OrthodoxChristianity.net
September 19, 2014, 10:20:14 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Rhyming Hymns in Antiquity?  (Read 1245 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Joseph Hazen
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Serbian
Posts: 150


« on: June 29, 2013, 03:05:27 PM »

Someone once told me that before there were rhyming hymns the hymns of the West were more similar to those of the East, as in not in verses, not rhyming, etc. I've always been partial to non-rhyming hymns, and I wanted to know what those old Western hymns were (or if they existed and what I was told was true), but I have no clue as to the jargon of the West so I don't know what to search for.

So I figured I'd ask here. Am I making sense? I think in the West they might be called collects or antiphons or something similar but I don't know the vocabulary to find what I'm interested in (used to be Roman Catholic. There's a sad commentary on affairs, no?) and I'm also curious as to when these hymns went out of fashion (again, if they exist), 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."
Logged
Romaios
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Romanian
Posts: 2,933



« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2013, 03:31:49 PM »

All Latin poetry was initially based on meter (alternation of long and short syllables) rather than rhyme. The hymns of Saint Ambrose are metrical (Aeterne rerum conditor, Deus creator omnium, etc.). So is other early Christian hymnography - Paulinus of Nola, Prudentius or Venantius Fortunatus (Pange lingua). Such hymns were included in the Breviary and are still sung at Vespers, Matins, Lauds and the lesser Hours.   

Later on, Latin lost the difference of quantity of vowels, so - in the Middle Ages - rhyme became more important: the "sequences" of Notker the Stammerer, for instance, make use of it (couplets usually). These were sung before the Gospel was read at Mass, but only a few survive in the liturgy after the Council of Trent (Victimae paschali laudes for Easter, Veni Sancte Spiritus for Pentecost or Nato canunt omnia for Christmas).     

Latin antiphons are usually short Psalm-like verses. Collects are short prayers specific for each feast/liturgical occasion (sometimes composed in rhythmical prose).   
« Last Edit: June 29, 2013, 03:48:12 PM by Romaios » Logged
Sleeper
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,256

On hiatus for the foreseeable future.


« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2013, 05:39:08 PM »

Great answer, Romaios.
Logged
Joseph Hazen
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Serbian
Posts: 150


« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2013, 07:32:46 PM »

Interesting, I think I've realized - it's the English translations which rhyme, isn't it? In an attempt to continue the poetic aspects probably? When I look up the hymns of St. Ambrose I find ones attributed to him, but they're in English and rhyme. Is there any place where they're translated without attempting to force a translation into words which rhyme in English?

Also, how does one pronounce "collect"? Is it exactly like "this is what I collect" or is it more like "call-ect" which is what comes out when I'm trying to say it outside of my familiar English context.
Logged
Sleeper
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,256

On hiatus for the foreseeable future.


« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2013, 07:58:54 PM »

Interesting, I think I've realized - it's the English translations which rhyme, isn't it? In an attempt to continue the poetic aspects probably? When I look up the hymns of St. Ambrose I find ones attributed to him, but they're in English and rhyme. Is there any place where they're translated without attempting to force a translation into words which rhyme in English?

I don't necessarily think the rhyming is forced, as such, but captures the spirit of the text better. If you try to do word-for-word translations, you end up with text that is...less than inspiring. For example,

VENI, redemptor gentium,
ostende partum Virginis;
miretur omne saeculum:
talis decet partus Deum.

turns into

I came, Redeemer of the earth,
Show virgin birth
wonder at all ages:
becoming such a child of God.

Quote
Also, how does one pronounce "collect"? Is it exactly like "this is what I collect" or is it more like "call-ect" which is what comes out when I'm trying to say it outside of my familiar English context.

It is pronounced Call-ect.
Logged
Keble
All-Knowing Grand Wizard of Debunking
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,411



« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2013, 08:13:31 PM »

The collect is the "prayer of the day", as it were; it is specified for the day or the occasion and addresses the theme of the readings or the rite. It normally comes near the very beginning; for example in modern western rites it usually comes just before the first reading. Classically these have a "you-who-do-through" form, so for example, this is the 1979 BCP collect for Holy Name/Circumcision:

Eternal Father, who didst give to thine incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we beseech thee, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, even our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Logged
Christopher McAvoy
Never forget the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate & all persecuted christians!
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: orthodóxis, atque cathólice et apostólice fídei
Jurisdiction: Latin Catholic from the 12th c.
Posts: 443



WWW
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2013, 01:55:21 AM »

Quote
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 [1968], 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

« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 02:15:47 AM by Christopher McAvoy » Logged

"and for all who are Orthodox, and who hold the Catholic and Apostolic Faith, remember, O Lord, thy servants" - yet the post-conciliar RC hierarchy is tolerant of everyone and everything... except Catholic Tradition, for modernists are as salt with no taste, to be “thrown out and trampled under foot
Christopher McAvoy
Never forget the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate & all persecuted christians!
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: orthodóxis, atque cathólice et apostólice fídei
Jurisdiction: Latin Catholic from the 12th c.
Posts: 443



WWW
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2013, 02:48:48 AM »

As far as rhyme goes, not all the hymns do rhyme, whether in Latin or in english.
Metrical Hymns were very well established in the 300's, and firmly implanted by 400's and 500's in the Latin west.
Some say that these latin hymns originate from the poetry or roman marching songs. I can't say, but it makes for interesting reading.
The Hymns of Prudentius is a good example of the early ones and this is available on some reformed christian website , with side by side latin and english.

The "Ambrosian meter" typically rhymes the most, but the Sappic and Adonic and a few other related meters, which were very popular in medieval times for example, never rhyme.




« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 02:50:25 AM by Christopher McAvoy » Logged

"and for all who are Orthodox, and who hold the Catholic and Apostolic Faith, remember, O Lord, thy servants" - yet the post-conciliar RC hierarchy is tolerant of everyone and everything... except Catholic Tradition, for modernists are as salt with no taste, to be “thrown out and trampled under foot
Tags: Western Hymns  Western Rite  history  Rhyming 
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.054 seconds with 36 queries.