Preconciliar rubrics

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: For many years at the beginning of the Easter Vigil, as the Easter candle is brought into the church and “lumen Christi” is chanted, the deacon or priest chanting has raised the tone with each rising of the candle. Somewhere that must have been the understanding of the rubrics by a pastor, since choir members couldn’t remember when it wasn’t so sung. This year a deacon chanted the entrance call to the congregation and did not raise he pitch.  Obviously this is not an earth shattering  issue (especially when occasionally in the past the raised pitch has unintentionally caused some cause for concern or laughs in the choir, knowing that by the rise in pitch, the third “Lumen Christi/Deo gratias” would only be singable by an extremely talented coloratura, lol).  However, I did look to see what the rubrics noted, and there was no specific mention of the pitch being raised, and wondered if that was in earlier editions, since it seemed to be the practice in the past.


A: Yes, it was in the preconciliar rubrics for the Easter Vigil. As I show in Glory in the Cross, the same applied to the dialogue “Behold the wood of the Cross” on Good Friday. It used to call for a rise in pitch, but it does not any more.

The Alleluia at the Easter Vigil, on the other hand, used to be repeated at the same pitch, but the post-Vatican II rubrics call for it to be raised each time.