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CNP Feedback - O-rational Thinking

Q. Dear CNP:

Can you explain why the text for the prayers of the day on your Liturgical Planning Pages [2 Easter] is broken up with spaces, italics, bold type, and underscores?

– Poynted Commenz

A. Dear Poynted:

The Orations of the Mass [Collect, Prayer over the Offerings, Prayer after Communion] are arranged in our newly-revised Liturgical Planning Pages to allow for singing by the priest.

Take, for example, the Collect for the Second Sunday of Easter —

God of everlasting mercy,
who in the very recurrence of the paschal feast
kindle the faith of the people you have made your own,

in- crease, we pray, the grace you have bestowed,
that all may grasp and rightly understand
in what font they have been washed,

by whose Spirit they have been reborn,
by whose Blood they have been re- deemed.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Ho-ly Spirit,
one God, for ev-er and ev-er. A-men.

The paragraph breaks show where the two musical endings, the "Flex" and "Full Stop," might be applied. The italics, bold print and underlining indicate the method of chanting this according to the Solemn Oration Tone of the Missal (often called "pointing"). The "un-modified" text is all chanted on the "reciting tone" (second space A, in the Missal). The italics show the syllables sung on the lower note (G). The bold syllables are sung on two notes, descending (A - G). The underlined syllables are sung on two notes, ascending (G - A).

The Collect, written out musically, looks like this:

Collect 2 Easter

This Solemn Tone can be found in Appendix I of The Roman Missal, under the heading "Tones for the Presidential Prayers." The formula for pointing the Solemn Tone is given, and for the most part, makes musical and textual sense. However, the following very strict rule: "The [ two notes before a ] Full Stop are always applied to the second to last syllable before the final accent, without respect to the accentuation of that syllable" makes for some awkward ending patterns. For example, it seems to me much more appropriate to sing: [e-ter-nal sal-va-tion] as [AGG GAA], thus moving on the accented syllable in "eternal" — rather than as [AAG GAA], as the rubric insists. However, we have on occasion thrown "artistic merit" to the wind with the pointing of these Orations in order to be faithful. All the Orations on our site follow slavishly the rubrics as set out in Appendix I.

This Solemn Tone is very simple for the priest to sing — there are only two different pitches! The hardest part is to decide where to place the various changes from the reciting tone. Our CNP Liturgical Planning Pages, when coupled with the Missal tones, give priests the tools to easily sing all the Orations, thus heightening the solemnity of any Liturgy.

Gary Penkala
CanticaNOVA Publications

CanticaNOVA Publications / PO Box 1388 / Charles Town, WV 25414-7388
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