Page 22 - MFM March 2016
P. 22

The Opening Odes and other Masonic Music

                               Daniel Gardiner (3)

Surprise! Music in Montana – 100 Years Later           What are the (optional) Opening Odes the could be
                                                       included before the (also optional) Opening Charge?
For the majority of Masons in our jurisdiction today,  Nobody could say – they had not been printed in any
when we started learning the ritual in Montana many    edition of the Montana Monitors.
years ago, we learned from two old black books:
the “Mnemonics,” or esoteric parts of the ritual, in   Except the first edition.
a single-letter cipher, and the Monitor, the exoteric
parts of the ritual, in clear English sentences.

Editions of Monitors and the Mnemonic cipher have
changed over the years, as we all know.

                      Old Mnemonics and Monitor        Unless you happen to have a copy of the first edition
                                                       of the Monitor for Montana, you would not know
Surprise! Change.                                      what the words to the Odes are. In the second photo,
                                                       two of the five printed Odes are shown from a first
                                                       edition Monitor. Unfortunately, there is nothing that

                                                       tells the reader what “tune” the ode is set to.

In 2014, with Bro. Lewie Fletcher’s Committee on       Our Monitor was cobbled together by Bro. Frank
Work (also including Bros. Jim Trowbridge, Bill        Jones (later Grand Master), from at least eight
Murphy, and Tan Nguyen), we had the opportunity        separate sources. While we know what the sources
to combine the clear English of the Monitor with       were for the clear English in his Monitor, there is no
the missing portions of the ciphered Mnemonics.        hint as to where the Odes came from.
This was an opportunity to surprise everyone with
a change 100 years in the making. The new ritual       Frank D. Jones completed his Monitor in 1896, and
books, the combined Monitor and Mnemonics,             he appears to have been familiar with a Masonic
brought back the words to the Opening Odes, which      songbook by Chester Mabie, the “Mystic Chord,”
had been lost for 100 years.                           originally copyrighted 1866, and which in 1897
                                                       (when the first Monitor was published for the state
Monitors produced in Montana for the last 100 years    of Montana) was in its 11th Edition. Mabie also
have printed a curious option for Opening the Lodge:   published York Rite themed works. His “Mystic
Opening Odes. There would be a parenthetical note      Chord” has opening odes; and no doubt not
for each of the three degrees informing the reader     coincidentally, the order that they are printed in is
what page and on what line the Odes could be used.     the same order as those that we publish.
In the picture of our Monitor shown here, for the
Entered Apprentice Degree, they would appear on        “Lord, we come before Thee now” is the first
a corresponding Mnemonics page 5, line 15 (these       Opening Ode printed in the Mystic Chord. The
instructions changed page and line numbers over        second ode printed, “Holy Father,” set to the tune
various editions).                                     of “Concordia,” is actually the source of our printed

Page 22
   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27