Gospels for the Liturgical Year

Revised Common Lectionary, NRSV

Gospel Chanting
Bill Gartig

This page offers links to sheet music for settings I have done of Gospels according to the Revised Common Lectionary and using the New Revised Standard Version.

While musically gifted deacons and priests have no difficulty chanting from a Gospel Book, others may be helped by practicing with sung gospels like these and paper-clipping them into the Gospel Book and chanting from the sheet music.

For those who feel intimidated by the Gregorian notation I use, please don't. If you go to the Musical Appendix to The Altar Book , pages 12-14, you will find the same tone in modern notation. You can learn the tone from those pages and then learn the equivalences between the two systems.

What I generally do is to say that the reciting note (the high note you monotone on a lot) is B flat (as it is in the Musical Appendix). That makes the note one lower an A and the next lower a G. A dotted square note is equivalent to an open note in modern notation (that is, twice as long as a solid note). Once you have learned how the tone sounds (maybe from a living teacher), you shouldn't find it hard to use these sheets in Gregorian notation.

I think the following words about how to chant the Gospel from Gary Penkala’s Book of Sung Gospels (CanticaNOVA Publications) deserve to be repeated here:

"Those parts of the Gospel to be sung on the reciting tone should be paced in a relaxed speech rhythm, not too slowly, and definitely not too quickly. All other notes should be sung with equal value, except dotted notes, which are lengthened slightly. Suitable time should be allowed after the introductory dialogue and before the conclusion to set apart the Gospel text proper.

"In order for a sung Gospel to have its intended effect, it must sound effortless. Undue attention to the notes on the part of the singer will have the disastrous effect of focusing the congregation's attention on the music rather than the text.

"The Gospel message embodied in the text must always be the precious cargo which is humbly carried by the underlying music. To thus set the evangelists' words in high relief requires much practice. Although the tones used in this book are simple, they are not meant to be sung spontaneously; they should be rehearsed well, so that the ease and fluidity of the singing opens the ears of the listener to the meaning behind the familiar words.

\"Per Evangelica dicta deleantur nostra delicta.

"May the words of the Gospel wipe away our sins."

If you find these settings too "busy" at places, you can just ignore a trope and instead monotone.

Example: How to chant the Gospel

John 3:1-17

Year A Year B Year C
Christmas 1 Luke 2:1-14 or Luke 2:1-20
Christmas 2 Luke 2:(1-7), 8-20
Christmas 3 John 1:1-14
1st Sunday after Christmas John 1:1-18
2nd Sunday after Christmas Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23 or Luke 2:41-52 or Matthew 2:1-12
Holy Name Matthew 25:31-46
Year A Year B Year C
Pentecost (Early) John 7:37-39a
Pentecost (Principal) John 20:19-23 or John 7:37-39 John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15 John 14:8-17, (25-27)
Trinity Sunday Matthew 28:16-20 John 3:1-17 John 16:12-15
Proper 4 Matthew 7:21-29 Mark 2:23-3:6 Luke 7:1-10
Proper 5 Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26 Mark 3:20-35 Luke 7:11-17
Proper 6 Matthew 9:35-10:8 Mark 4:26-34 Luke 7:36-8:3
Proper 7 Matthew 10:24-39 Mark 4:35-41 Luke 8:26-39
Proper 8 Matthew 10:40-42 Mark 5:21-43 Luke 9:51-62
Proper 9 Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 Mark 6:1-13 Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
Proper 10 Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 Mark 6:14-29 Luke 10:25-37
Proper 11 Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 Luke 10:38-42
Proper 12 Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 John 6:1-21 Luke 11:1-13
Proper 13 Matthew 14:13-21 John 6:24-35 Luke 12:13-21
Proper 14 Matthew 14:22-33 John 6:35, 41-51 Luke 12:32-40
Proper 15 Matthew 15:(10-20), 21-28 John 6:51-58 Luke 12:49-56
Proper 16 Matthew 16:13-20 John 6:56-69 Luke 13:10-17
Proper 17 Matthew 16:21-28 Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 Luke 14:1, 7-14
Proper 18 Matthew 18:15-20 Mark 7:24-37 Luke 14:25-33
Proper 19 Matthew 18:21-35 Mark 8:27-38 Luke 15:1-10
Proper 20 Matthew 20:1-16 Mark 9:30-37 Luke 16:1-13
Proper 21 Matthew 21:23-32 Mark 9:38-50 Luke 16:19-31
Proper 22 Matthew 21:33-46 Mark 10:2-16 Luke 17:5-10
Proper 23 Matthew 22:1-14 Mark 10:17-31 Luke 17:11-19
Proper 24 Matthew 22:15-22 Mark 10:35-45 Luke 18:1-8
Proper 25 Matthew 22:34-46 Mark 10:46-52 Luke 18:9-14
Proper 26 Matthew 23:1-12 Mark 12:28-34 Luke 19:1-10
Proper 27 Matthew 25:1-13 Mark 12:38-44 Luke 20:27-38
Proper 28 Matthew 25:14-30 Mark 13:1-8 Luke 21:5-19
Proper 29 (Christ the King) Matthew 25:31-46 John 18:33-37 Luke 23:33-43
Feast of All Saints Matthew 5:1-12 John 11:32-44 Luke 6:20-31
Thanksgiving Day Luke 17:11-19 Matthew 6:25-33 John 6:25-35