Notes on Alleliuas in Modes 4, 5, 6, 7 

Tracks 19: Alleluias in mode 4
Tracks 1012: Alleluias in mode 5
Tracks 13: Alleluias in mode 6
Tracks 1421: Alleluias in mode 7

Resources

The melodies of Introits can be found in the “Vatican Graduale,” Graduale sacrosanctae romanae ecclesiae de tempore et de sanctis SS. D. N. Pii X. pontificis maximi jussu restitutum et editum (Romae: Typis vaticanis 1908); and in the Graduale triplex, seu Graduale romanum Pauli PP.VI cura recognitum & rhythmicis signis a Solesmensibus monachis ornatum neumis Laudunensibus (cod. 239) et Sangallensibus (codicum San Gallensis 359 et Einsidelensis 121) nunc auctum (Solesmes 1979).

The “signs of nuance” can be studied in the facsimiles of the chant books “Laon 239” (“L”), published in Paléographie musicale X (1909); “St. Gall 359” (“C”) in Paléographie musicale IIe serie, II (1924); and most conveniently in the Graduale triplex, where the notation from L and C (and also “E,” Einsiedeln Cod. 121) has been entered by hand by Marie-Claire Billecocq and Rupert Fischer. Here, references are given to the Graduale triplex (“GT”).

Liturgical assignments are as in Rene Jean Hesbert, Antiphonale missarum sextuplex (Brussels 1935); reference is to the number of the Mass formulary, preceded by “M.”

The very extensive post-archetypal repertory of Mass Proper Alleluias is published by Karlheinz Schlager as Alleluia-Melodien I, bis 1100, and Alleluia-Melodien II, ab 1100, Monumenta monodica medii aevi 7 (1968) and 8 (1987).

The standard work on the Gregorian chant repertory, including relevant bibliography, is by David Hiley, Western Plainchant, A Handbook (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1993).

The Alleluias are discussed on pp. 130–139. See also The Early Middle Ages to 1300, in The New Oxford History of Music, Vol. II (new edition, Oxford 1990), ed. R. Crocker and D. Hiley, pp. 214–222.

The Alleluias are discussed by Willi Apel in Gregorian Chant (Indiana University Press, 1958), pp. 375–92.

In James McKinnon, The Advent Project. The later seventh-century creation of the Roman Mass Proper (University of California Press 2000), the Alleluias are discussed on pp. 249–279.

The nuance notation is discussed in Eugene Cardine, Gregorian Semiology (Solesmes 1982), trans. by R. Fowels from “Serniologie grégorienne,” Etudes grégoriennes 11 (1970), pp. 1–158.

Modal finals and terminal descents are discussed by Jean Claire in “Les Répertoires liturgiques latins avant l'octoechos.  L'Office ferial Romano-Franc, “Etudes grégoriennes 15 (1975), pp. 5–192.

See also Richard L. Crocker, Introduction to Gregorian Chant (Yale University Press 2001).

For further resources, see the Introduction to the Archive, published separately by Emeritus Press.

Alleluia with Verses for the Mass

The acclamation “Alleluia” is sung in many different ways in a variety of liturgical contexts. As a Proper chant of the Roman Mass, it is sung with its own special melismatic extension, traditionally called “iubilus,” followed by a verse, usually in words drawn from the Psalter; the verse may include its own melisma, and may end with a repetition of the iubilus. Each individual Alleluia plus verse is assigned to a liturgical occasion. 

The Sextuplex provides for an even  one hundred Alleluias with verses for Mass formularies. Of these, sixty-eight can be found in the Graduale triplex; for sixty-three, the Triplex includes notation (including nuance) from the chant books Laon MS 239 (L), St. Gall MS 359 (C), or Einsiedeln MS 121 (E). These sixty-three are recorded in the Archive.  

Of the sixty-eight whose words are included in the Triplex, four lack the nuance notation (GT= Graduale triplex).

Cantate Domino: GT 330 (=Qui timent, GT 352)
Confitebuntur caeli: GT 478
Crastina die: GT 39 (=Benedictus es GT 375)
Regnavit Dominus: GT 242

Of these, Cantate Domino uses the seventh-mode melody of Qui timent, included in the Archive. Confitebuntur caeli and Regnavit Dominus lack the notations from L, C, or E. Crastina die uses the eighth-mode melody of Benedictus es, for which the Triplex provides the notation from St. Gall 359. Benedictus es, however, has been omitted from the Archive, perhaps arbitrarily; I have viewed it as a Carolingian addition to the archetype, to be compared to but not included with the archetypal Alleluias. 

Dom Hesbert’s index to the Sextuplex lists with extreme care the details of how each item of chant actually appears in each source, or how its presence might possibly be implied by the configuration of the source; and this index should be consulted for precise information. The Archive, however, refers to the Sextuplex only to establish a given item in liturgical practice circa AD 850 (rather than to establish the precise role in that practice). Hence, while a reference to the Sextuplex (as an M-number) will be given for every Alleluia sung in the Archive, for an Alleluia that appears in two or three sources but only once in each and with a different assignment, that Alleluia will be given only one reference, usually to the most characteristic assignment. And for Alleluias that appear only in the three different summary lists at the ends of B, C, and K, the reference will be to M199, the number under which these lists appear in the Sextuplex

Working from Dom Hesbert’s analytic index of the Sextuplex, which shows the distribution of each item among the six sources, I find that less than twenty Alleluias of the hundred listed appear either in five of the sources, or in all six. Many of the other seventy-five Alleluias appear in only one source, for instance Rheinau (R) or Corbie (K); a number appear only in the pair of sources Senlis (S) and Compiègne (C); some appear only in the list “De circulo anni” at the end of C. The practice of singing Alleluia with verse at Mass, then, used a pool of less than twenty-five items that were widely shared, plus many more each of which was sung in only a few places, or even only one place; or were used in several places assigned in each place to a different occasion, as to individual saints’ days. In this respect the Alleluia repertory differs sharply from the other repertories of Mass Propers in the relatively low proportion of the repertory that is widely shared.

The use of model melodies, whereby a single melody is provided with several alternate sets of words for use on several different occasions, is greater in the Alleluia repertory than in the other Propers. Multiple setting of a model melody is to be distinguished from shared use of idiom (“formula”). Among the Graduals, only those in second mode show a comparable use of a model melody, while those in fifth mode, for instance, show instead a heavy use of shared idiom. 

In the Alleluia repertory, there are three model melodies, one in second mode, one in fourth mode, one in eighth mode. Settings of these three model melodies account for twice as many items than idiosyncratic melodies in those modes, and for almost half of the repertory. The melodies of the word “Alleluia” (including the iubilus) have a certain similarity in the three models, especially compared to the variety among the idiosyncratic melodies. The verse melodies in the three models, however, differ greatly among themselves: “Ostende” is remarkably long and discursive; “Dies sanctificatus” is compact and repetitive; “Excita” seems closer to the norm compared to idiosyncratic verses. And only “Excita” shows the rounding of the verse with the melody of the iubilus. This rounding is the first of three important stylistic features that have been identified in the Alleluia; the second is the expansion of the Alleluia incipit and iubilus to make the verse melody; the third is the presence (or absence) in the verse of a single long melisma, not related to the Alleluia incipit or iubilus. 

The use of model melodies has been taken as the basis for far-reaching ideas about the generation and development of the Gregorian repertory as well as of other, very different, repertories of music. Here I want only to notice two aspects of the way model melodies are used in the Alleluia repertory as reported in the archetype. First, setting a model melody to new words (especially when drawn from Scripture, usually from the Psalter for Alleluia verses) can certainly be said to be a function of cantorial activity, of singing. It is doubtful that it can be done well without musical ability. Nevertheless, that ability is not one of singing or composing a new and different melody. And while we need to take note, in appreciating a given melody, that it may have several alternate sets of words, appreciation is based primarily on the melody as it is sung with only one of those sets. 

The second aspect concerns the presumption of historical development of the repertory; specifically, Did the repertory begin with model melodies, then proceed later to idiosyncratic ones? That presumption (which is not for discussion here) might well turn out to be true of the Alleluia repertory as found in the archetype; but its truth would have to be demonstrated by induction from traces left in the documentary record, not by deduction from a principle. Various documentary records show that the re-use of model melodies (along with the parallel phenomenon of recombination of shorter or longer idioms) can occur just as well at the end of (or in the middle of) a stylistic development. Model melodies from the archetype can be set with new words in the twelfth century, or in the twentieth—and, if done with skill, are undetectable as later artifacts.  

Re-use of model melodies is not well correlated with breadth of distribution in all six sources of the Sextuplex. Of the twenty-three Alleluias with the widest distribution (in five or six sources), fourteen are idiosyncratic. It is true that out of seven Alleluias for the five feasts (Nativity, Epiphany, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost), five (or six, if we count Spiritus Domini, which is archetypal for Pentecost), use model melodies. One Alleluia, however, does not. Any attempt to draw firm conclusions by presuming relationships among the ideas of model melodies, calendric prominence or antiquity, and breadth of usage must pause in contemplating Alleluia Pascha nostrum, for here the most idiosyncratic item of the most idiosyncratic group (seventh-mode Alleluias, which use no model melody) has the broadest possible distribution (all six sources) and is assigned to Easter, the prime celebration. 

Alleluias in fourth mode  

Of the sixty-three archetypal Alleluias provided with nuance notation in the Triplex, 9 are in fourth mode, and recorded here as tracks 1–9. Of these six use a model melody, commonly identified as “Excita,” from the verse assigned to the Third Sunday of Advent, which will be the first appearance of this model melody in a Graduale. (In one of the six, Lauda Ierusalem, the verse melody is modified.) The other three fourth-mode Alleluias are idiosyncratic. 

Words for the verses of the nine fourth-mode Alleluias are in each case taken from the Psalter; no Gospel or other Scriptural text is used. 

Fourth-mode melodies are used for two of the five festal formularies, Ascension and Pentecost; this is an unusually high proportion, for any of the Mass proper chants. These assignments (Ascension and Pentecost) appear across the board, that is, for all six sources of the Sextuplex. The same is true for the assignment of the model melody to the two dominical assignments, the Third Sunday of Advent and the Second Sunday after Epiphany. These four, then have a clear place in the archetype. On the other hand, the other two uses of the model melody show assignments that are much less clear, and less substantial. 

Of the three fourth-mode Alleluias that do not use the model melody, one has a well-represented assignment to the Saturday after Easter. The one melody used for saints’ days, Gaudete iusti, is assigned to eight occasions, variously by the several sources. 

Throughout the Notes, I use the medieval chant scale of pitch letters:
            A B C D E F G a b c [“middle C”] d e f g
Hence, the four finals of the modes are
            D (modes 1, 2), E (3, 4), F (5, 6) G (7, 8).

 

The pitch set for the model melody is virtually the central locus, D up to a, with a persistent b flat above and minimal use of the C below. The sense of the locus is clearly D F a , so that the arrival at E as final of the Alleluia (and as an important internal cadence in the verse) is in effect an avoidance of a more obvious close on D. It is not, however, a terminal descent (as is the E final in third mode), since it is above the very solid D that forms the bottom of the fifth framing the central locus; rather, the E final is in some way interstitial to that frame. 

Rounding of the verse with the Alleluia melisma appears in the six instances of the model melody except Lauda Ierusalem (that verse melody is modified), and in the three idiosyncratic melodies. 

Alleluias in fifth mode 

Of the sixty-three archetypal Alleluias provided with nuance notation in the Triplex there are three in fifth mode, recorded here as tracks 10–12. They make no use of a model melody, and in fact each is very different. 

All three fifth-mode Alleluias are assigned to saints’ days. Only the first, Beatus vir qui timet, has a substantial representation in the Sextuplex.  (The index to the Sextuplex lists a number of other assignments to saints’ days, but Dom Hesbert explains that since the references are only to “Beatus vir,” these may be to another Alleluia with verse “Beatus vir qui metuit.”) The other two fifth-mode Alleluias have only slight representation in the Sextuplex

Little can be said in general about these 3 fifth-mode melodies. Beatus vir qui timet with pitch set from F up to d, with one e, makes substantial use of idioms from fifth-mode Graduals, and also shows the subset F a c, with frequent b-flat. The verse is not rounded, using instead a standard melismatic fifth-mode close. Alleluia Memento David uses less familiar fifth-mode idioms but in the same pitch set; the verse is rounded. Alleluia Te Martyrum, notated in the Triplex on C final (from later staffed sources) uses the equivalent of pitch set F up to f, and instead of the subset F a c shows persistent scalar motion suggestive of extra-Gregorian or post-Gregorian melodic style. Even when reading from L, the results could just as well be described as being in “C major.” The verse is rounded. 

Alleluia in sixth mode  

Among the sixty-three archetypal Alleluias provided with nuance notation in the Triplex there is only one in sixth mode; it is recorded here as track 13. It has no specific assignment, appearing in the Sextuplex only in the list De circulo anni at the end of source C (Compiègne). Its verse is drawn from the Psalter. 

Alleluia Domine in virtute is as long as the longest of the model melodies, “Ostende,” and exceeded only by some of the highly developed melodies in seventh mode. Its verse melody moves in the style that would be appropriate in a Gradual verse (in the archetype there are no Graduals in sixth mode).  

The pitch set used for Alleluia Domine in virtute with F final extends from C up an octave to c with a d above that comes three times with the return of the same figure. According to the later staffed sources both b and b-flat are used, seemingly with room for choice on the part of the singer.  

The melody moves in three loci, overlapping but still distinct. There is a central locus F G a, making use of neighboring pitches on both sides. This central locus is often included in one that extends from F up to c, sometimes through the triad F a c but more often in scalar motion that can include b-natural as well as        b-flat. There is a lower locus extending downward from F to D, but including the C below as more important than just a neighbor. 

The end of the verse shows full rounding to the Alleluia melisma, and there is also an independent verse melisma, with characteristic internal repetitions. Furthermore, the verse begins with the incipit of the Alleluia melody, then extends and expands it. Hence, when the Alleluia incipit returns at the end of the verse to start the rounding, that is its third appearance, followed immediately by a fourth when the Alleluia is repeated after the verse. By contrast, in none of the 3 model melodies does the verse begin with the incipit of the Alleluia melody. 

Alleluia Domine in virtute is as long as the longest of the model melodies, “Ostende,” and exceeded only by some of the highly developed melodies in seventh mode. Its verse melody moves in the style that would be appropriate in a Gradual verse (in the archetype there are no Graduals in sixth mode).  

The pitch set used for Alleluia Domine in virtute with F final extends from Cup an octave to c with a d above that comes three times with the return of the same figure. According to the later staffed sources both b and b-flat are used, seemingly with room for choice on the part of the singer.  

The melody moves in three loci, overlapping but still distinct. There is a central locus F G a, making use of neighboring pitches on both sides. This central locus is often included in one that extends from F up to c, sometimes through the triad F a c but more often in scalar motion that can include b-natural as well as        b-flat. There is a lower locus extending downward from F to D, but including the C below as more important than just a neighbor. 

The end of the verse shows full rounding to the Alleluia melisma, and there is also an independent verse melisma, with characteristic internal repetitions. Furthermore, the verse begins with the incipit of the Alleluia melody, then extends and expands it. Hence, when the Alleluia incipit returns at the end of the verse to start the rounding, that is its third appearance, followed immediately by a fourth when the Alleluia is repeated after the verse. By contrast, in none of the three model melodies does the verse begin with the incipit of the Alleluia melody. 

Alleluias in seventh mode

Of the sixty-three archetypal Alleluias provided with nuance notation in the Triplex, 8 are in seventh mode, recorded here as tracks 14–21. One, Alleluia Pascha nostrum, is for the “Queen of feasts,” Easter.  As for all five feasts, representation in the Sextuplex is complete. Another seventh-mode Alleluia, Adorabo, has a broad representation for Purification (2 February), identified in several of the six sources as for Simeon; in either case Adorabo  is part of the Sanctorale. Together with Pascha nostrum, these are the only two of the eight seventh-mode melodies to have a firm place in the Sextuplex. The other six, each assigned variously by single sources, can best be described as dominical, and mainly for Sundays after Pentecost. For more precise description of the details of the representation, one must consult Dom Hesbert’s meticulous report in the index of the Sextuplex. 

The pitch set of these seventh-mode Alleluias includes F below the final G, but varies slightly at the upper limit. Some of the verse melodies ascend only to f; some use the g regularly as a forceful top; and a few ascend to the a above—not as a goal but as an exciting moment of unexpected excess, after repeated ascents to g. 

Movement within the pitch set is not adequately described with a locus, simply because these seventh-mode melodies are so mobile. They seem to move as easily by thirds as by seconds; they leap often with fourths, and sometimes with fifths, up and down. It is useful to think of configurations such as F a c, G b d, or a c e, not as subsets which the melody occupies, but rather simply as figures through which the melody moves quickly. With this motion by leap, and also by consecutive thirds, the melody can move out of a locus before it is fairly established. The pitches c and d often seem to be approached as if they would become upper reference pitches; but instead of functioning as limits to recursive motion, c and d seem rather to be merely fixations of melodic motion in a reiterative rather than a recursive mode. Each of the eight seventh-mode Alleluia shows its own use of the three features, rounding of the verse, expansion of the Alleluia melody in the verse, independent verse melisma. 

The eight seventh-mode Alleluias could certainly be described as idiomatic, but their idioms are not those of the other kinds of Gregorian—Introits, say, or Offertories; and with the seventh-mode Graduals they share only some cadential formulas. 

Rather, the seventh-mode Alleluias seem to have their own family of idioms. Pascha nostrum and Adorabo are exceptions to this, each being more idiosyncratic than idiomatic. The other six give the impression of being driven by a common musical impulse. And while there is no hint of a model melody, the sense of shared idiom is strong, setting the group slightly apart not just from the other Alleluias but from the Gregorian repertory.