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By Flowing Waters - Chant for the Liturgy (A Collection of Unaccompanied Song for Assemblies, Cantors, and Choirs)

Item Number: 61476

Catalog Code: 978-0-8146-2595-8

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By Flowing Waters

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 General Description:

Designed to tutor assemblies and their ministers in the homely ways of singing the Mass, not just singing at Mass, By Flowing Waters is a primer of liturgical music. This treasury of nearly 700 chants and songs based on authentic chants provides the best and most accessible of the Roman Catholic plainsong tradition for use by assemblies, cantors, and choirs.

The goal of By Flowing Waters is to let the text be primary and the music its servant. It is ecumenical in its design for eucharistic worship in liturgical Churches and its use by Free Churches who wish to add chant to the sung prayer of their congregations. A graceful translation has been fitted to an adaptation of the traditional chant historically associated with it and succeeds with clear and simple phrases for responses, and well-marked verses for the cantor.

Texts are drawn almost entirely from the Bible, including 102 psalms and nineteen canticles of the Old and New Testaments. The volume also includes the entire repertory of the Simple Gradual, the Simple Kyriale, and Jubilate Deo. The litanic/responsorial style of the entire collection moves the work of worship between the cantor and the assembly, giving new meaning to the word "liturgy" and to the keynote of the liturgical renewal, “full, active, conscious participation.”

By Flowing Waters is a version of the second of two official song books of the Roman liturgy, the Graduale Romanum (the Roman Gradual) and the Graduale Simplex (the Simple Gradual). As the sacramentary is the presider's book, the book of the Gospels is the deaconÂ’s, and the lectionary is the reader’s, the “gradual” is the liturgical book belonging to the schola cantorum (the group of singers who render more difficult pieces at a liturgical function). Used for the singing of the Proper of the Mass in English, the Simple Gradual is a properly integrated part of the liturgical renewal. Its purpose is to afford a greater opportunity for community participation in song—especially through congregational singing of brief refrains and responses to the longer verses sung by a cantor, schola, or choir.

The music in By Flowing Waters has ancient sources but only one Source, the Word. With respect to the antiphons, acclamations, hymns, and songs, expresses the meaning of the original words to convey the same meaning to those who speak English. In regard to the psalmody (the ways to sing psalms, canticles, and other long texts) it lets these ancient tones become the tunes to carry the Hebrew and Greek poetry which is freshly translated into English in the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Cantors, liturgists, parish music directors, choir directors, choir members, schools and religious communities who sing on weekdays as well as Sundays, will find By Flowing Waters provides the best traditions of simple and unaccompanied chant that meet the expectations of aesthetic quality and musical scholarship. In addition, it can serve as both a scholarly reference for liturgists and a professional reference for liturgical musicians.

By Flowing Waters is a collection for congregations of praying Christians, Christians who sing because they have something to sing about (the goodness of God), to sing for (the salvation of the world), and someone to sing with (the Son of God). By providing the Simple Gradual in English and through the use of other chant resources, By Flowing Waters is in the fullest harmony with that song.

Beautifully bound; includes two ribbon markers.

By Flowing Waters

  • contains nearly 700 authentic chants and songs based on authentic chants for use by assemblies, cantors, and choirs
  • is exemplary of the best and most accessible of the Roman Catholic plainsong tradition
  • is ecumenical in its design for worship in liturgical Churches, and its adaptability by Free Churches who wish to add chant to the sung prayer styles of their congregations
  • draws texts to be sung almost entirely from the Bible, especially the Psalms and Canticles of the Old and New Testaments
  • distinguishes between and among the solo and choral voices in the psalms so that assemblies can know who is speaking to them or for them
  • appeals to those cantors looking for resources for unaccompanied song for eucharistic liturgy
  • restores to cantors their own proper book
  • revitalizes the ministries of psalmist, cantor, schola cantorum, and choir
  • attracts those who are intrigued by the idea of using chant
  • is welcome to those who know that modal music in free rhythm “wears longer” and “delivers” the text unobtrusively
  • allows the melodies which arose from the singing of the texts in their original languages to live again through their harmonious weddings to English translations of these texts
  • is familiar to those who grew up with chant and accessible to those unfamiliar with chant
  • includes the entire repertory of the Simple Gradual (the chant collection authorized by Pope Paul VI in 1968 and revised and expanded in 1975 to include the Simple Kyriale)
  • includes the entire repertory of Jubilate Deo (the universal chant collection authorized by Pope Paul VI in 1974) with fresh English lyrics as well as the original Latin and Greek
  • provides settings for singing the readings based on the models provided in the 1973 Ordo Cantus Missae
  • is resourceful for liturgists who need to make sense of the references to the Simple Gradual in the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (and its Appendix of the US Bishops), the Introduction to the Lectionary, and Music in Catholic Worship
  • introduces musicians, composers, and liturgists to largely unknown forms: responsorial psalms and alleluia psalms in the responsoria brevia style, the acclamation antiphon, and the Simple GradualÂ’s other litanic (“call and response”) features
  • gives new meaning to the word “liturgy” and to the keynote of the liturgical renewal, “full, active, conscious participation”: The litanic/responsorial style of the entire collection moves the work of worship between the cantor and the assembly
  • is complete for those who want to chant the entire renewed liturgy according to the model envisioned by Vatican II, incorporating new adaptations in English of ancient Greek and Latin chants for the Order of the Mass and the Ordinary of the Mass
  • can serve as a common meeting ground for today’s diverse musical cultures  
  • is a bridge between the moderate progressives and the moderate conservatives in its use of horizontally inclusive language
  • is especially useful at times and in settings with limited resources
  • includes full biblical, modal, and liturgical indexes.


Paul F. Ford, Ph.D., is professor of theology and liturgy at St. John’s Seminary, Camarillo, California, and chair of the Special Interest Section for Seminary Music Educators of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.

Reviews of this work:

An astonishing achievement! Those looking for a rich resource of chant-based vernacular liturgical song need to go no further: By Flowing Waters is so comprehensive that it is hard to see that any other chant collection will ever be needed. Dr. Ford's labor of love has provided for every conceivable need, I see this book as be


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