Tracts in Mode 2

Of all the Gregorian chants for the Mass, the Tracts have been the least well understood from their liturgical or historical context (as melodies they virtually disappeared from chant practice since the Middle Ages). Careful listening, however, with musical sensitivity and intuition will eventually reveal the melodic wealth latent in the Tracts---wealth most easily accessed through the literal meaning of the words and the way the sound of the Latin words is set to the rhythmic, melodic configurations considered note-by-note.

Abbreviated references “Ps. 24: 17, 18, 14” means that the words of the Tract are taken from Psalm 24, verses 17, 18, 1 through 4, in that order.
“M26” is the number of the Mass formulary in the Sextuplex. “Vatican Graduale 85” is the page reference to the Vatican Graduale of 1908.
Click here to read the notes on Tracts in Mode 2.

Click on each track below to listen to the chant.

Scroll down to view the original lyrics in Latin and their English translations.

De necessitatibus meis eripe me, Domine:
vide humilitatem meam et laborem meum:
et dimitte omnia peccata mea.
(ii) Ad te Domine levavi animam meam:
Deus meus in te confido non erubescam:
neque irrideant me inimici mei.
(iii) Etenim universi qui te exspectant non confundentur:
confundantur omnes facientes vana.
Translation: O bring thou me out of my distresses: Look upon mine affliction and my pain: and forgive all my sins. (ii) Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. (iii) Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.
Ps. 24: 17, 18, 1, 4
M26: feria iv after Epiphany
M43: feria iv after First Sunday of Lent
Vatican Graduale 85
Domine exaudi orationem meam
et clamor meus ad te veniat.
(ii) Non avertas faciem tuam a me:
in quacumque die tribulor inclina ad me
aurem tuam.
(iii) In quacumque die invocavero te
velociter exaudi me.
(iv) Quia defecerunt sicut fumus dies mei:
et ossa mea sicut in frixorio confrixa sunt.
(v) Percussum sum sicut fenum et aruit cor meum:
quia oblitus sum manducare panem meum.
(vi) Tu exsurgens Domine misereberis Sion:
quia venit temput miserendi eius.
Translation: Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee. (ii) Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble: incline thine ear unto me: (iii) In the day when I call answer me speedily. (iv) For my days are consumed like smoke and my bones are burned as an hearth. (v) My heart is smitten and withered like grass: so that I forget to eat my bread. (vi) Thou shalt arise and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favor her, yea, the set time, is come.
Ps. 101: 2(=1), 5, 14 GT172
M76: feria iv in Holy Week
M78: feria vi in Holy Week
Domine audivi auditum tuum et timui:
consideravi opera tua et expavi.
(ii) In medio duorum animalium innotesceris:
dum appropinquaverunt anni cognosceris:
dum advenerit tempus ostenderis.
(iii) In eo dum conturbata fuerit anima mea:
in ira misericordiae memor eris.
(iv) Deus a Libano veniet et sanctus de monte umbroso et condenso.
(v) Operuit coelos majestas eius:
et laudis eius plena est terra.
Translation: O Lord I have heard thy speech and was afraid: (ii) O Lord, thou shalt become known between the two beasts: thou shalt be acknowledged as the years approach: thou shalt appear when the time comes. (iii) In that time when my spirit will be distressed, in wrath remember mercy. (iv) God came from Lebanon, and the Holy One from the beclouded, foggy mountain. (v) His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise.
Habbakuk 3: 2(=1), 3
M78: feria vi in Holy Week
Vatican Graduale 177
Qui habitat in adiutorio altissimi
in protectione Dei caeli commorabitur:
(ii) Dicet Domino: susceptor meus es
et refugium meum Deus meus:
sperabo in eum.
(iii) Quoniam ipse liberavit me de laqueo venantium
et a verbo aspero.
(iv) Scapulis suis obumbrabit tibi
et sub pennis eius sperabis.
(v) Scuto circumdabit te veritas eius:
non timebis a timore nocturno.
(vi) A sagitta volante per diem
a negotio perambulante in tenebris
a ruina et daemonio meridiano.
(vii) Cadent a latere tuo mille
et decem millia a dextris tuis:
tibi autem non appropinquabit.
(viii) Quoniam angelis suis mandavit de te
ut custodiant te in omnibus viis tuis.
(ix) In manibus portabunt te ne unquam offendas
ad lapidem pedem tuum.
(x) Super aspidem et basiliscum ambulabis
et conculcabis leonem et draconem.
(xi) Quoniam in me speravit liberabo eum:
protegam eum quoniam cognovit nomen meum.
(xii) Invocabit me et ego exaudiam eum:
cum ipso sum in tribulatione.
(xiii) Eripiam eum et glorificabo eum:
longitudine dierum adimplebo eum
et ostendam illi salutare meum.
Translation: He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (ii) I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress: my God in him will I trust. (iii) Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers and under his wings shalt thou trust: (v) his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night: (vi) nor for the arrow that flieth by day: nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness: nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.(vii) A thousand shall fall at thy side and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee. (viii) For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. (ix) They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. (x)Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. (xi)Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high because he hath known my name. (xii) He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble: (xiii) I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
Ps. 90: 1, 7, 11, 14 GT73
M40: First Sunday of Lent
Deus deus meus respice in me:
quare me dereliquisti?
(ii) Longe a salute mea
verba delictorum meorum.
(iii) Deus meus clamabo per diem nec exaudies:
e nocte et non ad insipientiam mihi.
(iv) Tu autem in sancto habitas laus Israel.
(v) In te speraverunt patres nostri:
speraverunt et liberasti eos.
(vi) Ad te clamaverunt et salvi facti sunt:
in te speraverunt et non sunt confusi.
(vii) Ego autem sum vermis et non homo:
opprobrium hominum et abiectio plebis.
(viii) Omnes qui videbant me aspernabantur me:
locuti sunt labiis et moverunt caput.
(ix) Speravit in Domino eripiat eum:
salvum faciat eum quoniam vult eum.
(x) Ipsi vero consideraverunt et conspexerunt me:
diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea
et super vestem meam miserunt sortem.
(xi) Libera me de ore leonis:
et a cornibus unicornium humilitatem meam.
(xii) Qui timetis Dominum laudate eum:
universum semen Iacob magnificate eum.
(xiii) Annuntiabitur Domino generatio ventura:
et annuntiabunt caeli iustitiam eius.
(xiv) Populo qui nascetur quem fecit Dominus
Translation: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (ii) Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? (iii) O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not: and in the night season, and am not silent. (iv) But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. (v) Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted and thou didst deliver them. (vi) They cried unto thee and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. (vii) But I am a worm and no man: a reproach of men and despised of the people. (viii) All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, (ix) He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. (x) They look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. (xi) Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. (xii) Ye that fear the Lord, praise him: all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him: (xiii) It shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness (xiv) unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.
Ps. 21: 2(=1), 9, 18, 22, 24, 32 GT144
M73: Sixth Sunday of Lent
Eripe me Domine ab homine malo:
a viro iniquo libera me.
(ii) Qui cogitaverunt malitias in corde:
tota die constituebant praelia.
(iii) Acuerunt linguas suas sicut serpente
venenum aspidum sub labiis eorum.
(iv) Custodi me Domine de manu peccatoris:
et ab hominibus iniquis libera me.
(v) Qui cogitaverunt supplantare gressus meos:
absconderunt superbi laqueum mihi.
(vi) Et funes extenderunt in laquem pedibus meis:
iuxta iter scandalum posuerunt mihi.
(vii) Dixi Domino: Deus meus es tu:
exaudi Domine vocem orationis meae.
(viii) Domine Domine virtus salutis meae:
obumbra caput meum in die belli.
(ix) Ne tradas me a desiderio meo peccatori:
cogitgaverunt adversum me:
ne derelinquas me ne unquam exaltentur.
(x) Caput circuitus eorum: labor labiorum ipsorum operiet eos.
(xi) Verumtamen iusti confitebuntur nomini tuo:
et habitabunt recti cum vultu tuo.
Translation: Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man: (ii) Which imagine mischiefs in their heart: continually are they gathered together for war. (iii) They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent: adders poison is under their lips. (iv) Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked: preserve me from the violent man, (v) Who have purposed to overthrow my going. The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords: (vi) they have spread a net by the wayside: they have set gins for me. (vii) I said unto the Lord, thou art my God; hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord. (viii) O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle. (ix) Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device: lest they exalt themselves. (x)As for the head of those that compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them. (xi) Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.
Ps. 139: 2(=1), 10, 14
M78: feria vi in Holy Week
Vatican Graduale 178