Divine Office Forum: Printed/recorded music for the Hours
Printed/recorded music for the Hours QUESTION from Jim on January 5, 2003 Brother, thank you for the opportunity to ask questions about the Liturgy of the Hours.
I would like to know if you can direct me to a source for printed music for singing the LoH. Also, do you know of any recordings of sung Hours, in English, in both cases.
Is it common practice in a monastery to sing the hours in Latin or in the vernacular?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on January 12, 2003 Dear Jim:
The Catholic Book Publishing Company edition of Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours contains the sheet music for the hymns of the Divine Office.
There is also a book entitled, Liber Hymnarius that has the music for the hymns.
As for the tones used in singing the Office itself, there are many different musical tones that can be used. Much of the Gregorian Chant is too hard for the average person without much of a singing voice.
I will be publishing the musical notation of the Plain Chant tones that I use in the Office in the Course on How to Sing the Divine Office course that I am working on this month. I hope to have it finished by the end of the month or the first part of February.
This course will include not only the musical notation, but also live examples of the tones sung while I pray the Office on Real Audio or mp3.
As for recordings, there are many monasteries that have produced CDs that contain some portion of the Divine Office. The monks of St. Peter;s Abbey in the Solemes comes to mind, but there are many others. Those CDs for the most part involve more complicated Gregorian Chants that are way out of my league vocally.
There is a beautiful CD of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, Missouri. They sing the Office in English and with a very beautiful tone that is much easier to follow than some of the traditional Gregorian Chants. I know these sisters personally. They are a great holy women.
Concerning praying the Office in the Latin, it depends on the Monastery. Some Monasteries use the Latin, others the vernacular, and still others will use the vernacular for all the Offices except for Vespers, for example, which will be prayed in Latin. So the answer is: it depends.
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