The Gradual instead of the Responsorial Psalm


Why is it that most, if not all OF Mass’s use the Responsorial Psalm instead of the Gradual; I didn’t even know the OF had a Gradual till recently :confused:



Gradual = chant + Latin = difficult = “unpastoral,” hence hymns + guitars.


Granted I’ve only attened two parish’s in my life, but I have never seen guitars at any Mass I’ve attended. Though I did see drums and flute’s once, which were actually beautiful.( not the drums)



At my parish the choir sings the Gradual instead of the Psalm at the main Sunday Mass.


I’ve attended more than that (although two regularly) – no guitars for me, either. Also no drums, thank goodness.


First, someone will have to fill me in on what a Gradual is.

Home: Musical setting for the responsorial psalm, complete with guitar and flute. We also only use one verse for the alleluia, much to my dismay. Also, I don’t mind the flute at all (although there may be some bias, since it’s my instrument), and I don’t mind guitar on other songs. I just don’t like the super showy musical psalms.

College: Polyphonic setting for the psalm. (SATB parts chanting) Similar for the alleluia, but there’s only 1-2 choral parts on the verse. And we actually do use the verse-of-the-day. Only piano for Mass parts (down to a cappella Latin chanting during Lent), but we’ll occasionally have flute on the hymns and other songs. (Depends on if we have a flutist available)




I’m wondering if we’re talking about the same thing as in the EF.

From 2002 IGMR:

47. Populo congregato, dum ingreditur sacerdos cum diacono et ministris,
cantus ad introitum incipitur. Finis huius cantus est celebrationem aperire,
unionem congregatorum fovere, eorumque mentem in mysterium temporis liturgici
vel festivitatis introducere atque processionem sacerdotis ministrorumque
48. Peragitur autem a schola et populo alternatim, vel simili modo a cantore
et populo, vel totus a populo vel a schola sola. Adhiberi potest sive antiphona
cum suo psalmo in Graduali romano vel in Graduali simplici exstans, sive
alius cantus, actioni sacræ, diei vel temporis indoli congruus,55 cuius textus a
Conferentia Episcoporum sit approbatus.
Si ad introitum non habetur cantus, antiphona in Missali proposita recitatur
sive a fidelibus, sive ab aliquibus ex ipsis, sive a lectore, sin aliter ab ipso sacerdote,
qui potest etiam in modum monitionis initialis (cf. n. 31) eam aptare.

2011 Translation (GIRM).

  1. When the people are gathered, and as the Priest enters with the Deacon and ministers, the Entrance Chant begins. Its purpose is to open the celebration, foster the unity of those who have been gathered, introduce their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical time or festivity, and accompany the procession of the Priest and ministers.
  1. This chant is sung alternately by the choir and the people or similarly by a cantor and the people, or entirely by the people, or by the choir alone. In the Dioceses of the United States of America, there are four options for the Entrance Chant: (1) the antiphon from the Missal or the antiphon with its Psalm from the Graduale Romanum, as set to music there or in another setting; (2) the antiphon and Psalm of the Graduale Simplex for the liturgical time; (3) a chant from another collection of Psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including Psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) another liturgical chant that is suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year, similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.


We are talking about the same thing, but you quoted the wrong sections of the GIRM. Those sections refer to the Roman or Simple Gradual, which are the books which contain the Propers for the Mass (Introit, Gradual/Responsorial, Alleluia, Offertory, Communion).

The “Gradual” referred to in this thread’s original post refers not to the book, but to the piece of Scripture, usually a Psalm, that appears after the first reading, in other words, just as it appears in the EF. The OF has a collection of Graduals (can be found in the Gradual, i.e. the book) as well and can just as easily be used in the OF in place of the Responsorial Psalm.


Are you referring to the following? It seems to say the same thing about the book.

Psalmus responsorius
61. Post primam lectionem sequitur psalmus responsorius, qui est pars integralis
liturgiæ verbi et magnum momentum liturgicum et pastorale præ se fert,
cum verbi Dei meditationem foveat.
Psalmus responsorius unicuique lectioni respondeat et e lectionario de more
Præstat psalmum responsorium cantu proferri, saltem ad populi responsum
quod attinet. Psalmista proinde, seu cantor psalmi, in ambone vel alio loco apto
profert versus psalmi, tota congregatione sedente et auscultante, immo de
more per responsum participante, nisi psalmus modo directo, idest sine responso,
proferatur. Ut autem populus responsum psalmodicum facilius proferre valeat,
textus aliqui responsorum et psalmorum pro diversis temporibus anni aut
pro diversis ordinibus Sanctorum selecti sunt, qui adhiberi valent, loco textus
lectioni respondentis, quoties psalmus cantu profertur. Si psalmus cani non
potest, recitatur modo aptiore ad meditationem verbi Dei fovendam.
Loco psalmi in lectionario assignati cani potest etiam vel responsorium graduale
e Graduali romano, vel psalmus responsorius aut alleluiaticus e Graduali
simplici, sicut in his libris describuntur.

Apparent translation:


Yes, this is it. The Gradual (psalm) is found in the Gradual (book).

The original quote you gave earlier was the section on the Entrance Chant, which is the Introit, also found in the Gradual (book).


The abbey I’m associated with uses the Gradual every day after the first reading. I heard it sung today at Mass an yesterday (Sunday) as well. In fact I sang along with the monks. Mass is in the Ordinary Form.

In Easter season, the Gradual is replaced by an Alleluia antiphon, making two alleluias on Sundays.


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