Question on Graduale Romanum

Why is it that the Graduale Romanum has such a status when many teacher in fact sing Dies IRae rather than diES irAE? My teacher says chant should be sung like spoken language. He even find the Solesmes accent a bit odd. I agree with him. This is how I sing.
My teacher told me he used Graduale tripöex when he learned chant. Is this book better?
Are there books with chant that do not follow Solesmes tradition?

I think it depends upon the meter chosen. For example in Tantum Ergo, St. Thomas Aquinas used trochaic tetrameter catalectic so the first syllable of ergo is stressed.

Tantum ergo
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum
Novo cedat ritui:

In two syllable Latin words, the accent is always on the first syllable. That’s why it is DIes IRae.

That pretty much is the Vatican ecclesiastical Latin standard. Liturgia Horarum also follows that standard as well.

The Graduale Triplex is what I use, but it really is just the Graduale Romanum (even the page numbering is the same) with the neumes from the Laon and St. Gall manuscripts superposed above and below the staff. It can help give some more nuances in interpretation but are by no means obvious to the neophyte.

Why do people in the Church give the Graduale Romanum such a status? Is the french tradition of singing Latin, ie not always singing with the same accent as spoken Latin, really that good?
Why do people even like the Solesmes tradition at all?

Because it is official.

Pius X commissioned Solesmes to prepare the Vatican Edition of the Graduale Romanum, which came out in 1908. Since then it has been the official chant book of Church. It was revised in 1974 adapting it for the new reformed Mass.

It was also Solesmes that restored Gregorian chant in the mid- to late-19th century after it had significantly deteriorated.


Back in the Dark Ages, before Vatican II, our choir listened to recordings of chant, practiced, listened, practiced, every week between Masses. With today’s much larger repertoire available, you might, also, listen to a variety of performances (I hate to call them that!) and use your own hearing and growing music knowledge to answer your questions.

I don’t know about other countries, but in the US, public libraries can obtain them through the interlibrary loan system if they don’t have them immediately available. By repeatedly listening to different versions, you’ll be better able to choose your favorites and give substantial reasons for your choices. :innocent:

Why is the French tradition official?
Does the Church really want everyone to sing gregorian chant like a French person?

When it was established that Gregorian chant needed reforming, the Vatican commissioned Solesmes for the job because of their palaeographic laboratory where extensive work and knowledge on the restoration of chant, from original manuscripts, had been carried out. So it was a question of the necessary expertise. I’m not sure of other resources were available, but obviously the Vatican thought Solesmes the best qualified for the task, and ever since Solesmes has been providing most of the chant books for the Church. Some religious orders like the Dominicans, the Carthusians and the Cistercians have their own chant traditions that differ from Solesmes. Solesmes essentially provides chant for the Roman Church and the Benedictines, and anyone else who wants to use it.

You’d be surprised to realize that different language groups do sing Gregorian chant differently, or with a sound, such as the pronunciation of “C” or “T”, or whether R’s are rolled or not. Listen to a recording of chant by French, German or English choristers and you’ll see what I mean.

The Solesmes tradition uses the accentuation of ecclesiastical Latin. That accentuation is not French but closer to Italian.

So latin should actually be pronouned like diES irAE instead of DIes IRae? So having the accent on the first syllable is wrong in dies irae? And this is how Italian people speak? My teacher is Italian and like DIes more than DIes. So Italians say patER rather than PAter?

I am asking all of this as a person learning chant and are taught that Solesmes tradition is not the way that it is natural to sing

No it’s the other way around it is DI es I rae. First syllable is stressed.

But the Solesmes tradition sing diEs irAE.
I was aking why the official chant book don’t have it as DIes IRae. Is there a good reason for this?

Is diES rather than DIes when singing Italian? Or what did you meqn by your statrmebt?

No, the chant book has the accent on both first syllables.

It is DI-es I-rae.

Can you link me to a Solesmes recording or show me a chant book where it’s the opposite? I’m looking at a 1926 edition of the Graduale Romanum.

Often different language groups sing with their native language accents inadvertently. Our choirmaster has us read the chant as text first to emphasize the proper Latin accents and not fall into that trap.

I have an esition from the 1970’s I think.
Here is a version with diES

Dies Irae is a very difficult sequence to sing correctly. It isn’t one of my favourites, people tend to “hammer” it. I think that could be your issue.

This old Solesmes recording at least avoids that:

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