whether any WRO parishes use them instead of the conventional Western hymns, and whether they are similar to the Eastern practice of "on this day we sing this one, on that day that one, etc."
It's funny that this topic comes up.
The concept has come to mind that theoretically to make the most literally accurate translations of the latin rite hymns of the divine office, they should be made non-metrical. In the 1968, right before things went crazy, the Roman Catholic Church had this book prepared by the Benedictines:
"Sung Vespers., With Musical Settings Composed By W.A. Jurgens.
Published by Liturgical Press , Collegeville, MN, USA"
This book is fascinating because it contains accurate translations of the main historic latin rite office hymns used at the time for vespers, only they are set to psalm tones in a non-metrical fashion (The Pope Urban revisions werent used, the original medieval latin was used as the basis, in 1962 it was still based on the terrible Pope Urban 17th c. revisions.) THis must have been seen a convenient solution to the time consuming process of either finding suitable reasonably accurate paraphrased versions, writing new ones entirely, or adapting the original melodies to free-er meter. This was a short lived experiment, leftover from the 1960's before all the traditional basis had been deemed unsuitable, for by 1973 the liturgy of the hours english versions had replaced these with ecumenical protestant type hymns (These are going to be replaced in 2015-2016 with the new Liturgy of hours books, it takes them 45 years to go back to the genuine catholic/orthodox hymnody again!)
So the precedent for not using the original meter does in some way exist, although being that it was 1968, perhaps one can argue that was not a genuine precedent!! It is debateable, but it does work and its not against the faith, though it may be seen as against the "tradition" of meter for hymns (or is it Tradition with a capitol "T" ?).
Regardless, that is what I recently did this with a sequence for St. Scholastica, I made a more free meter version.
Many years ago I had come to the same idea and tried it out, making a non metrical version of a hymn. 4 years ago when I first tried it, it was an utter failure and disaster. However after 4 years of practice and understanding better the meter and nature of chant, I am now able to do this quite well.
I am uncertain how well it would work for all historic latin hymns or how popular it would be. The disadvantage is that it would make them slightly harder to sing for the average person without practice. Normally that's the advantage of a strict metrical hymn, almost anyone can sing the remaining verses once they've heard the first verse sung. Though one can also argue this makes them too easy.
Here is the result of my work for anyone who is curious, unfortunately I only have it in chant notation at this time, but I'll be putting it into modern notation whenever I have time.
Sequence for St.Scholastica, Virgin; Alma contio concrepa (Beloved assembly, on this feast) (Feb 10)https://www.box.com/s/6iu65x1l8dxfvlm6x8cb
This certainly proves that non-metrical hymnody has a potential future for the Latin rite, albeit possibly a limited one.
Though I think that in many cases, it is probably not going to be extremely popular, we shall see.
Hildegard of Bingen also made a famous non-metrical hymn for Lauds of the feast of St Ursula and the Eleven Thousand Virgins.
It would be interesting to know how many other precedents there are of this occurring.
St Ursula, Martyr(s) - Hymn; Cum vox sanguinis (at Lauds) (Oct. 21)
TEXT & NOTATION: https://www.box.com/s/p8o0qgfrpjdctzqnp9kf
AUDIO RECORDING: https://www.box.com/s/1xj302mq6owbrcvmi95m