Le Graduel romain

Le Graduel romain. A collection containing all the chants for the Proper of the mass: introit, gradual, tract or alleluia, offertory, and communion, as well as those for the Feasts of Our Lord (the Proper of the Time) and of the Saints (the Common of the Saints).

Le Graduel romain

Le Graduel romain. A collection containing all the chants for the Proper of the mass: introit, gradual, tract or alleluia, offertory, and communion, as well as those for the Feasts of Our Lord (the Proper of the Time) and of the Saints (the Common of the Saints). Accompanied by a text, the square notation is printed in movable type on a four-line staff. The name Graduel comes from the response sung after the first reading from the bible which, until the papacy (590-604) of Gregory the Great, was read by the deacon on the gradus (steps) of the ambo (oblong elevated pulpit reserved for the proclamation of the Gospel).

The religious community of New France imported from France or recopied the Graduale romanum or the Epitome Gradualis romani that had been printed mainly in Paris and in Lyon.

The models for the first Canadian edition of the Graduel romain, published in Quebec City in 1800, were the Graduel from the diocese of Vannes in Brittany and the books of Lyon. The first musical notation to be printed in Canada, the Quebec edition came into being through the initiative of John Neilson, who also published the Processional romain [sic] (1801) and the Vespéral romain (1802). The three volumes later went through many editions by various publishers. Neilson put a notice in La Gazette in Quebec City (23 Nov 1797): 'As it appears that numerous people from different parishes want to obtain portable editions of the Graduel and Vesperal Romain, the Printer informs the public, and particularly the parish priests and other ecclesiastics, that he intends to print and publish the said graduel and Antiphonaire Romain in octavo size following the model of the Vannes edition, adding to both the offices appropriate to the Diocese of Quebec'. In the preface to the Graduel the publisher wrote: 'We present to the public a portable edition of the Livres de Chant printed in Quebec City, and conforming to the full-size Lyon edition, the most correct and most recent edition known to exist. It is the first endeavour of its kind in Canada'.


Further Reading

  • Tremaine, Marie. A Bibliography of Canadian Imprints, 1751-1800 (Toronto 1952)