cursus in Antiphons Mode I f?



The cases 1-4 are exceptions to the common fact that the clivis in this

opening phrase in Antiphons Mode I f is light.

1-4 show a clivis with episema. A semiological reason seems far-fetched.


All examples are from Liber Antiphonarius, Solesmes 2005


Is here a certain cursus ruling?

(pseudo-) proparoxyton?

qui mé sanum fécit  , Ie-sús autem tránsient,

Nisi égo abíero. Dé quinque pánibus.

Mode I f Intonation.jpg

You need to be a member of Musicologie Médiévale to add comments!

Join Musicologie Médiévale

Email me when people reply –


  • Mr Ricossa,

    Of course.  That one must have slipped under the radar by means of the "I'm an antiphon you remember well so I must be ancient" trick!  I should be more circumspect about the impact that the modern repertoire has on my perception of the ancient repertoire.

  • Mr Ricossa,

    I do apologise.  I don't use Cantus often enough and forgot that the entries gave modal information.  Next time I'll read to the bottom!

    It's the antiphon for Psalm 149, Sabbato ad Laudes in the Roman Antiphonal.

    The 1912 one is available as a PDF file here.
  • Mr Ricossa,

    9126728481?profile=originalI presume it's here.

    Of course, the notes over 'Sion' here can be taken as very neutral for verbal stress as each syllable would encompass more than one mora per syllable.

  • Mr Ricossa,

    Thank you for the comment about the stress of the word Sion.  I note that the Solesmes publication do not usually mark the stress, presumably because they see it as operating like an ordinary two syllable word like 'via'.  I too understood that Sion was stressed on the first syllable as per the Hebrew and unlike the modern language.  The first vowel is long in classical Latin and this may have misled me.  I think I also misled myself with the strident opening of the antiphon Filii Sion exsultent where the stressed syllable of the word allelúia seems matched with that of Sion though both words being given the same melody notes.

    In the case of 'Aegypto', it isn't that word which concerns me but the word 'ex': I wonder why the following has been selected

       a     c   cd    d

    | Ex | Ae gyp | to

    instead of the following as per Qui sitit veniat.

      G    a    c   cd    d

    | E - ex | Ae gyp | to

    Even taking into account your solution of a quasi-corrupt base schema (of under 32 morae instead of 32 or over), I think this feature leaves a question seeking an answer about the commencement of a number of these chants.



  • Mr Ackermans,

    Própter Síon is a case where the notes G and A are assigned to a syllable ('prop-') which does not stand alone but is part of a larger word.

    Here I ask myself why the Oves meae setting of the first phrase

        G       a     c  d    d   d

    | Próp - ter | Sí - í  | o - on |

    is not preferred over an ostensible

        G    a     c  cd  d    d

    | Pró - óp | ter Sí | o - on |


    There is an interesting comparison here with Qui post me venit

    which is not notated as follows

       G   a     c     c     c   e    d  d

    | Qui - i | post me | vé - é | ni - it |

    Three interpretative options spring to mind.

        G    a      c   *     c   e    d   d

    | Qui post | me  *  | vé - é | ni - it |

        G         a     c    c   e    d   d

    | Qui - i | post me | vé - é | ni - it |

        G    a     c    c   e    d   d

    | Qui post me | vé - é | ni - it |

    Is there a principle at work at the beginning of the base melody which dictates to the word setter that he must, given certain rules, crush the syllables into as few notes as possible?  If so, why does Qui sitit veniat start on a G and Ex Aegypto start on an A?  In other words, why is 'qui' assigned two morae/pitches and 'ex' assigned only one?

    I note that prepositions of one syllable like 'ex' in Ex quo facta est, 'post' in Qui post me venit or 'ad' in Ad te, Domine all take the pitch A.  The notations of the rhythm of the melodic metre following these prepositions are very interesting.  The 'ex' in Ex quo facta est ostensibly has a similar effect but the 'in' in In odorem does not, doubtless because of the unstressable first syllable in the next word.


    The ga opening with Pes quadratus occurs when we have an 'Einsilber' (Tonon?), immediately followed by the 'cadenza' of frase 1. f.e. O mulier AM34, 350

    So when this word has some weight for its own. With -fa- from faciem this is not the case

  • Mr Ricossa,

    I would agree that the words 'fáciem méam', having a stress pattern of 3 + 2, have to be made to fit to a binary musical rhythmic metre.  However, my question is why they were fitted in the following way

      *    a    g   a      c     d   d    d

    | * - fá | ci - em | mé - é | a - am |

    rather than in the very practical way (from a non-latin point of view)

      g    a   c    c      c    d   d    d

    | fá - á | ci - em | mé - é | a - am |

    The first two pitches are applied to the opening syllable 'qui' in the antiphon Qui sitit veniat, which shows that it wouldn't be unimaginable to apply the same two pitches to a single syllable 'fá-'.  'Fá-' is an open syllable and would be prone to vowel lengthening in modern Italian.

    Yes, it may be that the option is often taken to shorten 'halve' two of the three syllables to fit them within a two morae melodic rhythm but the option is also taken elsewhere to 'double' one of the three syllables to fit them into a four morae rhythm. This would still be a valid way to match verbal stress to melodic stress, ignoring any potential principles I outlined before about the unstressed and secondary stressed syllabes (which I don't believe in, on account of situations where unstressed syllables are assigned a note normally assigned melodic rhythmic stress).

    A structure such as

      g    a   c    c     c     d   d    d

    | fá - ci | e - em | mé - é | a - am |

    would seem undesirable because putting the syllable '-em' on a single pitch slows down the melodic movement too early.


    Mr Ackerman,

    Perhaps the Greeks would like your 'Sìon' example because the stressed syllable 'Sì-' would take a higher pitch than that of the unstressed syllable '-on'!  I wonder if this again points towards verbal syncopation on the singer's part.


    Maybe Propter Sion. (Si-ón!) is interesting for you Alasdair.

    LA05, 041 or AM34, 215

    g a | c cd | dd


    On LA 05, 040 we have 3 Antiphons with a g a opening

    Roráte | caeli | désuper

    Emítte | agnum | Dómine

    ut cognos | camus | Dómine


    Another syncopated pattern occurs in the fourth phrase when the second but last word is a proparoxytonon.


    sa-lu- | ta-re | tu-| um |                           fits perfectly to the model notated by Ricossa here above

    et | ger-mi | ne-et | Sal-va | to- | rem|       also


    But when a proparoxytonon occurs we have:

    ad | mon-tem | fí- li | ae Si- | on  


    ex | í-te | ó-vi-| am é- | i              AM34, 683

    et | con-spu-| én-ti- | bus in | me LA05, 192



  • Mr Ricossa,

    The bold and underline were only intended to mark out the syllable which takes the first occurrence of C in the melody.

    I agree that your schema would be a good way to explain why the words 'faciem meam' receive the notes which they do.  (Welcome back to my syncopation hypothesis.)  If you see the theoretical basic meter of this chant as comprising one phrase of six morae plus an upbeat, followed by three phrases of eight morae, then there the reason for the word setting is quite clear.  However, if you see the words as being set to a melody of eight measures of four morae with an initial upbeat as per the metre of office antiphons like Euge serve bone or Non est inventum, further explanation would be required.

    Regardless of the theoretical meter, for me, my question is not answered.  Why was the optional eight measure form not selected for these words, ie, why did the antiphon Faciem meam did not start like Cum exaltaveritis as follows?

    | Fá - á | ci - em |

    The practical option is clearly there and, barring the principles I outlined in my last message about the unstressed and secondary stressed syllabes, this would be a preferable way to match verbal stress to melodic stress.

  • Mr Ackermans,

    Given your first example, I think I am perhaps wrong about the first C!  In the word 'altavéritis', the very first occurrence of C is reached by a syllable possessing secondary stress.  Why then is the following desirable

       g    a    c c c    cd  d d

    Cum ex - altavé - ri - tis

    and the following not desirable?

    ga    c    c    c     d   d   d

    Fa - ci - em me - e - a - am

    It is otherwise shown to be acceptable to cover the first two notes here with one syllable.  Examples show that it the choice can't be related to the classical vowel length of the first syllable.

    Is it that an unstressed syllable would not be allocated to the first occurrence of the C, as with '-ci-'

    ga    c    c

    Fa - ci - em

    and that a syllable of secondary stress would not be appropriate for a duration of two morae, as with '-em'?

    g      a   c    c

    Fa - ci - e - em

    If so, farewell to my syncopation hypothesis.

This reply was deleted.