Saturday, 17 December 2011

Prefaces

On the whole I am pretty happy with the new translation. One thing, though, that I find particularly irritating is that the prefaces have not been set well to music. My spies tell me that the musicians had almost no time to reset the prefaces once Mgr Moroney had stopped tinkering, so did a rush job.
No doubt many celebrants have experienced the same thing. Particularly awkward is the fact that the musicians don't seem to have noticed that prefaces fall into three 'paragraphs' which need separate musical treatment. Some of the settings remind me of priests who can't read music, and have a go at vaguely fitting the tune to the words without preparing it first (we've all encountered those priests).

The preface for Advent I wasn't very good, nor others I've looked at, so I thought that I'd have a go myself. Here's the one for this weekend, Advent II: actually the one in the missal is very nearly okay, and I've agreed with it almost everywhere. But it was good for me to get the practice. And I prefer square notes for this sort of thing.

4 comments:

Ben said...

Splendid work, Father. I remember you singing a preface to the glorious 'tonus solemnior' at Maiden Lane on one occasion.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Father,

Yours are much easier to sing from than the Missal, where there are some strange musical goings-on.

a grateful parish priest!

Fr William Young said...

These are improvements. Thank you. But, as you say, the ones in the Missal are useable. For such a beautifully produced book already to be looking to its revised edition is a little sad, but, there it is.
I also agree totally about your preference for the square notation. It has been put to me that the five-line stave blob notation is more accessible to musicians. Perhaps it is. But I have to sing this stuff, and it is MUCH, MUCH easier to read the square notation. Firstly, there is the custos to tell me where the next note will be when I move to the next line. Secondly, every syllable has its note, and I can see without having to look back over a long line where the next note will be. Thirdly, it is much more pleasing to the eye on the page. It manifestly takes up less room, for a start, allowing the text to be printed larger. If all the space lost in the Missal because of doubling the noted and the un-noted text had been available, it would have been possible only to have the noted text and for a reciting, non-singing celebrant just to ignore the notes. In German Missals I have seen, they manage with only a two-line stave! I really do hope that some enterprising publishing company will bring out a Missal the same size as the Latin editio typica with all these improvements, and thicker paper throughout. Jesus is worth it.

Julia Hammond said...

It's a shame they had to do a rush job but that's not really any excuse for sloppy workmanship. Fr Anthony Ruff who was, I believe, the chant/music consultant and was over-seeing the musical settings to the new missal and had done a lot of hard work in this respect. I believe the musical settings to the 1998 version were very beautiful. It was precisely because of the hash job on the current missal translation that Fr Anthony resigned his job.