Thursday, July 27, 2006

Clever Verse on the Modes

So apparently everyone in an older generation of Catholic musicians knew this verse characterizes the Church modes, but it surely must be included in the lost knowledge of our time. I found it in Rev. Dom Johner's 1925 book A New School of Gregorian Chant. It is a verse attributed to Guido and Adam of Fulda. It's characterization is limited, and maybe not entirely correct, and experts can denounce it if they want, but whatever. It's all charming and helpful:

Omnibus est primus, sed et alter, tristibus aptus:
Tertius iratus, quartus dicitur fieri blandus.
Quintum da laetis, sextum pietate probatis.
Septimus est iuvenum, sed postremus sapientum.

Dom Johner translates as:

For every mood the first will be good; the second so tender to grief;
If anger the third one provoke, then the fourth will bring the relief;
The fifth be the mood for the joyous; the sixth one the pious will prize,
The seventh is pleasing the youth, but the last is the mood for the wise.

Isn't that just wonderful? All hail the Church Modes!

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