chant: In paradisum

Saturday 13 July 2024
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Three plainchant antiphons for the burial of the dead – as set by Fauré, Duruflé and others – in easy-to-read modern notation. Useful for funerals, memorial services, Remembrance Day.
unison voices

Difficulty level: *** (out of *****)

This piece is available as a printed choral leaflet, or for a limited time as a free download.

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Notes on the piece

This edition presents the music in modern notation. The use of stem-less notes on a five-line stave shows the pitch and relative rhythmic values without imposing a rigid rhythm as is the case in some other attempts to reproduce this chant for those unused to neums on the traditional four-line stave. The chant may be sung at any convenient pitch.

In Gregorian chant the music always moves along freely. Assume that textual accents are always on the penultimate syllable, unless indicated by an acute accent (e.g. há-be-as, sus-cí-pi-ant); other syllables are sung lightly. Just because it's chant, it doesn't mean it's boring. Far from it!

A smaller-sized note in the score (liquescent – e.g. sanc-tam, quon-dam, ae-ter-nam) acts as a passing note to the next note, and is "semi-vocalized".

About the text

These three antiphons for the burial of the dead may be found in the Graduale Triplex (Solesmes, 1979), in three forms of notation: traditional four-line staves with neums; together with sigla from Laon and St Gall manuscripts.

Although traditionally only the first two antiphons tend to be sung (both in chant and in the classic choral settings by Fauré and Duruflé), the third — from the story of the Raising of Lazarus in John 11:25f — provides a fitting conclusion.


"I'd like to use it for funerals at my church and like how clear the format is. The choir isn't used to chant notation, so I'd like to use your version."

Simonetta Pacek
Associate Director of Sacred Music
St Mary Catholic Church, Mokena, USA

Printed choral leaflets

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The text

May the angels lead you into paradise,
may the martyrs come to receive you,
and lead you into the holy city, Jerusalem.

May the choir of angels receive you,
and where Lazarus is poor no longer,
there may you have eternal rest.

I am the resurrection and the life:
whoever believes in me, even if he/she dies will live:
and all who live and believe in me, will never die.

New to plainsong?

Bemused by all this talk about neums and liquescents? You could make a start by reading this article on Singing Gregorian Chant in Latin. It includes links to excellent plainchant recordings.

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