Tropes, in most liturgical chants wherein they had been employed, are introductions, insertions, or additions made on the chanted liturgical text. Before they fell out of use, they have been found to embellish or amplify the chanted liturgical text of the propers and ordinaries of the Mass or the Office. As we are in Eastertide, we bring here the trope of the Kyrie used from the Vigil of Easter until the Fifth Sunday after Easter: Lux et origo.
Here is how the trope sounds:
Below we add the translation of the tropes:
Thou Light and the very source of light, God, have mercy.
At Whose will everything hath its being, O merciful One, have mercy.
Who alone canst have mercy on us, have mercy.
O Redeemer of the world, salvation of mankind, merciful King, Christ, have mercy.
On us, redeemed through the cross from everlasting death, O our hope, Christ, have mercy.
Who art the Word of the Father, the Word made flesh, O True Light, Christ, have mercy.
O Adonai, Lord God, just Judge, have mercy.
Who governest the engine of things, O nurturing Father, have mercy.
Whom alone becometh praise and honour, now and always, have mercy.
Where once they were tolerated and at best encouraged, the rubrics of the Traditional Latin Mass as we know today no longer offers a place for the tropes. Incidentally, however, the rubrics of the Ordinary Form do allow tropes to the Kyrie! But we have not seen a widespread return of this practice. For one, Latin has ceased being a language spoken by most ecclesiasts, and has become a province of elite academicians. Also, Gregorian chant, despite the clear instructions of the Second Vatican Council, has become the least of all “genres” of music, in a caste system dominated by the intolerant alius cantus aptus, favoured by the average Catholic parish. Why not take advantage of the permission and rescue the age-old tropes from undeserved oblivion? Let us open this door towards Tradition, inviting it to enrich the Ordinary Form.
O Light and source of supreme light!