Sunday, 14 September 2008

Cecilia

Cecilia is the title of the hymn book used by the Catholic Church in Sweden. It is a chunky volume, though not too heavy to handle, and is divided into sections as follows
  • Psalmer och hymner, del 1 (ekumenisk del)
  • Den heliga mässan
  • Kyrialie
  • Psalmer och hymner, del 2
  • Psaltarpsalmer och cantica
  • Kyrkans dagliga bön
The arrangement places the Mass texts and Kyriale roughly in the middle of the book. As these are the most frequently used pages, putting them in the middle has the advantage that the book does not fall to pieces so quickly as it would if they were at the front. On the other hand, it makes them difficult to find. In some parishes, adhesive tabs have been stuck on the pages to help.

The present edition dates from 1986 and the books are getting worn. A new edition is planned, though that is some way off, and an interim book is about to be published.

There are three changes I would like to see. The first would keep the Mass and Kyriale in the middle of the book, to make the books more durable, but to distinguish them in some way, possibly by printing them on coloured paper or through the use of tabs or some other kind of book mark. Alternatively, it might be advantageous to put the Mass and Kyriale in a separate small book. It is worth thinking about.

The second change concerns the Latin texts, the use of which is slowly increasing. For those who do not know how to read music, the Gregorian four line/square note notation is easier to learn, as the neums show the shape of the musical phrases more graphically. It is also the case that information is lost when Gregorian chant is written in modern notation, with a tendency for it to sound flat and boring. It would be advantageous if the opportunity were taken to use the Solemnes settings as printed in the Graduale Romanum or Liber Cantualis. Using scanning techniques, this should add nothing to the cost apart from copyright payments.

The third change is that the text and rubrics of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass now need to be included.

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