Monday, September 19, 2022



Perhaps John Nolan can speak to this. When I was in the seminary in the mid 70’s one of my professors told me that Gregorian Chant translated into English did not work well and it was for this reason we were losing our patrimony of Gregorian Chant as Latin was no longer deemed to be useful, the vernacular was.

Thus new idioms of music, hymnody and other forms of chant, were necessary for the English Mass.

I have always loved Anglican Chant. It seems to me that it developed in an organic way when the Church of England went to an English form of the Liturgy. Now that our Roman Mass is in English, it seems to me that Anglican Chant would be ideal for the Introit, Gradual/Alleluia, offertory and Communion antiphons. 

I presume the Ordinariate Mass as an Anglican Gradual that could easily be used in a very traditional Roman Liturgy.

Why not use Anglican Chant? Should we?


John Nolan said...

Anglican chant is primarily used for psalmody and would be normally encountered at Evensong in a cathedral or collegiate setting, where it is sung by the choir. Gregorian psalm tones are easier to sing, and being syllabic can be adapted to the vernacular. When listening to Vespers from St Peter's I often find it difficult to work out whether they are singing in Latin or Italian. I don't speak Italian but would have no difficulty singing the psalms in that language, if Gregorian tones are used. Similarly with English.

The Mass Propers as found in the Graduale are melismatic and though there were versions in English produced for high Anglican use, they have to try and make English words fit the existing melodies without compromising the melodies too much. This is contrary to the essence of Gregorian chant, and is scarcely more intelligible to the listener than would be the original Latin.

Fr. Ken Bolin said...

The Ordinariate does indeed, Father, have a gradual for the chanting of the propers of the Mass in English. The Ordinariate hymnal is still in development (ETA TBD). Here is the link for the gradual:

God bless!
Fr. Ken Bolin
St. Thomas Becket Catholic Church, Fort Worth
Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter