Gregorian chant is a type of liturgical music performed in unison or in monophony by the Roman Catholic Church to accompany the readings of the mass and the canonical hours, sometimes known as the divine office. The Gregorian chant is named after St. Gregory I, who was Pope from 590 to 604 and during whose reign it was collected and codified. King Charlemagne of the Franks (768–814) brought Gregorian Chant into his country, which had previously been dominated by another liturgical style, the Gallican chant, which was in general usage.
The passages that are repeated from one mass to the next are included in theOrdinary of the Mass.
The first appearance of the Gloria was in the 7th century.
The Gloria chants that follow are neumatic.
- TheSanctus andBenedictus are most likely from the period of the apostles.
- Since its introduction into the Latin mass from the Eastern Church in the 7th century, theAgnus Dei has been written mostly in neumatic form.
- The Proper of the Mass is a collection of texts that are different for each mass in order to highlight the significance of each feast or season celebrated that day.
- During the 9th century, it had taken on its current form: a neumatic refrain followed by a psalm verse in psalm-tone style, followed by the refrain repeated.
- As time progressed, it evolved into the following pattern: opening melody (chorus)—psalm verse or verses in a virtuously enriched psalmodic structure (soloist)—opening melody (chorus), which was repeated in whole or in part.
- Its structure is similar to that of the Gradual in several ways.
- Synagogue music has a strong connection to this cry.
- Sacred poems, in their current form, the texts are written in double-line stanzas, with the same accentuation and amount of syllables on both lines for each two lines.
- By the 12th century, just the refrain had survived from the original psalm and refrain.
- The Offertory is distinguished by the repeating of text.
- The song has a neumatic feel to it.
Responses are short texts that precede or follow each psalm and are mostly set in syllabic chant; psalms, with each set to a psalm tone; hymns, which are usually metrical and in strophes or stanzas and set in a neumatic style; and antiphons or refrains, which are short texts that precede or follow each psalm and are mostly set in syllabic The Gradual’s form and style are influenced by the sponsor’s contribution.
Amy Tikkanen has made the most current revisions and updates to this page.
Medieval Music: Introduction to Gregorian Chant
Roman Catholic liturgical music consisting of monophonic or unison parts that is used to accompany the text of the mass and the canonical hours, or divine office, is known as Gregorian chant. Saint Gregory I, Pope from 590 to 604, is credited for collecting and codifying the Gregorian chant throughout his pontificate. King Charlemagne of the Franks (768–814) introduced Gregorian Chant into his realm, which had previously practiced a different liturgical style known as Gallican chant. During the eighth and ninth centuries, a process of assimilation occurred between Gallican and Gregorian chants, and it is this developed version of the chant that has survived to the current day.
- Neumatic (patterns of one to four notes per syllable) and melismatic (patterns of any number of notes per syllable) styles are used in the chanting of the Kyrie.
- Using psalm tones, which are basic formulae for intoned recitation of psalms, in the recital of early Glorias attests to their antiquity and ancient provenance.
- In certain ways, the Credo’s melodies recall psalm tones, which were integrated into the mass during the 11th century.
- Neumatic chants are used in the traditional Sanctus chant.
- The final Ite Missa Est and its alternative, Benedicamus Domino, both take the melody from the opening Kyrie as a basis for composition.
- Originally a psalm with a refrain repeated in between verses, the Introit has evolved into a processional chant.
- It was also evolved from a refrain between psalm lines when it was first presented in the 4th century.
Originally from the East, the Alleluia dates back to the 4th century.
If you’re in a good mood, the Tract can take over for the Alleluia.
It was mostly throughout the 9th to 16th centuries when thisquence thrived in its entirety.
During the second line of the stanza, the melody was repeated, with a new melody being introduced for the next line of the stanza; the music is syllabic in structure.
Melisma pervades the compositions.
TheCommunion is a processional chant, much like the Offertory.
Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline are the eight services that make up the canonical hours: Responses are short texts that precede or follow each psalm and are mostly set in syllabic chant; psalms, with each set to a psalm tone; hymns, usually metrical and in strophes or stanzas, and set in a neumatic style; and antiphons or refrains, which are short texts that precede or follow each psalm and are mostly set in syllabic The Gradual’s shape and style are influenced by the sponsor’s role.
In the most recent revision and update, Amy Tikkanen provided further information.
A brief history of Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant is a type of liturgical music used by the Roman Catholic Church to accompany the text of the mass and the canonical hours, often known as the divine office. Saint Gregory the Great, during whose papacy (590–604) the chant was collected and codified, is the inspiration for the name of the style. Charlemagne, king of the Franks (768–814), forced Gregorian chant on his country, which was already dominated by another liturgical tradition, the Gallican chant. It was during the 8th and 9th centuries that the Gallican and Gregorian chants began to blend together, and it is this developed version of the chant that has survived to the current day.
- Neumatic (patterns of one to four notes per syllable) and melismatic (patterns of any number of notes per syllable) styles are represented in the Kyrie chant.
- The psalmodic recitation of early Glorias, i.e., the use of psalm tones, which are basic formulae for the intoned recitation of psalms, attests to their ancient provenance.
- The melodies of the Credo, which were integrated into the mass around the 11th century, are reminiscent of psalm tones in style.
- The traditional Sanctus chants are neumatic in nature.
- The final Ite Missa Est and its alternative, Benedicamus Domino, both take the melody from the opening Kyrie as their basis.
- The Introit is a processional chant that was initially a psalm with a refrain chanted in between verses, but has now evolved into something else.
- The Gradual, which was first used in the 4th century, was derived from a refrain between psalm verses as well.
TheAlleluia is a hymn of Eastern origin dating back to the 4th century.
During penitential seasons, the Tract is used instead of the Alleluia.
Thesequencewere active largely from the 9th century until the 16th century.
During the second line of the stanza, the melody was repeated, with a new melody being introduced in the next line of the stanza; the music is syllabic.
The song has a melismatic feel to it.
TheCommunion is a processional chant, similar to the Offertory.
Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline are the eight prayer services that make up the canonical hours of the church day.
Amy Tikkanen has most recently amended and updated this article.
Gregorian Chant Resources and History
- Gregorian chant is a type of liturgical music used by the Roman Catholic Church to accompany the readings of the mass and the canonical hours, sometimes known as the divine office. Gregorian chant is called after Pope St. Gregory I, during whose pontificate (590–604) it was collected and codified. Charlemagne, king of the Franks (768–814), forced Gregorian chant on his realm, which was already dominated by another liturgical tradition, the Gallican chant, at the time. During the eighth and ninth centuries, a process of assimilation took place between Gallican and Gregorian chants, and it is this developed version of the chant that has survived to the current day. TheOrdinary of the Massincludes those passages that are repeated at every mass. Neumatic (patterns of one to four notes per syllable) and melismatic (patterns of any number of notes per syllable) genres are represented in the Kyrie. TheGloria first emerged in the 7th century. The psalmodic recitation of early Glorias, i.e., the use of psalm tones, basic formulae for the intoned recitation of psalms, attests to their ancient roots. Later Gloria chants are neumatic. The melodies of the Credo, which were integrated into the mass around the 11th century, are reminiscent of psalm tones. TheSanctus andBenedictus are most likely from apostolic times. Neumatic chants are used in the traditional Sanctus. The Agnus Dei was introduced into the Latin liturgy from the Eastern Church in the 7th century and is mostly in neumatic form. The final Ite Missa Est and its alternative, Benedicamus Domino, both employ the melody from the opening Kyrie. The Proper of the Massis constructed of passages that vary from mass to mass in order to highlight the significance of each feast or season. The Introit is a processional chant that was originally a psalm with a refrain performed between verses. By the 9th century, it had taken on its current form: a refrain in a neumatic style—a psalm verse in a psalm-tone style—a refrain repeated. The Gradual, which was first used in the 4th century, was similarly derived from a refrain between psalm lines. Later, it became: opening melody (chorus)—psalm verse or verses in a virtuosically enhanced psalmodic form (soloist)—opening melody (chorus), which was repeated in whole or in part. TheAlleluia is a hymn that dates back to the 4th century in the East. Its structure is similar to that of the Gradual. The Tract is used in place of the Alleluia at penitential periods. This chant is a descendent of synagogue music. Thesequences thrived predominantly from the 9th century until the 16th century. In their current form, the texts are religious poetry composed of double-line stanzas with the same accentuation and amount of syllables for each two lines. The melody from the first line was repeated for the second line of the stanza, with a new melody being introduced in the next stanza
- The music is syllabic. TheOffertory was originally composed of a psalm and a refrain, but by the 12th century, just the refrain survived. The music is fairly melismatic in nature. The recurrence of language in the Offertory is distinctive. TheCommunion, like the Offertory, is a processional chant. The music is in the neumatic style. The canonical hours are divided into eight prayer services: Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline. Antiphons and refrains, short texts that precede or follow each psalm and are mostly set in syllabic chant
- Psalms, each set to a different psalm tone
- Hymns, usually metrical and in strophes or stanzas, and set in a neumatic style
- And responses, which follow the lessons of Matins and the chapter, a brief lesson of the other hours, and have the form response– Theresponsory is associated with the overall structure and style of the Gradual. Amy Tikkanen has just changed and updated this article.
Gregorian Chant: An Integral Part to Music History
Middle-eastern music dates from around 500 to 1400 and is considered to be the first period in the history of music. During this period, liturgical vocal music for the Catholic Church, as well as secular vocal and instrumental compositions, were popular forms of entertainment. It was Gregorian chant, which was one of the most important elements of liturgical music during the medieval period. Many forms of music, not simply liturgical music, have benefited from the usage of Gregorian chant as the foundation for their development.
- It takes its name from Pope St.
- Many chants take their text from the Mass Ordinary, the elements of the Catholic Mass that are always the same and that are, or were, often chanted throughout the celebration of the Mass.
- The Mass Proper, which is a collection of prayers for mass that vary according to the season or feast being observed, provides the other texts for Gregorian chanting as well.
- Our modern approach, on the other hand, was derived from this old technique of representation.
- They began in the Middle Ages, when the only music that was being recorded was for the Church, and progressed through the centuries.
- It had been some years since chanting had been learnt orally rather than being written down.
- At some point, a staff or some variation of a staff was incorporated into the procedure to show how far higher or lower to go.
- This featured the introduction of a staff with four lines and the beginnings of our solfège system, both of which helped us to indicate pitch more precisely.
- A book called the Liber Usualis, which contains all of the chants of the Mass, was published in the late nineteenth century by monks from Solesmes, France, and is still in use today.
In churches and monasteries today, chants from the Liber Usualis, which were initially chanted in the Middle Ages, are still being sung in certain variations. Sources:;;;
What is Gregorian Chant – GIA Publications
|Before reviewing the main Gregorian chant books and resources, perhaps it is good to state what Gregorian chant is.Gregorian chant is the church’s own music, born in the church’s liturgy. Its texts are almost entirely scriptural, coming for the most part from the Psalter. For centuries it was sung as pure melody, in unison, and without accompaniment, and this is still the best way to sing chant if possible. It was composed entirely in Latin; and because its melodies are so closely tied to Latin accents and word meanings, it is best to sing it in Latin. (Among possible exceptions are chant hymns, since the melodies are formulaic and are not intrinsically tied to the Latin text.) Gregorian chant is in free rhythm, without meter or time signature.Because the liturgy was sung almost entirely in Gregorian chant in the Middle Ages (with polyphony saved for special occasions), every type of liturgical text has been set in chant: readings, prayers, dialogs, Mass propers, Mass ordinaries, office hymns, office psalms and antiphons, responsories, and versicles. Although Pope St. Gregory the Great (590–604) certainly did not play a role in the creation or compilation of our chant melodies, popular legend led the church to name Gregorian chant after this great leader.Many other types and styles of music are similar to Gregorian chant or inspired by it, but one should distinguish them from Gregorian chant. Taizé chants, for example, are generally in Latin, similar to Gregorian chant antiphons. But the musical style is quite different: metered and with choral harmonies and/or instrumental accompaniments.Many psalm tones have been written since the Second Vatican Council. They are much like Gregorian chant psalm tones with their free rhythm and their repeatable melodic formulas. By Gregorian psalm tones, however, we mean a set of particular melodies, one for each of the Gregorian modes, always in the form of two measures. The Gregorian psalm tones are well suited to the Latin language, but do not work very well with English accents, unless one takes freedom in adapting them. For English psalm verses, it is probably wiser to use psalm tones written for the English language. Back to Gregorian Chant Resources|
Medieval Church Music: Gregorian Chant & Plainchant – Video & Lesson Transcript
The arts were associated with the liturgy during the Middle Ages (500-1450), according to the church. They were powerful and wealthy, and they were in charge of the majority of choices, including dictating the job and paying musicians.
The church established a set of standards that everyone must adhere to. This music, which was termed plainchant, had a hollow tone to it. It was only slightly different from one location to the next when it came to unaccompanied church music (sang in unison). Despite this, holy music was the most popular, and it is said that the music regulations were delivered from above.
Several guidelines were established by the church. Plainchant, as this type of music is known, had a hollow tone. The unaccompanied church music (sang in unison) differed only little from one place to another in terms of style. Although holy music was the most popular, it is said that the music laws were delivered from on high by the Almighty.
Organum and Interval Definitions
The church established a set of standards that everyone should adhere to. Plainchant was a type of music that sounded empty. The unaccompanied church music (sang in unison) differed only little from one place to the next. Despite this, holy music was the most popular, and it is said that the music regulations were provided from above.
The Middle Ages
Historically, the traditions of Western music may be traced back to the social and theological changes that occurred in Europe throughout the Middle Ages, which corresponded to the period roughly spanning 500 to 1400 years before the present. Because of the dominance of the early Christian Church during this time period, religious music was the most common type of music heard. The development of church music began with Gregorian Chant and progressed to a polyphonic melody known asorganum, which was sung at Notre Dame in Paris around the eleventh century.
Before the Middle Ages, music had been a part of the world’s civilizations for hundreds of years, if not thousands of years.
The term music stems from the ancient Greek muses, who were nine goddesses of art and knowledge who were worshipped in ancient Greece.
Pythagoras and others were responsible for establishing the Greekmodes, which are scales composed of entire tones and halfsteps.
The early Church was able to assert ultimate control over these feudal lords primarily via the use of superstitious terror.
In these days and times, western music was almost the exclusive property of the Christian Church.
Christianplainchant, like all music in the Western culture until to this point, was monophonic: that is, it consisted of a single melody with no harmonic support or accompaniment.
The melodies are loose and appear to roam, as if they are being guided by the Latin liturgical texts to which they have been composed.
In the sixth century, it was claimed that Pope Gregory I (reigned 590-604) standardized them, ensuring universal usage across the Western Church.
In the Easter hymn, Victimae paschali laudes, you may get a sense of the clear, floating melody that it has.
(Insert audio clip) The Ars Antiqua and Notre Dame are two of the most famous buildings in the world.
Organum was the name given to the hollow-sounding music that resulted as a result of this process during the following hundred years.
This was followed by a slow singing of the original chant tune in the tenor voice, with additional melodies weaving around and embellishing the resultant drone.
1163-1190), who produced organa for two voices, and his successor Pérotin (fl.
Pérotin’s work is an exceptional example of this extremely early type of polyphony (music for two or more voices that sound at the same time), as may be heard in his arrangement of Sederunt principes (Sederunt principles) (sound clip).
The Trouvères and the Troubadours are two types of street performers.
There were no restrictions on this music because it did not follow the traditions of the Church, and it was not even written down until sometime after the tenthcentury.
Even so, hundreds of these songs were written and performed (and much later recorded) by bands of musicians that flourished across Europe during the 12th and 13th centuries, the most renowned of whom were the French trouvères and troubadours, who were the most famous of all.
It is love, in all its incarnations of joy and agony, that is the theme of the vast majority of these songs.
Additionally, he has been recognized as the author of a large number of songs and verses, someof which take the form of themotet, a musical composition in which two or more separate lines are stitched together at the same time, without regard to what we now consider normal harmonies.
(sound clip) is an example of such a work.
Guillaume de Machaut and the Ars Nova Guillaume de Machaut was born in the Champagne area of France about 1300 and died in Rheims in 1377.
He remained at the court of John until the monarch’s death in battle at Crécy in 1346, during which time he worked as the king’s secretary.
Several significant patrons, including the future Charles V of France, sought out his talents as a composer and conductor.
Machautis is arguably most known for being the first composer to construct a polyphonic setting of the Ordinary of the Catholic Mass, which he did in 1845.
The “Gloria” from Machaut’s Messe de Notre Dame exemplifies the new style of the fourteenthcentury, which was dubbed theArs Nova by composers of the time (sound clip).
Despite the fact that the Mass is perhaps his most well-known work today, Machaut also penned scores of secular love songs, many of which were in the manner of the polyphonic Ars Nova or “new art,” which he admired.
The secular motets of the Middle Ages eventually developed into the massive quantity and outpouring of music produced by the great RenaissanceMadrigalists of the Renaissance period. Jason R. Ogan conducted research in 2001.