2.1.7 Chants psalms and hymns

The music and words for chants, psalms and hymns usually follow a well-established format in any particular church. Although the formats may differ from church to church the type-setting problems which arise are broadly similar, and are covered in this section.


References for chants and psalms

Typesetting Gregorian chant in various styles of ancient notation is described in Ancient notation.

Vedi anche

Notation reference: Ancient notation.

Snippets: Vocal music.


Setting a chant

Modern chant settings use modern notation with varying numbers of elements taken from ancient notation. Some of the elements and methods to consider are shown here.

Chants often use quarter notes without stems to indicate the pitch, with the rhythm being taken from the spoken rhythm of the words.

stemOff = { \override Staff.Stem #'transparent = ##t }

\relative c' {
  \stemOff
  a'4 b c2 |
}

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Chants often omit the bar lines or use shortened or dotted bar lines to indicate pauses in the music. To omit all bar lines from all staves remove the bar line engraver completely:

\score {
  \new StaffGroup <<
    \new Staff {
      \relative c'' {
        a4 b c2 |
        a4 b c2 |
        a4 b c2 |
      }
    }
    \new Staff {
      \relative c'' {
        a4 b c2 |
        a4 b c2 |
        a4 b c2 |
      }
    }
  >>
  \layout {
    \context {
      \Staff
      \remove "Bar_engraver"
    }
  }
}

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Bar lines can also be removed on a staff-by-staff basis:

\score {
  \new ChoirStaff <<
    \new Staff
    \with { \remove "Bar_engraver" } {
      \relative c'' {
        a4 b c2 |
        a4 b c2 |
        a4 b c2 |
      }
    }
    \new Staff {
      \relative c'' {
        a4 b c2 |
        a4 b c2 |
        a4 b c2 |
      }
    }
  >>
}

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To remove bar lines from just a section of music treat it as a cadenza. If the section is long you may need to insert dummy bar lines with \bar "" to show where the line should break.

a4 b c2 |
\cadenzaOn
a4 b c2
a4 b c2
\bar ""
a4 b c2
a4 b c2
\cadenzaOff
a4 b c2 |
a4 b c2 |

[image of music]

Rests or pauses in chants can be indicated by modified bar lines.

a4
\cadenzaOn
b c2
a4 b c2
\bar "'"
a4 b c2
a4 b c2
\bar ":"
a4 b c2
\bar "dashed"
a4 b c2
\bar "||"

[image of music]

Alternatively, the notation used in Gregorian chant for pauses or rests is sometimes used even though the rest of the notation is modern. This uses a modified \breathe mark:

divisioMinima = {
  \once \override BreathingSign  #'stencil = #ly:breathing-sign::divisio-minima
  \once \override BreathingSign  #'Y-offset = #0
  \breathe
}
divisioMaior = {
  \once \override BreathingSign  #'stencil = #ly:breathing-sign::divisio-maior
  \once \override BreathingSign  #'Y-offset = #0
  \breathe
}
divisioMaxima = {
  \once \override BreathingSign  #'stencil = #ly:breathing-sign::divisio-maxima
  \once \override BreathingSign  #'Y-offset = #0
  \breathe
}
finalis = {
  \once \override BreathingSign  #'stencil = #ly:breathing-sign::finalis
  \once \override BreathingSign  #'Y-offset = #0
  \breathe
}

\score {
  \relative c'' {
    g2 a4 g
    \divisioMinima
    g2 a4 g
    \divisioMaior
    g2 a4 g
    \divisioMaxima
    g2 a4 g
    \finalis
  }
  \layout {
    \context {
      \Staff
      \remove "Bar_engraver"
    }
  }
}

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Chants usually omit the time signature and often omit the clef too.

\score {
  \new Staff {
    \relative c'' {
      a4 b c2 |
      a4 b c2 |
      a4 b c2 |
    }
  }
  \layout {
    \context {
      \Staff
      \remove "Bar_engraver"
      \remove "Time_signature_engraver"
      \remove "Clef_engraver"
    }
  }
}

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Chants for psalms in the Anglican tradition are usually either single, with 7 bars of music, or double, with two lots of 7 bars. Each group of 7 bars is divided into two halves, corresponding to the two halves of each verse, usually separated by a double bar line. Only whole and half notes are used. The 1st bar in each half always contains a single chord of whole notes. This is the “reciting note”. Chants are usually centered on the page.

SopranoMusic = \relative g' {
  g1 | c2 b | a1 | \bar "||"
  a1 | d2 c | c b | c1 | \bar "||"
}

AltoMusic = \relative c' {
  e1 | g2 g | f1 |
  f1 | f2 e | d d | e1 |
}

TenorMusic = \relative a {
  c1 | c2 c | c1 |
  d1 | g,2 g | g g | g1 |
}

BassMusic =  \relative c {
  c1 | e2 e | f1 |
  d1 | b2 c | g' g | c,1 |
}

global = {
  \time 2/2
}

% Use markup to center the chant on the page
\markup {
  \fill-line {
    \score {  % centered
      <<
        \new ChoirStaff <<
          \new Staff <<
            \global
            \clef "treble"
            \new Voice = "Soprano" <<
              \voiceOne
              \SopranoMusic
            >>
            \new Voice = "Alto" <<
              \voiceTwo
              \AltoMusic
            >>
          >>
          \new Staff <<
            \clef "bass"
            \global
            \new Voice = "Tenor" <<
              \voiceOne
              \TenorMusic
            >>
            \new Voice = "Bass" <<
              \voiceTwo
              \BassMusic
            >>
          >>
        >>
      >>
      \layout {
        \context {
          \Score
          \override SpacingSpanner
          #'base-shortest-duration = #(ly:make-moment 1 2)
        }
        \context {
          \Staff
          \remove "Time_signature_engraver"
        }
      }
    }  % End score
  }
}  % End markup

[image of music]

Some other approaches to setting such a chant are shown in the first of the following snippets.

Frammenti di codice selezionati

Chant or psalms notation

This form of notation is used for the chant of the Psalms, where verses aren’t always the same length.

stemOn = {
  \revert Staff.Stem #'transparent
  \revert Staff.Flag #'transparent
}

stemOff = {
  \override Staff.Stem #'transparent = ##t
  \override Staff.Flag #'transparent = ##t
}

\score {
  \new Staff \with { \remove "Time_signature_engraver" }
  {
    \key g \minor
    \cadenzaOn
    \stemOff a'\breve bes'4 g'4
    \stemOn a'2 \bar "||"
    \stemOff a'\breve g'4 a'4
    \stemOn f'2 \bar "||"
    \stemOff a'\breve^\markup { \italic flexe }
    \stemOn g'2 \bar "||"
  }
}

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Canticles and other liturgical texts may be set more freely, and may use notational elements from ancient music. Often the words are shown underneath and aligned with the notes. If so, the notes are spaced in accordance with the syllables rather than the notes’ durations.

Modello per notazione antica – trascrizione moderna di musica gregoriana

Questo esempio mostra come realizzare una trascrizione moderna di musica gregoriana. La musica gregoriana non presenta suddivisione in misure né gambi; utilizza soltanto le teste della minima e della semiminima, e dei segni appositi che indicano pause di diversa lunghezza.

\include "gregorian.ly"

chant = \relative c' {
  \set Score.timing = ##f
  f4 a2 \divisioMinima
  g4 b a2 f2 \divisioMaior
  g4( f) f( g) a2 \finalis
}

verba = \lyricmode {
  Lo -- rem ip -- sum do -- lor sit a -- met
}

\score {
  \new Staff <<
    \new Voice = "melody" \chant
    \new Lyrics = "one" \lyricsto melody \verba
  >>
  \layout {
    \context {
      \Staff
      \remove "Time_signature_engraver"
      \remove "Bar_engraver"
      \override Stem #'transparent = ##t
      \override Flag #'transparent = ##t
    }
    \context {
      \Voice
      \override Stem #'length = #0
    }
    \context {
      \Score
      barAlways = ##t
    }
  }
}

[image of music]

Vedi anche

Learning Manual: Visibility and color of objects, Vocal ensembles.

Notation Reference: Ancient notation, Bar lines, Modifying context plug-ins, Typesetting Gregorian chant, Unmetered music, Visibility of objects.


Pointing a psalm

The words to an Anglican psalm are usually printed in separate verses centered underneath the chant.

Single chants (with 7 bars) are repeated for every verse. Double chants (with 14 bars) are repeated for every pair of verses. Marks are inserted in the words to show how they should be fitted to the chant. Each verse is divided into two halves. A colon is usually used to indicate this division. This corresponds to the double bar line in the music. The words before the colon are sung to the first three bars of music; the words after the colon are sung to the last four bars.

Single bar lines (or in some psalters an inverted comma or similar symbol) are inserted between words to indicate where the bar lines in the music fall. In markup mode a single bar line can be entered with the bar check symbol, |.

\markup {
  \fill-line {
    \column {
      \left-align {
        \line { O come let us sing | unto the | Lord : let }
        \line { us heartily rejoice in the | strength of | our }
        \line { sal- | -vation. }
      }
    }
  }
}

[image of music]

Other symbols may require glyphs from the fetaMusic fonts. For details, see Fonts.

tick = \markup {
  \raise #1 \fontsize #-5 \musicglyph #"scripts.rvarcomma"
}
\markup {
  \fill-line {
    \column {
      \left-align {
        \line { O come let us sing \tick unto the \tick Lord : let }
        \line {
          us heartily rejoice in the \tick strength of \tick our
        }
        \line { sal \tick vation. }
      }
    }
  }
}

[image of music]

Where there is one whole note in a bar all the words corresponding to that bar are recited on that one note in speech rhythm. Where there are two notes in a bar there will usually be only one or two corresponding syllables. If there are more that two syllables a dot is usually inserted to indicate where the change in note occurs.

dot = \markup {
  \raise #0.7 \musicglyph #"dots.dot"
}
tick = \markup {
  \raise #1 \fontsize #-5 \musicglyph #"scripts.rvarcomma"
}
\markup {
  \fill-line {
    \column {
      \left-align {
        \line {
          O come let us sing \tick unto \dot the \tick Lord : let
        }
        \line {
          us heartily rejoice in the \tick strength of \tick our
        }
        \line { sal \tick vation. }
      }
    }
  }
}

[image of music]

In some psalters an asterisk is used to indicate a break in a recited section instead of a comma, and stressed or slightly lengthened syllables are indicated in bold text.

dot = \markup {
  \raise #0.7 \musicglyph #"dots.dot"
}
tick = \markup {
  \raise #1 \fontsize #-5 \musicglyph #"scripts.rvarcomma"
}
\markup {
  \fill-line {
    \column {
      \left-align {
        \line { Today if ye will hear his voice * }
        \line {
          \concat { \bold hard en }
          | not your | hearts : as in the pro-
        }
        \line { vocation * and as in the \bold day of tempt- | }
        \line { -ation | in the | wilderness. }
      }
    }
  }
}

[image of music]

In other psalters an accent is placed over the syllable to indicate stress.

tick = \markup {
  \raise #2 \fontsize #-5 \musicglyph #"scripts.rvarcomma"
}
\markup {
  \fill-line {
    \column {
      \left-align {
        \line {
          O come let us \concat {
            si \combine \tick ng
          }
          | unto the | Lord : let
        }
        \line {
          us heartily \concat {
            rejo \combine \tick ice
          }
          in the | strength of | our
        }
        \line { sal- | -vation. }
      }
    }
  }
}

[image of music]

The use of markup to center text, and arrange lines in columns is described in Formatting text.

Most of these elements are shown in one or other of the two verses in the template, see “Psalms” in Vocal ensembles.

Vedi anche

Learning Manual: Vocal ensembles.

Notation Reference: Fonts, Formatting text.


Partial measures in hymn tunes

Hymn tunes frequently start and end every line of music with partial measures so that each line of music corresponds exactly with a line of text. This requires a \partial command at the start of the music and \bar "|" or \bar "||" commands at the end of each line.

Modello per inno

Il codice seguente presenta un modo di impostare un inno in cui ogni verso inizia e finisce con una misura parziale. Mostra anche come aggiungere delle strofe come testo separato sotto la musica.

Timeline = {
  \time 4/4
  \tempo 4=96
  \partial 2
  s2 | s1 | s2 \breathe s2 | s1 | s2 \bar "||" \break
  s2 | s1 | s2 \breathe s2 | s1 | s2 \bar "||"
}

SopranoMusic = \relative g' {
  g4 g | g g g g | g g g g | g g g g | g2
  g4 g | g g g g | g g g g | g g g g | g2
}

AltoMusic = \relative c' {
  d4 d | d d d d | d d d d | d d d d | d2
  d4 d | d d d d | d d d d | d d d d | d2
}

TenorMusic = \relative a {
  b4 b | b b b b | b b b b | b b b b | b2
  b4 b | b b b b | b b b b | b b b b | b2
}

BassMusic =  \relative g {
  g4 g | g g g g | g g g g | g g g g | g2
  g4 g | g g g g | g g g g | g g g g | g2
}

global = {
 \key g \major
}

\score {  % Start score
  <<
    \new PianoStaff <<  % Start pianostaff
      \new Staff <<  % Start Staff = RH
        \global
        \clef "treble"
        \new Voice = "Soprano" <<  % Start Voice = "Soprano"
          \Timeline
          \voiceOne
          \SopranoMusic
        >>  % End Voice = "Soprano"
        \new Voice = "Alto" <<  % Start Voice = "Alto"
          \Timeline
          \voiceTwo
          \AltoMusic
        >>  % End Voice = "Alto"
      >>  % End Staff = RH
      \new Staff <<  % Start Staff = LH
        \global
        \clef "bass"
        \new Voice = "Tenor" <<  % Start Voice = "Tenor"
          \Timeline
          \voiceOne
          \TenorMusic
        >>  % End Voice = "Tenor"
        \new Voice = "Bass" <<  % Start Voice = "Bass"
          \Timeline
          \voiceTwo
          \BassMusic
        >>  % End Voice = "Bass"
      >>  % End Staff = LH
    >>  % End pianostaff
  >>
}  % End score

\markup {
  \fill-line {
    ""
    {
      \column {
        \left-align {
          "This is line one of the first verse"
          "This is line two of the same"
          "And here's line three of the first verse"
          "And the last line of the same"
        }
      }
    }
    ""
  }
}

\paper {  % Start paper block
  indent = 0     % don't indent first system
  line-width = 130   % shorten line length to suit music
}  % End paper block

[image of music]


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