Our Mission to Start a Latin Choir

My sister and I want to start singing Latin Chant songs during Mass to bring back the traditional music. I have been getting books on Latin pronunciation and have been reading Latin Chants…but I want to know if any of you have any good tips on any good websites or albums I can buy…or anyone have any songs they suggest? Lyrics and translations would be great!!

Thanks and God Bless!


Sounds good but have you talked this over
with the folks in the congregation?
It was the intent of Vatican 2 that congregational
singing be emphasized and choir and musicians
be de-emphasized. Contact your diocese for advice.
There are several great Gregorian Chant recordings
and I think they can be found on Amazon.com .

Thanks very much! :slight_smile:

I would like to open by saying that I will be praying for the success of your endeavor! It is truly a joy to attend a Missa Cantata or High Mass celebrated in the way that the council fathers intended. Might I suggest that you head over to the St. Cecilia Schola Cantorum website? They have a link to the Jubilate Deo booklet that was promulgated by, of all people, Pope Paul VI. It contains chants that every parish is required to be familiar with. ceciliaschola.org/ Unfortunately, in many cases one cannot expect to have a sung Mass with Gregorian Chant overnight.

Dr. Edward Schaefer of Gonzaga University, perhaps the top chant scholar in the nation, suggests first encouraging the priest and congregation to sing the dialogues that are notated in the sacramentary (ie: “The Lord be with you” “And also with you,” “Let us pray,” “The Word of the Lord,” etc.). This will bring about a very subtle but important change in the mindset of the priest and people. Eventually it will be possible to add the Gregorian ordinaries, and the crowning glory would be the singing of the propers as they appear in the Graduale Romanum. Dr. Schaefer has created, with the approval of the USCCB, a sacramentary which is fully notated so that every part of the Mass (yes, including the preface and the Eucharist prayers) may be chanted in English if desired. You can find that here priorypress.com/ There are also congregation booklets available that are VERY well-produced. There is the Latin chant in gregorian notation and english translation beneath that. The ordinaries are divided between the Schola and Congregation and organ accompaniment is available.

If singing the Gregorian propers proves to be too hard for your Schola (which it may for a long time. Our men are STILL trying to get used to the modality), a reverent alternative is the Anglican Use Gradual, which is approved for use in all parishes of the Roman Rite and contains the propers of the Mass in the King’s English set to Gregorian psalm tones. Quite pretty, actually, but not the same as the Graduale Romanum. justus.anglican.org/resources/pc/music/gradual/

Good luck!

Forgot about the Adoremus Hymnal by Ignatius Press.
They have some Latin material in there and have two CDs with the Organ Edition to get you started. Not too complicated.

[quote=tom.wineman]Forgot about the Adoremus Hymnal by Ignatius Press.
They have some Latin material in there and have two CDs with the Organ Edition to get you started. Not too complicated.


I have mixed feelings about the Adoremus hymnal. On the one hand, it’s a great collection of Latin and vernacular hymns that do not betray our musical and spiritual heritage as much of the OCP/GIA garbage does. It allows every person in the congregation to participate in the celebration of a Missa Cantata.

But I don’t really like that parishioners have to do a fair amount of flipping to get to the proper ordinaries of the day. And there are only a few settings of the Missa Cantata. Ideally, such a hymnal should include a complete Kyriale so that the correct ordinaries of the day can be sung. I’m also not a huge fan of the organ accompaniments provided for the ordinaries. They don’t quite mesh with the modality of the chant and tend to call attention to themselves. If used in addition to the Kyriale and Graduale Romanum/Simplex it’s a really nice thing to have, but I don’t think it stands terribly well on its own. Just my thoughts. lol

I sent you a PM.

My take: start off with the simple chants. The Adoremus Hymnal’s “Jubilate Deo” and “Primitiva” should be a good start. Start off also with the common parts, i.e. Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Pater, Agnus. I noticed that forcing everything all at once meets stiff resistance. Try also some good Communion hymns in Latin, e.g. Panis Angelicus.

Got it, thanks! I was thinking the simple chants first anyways as I still need to learn how to pronounce. :slight_smile:

Thanks everyone!

As far as recordings go, I would whole-heartedly recommend recordings from the Benedictines at Solesmes www.solesmes.com . These men are the monks that put together and published the Liber Usualis and Graduale Romanum (among other things like the Kyriale, Liber Cantualis, etc) that are the official books of chant of the Church.

In addition to recordings, the monks put out some AWESOME books on learning chant and ecclesiastical Latin. Perhaps the easiest way to learn the correct pronunciation of the text of the ordinaries and propers is to listen to them, either in chanted form or in polyphonic arrangements (like the Masses of Victoria and Palestrina). A decent place to find free recordings of the chant can be found here christusrex.org/www2/cantgreg/all_masses.html . A tridentine list is also available.

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