Taking a cue from Dom Gregory Murray’s Gregorian Chant According to the Manuscripts, I have added a few footnotes to this communion chant as it appears in the Graduale Novum.  The top line shows the Messine notation from the Laon manuscript, the bottom St. Gall notation, and the middle a melodic reading with restitutions suggested by members of the International Society for the Study of Gregorian Chant (AISCGre).  I suggest opening the image in a new window or tab as you refer to the notes below.

  1. The letter i (inferior) in St. Gall indicates a lower pitch.
  2. The short pes diminished by liquescence to accommodate the voiced [r].
  3. The long pes diminished by liquescence in St. Gall to accommodate the voiced [n], perhaps the reason that Laon adds a c (celeriter) to shorten or lighten the second note. The e (equaliter) indicates a melodic unison with the preceding pitch.
  4. The long pes is notated in St. Gall with the square pes (pes quadratus), and in Laon by graphic separation. A rise in pitch is indicated by the s (sursum).
  5. The common form of the long clivis in St. Gall is marked with an episema, which applies to both notes (Cf. Murray, Gregorian Chant According to the Manuscripts).
  6. The t (tenete) has the same meaning as the episema, both indicating notes of length.
  7. The rhythmic interpretation of this special neume in St. Gall is clarified by the use of long notes in Laon and the addition of the a (auge).
  8. The quilisma group followed by a long clivis is so common that the St. Gall copyist does not add the episema to the latter, whereas the use of the a in Laon is explicit in this regard.
  9. Both notations show diminuitive liquescence for the semivowel [j].
  10. The pressus major has been shown to be either short or long. In this case, Laon confirms the length of the second and third notes with the addition of an a, and the vocal separation of the first two notes with the use of the dot.
  11. In the absence of an episema or c on the first note of the climacus in St. Gall, the rhythmic interpretation must be understood in context. In this case, the rhythmically more precise Laon notation clearly shows a long note followed by two short notes.
Take a look at my edition of this chant in modern notation: Ecce virgo – transcription.  Large note heads indicate full syllabic value, while small note heads are light, ornamental notes with a duration of one half of the syllabic value.  More on what is meant by “syllabic value”  (my take on it being slightly different than Columba Kelly’s) in a future post.

 

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