History of the hymn
The Exultet was probably composed between the fifth and seventh century AD. It is used primarily in Western Christianity.
New Translation of the Mass (2011)
- ICEL score .pdf
- Online Quicktime recording by the National Association of Pastoral Musicians: Chants of The Roman Missal, The Proper of Time, "The Paschal Proclamation."
Amateur hour. I have been prevailed upon by a bass to provide him with a study version transposed into the key of A. You may purchase a copy of NoteWorthy Composer and modify the .nwc score to your heart's content if my version is unsatisfactory.
- NoteWorthy score (.nwc)
- NoteWorthy .pdf in key of C
- NoteWorthy midi file (.mid) in key of C
- NoteWorthy .pdf in key of A
- NoteWorthy midi file (.mid) in key of A
I spent the spring of 2006 enjoying the warm hospitality of Tim Hepburn at the Emory Catholic Center. On my very last night, I persuaded him to record the Exultet.
The file is over 9 megabytes and may take a while to download. If you don't get an error message right away, you should probably just walk away from the computer for a little while and let it take its time with the download. I think it is well worth the effort.
Jbro, Cantor 4 Christ, has a 2.5 MB version from 2007.
In 2009, I recorded my own version at The Station of the Cross. It is slightly over 6 megabytes and is phrased to my taste and temperament. I'll probably try again next year. Some passages are better than others. I was too excited at the beginning and wasn't breathing deeply. :o(
To download, right-click on one of the MP3 links in the left-hand navigation menu and select "Save Link As..." from the menu that appears. This picture shows you how things look with my browser (Firefox 2) when you right-click on a link.. To find the two links, keep reading down below the picture.
I have double-checked--the files are really on these two websites (March 3, 2008); I can download them; so can you. Depending on your browser and operating system, you may need to use something other than folks using Windows.
Tim's breathing and pacing undoubtedly differ from the phrasing that I tried to incorporate in my midi file and score. Tim says that the important thing is to become so familiar with the song that one has no fear about the mechanics. I'm not there yet myself. The Exultet, like God's conquest of sin, "humbles earthly pride."
OCP: "Easter Praises"
March 31, 2011
Iím not sure how long itís been since any infoís been posted/updated on the site, but when I ďGoogledĒ Exsultet recordings your site came up and with it a request for albums with Exsultet recordings.
Oregon Catholic Press puts out a great album, "Easter Praises," which has everything from a Spanish language version to a First Nations (Native American) version, to the Sacramentary version, to other variations, including one I really like by Christopher Walker.
I came across your site because Iím signing the Sacramentary version of the Exsultet for the first time this year. Iíve always sung arranged versions that used the same text but created new chant melodies.
Blessings on your Lent.
Fr. Shaun Lowery,
OSFS Parochial Vicar
Gesu Roman Catholic Parish
Lilypond and Gregorian notation
April 16, 2009
Thank you for your helpful website giving resources for the singing of the Easter Proclamation. I was honoured this year to proclaim this wonderful text at our parish Easter Vigil and used both your printed document and the recording of Tim Hepburn in my preparation. Since I don't have Noteworthy and wished to make adjustments to the musical setting, I installed Lilypond (one fantastic program for music typesetting) and transcribed the entire piece with reference to Tim's recorded version. Lilypond is able to typeset Gregorian chant notation and I find this a much easier notation for this type of piece - only four lines to read and a hint note at the end of each system. It's not perfect, but for what it's worth, I submit for your information and distribution, should you deem such useful, both the Lilypond source file and the exsultet.pdf resulting. Should you be interested, I think with very little alteration, the source file could be coaxed into producing a modern transcription of the chant (as found in the Roman Sacramentary).
Once again, kudos on your Exsultet site.
Easter blessings and joy be with you in the Risen Lord,
April 1, 2007
Thank you for your help in helping me to locate recordings of the Exultet
and other things by posting that information. I particularly found the "Let
us Proclaim the Mystery of Faith" CD by Cantica Nova helpful because it also
contains some other recordings of chant used during Holy Week found in the
Are you aware of any other recordings of Chant from the
Sacramentary for Holy Week? I thinking about things like Good Friday
intercessions, the Reproaches, etc. I can sing OK, but I can't read music,
so I need to practically memorize something if I want to do it well.
Pastor, St Paul Catholic Church
I haven't searched for other helpful chant recordings other than the Exultet. Anybody have any leads for Doug? -- Marty
March 19, 2007
There is a recording of the Exsultet with music in English (Episcopalian version) in: "Lord, Open our Lips: Musical Help for Leaders of the Liturgy" 112 pp of music & 3 CDs for $37.95. (Church Publishing, no date: www.churchpublishing.org).
Fr. Charles Walthall+
Washington National Cathedral
January 24, 2007
This year's preparations have begun--two notes this week from people about this page.
Karl Donnelly has done a "rotuli" to help solve the problem of turning pages. Looks like the pages are sewn together top and bottom. I presume that there is a source reel and takeup reel to accompany the scroll. Karl says:
I just would like to learn if anyone knows about Exultet scrolls - I have attached Section 2 of the one I produced hopefully to be used this coming Easter. Our local Benedictines provide us with a very beautiful vigil so I decided to do this for them. Its produced on a computer.
For details on the original scrolls or (rotuli) you could refer to The Exultet in Southern Italy by Thomas Forrest Kelly, Oxford University Press (ISBN 0-19-509527-8), an absolutely fascinating read.
Nice to hear from you.
The other note was from a deacon. He couldn't get the .mp3 to download. Only after he had found and downloaded a Latin version was he able to get Tim's English version. The deacon thought there might be a lesson there somewhere.
April 7, 2007
Thank you for the score of the exultet and the midi files. They are
I have found a rather beautiful live recording of the Exultet (in Latin) at
I'm doing it for my father's confirmation (he's 80) at the Easter Saturday
evening Mass at the Anglican Parish church of St Mary & St Nicholas
Littlemore which was Cardinal Newman's last Anglican parish. ...
Yours in Christ
There was an chant version that Sheryl Bey found from Oregon Catholic Press. The CD seems to be out of print now (2010).
You can still find Item #10960, Exsultet, NA, Cnt, a cappella (Octavo) at OCP. It is the sheet music to accompany the recording on the CD.
I was asked to sing the Exultet on one week's notice in 2005.
I searched the web in vain for a recording to help me to practice. I've only sung the Exultet once in my life, and I think I made a pretty complete hash of it. This great chant, like Easter night itself, "humbles earthly pride."
I have three files available that you may download: an instrumental version of the melody (exultet.mid, ~12 MB), a Noteworthy file that you can modify using that program (exultet.nwc), and a printable version of the Noteworthy file that corresponds to the midi file (exultet.pdf). These files are for the private use of people like myself who need help learning how to sing the Exultet. The text is taken from the Roman Missal, which is copyrighted by ICEL.
Some things I had trouble with the second time around (2006):
- I had forgotten that the Exultet comes first--right after the procession of the Easter candle into the Church. For some reason I thought that it came in the middle. I guess I was thinking of the Gloria. I should have come a little earlier and done at least one run-through to warm up.
- Monsignor told me to take my candle with me to the pulpit. That meant that I had to wrestle the score out of a folder, take off a paper clip, and set the pages precariously on top of a lectionary, all with my left hand. I also had to use my left hand to turn the pages. Next year I'll try to persuade myself to buy a small 3-ring binder and clip it in place before the liturgy begins.
- I muffed three or four passages. I've never sung the Exultet perfectly. 99.9% of the congregation probably can't tell the difference, unless I communicate my mistakes to them by wavering and wandering in search of the melody. I can sing some passages without looking at the music; some I can't. The hard part is remembering which is which.
Notes from the third vigil (2007):
- I used a 1/2" three-ring binder. It worked quite well for keeping the pages in order and turning them without too much difficulty. Next year, I think I'll put tabs on each page. That way, there can be no doubt that I will turn one and only one page at a time.
- Talk with the first lector about keeping the lectionary off the lectern. He or she can hold the book or pick it up from the book holder.
- The candle holder worked, but it left me feeling anxious that I might knock the candle off the lectern. Better to set the binder up for easy one-handed turning and hold the candle while singing.
- I muffed the last measure AGAIN. I think I see where I'm going wrong now. "Next year, Jerusalem!"
If you know of a commercially available recording of the Exultet in English, please let me know. I would be happy to obtain a copy for myself and advertise it here.
I thought you might be interested in this. I had occasion to mention to our diocesan choir director the difficulty in finding an English recording of the Exultet, per the Roman Missal. He poked around a bit and came up with this recording.
I have ordered it, and am hoping that it will provide me the opportunity to engage my usual highly scientific method of learning to sing stuff --- playing it over and over on my car CD player, and singing along. In the meantime, I have been using the stuff you sent, and enjoying the practice.
Hello -- I was also looking for a recorded version of the Exultet and just found one at: http://jeff.ostrowski.cc/CD/purchase.htm This CD has the Exultet and many other beautiful Easter hymns. You can click on samples. However, it seems the Exultet is in Latin, not English. Be well... Cindy S.