Advertise on ChoralNet 
ChoralNet logo
The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Novititae Cantus, an electronic newsletter pertaining to chant: Volume 4

Date: Sat, 25 Oct 1997 00:20:23 +0200 (MET DST)
From: Guido Milanese
Subject: Notitiae Cantus 1997/1

I am hereby sending the new issue of Notitiae
Cantus in text form. However, since both HTML and LaTeX files are
available, and the output is obviously better, I would like to
encourage readers to download one of these two versions, available
in my homepages.
Please send your articles and reviews to Notitiae Cantus!

Best regards,
Guido Milanese
Editor of Notitiae Cantus
Homepage in English:
Homepage in Italian:

Notitiae Cantus

An International Newsletter
for Gregorian Chant and other Repertoires of Western Chant

IV 1


1 Investigationes de cantu

1.1 Gregorian Chant on a Floppy Disk
by Guido Milanese

2 Practica cantus

2.1 Summer seminars in Italy
by Guido Milanese

2.2 Review: Liber Usualis reprinted!
by Guido Milanese

Notitiae Cantus
Subscription to this newsletter through e-mail is free. A
hardcopy of Notitiae Cantus will be made available to subscribers
who require or prefer this mode of publication. In order to cover
the cost of printing and postage, an annual charge of $15 will
be asked for this service. Preferred languages for contributions
are Latin and English. Please direct your comments or questions
to the Internet address For WWW users, the
files are available ar
ornc/ or from the archive for on and on This
issue has been sent to 291 e-mail subscribers; 35 printed copies
were sent to musicians, liturgists, and musicologists.

Genova, 20 ottobre 1997
Guido Milanese

Salita del Passero 11, I-16126 Genova GE, Italia
Tel. +39.10.252959

Universita' Cattolica, Largo Gemelli 1, I-20123 Milano MI, Italia
Tel. +39.2.72342-750, fax -740


Investigationes de cantu

1.1 Gregorian Chant on a Floppy Disk
by Guido Milanese

I am currently developing a new project in order to make the
research on Gregorian Chant easier and probably more successful.
I am writing a "computerized" version of the Graduale Romanum,
including the neumatic readings of an important manuscript of the
St. Gallen area and Laon 239 when available (much similar to the
system used in the Graduale Triplex). All these data are stored
in text mode, but the database outputs data in graphical format,
using an excellent program called Scribe (contact Professor John
Stinson at musjs@LURE.LATROBE.EDU.AU). This system makes it
possible to store data in a very small file, making researches
fast and reliable; the output is translated "on the fly" to
Scribe graphical format. The first alpha-version is ready and
contains a very limited amount of texts. A beta-version should
be ready by Summer of 1998 and should contain the texts of the
Graduale Romanum, edition 1974, with the addition of the texts
originally contained in the 1908 edition but canceled in the new
one. The program will be (probably) shareware.
If there are volunteers who accept to cooperate entering
some pieces, please contact me and I'll send a file with the
instructions to follow for the encoding of music and neumes. This
kind of help would be quite welcome!

Practica cantus

2.1 Summer seminars in Italy
by Guido Milanese

The fourth "Corso di canto Gregoriano" (the complete name is
"Testo, musica, rito", "Text, music, rite") took place in Italy
(Arenzano, near Genoa, in the Italian Riviera) during the last
week of August. Lecturers were Godehard Joppich (Germany), F.M.
Quoex (France), Fabrizio Fancello, Massimo Lattanzi, Giorgio
Mazzucato, Guido Milanese, G.M. Tomasi (Italy). Students were
about fifty, from absolute beginners to well known musicians and
scholars. Students and lecturers performed a concert on Friday,
Vespers of Our Lady on Saturday and a Solemn Mass on Sunday.
Another interesting summer class was held in Central
Italy (Massa, Tuscany) in September. The course (given by G.M.)
was organized by H.E. the Bishop of Massa for priests, nuns and
laymen interested in chant. The seminar was concluded on
Saturday, the 4th of October, with the Pontifical Vespers
celebrated by H.E. the Bishop of Massa, and broadcasted by a
Catholic radio. The students of this seminar were helped in the
performance of the Vespers by Ars Antiqua, the vocal ensemble
lead by G. Milanese. After Vespers, Ars Antiqua offered a
concert of Gregorian Chant, Ambrosian Chant, and Mediaeval
polyphonic music.

2.2 Review: Liber Usualis reprinted!
by Guido Milanese

A reprint of the Liber Usualis (with introduction and rubrics in
English, 1953 edition, with supplemental pages for feasts up to
1962) has been recently made available by St. Bonaventure
Publications, 324 Central Avenue, Suite 105, Great Falls, MT
59401-3114, (phone 406- 452-5452; e-mail The WWW
site is Price is $95.00 plus $7.00
shipping. This reprint LU is obviously welcome - even if I think
that it would have been wiser to reprint the "full Latin"
edition, more palatable to users outside the English world.
However, this is a very useful edition.
But, even if I repeat that this is a useful reprint, I
cannot help saying that it is also a "mixed blessing". The LU is
something like a symbol of the "method of Solesmes": it contains
all the Solesmes "rhythmica signa", that we know - after 40
years of modern palaeographical and semiological investigations -
to be useless (if you can read the real neumes) or misleading (if
you can't read neumes), because they wrongly convey and instill
the idea that Gregorian rhythm is made by long and short notes,
while its real nature is of being made by structural notes and
ornamental ones, as in many other traditions of Mediterranean
In other words, this LU will be useful to many choirs:
but will it be helpful towards an adequate and competent
performance of Gregorian Chant? If a musician wants to perform
Chant a requirement exists: those who conduct (not necessarily
those who sing) must read and understand the ancient neumes.
Otherwise, they will not perform Gregorian Chant but just the
notes, nothing more: this kind of performance may be spiritually
inspiring, has a certain intrinsic beauty because it preserves at
least the notes of the ancient chants, but it is not Gregorian
Chant, just its raw material. With the LU alone none can perform
Gregorian chant: and it is lamentable that the Traditional
Catholic world has so little interest towards a really
traditional performance of Gregorian chant. It is deplorable that
many among those who use Gregorian Chant in its "real place"
(liturgy) perform a modernized and altered version of Gregorian
Chant, while many among those who perform this music more
"reliably" are interested only in concerts and recordings.
One of the purposes of Notitiae Cantus is to give a
contribution to fill the gap between musicological research and
liturgy. It is an extremely difficult mission: but the editor
believes that this is a real mission.