Tenebrae: Antiphon Melodies

If you have been attending Vespers, it wont take too long for you to catch on with the Tenebrae service this Good Friday.  The cantor will sing the antiphon (and the first verse of the psalm so that you can hear the melody), followed by the two sides singing the psalm/canticle antiphonally (though be sure to pay attention to the lead cantor on your side to follow the stand/sit dynamic), with everyone repeating the antiphon at the end.

The antiphon melodies are more elaborate than the psalm tones, so I wanted to offer an opportunity to become familiar with it throughout this week.  Each antiphon will first be presented in solfege, which will help you to become familiar with the spacial relationship between each note, followed by the antiphon with the words. For a refresher on how to sing with solfege, check out the Chant Basics with the Pater Noster post.

Take your time with learning – I realize the recordings might seem fast initially.  First try humming along – matching the pitch and feeling the difference in your vocal cords as you move between notes.  When you have over 50% success with humming, sing with the solfege – and even try doing it on your own without the audio.  When you are feeling more comfortable, sing with the words of the antiphon.   Also – no worries if you do not master it by Friday – the purpose is to pray – you can always sing more quietly.


1st Nocturn (psalm +Lamentation from the Prophet Jeremiah)

Psalm 2



2nd Nocturn (psalm + reading from St. John Chrysostom)

Psalm 21:2-22



3rd Nocturn (reading +Reproaches)


Psalm 50



Canticle of Habakkuk



Psalm 147



…The antiphon with the Canticle of Zachariah (sung every morning at Lauds) will presented in its own post – this is plenty for now.  Enjoy!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: