = Corpus Troporum IV : Tropes de l’Agnus Dei. Edition critique suivie d’une étude analytique par Gunilla IVERSEN, AUS. SLS 26, Stockholm (1980).
  • CT V = Corpus Troporum V : Les deux tropaires d’Apt, mss. 17 et 18. Inventaire analytique des mss. et édition des textes uniques par Gunilla BJÖRKVALL, AUS. SLS 32, Stockholm (1986).
  • CT VI = Corpus Troporum VI : Prosules de la messe 2. Les prosules limousines de Wolfenbüttel. Édition critique des prosules d’alléluia du ms.Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek Cod.Guelf. 79 Gud.Lat. par Eva ODELMAN, AUS. SLS 31, Stockholm (1986).
  • CT VII = Corpus Troporum VII : Tropes de l’ordinaire de la messe. Tropes du Sanctus. Introduction et édition critique par Gunilla IVERSEN. AUS, SLS 34,Stockholm (1990).
  • CT VIII = Corpus Troporum VIII : Tropes for the Proper of the Mass 3. The Tropes for the Dedication of a Church. Edition of Text and Music by Bodil ASKETORP (édition en cours).
  • CT IX = Corpus Troporum IX : Tropes for the Proper of the Mass 4. The Feasts of the
  • Blessed Virgin Mary. Edited with an Introduction and Commentary by Ann-Katrin ANDREWS JOHANSSON, AUS. CT, Stockholm (1998).
  • CT XI = Corpus Troporum XI : Prosules de la messe 3. Prosules de l’offertoire. Édition des textes par Gunilla BJÖRKVALL. CT. AUS, Stockholm (2009).
  • CT XII = Corpus Troporum, XII : Les tropes du Gloria in excelsis. Édition par Gunilla IVERSEN, 2 vols.  2014).  This wonderful resource has just appeared!  Congratulation to Gunilla Iversen for her work.
  • CT X = Corpus Troporum X: Tropes for the Proper of the Mass 5.  Tropes for Saints, Feasts of the Cross, and the Transfiguration.  Ed. Ritva Marie Jacobsson, Stockholm, 2011.

Several vols. have been put up as PDF’s for the researcher, including Jacobsson’s recently completed edition of tropes for the Mass propers of Saints, etc. Also a wordlist has been prepared and is available on line:

To work with this, you must download a zip file and then proceed by letter of the alphabet.  Try your hand at finding some of the tropes in the Anthology in the word list.   There are many wonderful editions of the music of the tropes, but none of these have yet to do with digital resources.  Fortunately, however, many of the most significant trope (and sequence) manuscripts are digitized and available, and for a guide to these, begin with Dominique Gatté:

2.  Sequences

The situation with online materials for sequences is fairly grim at present.  There is nothing like CANTUS for tropes or sequences (or even for Mass ordinary and proper chants for that matter, although the new CANTUS site promises to rectify the situation in the future). The old standby is the Analecta Hymnica, a 55-volume set of texts, several of which are dedicated to sequence repertories. It is available on-line, but as the subscription is prohibitively expensive, very few libraries have it.  At present, most of the volumes can be found on older files, and when you find them, download them. Online digitized sources disappear overnight, especially when someone discovers a way of making $$ out of what once was free. For now, you can get most of the volumes here:

David Hiley and other scholars have entered the texts of all sequences found in the AH, and you can access them on his CANTUS PLANUS site:

Analecta Hymnica is organized by genre and date, and each text is edited, with the manuscripts provided.  Although there are lots of mistakes, still you can get a fairly good idea from these editions of when and where any particular sequence first appeared.  There is a guide to the Analecta Hymnica, the Register, but it is not online (Max Lütolf. Bern : Francke, 1978). 3 vols.

Calvin M. Bower has prepared a wonderfully complete database of sequences, and there is talk of working with the CANTUS folk to get it online.  We at Notre Dame have offered as well!  So this is something to hope for, indeed.

Meanwhile, there is an intriguing new website produced by Stefan Morent and other scholar/performers in Germany, the e-sequence:

With this tool you can get wonderful performances of several sequences, including Notker’s “Sancti Spiritus assit” (Anthology 6.2) along with the neumes in a relevant manuscript.