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.
A brief history of Gregorian chant from King David to the present
One might imagine that something as simple as “plainchant” or “plainsong” would not provide much to write about; after all, the mere name implies that it is plain and that it is chant. However, this is not the case. In actuality, Gregorian chant is anything from plain, save in the sense that its lovely melodies are intended to be sung unaccompanied and unharmonized, as befits the old monastic culture from which they came, as befits the ancient monastic culture from which they sprang. In Western music, what we term “Gregorian chant” is one of the richest and most delicate art forms available — in fact, it is one of the richest and most subtle art forms available in any civilization.
- Different books of the Old Testament, particularly the Psalms and the Chronicles, provide witness to the significant role that music played in temple worship.
- Considering that the Psalter of David was prepared specifically for the sake of divine worship and was widely regarded as the Messianic literature par excellence, we find that Peter, Paul, and the Apostolic Fathers make frequent use of it in their preaching and teaching.
- In this way, the Christian ritual as a whole emerged from the union of the Psalter and the Sacrifice.
- Our absolute submission to God is represented by the gory sacrifice of an animal, which results in the death and destruction of the animal.
- During the first millennium of the Christian era, the art of chant flourished.
- Gregory the Great, who reigned from 590 to 604, a body of chant for the Mass and the daily circle of prayer had already been established (Divine Office).
- Gregory ordered the musical repertory, as a consequence of which the chant has been known as “Gregorian” ever since, a tribute to his memory.
Before the year 800, the core of the Gregorian chant repertory had been assembled, and the vast majority of it had been finished by the year 1200.
No one could have imagined divorcing the texts of the liturgy from their accompanying music; they were like a body-soul composite or a happily married pair to each other.
Once the chasuble, stole, alb, amice, and maniple became established, no one in their right mind would consider doing away with them.
In the same way, the chants are the clothing that the liturgical texts are dressed in.
No one could have imagined divorcing the texts of the liturgy from their accompanying music; they were like a body-soul composite or a happily married pair to each other.
By the beginning of the nineteenth century, chant had fallen into a condition of significant ruin and neglect due to a lack of maintenance.
— would have to take place sooner or later.
Dom Prosper Guéranger (1805–1875) founded Solesmes Abbey in 1833 and developed it into a center of monastic practice, including the complete chanting of the Divine Office and the celebration of the Mass.
After his election as Pope in 1903, St.
As a result, the monks completed their work, and Pius X gave his blessing to it.
A clear and logical connection may be traced from Solesmes and Pius X to the Vatican II Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, known as Sacrosanctum Concilium.
The holy music heritage must be carefully safeguarded and nurtured in order to be passed on to future generations.
However, other types of holy music, particularly polyphony, are by no means barred from liturgical celebrations, as long as they are in keeping with the spirit of the liturgical act.
Unfortunately, an explosive mix of fake antiquarianism and novelty-seeking modernism put a huge wrench into the works, resulting in a battle zone of clashing views in which we are currently stuck — and in which chant has almost completely disappeared.
However, there are signs that the tide is beginning to turn in a few locations. Chant will never perish since it is the most ideal form of liturgical music there is.
“A short history of Gregorian chant from the time of King David to the present,” by Peter Kwasniewski. LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym (November 5, 2018).
With permission from LifeSite and Peter Kwasniewski, this article has been reprinted.
From King David until the present, according to Peter Kwasniewski, “a brief history of Gregorian chant.” LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym (November 5, 2018).
LifeSite and Peter Kwasniewski have granted permission for this reprint.
A brief history of Gregorian chant
“A short history of Gregorian chant from King David to the present,” by Peter Kwasniewski. LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “LifeSite is an acronym that stands for “lifesite is an acronym that stands for “lifesite is an acronym that stands for “lifesite is an acronym that stands for “lifesite is an acronym that stands for “lifesite is an acronym that stands for “lifesite is an acronym that stands for “lifesite is an acronym that stands for “lifesite is an acronym that stands for “lifesite is an acronym that stands for “lifesite is an acronym that stands for “lifesite is an acronym (November 5, 2018).
With permission from LifeSite and Peter Kwasniewski, this article is reprinted.
How Gregorian chant was born
This is a type of monophonic solo religious music performed in Latin (although it may also include Greek) and related to the Western, Roman Christian heritage. It is sung in Latin (although it may also include Greek). Early medieval and early Renaissance periods saw significant development in western and central Europe, with minor alterations occurring in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance periods. Despite the fact that tradition attributes the invention of Gregorian chant (hence the name “Gregorian”) to Pope Gregory I, most scholars today believe that this type of monophonic psalmody is rather a musical development derived from Carolingian, Roman, and Gallican liturgical chants rather than a new invention.
Gregory was elected, his first instinct was to flee the country.
Even the Gospel of Matthew indicates that hymns were sung during the Last Supper, according to the text (Cf.
However, despite claims that the origins of Christian liturgical chant can be traced back to ancient Jewish psalmodies (possibly as a result of this passage), contemporary biblical scholars explain that, on the one hand, most early Christian hymns did not use the Psalms as texts and, on the other, psalms were not sung in synagogues for centuries after the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70, the Psalm However, historical Christian sources (such as Pope Clement I, Tertullian, St.
- Athanasius, and Egeria) reveal that Christians sang during liturgy throughout those early days of the church.
- Anthony into the desert began singing the entire cycle of 150 psalms every week, a practice that is being practiced today.
- Ambrose first introduced antiphonal psalmody in the late 4th century, it was already popular both in the Christian East and in the West, where it remained popular for centuries.
- By the 5th century, a singing school (the Schola Cantorum) had already been established in the capital city of Italy.
- Gregory intended to systematize and unite the numerous distinct chanting traditions of the Catholic church (from Mozarabic and Visigothic to Ambrosian chant), according to some researchers, so that they might be recognized across the world as one unified chanting tradition.
- However, there is still disagreement as to how the chanting style that we now refer to as “Gregorian” arose between the 5th and 9th centuries.
That the repertoire consolidated by Pope Gregory I was subsequently systematized and employed in the Roman Rite is a fact that we know for a fact, since it is still alive and well today as an intrinsic part of the Western monastic heritage.
How old is Gregorian chant?
When you listen to or sing the ethereal chant of the Western Catholic liturgy, you are immersing yourself in a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries. A short reminder of how ancient Gregorian Chant is: it was called after Pope St. Gregory the Great, who died in 604 AD, and is the oldest continuous musical tradition in the world. The event occurred more than 1,400 years ago. Singing at Mass dates back considerably deeper, to the very first decades of the Church’s history.
- Different regional chant traditions had emerged by the sixth century, including Celtic chant in the British Isles, Gallican chant in Gaul, Mozarabic song in Spain, and Old Roman chant.
- Part of this reform included the organization and revision of the many chant traditions, as well as the assignment of certain chants to particular portions of the Mass at various times during the liturgical year.
- This is when Roman chant was introduced to Gaul and melded with the indigenous Gallican chant traditions.
- During the 10th and 11th centuries, the first written notation was created.
- Solesmes is the author of theLiber Usalis, which is the most widely used collection of Gregorian chants in existence today.
- While allowing for the use of other genres of liturgical music, both Tra le sollecitudini and Vatican II emphasized that Gregorian chant is “particularly adapted to the Roman liturgy” and should thus be given “pride of place” (Sacrosanctum Concilium).
- It is also possible to introduce the old chants of the Church into your own residence.
- Take advantage of this offer immediately!
When you listen to or sing the ethereal chant of the Western Catholic liturgy, you are immersing yourself in a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years and generations. It was called after Pope St. Gregory the Great, who died in 604 A.D., to give you a fast indication of how old Gregorian chant is. There have been more than 1,400 years since the event occurred. Singing during Mass dates back far deeper, to the first stages of Christian history. A fundamental collection of chants that evolved in the Western world between the third and fourth centuries and was utilized in both the liturgy and the Divine Office was known as the chantal tradition.
- Pope Gregory I updated and modernized the Roman liturgy in the late 500s and early 600s.
- In the eighth and ninth centuries, under the reign of Charlemagne, major innovations took place.
- In the next centuries, Gregorian chant would expand throughout the Western world, eventually becoming the dominant mode of chant.
- In recent history, the Benedictines of Solesmes have made some of the most significant achievements, particularly in re-establishing monastic life in post-Revolutionary France and re-introducing the use of Gregorian chant into the church’s liturgy.
- Gregorian chant was given even more prominence by Pope Pius X in his motu proprio, which he issued on March 1.
- It is possible that you may have the opportunity to hear and experience this lovely music in a church near you because it has been incorporated into many parishes’ weekly liturgy.
Also, you may transfer the old hymns of the Church into your own house with a little imagination. The Benedictines of Solesmes are masters of chant, and we at The Catholic Company are proud to present a 2-CD collection from them. Now is the time to get yours.
What is Gregorian Chant? History, Characteristics and Composers
Since the 9th and 10th centuries, Gregorian chant has played an important role in the development of religious music. Despite its mournful beauty, its chorus could be heard throughout the immense worship halls of large early European cathedrals, and its echoes may still be heard in current music in classical forms that somehow yet seem authentic. In this piece, we’ll make an attempt to provide a thorough assessment of the history and qualities that have defined Gregorian chant throughout history and into the present day.
Background and History
St. Gregory the Great It is generally believed that Pope Gregory I, who is often credited with developing Gregorian Chant, was the first to use it in the 9th century following his death. Gregorian style chant as holy music may have been affected by Pope Gregory I (715-731 AD), who may have been the first to influence the establishment of the style after the music began as prayer enriched by art in song and read like poetry put to music. In the words of St. Augustine, transforming prayer into music “adds such strength that it is like praying twice.” Gregorian chant, on the other hand, began to lose popularity when secular values began to take precedence over religious beliefs throughout the first part of the first century.
As the Holy Roman Empire’s strength and influence diminished in the 15th century, the seat of the pope was restored to Rome after several generations spent at Avignon, France, as the empire’s power and influence fell.
The resurgence of the clergy in Roman society resulted in the reintroduction of Gregorian chant to the general populace.
Characteristics and Style
Gregorian chant is a amonophonic type of music, which means that there is just one melodic line in the piece of music. Because there are no polyphonic harmonies, all of the vocalists sing in unison to the same single tune. Especially when performed in acoustically ideal places of worship such as St. Paul’s Cathedral in London or the Basilicas of Rome, the impact may be breathtaking and even eerie in places of devotion like these. Today, Gregorian chant is used in both Catholic and Protestant rituals, particularly in the call and answer liturgy of sermons.
In addition, current solfege singing has its roots in old Gregorian chant.
Gregorian chant was traditionally sung only by human voices, according to tradition. This time, the choir sang without accompaniment, with a strong emphasis on the often sad, sometimes soaring melodic intonation of religious texts or vowel sounds as a key focus of the performance. Stringed or wind instruments, primarily flutes, harpsichords, organs, and violins, as well as electronic instruments like as keyboards and synthesizers, may be used to accompany modern versions of Gregorian chant, depending on the style.
Even current Gregorian chant does not include drums or bass instruments, due to the lack of an established rhythm section in Gregorian chant.
Form and Texture
The single melodic line is frequently performed by a group of voices singing in unison. Rhythmically, it ranges from Largo (slow) to Andante (“walking speed”), with a smooth and velvety texture, as well as being sluggish and flowing. Each note flows into the next like a river, with minimal pauses and no short or staccato notes in between. When performing Gregorian chant, breathing is an important aspect of the performance, and singers frequently purposefully alternate breaths with one another in order to keep the melodic flow uninterrupted.
Boys’ and all-female choirs perform Gregorian chant in a variety of tonalities ranging from alto to soprano, and, on occasion, falsetto, among other things.
Mixed choirs have the greatest range of adaptability, since they include members from all voice ranges in a single group.
Most of the most famous medieval composers of Gregorian chant were males, and the majority of them held positions of authority within the clergy. It is possible that some of these composers inspired subsequent Renaissance composers, and several of their pieces are still popular among classical music enthusiasts today.
1. Stephen of Liège (850-920)
Stephen of Liege is one of the earliest known composers of Gregorian chant and is regarded as one of the greatest of all time. He served a number of lower roles in the church before being appointed Bishop of Liege in 901 AD and remained there until 920 AD. Aside from that, Stephen has written biographies of saints and other notable religious individuals.
2. Fulbert of Chartres (960-1028)
The intriguing beginnings of the French teacher and future Bishop of Chartres are still a mystery to this day. But some of Fulbert’s works have endured, notably many hymns praising the Virgin Mary and the still-popular Easter song “Chorus Novae Jerusalem,” which is dedicated to the city of Jerusalem.
3. Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179)
Hildegard von Bingen was a medieval nun who lived in Germany. Her name was Hildegard von Bingen, and she lived in the early second millennium. She was a philosopher, mystic, writer, and composer. In 2012, the Catholic Church canonized Mary in recognition of the miracles she accomplished and her amazing dedication. In a spiritually induced trance-like state of divine ecstasy, the prophetess wrote extensive works that are still read today. Many of her writings are still in print today. Despite the fact that she was the only known female composer of her day, St.
4. Peter Abelard (1079-1142)
Peter Abelard was a theologian and scholar who was one of the most scandalous and well-known religious personalities of the medieval period. The issue stems from his extramarital liaison with fellow professor Hélose, who happened to be a well-known nun at the time. But he was also a gifted composer of Gregorian chant, well known for his melancholy songs of lamentation for the loss of loved ones, which frequently made reference to Biblical and theological characters. The issue stems from his extramarital liaison with fellow professor Hélose, who happened to be a well-known nun at the time.
It’s possible that we’ve discovered further proof of Abelard’s musical talent, which was ahead of its day in terms of musical structure and melodic simplicity, in this work.
Despite the fact that it appears to be straightforward, the sacred subject matter and distinct melodic lines of Gregorian chant have continued to influence religious composers throughout the ages. The impact of the great composers may be seen and heard in subsequent works by legends such as Mozart, Beethoven, Handel, and Bach, as well as in works by lesser-known artists. In this century, classical artists continue to reinterpret, record, and present these and other ancient works on the stage in new ways, as well as in previous centuries.
1. Ordo Virtutum
Hailing from a tradition of ingenuity, Hildegard von Bingen’s 82-song Gregorian operaOrdo Virtutumbe was the world’s first morality drama, and her music went on to inspire a generation of Renaissance musicians.
2. “Chorus Novae Jerusalem”
Later recordings have re-interpreted several of Saint Fulbert’s holy songs, notably “Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem,” composed by English composer Henry John Gauntlettin the 19th century and still performed at Easter masses throughout the western world today.
3. “Planctus David super Saul et lonatha”
King Saul and his son, Prince Jonathan, were killed in Abelard’s “Planctus David super Saul et lonatha,” which was written to grieve Israel’s defeat at the hands of the Philistines and to lament the deaths of the two kings.
Because of its origins in the early medieval era, Gregorian chant has had ups and downs in popularity throughout the centuries. In the same way that artists return to any great art form, they return to a genre, and even the same old compositions, time and time again, re-imagining its material to suit the tastes of the period and re-mastering them to suit the latest technical developments. During the early days of Gregorian chant, the music was only heard by a small group of people, and then only at very irregular intervals.
I’m curious what these great composers would have to say about it.
Music from the Earliest Notations to the Sixteenth Century
The curtain is raised in the first chapter. MUSICAL NOTATIONS FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES TO THE SIXTEENTH CENTURYR Mr. ichard Taruskin (nickname) However, Gregory II did not really create the “Gregorian” chants, as is often believed. There wasn’t a single individual who did it. A massive collaborative and anonymous business, it appears to have reached standardization in Rome by the end of the seventh century, according to historical evidence. But what were the circumstances surrounding its inception?
- When it comes to the literary content of Gregorian antiphoners, it is almost entirely comprised of psalm verses.
- Richard Taruskin is credited in this MLA format.
- The Oxford History of Western Music is a comprehensive reference work on Western music.
- 21 December 2021.
- APA style citation: Taruskin, R.
- The first chapter begins with the raising of the curtain.
- New York, United States of America.
In Music from the Earliest Notations to the Sixteenth Century, Oxford University Press published a chapter titled “Chapter 1 The Curtain Goes Up.” (New York, United States of America, n.d.) Retrieved on the 21st of December, 2021, from Users who do not have a membership will not be able to view the entire site.
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Gregorian Chant Resources and History
- Aiming to promote the study and performance of Gregorian chant in accordance with the “Gregorian Semiology” approach pioneered by Dom Eugène Cardine, the International Gregorian Chant Studies Association (AISCGre) now has German, Italian, and Spanish language sections. There is a bilingual site containing news about upcoming events, a bibliography, typefaces for chant notation, and much more information that is of interest. Associazione Viri Galilaei choir and supporting organization in Florence, Italy, performing chant at the Duomo
- Canticum Novum choir in Florence, Italy, singing chant at the Duomo Instruction in the gregorian chant
- It is possible to find chants in selected manuscripts and early printed materials of the liturgical Office by searching the database CANTUS: A Database for Latin Ecclesiastical Chant. CANTUSGREGORIANUS.COM is a website maintained by the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. In this publication, the “Saint Michael the Archangel” Association of Stroncone describes the research, teaching, and musical initiatives undertaken by the association in the study of sacred music from the Middle Ages, with particular attention paid to its sources, execution methods, and the liturgy, all of which were integral to the music’s existence. Presented in both English and Italian
- Data pool for Gregorian chant study
- David Hiley, Regensburg, Germany
- Chant Christ in the Desert Monastery, New Mexico, USA
- ChantCD.com (Gregorian chant CD). Gregorian Chant CDs that are one-of-a-kind, lyrics to many renowned Chant songs, and free samples to download
- Sheets of Chants for Use by Celebrants For priests who are singing the Orations and Readings of the Mass, The Chant Kit is a sacred music resource site dedicated to restoring Gregorian chant to its proper place in Catholic liturgical music. The Windsor Tridentine Mass Community has developed a resource to assist priests in singing the Orations and Readings of the Mass. With the Chant Kit, you get two professionally recorded CDs with corresponding sheet music, as well as a brief tutorial on how to chant. Ensemble Trecanum is a classical music ensemble that performs music from the Renaissance to the present day. The group was founded in December 1996 by Etienne Stoffel, a prizewinner of the National High Conservatoire of Paris and a student of two monks from the Solesmes Abbey, Dom Eugene Cardine (d. 1988), who was Father at the Pontifical Institute for Sacred Music in Rome, and Dom Jean Claire, a former choral conductor of the Solesmes Abbey. France. Gloria Dei Cantores is a group of singers that perform for the glory of God (Singers to the Glory of God) It is dedicated to honoring the great history of sacred choral music that spans the centuries from Gregorian chant to the twenty-first century Grégoire is a piece of software. Gregorian Chant is written using a computer software
- Association of the Gregorian Calendar The Plainsong Society was established in England in 1870 to encourage the study and practice of plainsong. University of Toronto’s Gregorian Institute Research and instruction are carried out in order to promote the study and performance of Gregorian and other western chant repertoires in the country of Canada. Presented in both English and French
- The Notation of the Gregorian Chant – LPH Resource Center This website provides an explanation of the classic Gregorian Chant notation, so that anybody may read it and sing it
- Gregoriano.org.br is an example of this. Site dedicated to the Gregorian Chant in Brazil, in Portuguese
- The Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey in California have produced a series of Gregorian Chant albums. Notation for Gregorian Chant Description of the traditional Gregorian Chant notation, so that anybody may learn to read and sing the notation
- Gregorian Chant E-mail List
- Gregorian Chant Website A mailing list dedicated to the discussion of the use of Gregorian chant in its natural context: as the music of the Christian church for the worship of the Almighty. What kind of chanting is done in your church? What is the best way to get started learning to read chant notation? Can you tell me about the courses and books that are available? The Gregorian Schola information and connections
- Information on congregational singing as well as scholas of chant GregorianikLiturgik links and more from St. Joseph’s Parish in Fayetteville, Arkansas, United States. Internationalen Gesellschaft für Studien des Gregorianischen Chorals AISCGre
- International Association for Studies of Gregorian Chant
- International Association for Studies of Gregorian Chant Downloads of the Latin Mass Society Chant There is a large range of Ordinaries, the Asperges, and a number of additional useful chants to choose from
- Page dedicated to Luis’ Gregorian Chants The Benedictine monks of the Mosteiro de So Bento in So Paulo, Brazil, perform live mp3 recordings on a Brazilian Web site maintained by Luis Henrique Camargo Quiroz. The Medieval Music Database at La Trobe University contains Gregorian chants from the Dominican (Ordo Praedicatorum) tradition, as well as information on Scribe notation software
- It is maintained by the University of Melbourne. Nota Quadrata is an abbreviation for Nota Quadrata. Dedicated to musical notation from the late Middle Ages, the Nota Quadrata project provides an introduction to square notation as well as monthly updates on continuing research. Resources for Orthodox Music
- The Sarum Rita and Its Application Essay by Reverend Canon Professor J. Robert Wright on the Sarum Rita and Its Application. PDF files necessitating the use of Adobe Reader or a similar
- Books and CDs about Gregorian Chant are available from Paraclete Press. This organization represents the most authentic study and devotion in the subject of Gregorian chant today
- The St. Laurentius Digital Manuscript Library at the Lund University Library in Sweden is a treasure trove of manuscripts. Ordinaries of the Gregorian Chant of Sainte Antoine Daniel (Kyriale)
- The Church Music Association of America provides free sheet music, chant books, and hymns for download. Resources for chanting in both English and Latin languages
- Topics covered by the OSB include: Bibliography and websites related to Gregorian Chant Richard Oliver, of the Order of St. Benedict in Collegeville, Minnesota, United States
- RADIO SETTINGS Gregorian broadcasting Gregorian chants 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Windows Media Player in FM Stereo quality
- St. Joseph’s College Chant Institute, Rensselaer, IN
- Women in Chant: The Choir of Benedictine Nuns at the Abbey of Regina Laudis
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|
Melodies that are exquisitely pure, dating back to the very beginnings of Western music. Available onApple Music, iTunes, CD, or Spotify, and taken from the albumGregorian Chant (1000 Years of Classical Music). Leaving the YouTube Playlist is not an option. Users of the Firefox NVDA extension – To see the following content, hit the letter ‘M’ to bring up the iFrame.
When was Gregorian Chant first performed?
The first performance of Gregorian Chant took place in the seventh century, when…
- It was in the eighth century that Gregorian Chant was first performed.
Performing Gregorian Chant
The understanding of non-diastimatic (staffless) neumes in key medieval manuscripts, particularly when interpreting and performing Gregorian chant repertory, is vital, especially when striving for a historically accurate performance practice. They include a lot of material that can help a performer comprehend the rhythmic and interpretive needs of Gregorian chant, and they are available online. The following four manuscripts, which are particularly rich in this way, either via their employment of significative letters or by the visual forms of the neumes themselves, are particularly noteworthy:
- Cantatorium St. Gall 359 (Switzerland), early 11th century
- Laon Codex 239 (France), 10th century
- Einsiedeln Codex 121 (Switzerland), early 11th century
- Bamberg Lit. 6 (Germany), c.10th century
- Laon Codex 239 (France
In Gregorian chant, the verbal text is essential in influencing and molding the melodic contours, and it plays an important role in this process. The primary role of the extra signs and letters that have been added to the visual design of the neumes itself is to assist in the right representation of the text through agogic (duration) and dynamic emphasis. For example, the following illustration from Psalm 21 depicts a letter such as a “T” over certain neumes. This “T” is an abbreviation for tenete, which literally translates as “to hold and emphasize.” O Deus meus, clamabo per diem: O my God, I will weep throughout the day.
This is a very dramatic period in the singing of this chant, with repeated allusions to the word’me’ (‘look at me,’ ‘why hast thou deserted me’).
O Deus meus, clamabo per diem: O my God, I will weep throughout the day.
They are used in response to the textual moods; they are attached to or placed near the neume, and their purpose is to guide the singer toward an effective, even dramatic interpretation in the’sounding out loud’ of the text, not only assimilating the meaning of each word, but also expressing each nuance in the voice, as described above.
Gregorian Chant facts
- Music from the Western musical history that has been passed down to us is Gregorian chant, which is the oldest form of music known to man. Legend has it that Pope Gregory I — known as “Gregory the Great” — composed the first of these chants, although he died in 604, more than a century before the practice came to be accepted as official church music. Gregory II, the Pope, was the most likely Gregory in question, given his name occurs on several early chant books dating back to the fifth century. We don’t know who composed the melodies
- The music consists of a melody that is sung in unison without the use of any accompanying instrumental accompaniment. This music has a smooth and steady pace that follows the regular flow of syllables in the Latin words. Gregorian chant was formerly the primary mode of worship for medieval monks and nuns, who sang all of their church services in it. It wasn’t until the 11th century that a consistent technique for writing music down was established, so they had to learn all of the chants by heart. Small dots and squiggles, referred to as “neumes,” were put above the words to indicate when the song went up and when it went down, which was the first form of notation. It was an Italian monk named Guido of Arezzo who came up with the notion of employing a “stave,” which is a group of parallel lines that are ruled across the page, to divide a page into sections.
Dom Eugene Cardine, a monk from Solesmes Abbey who later became Professor of Gregorian Studies at the Gregorian Pontifical Institute in Rome, conducted semiological study in the mid-20th century that revealed new meanings connected with unheightened neumes (early neumes without any pitch as aided by staff lines). The outcomes of this study were published in 1970. Given the wealth of knowledge gained through this extensive research, which was carried out by scholars, students, and others who were influenced by Cardine’s work and who benefited from his many years of performance experience, it was critical that these rhythmically complex neumes be correctly interpreted through comparison of manuscripts from various traditions.
An Introduction to Gregorian Chant by Richard Crocker states: ‘While it is true that the indicators of subtlety are a consequence of 10th-century musical sensibility, it appears equally true that their influence on performance must rely upon the sensitivity of the singer who is interpreting them’.
In reality, the singing members of the resident chant schola would have known the Psalter and the Mass Propers off by memory if they had been present.
The psalms depict a wide range of circumstances and conditions affecting the human spirit.
Any detailed inspection of the early manuscripts reveals melodic subtleties that are so inextricably intertwined with the psalm words that they are indistinguishable from one another.
Rimini Antiphonal (1328)
Originally obtained by Nelson Moore Richardson from a London book dealer in 1924, the Rimini Antiphonal was presented to the State Library of New South Wales by Nelson Moore Richardson in 1928. Neri da Rimini, a prominent 14th-century Italian miniaturist, is represented through his work in this exhibition. As one of the first and most notable miniaturists of northern Italy, Rimini made an essential contribution to the development of Italian art during his lifetime. It is now possible to find examples of his work all over the world, and the State Library of New South Wales is the only Australian cultural institution that is home to such a significant specimen of his work.
It was necessary to make deliberate decisions about where and how to incorporate the interpretative signs and letters that are so important to 10th-century chant notation into the Rimini chants because the manuscript itself is almost completely devoid of these nuances, which were essential to the 10th-century tradition of chant notation.
When the Rimini Antiphonal was aired globally on the History Channel’s Lost and Found show in November 2011, the chant was performed in its entirety.