Gospel Tone Question

Ok—here’s a call for information. M has pointed Gospels before and has sung lots of Gospels other people have pointed. Yet, she’s not terribly pleased with the spare instructions in the back of the Altar Book or with the modern variants like Grace Newark that seem to tinker with the traditional method.

So, we have the instructions from the Altar Book; we have the examples of the three tones in the Liber Usualis, but we don’t have a clear set of rules for pointing Gospels.

As an example of what I’m thinking of, the St Dunstan’s Plainsong Psalter has a clear and comprehensible set of instructions for chanting the Lessons at MP/EP in Appendix II on pp. 270-275—What’s comparable for Gospels?

5 thoughts on “Gospel Tone Question

  1. bls

    Why not write the folks at StMV to see what they use?

    (BTW, did you listen to the German/Lutheran Mass I linked about a week ago? Is that Tone typical for Lutheran worship, do you know? I’ve been wondering….)

  2. Scott

    The simple Gospel tone goes like this:

    1. Most sentences (not questions or the final sentence): Stay on the reciting tone, except drop a minor third on the fourth syllable from the end (so you’re back to the reciting tone for the final three syllables of the sentence).

    2. On questions, starting with the interrogative (Who…What…but you knew that), drop a half-step down from the reciting tone; start the “la-ti-ti-doh-(doh)” question formula two syllables before the last accented syllable in the question sentence.

    3. For the final sentence of the pericope, stay on the reciting note, then start the la-ti-doh closing formula on the penultimate accented syllable of the sentence.

    That’s how I’d do it…eventually this tone can be done on the fly once you’re used to it, but in practice it’s best to point the text ahead of time to protect against brain glitches. :)

  3. John-Julian, OJN

    I’m with Scott…with the single exception (following the Liber) that the closing formula leaves FOUR syllables after the final la-ti-doh, the last two syllables being held. I have found that this really “puts an end to it” — no way one could ever go on after those four syllables! I have never tried the two Liber alternatives, but one day I’ll do that.

    It has always seemed peculiar to me for there to be a considerably more elaborate tone for the Epistle than for the Gospel. I’ve always put that down to the inherent musical inadequacy of the “higher orders”. :-))

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