Monday, April 18, 2016

The tonus solemnior: more solemn tone

Toward the back of the 1962 Missal, there's a section of ad libitum chants including the tonus solemnior, or "more solemn" tone of the Preface. This tone is rather difficult for non-musically inclined priests to learn, but has an outstanding effect when sung by a skilled celebrant (in my opinion; some people hate it and find it too much gilding of the lilly). When you hear it, you might find it reminiscent of the Exsultet tone, which is a sort of ultra-solemn Preface tone in itself.

Since Pentecost is coming up, I thought to record a tutorial video for any adventurous priests who might want to learn this tone and increase the solemnity of their celebration. If I get any requests, I'll see about setting the tone to the words given for the Preface in the Ordinary Form or Divine Worship (Ordinariate) Missals....

This video below has another sample Preface with the matching dialogue versicles as well. I think that, for "pastoral reasons", you can mix and match the regular versicles with the more solemn Preface itself. (In other words, good luck getting a congregation to learn them.)


  1. Fr. Saguto sang the Easter Preface in this tone when he visited our parish last week. It was wonderful!

  2. It always elicts a chuckle when, for example, at the Vigil the choir responds with a different tone than the congregation.

  3. It does seem to have the same cadence (is that the appropriate term?) as the "Haec nox est..." from the Exultet.

  4. The fellow singing in the last video is from a religoius community in Toledo, Spain. He has a very particular voice.