09 May 2014

On miscorrected tritones & musical tampering

On the Droid, I do enjoy the convenience of the Swype method. Now and again, the auto-correct subroutine yields some extra amusement (it looks as if you typed that, but it is not what you typed). As today when I had to "teach" the phone (add to the dictionary, really) the word tritone, because it had automatically substituted uterine. (Frightful possibilities for musicological disasters, there.)

(And incidentally, Microsoft Word doesn't like the diabolus in musica, either - just now offering me the strangely zoölogical triton, instead.)

A busy, full & enjoyable choir rehearsal last night. The last order of business for this season was, to settle upon an anthem for the choir to sing on Trinity Sunday. (And certainly the choir of Holy Trinity United Methodist Church ought to sing on Trinity Sunday!) In memory, I went back to the joyous experience of singing in the choir of the Episcopal parish of St Michael the Archangel, in distant Wayne, NJ . . . not all that frequently, I should think (but the impress in my musical memory has been indelible), we sang a Scottish chant setting of the Gloria. (And perhaps this has been close to the surface of my musical thought, since I shall set this myself for my Mass before long.)

Looking in the hymnal which we use at HTUMC, lo! I found that very Scottish chant.

Or, nearly that very Scottish chant. As I reviewed it before last night's rehearsal, I found that some editor, somewhere, had tampered with some of the chordal cadences . . . and the tamperings are musically weaker than the setting as I well remembered singing the chant. Even so, to get the process of learning the piece started, that was the version we read through a couple of times last night. (Although Charles remembered singing the proper version of the chant in church, and we spent a little time leafing through older hymnals on the choir room shelves.)

This morning, unsurprisingly, I found the chant (in different, I suppose we might say updated, typography) in the 1982 Episcopal hymnal. Curiously . . . I think that the final cadential Amen may be a change from the 1940 Hymnal (in which I learnt the chant). I think we'll go ahead and try this 1982 version at next Thursday's rehearsal . . . .

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