Medieval Liturgical Chant and Patristic Exegesis

Medieval Liturgical Chant and Patristic Exegesis: Words and Music in the Second-Mode Tracts

Emma Hornby
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 344
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt163t9zc
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  • Book Info
    Medieval Liturgical Chant and Patristic Exegesis
    Book Description:

    How do text and melody relate in western liturgical chant? Is the music simply an abstract vehicle for the text, or does it articulate textual structure and meaning? These questions are addressed here through a case study of the second-mode tracts, lengthy and complex solo chants for Lent, which were created in the papal choir of Rome before the mid-eighth century. These partially formulaic chants function as exegesis, with non-syntactical text divisions and emphatic musical phrases promoting certain directions of inner meditation in both performers and listeners. Dr Hornby compares the four second-mode tracts representing the core repertory to related ninth-century Frankish chants, showing that their structural and aesthetic principles are neither Frankish nor a function of their notation in the earliest extant manuscripts, but are instead a well-remembered written reflection of a long oral tradition, stemming from Rome. Dr EMMA HORNBY teaches in the Department of Music at the University of Bristol.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-744-8
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xi-xiii)
  5. A NOTE ON THE MUSICAL TRANSCRIPTIONS
    (pp. xiv-xvi)
  6. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-8)

    A spontaneous response to hearing liturgical chant might well highlight its apparently simple beauty and its spiritual qualities, in which the architectural space, the tone quality of the singers, and the imagery and style of CD cover design might also play a role. Such a response might also focus on the way in which liturgical chant provides an acoustic and temporal space for meditation or prayer. And, within such a spontaneous response, one might also find a certain resistance to the idea of looking more closely at the textual and musical techniques which underlie the repertory. Is there not a...

  7. 1 THE ORIGINS OF THE SECOND-MODE TRACT TEXTS
    (pp. 9-22)

    It is possible that the origins of the second-mode tracts are as old as the fourth century, when the Lenten liturgical cycle from Quadragesima to Easter came into being. The tracts have frequently been singled out as a particularly ancient genre: the great length ofDeus deus meus and Qui habitatin particular has often been seen as a remnant of the fourth-century practice of singing an entire psalmin directum(straight through, without repeats or refrains). In the early Church, the music heard between the readings of the Mass consisted of psalms sung by a soloist or ‘lector’, with...

  8. 2 PSALTER DIVISIONS PER COLA ET COMMATA AND TEXTUAL GRAMMAR IN THE STRUCTURE OF THE SECOND-MODE TRACTS
    (pp. 23-40)

    A Western liturgical chant is a musically heightened delivery of a religious, often psalmic, text. Communicating the sense of this text correctly in order that the singers and listeners could meditate on it was one of the central roles of medieval Western chant. Medieval theorists make it clear that cadences on modally significant notes, usually coinciding with syntactical breaks in the text, were a major factor in this communication.¹

    Having established what the verbal text is, the first step in the analysis of any chant must therefore be to identify the text’s syntactical divisions. In syllabic chants, this may be...

  9. 3 THE MUSICAL GRAMMAR OF THE SECOND-MODE TRACTS
    (pp. 41-78)

    In reaching the fullest possible understanding of a musical genre, it is neither necessary nor, probably, desirable to limit oneself to the technical vocabulary used at the time of the music’s composition and dissemination. However, this vocabulary and the conceptual understanding it reflects can suggest profitable routes for analysis. This chapter therefore begins with a brief consideration of the relationship between thears grammaticaand medieval concepts of musical structure as expressed in the contemporary music theory. This forms the backdrop for a detailed description of the musical grammar of the second-mode tracts. The rationales lying behind choice of phrase...

  10. 4 RESPONSES TO TEXTUAL MEANING IN THE SECOND-MODE TRACT MELODIES
    (pp. 79-113)

    While relationships between chant, grammar and rhetoric have previously been identified, these have tended to concentrate on Carolingian and later compositions such as tropes and sequences.¹ Other studies have focused on general analogies and parallels between chant and grammar, generally giving limited illustrative examples of single chants, often those used for similar purposes by medieval commentators. By contrast, I here offer a detailed exploration of the interaction between textual and musical rhetoric in one genre within the Western liturgical chant core repertory.

    Whereas grammar is the art of correct language, rhetoric is the art of good delivery. The purpose of...

  11. 5 GENRE AND THE SECOND-MODE TRACTS
    (pp. 115-135)

    At first glance, genre is a hugely powerful concept in chant. Within the central liturgical repertory, each chant belongs to a genre – introit, responsory and so on – and there is rarely any controversy over which genre a chant belongs to. There are several obvious reasons for this. Firstly, many chant genres are easily and meaningfully defined by liturgical function. There is never any question about whether, for example, an introit functions rather like a gradual. An introit is sung during the procession into the church, not between the readings of the Mass and, as such, is clearly an introit. Jacobsson...

  12. 6 ERIPE ME AND THE FRANKISH UNDERSTANDING OF THE SECOND-MODE TRACTS IN THE EARLY-NINTH CENTURY
    (pp. 136-151)

    In the Roman liturgy adopted in Francia in the mid-eighth century, the tractQui habitatwas sung within the Good Friday liturgy. This was retained in Rome until the suppression of Old Roman chant in the thirteenth century.¹ In the Romano-Frankish tradition, however, it was replaced at some point by a newly composed second-mode tract,Eripe me. In the first half of the tenth century, this chant was identified as ‘nuperrime compilatum’ inDe Divinis Officiis(Pseudo-Alcuin). However, the composition and incorporation into the liturgy of Eripe me considerably predates this identification.

    The Roman practice of singingQui habitaton...

  13. 7 THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE GENRE IN THE EARLIEST NOTATED WITNESSES: THE EVIDENCE OF THE SECOND-MODE TRACTS COMPOSED BY c. 900
    (pp. 152-179)

    The earliest surviving notated examples of the core-repertory second-mode tracts date from the late-ninth century. It might be argued that the melodies of these chants in the first surviving sources do not accurately reflect their original state, instead being fundamentally affected by the technology of writing. Were this so, one would expect all second-mode tracts in the early sources to share similar traits, characteristic of a written tradition. Four noncore-repertory second-mode tracts appear in one or more of the notated sources dating from before c. 920. Their melodic state provides valuable evidence about the ninth-century understanding of the genre. If...

  14. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 180-184)

    The primary goal of the present study has been to uncover the compositional principles of the second-mode tracts. The Roman origin of the core-repertory second-mode tracts is suggested by their use of the Roman Psalter (or the Septuagint, in the case ofDomine audiui), and is confirmed by the close relationship of the second-mode tracts in the Old Roman and Romano-Frankish traditions. Textual syntax is an important factor in the formal structure of the second-mode tracts: the phrases tend to divide in accordance with the syntax, or follow textual cues. This study goes beyond an identification of the phrases (cola),...

  15. APPENDIX 1 SECOND-MODE TRACT TEXTS, TRANSLATIONS, PARTS OF SPEECH AND MELODIC PHRASES
    (pp. 185-209)
  16. APPENDIX 2 MASS PROPER MANUSCRIPTS REFERRED TO IN THIS STUDY, AND THE REPERTORY OF SECOND-MODE TRACTS FOUND IN THE SAMPLE OF EARLY MANUSCRIPTS
    (pp. 210-220)
  17. APPENDIX 3 FACSIMILES OF AUDI FILIA AND DIFFUSA EST GRATIA IN LEI, AND OF THE SECOND-MODE TRACTS IN FLE1 AND KOR
    (pp. 221-240)
  18. APPENDIX 4 ANALYTICAL TABLES OF THE FORMULAIC PHRASES IN FLE1 AND ORC
    (pp. 241-270)
  19. APPENDIX 5 THE TEXTUAL TRADITION OF THE CORE-REPERTORY SECOND-MODE TRACTS AND ERIPE ME
    (pp. 271-282)
  20. APPENDIX 6 TRANSCRIPTIONS OF THE CHANTS DISCUSSED IN THIS STUDY
    (pp. 283-308)
  21. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 309-318)
  22. INDEX
    (pp. 319-328)
  23. Back Matter
    (pp. 329-329)