How To Read Gregorian Chant Notation

Gregorian notation

Previous pagenext page The basic principles of Gregorian notation, as well as the method of writing scores in Gregorian notation with Harmony-Melody, are introduced in this chapter. If you do not know this notation, we hope thatreading the present chapter will make you desire to research it. Here’s an example of a gregorian staff created using Harmony-Melody software: In the Demos folder, you will find some gregorian music that you can use (“Gregorian” subfolder). I – Basics Gregorian notation was created primarily for the purpose of committing sacred chants from the beginning of the second millennium to paper.

There are no differences between the intervals between these notes and those in modern notation.

Unlike other staves, which contain chords because a normal human being has difficulty singing multiple notes at the same time, these staves do not contain chords.

In some cases, however, it may be necessary to provide indications of longer or shorter notes.

  • In modernnotation, these are the equivalent of pauses and rests in a sentence.
  • Each lyrics word (or syllable) matches one orseveral notes (up to 4).
  • All notes sung on the same word or syllable aregrouped into an entity called aNeume.
  • Aneumeis defined by:
  • The notes that make up the neume (numbered one through four)
  • How long the intervals between these notes are (whether they are upward or downward)

Each of the neumes has a unique name. Notice how the notes inside the neume are represented by a square, a diamond, or a bold line? A neume is usually the first syllable of a syllable that it appears in. When notes are written on the same column, a neume is always read from left to right (as in contemporary notation), but from bottom to top when notes are placed on different columns. As an illustration: Here are three notes in contemporary notation for your consideration. When comparing the first and second, it is important to note that pitchis increased, and then raised again when comparing the second and third.

As a result, a single neume might have up to three different pitch shifts (inflexions).

Each one has a unique moniker.

Numberof notes Inflexions Neume name
1 None Punctum (simple note) or Virga (note with stem)
2 Up (U) Podatus (pes)
2 Down (D) Clivis (flexa)
3 UU Scandicus
3 UD Torculus
3 DU Porrectus
3 DD Climacus
4 UUU Virga praetripuncits
4 UUD Scandus flexus
4 UDU Torculus resipunus
4 UDD Pes subtripunctis
4 DUU Porrectus resupinus
4 DUD Porrectus flexus
4 DDU Climacus resupinus
4 DDD Virga subtripunctis

Here is a neume for you to practice with. Look up the name of the object in the preceding array (answer at the bottom of this page)

Note:Neume names are given only for information. Itwill not be necessary to know these names to work with Harmony-Melody.

III – Indicators of the length of the note In most cases, the length of each note is the same. On the other hand, it is feasible to include information regarding note duration in the score itself. As in contemporary notation, the beginning of a new note will be denoted with a dot (punctum mora). Notes of shorter duration (liquescens) will be denoted by a smaller square. In most cases, this remark is found at the conclusion of the neume and alters the name of the neume. Accidents are the fourth category.

  1. Accidentals are notated in the same way as contemporary music is notated nowadays.
  2. clef: clef: clef: (C is located on the line marked with thearrow) clef: clef: clef: clef: (Fis located on the line marked withthe arrow) These clefs can be put on any line of the staff to indicate which line corresponds to the note being referenced by the clef.
  3. Breath indicators are the equivalent of pauses and rests in current notation.
  4. Custos (seventh) CUSTOS are little notes written on the staff, at the top and bottom right corners of each sheet of paper.
  5. Melody-Harmony creates and displays custos in a completely automated manner.
  6. You may, however, only cutpasteentire neumes at a time.
  7. Individual notes are separated into two groups in the first one; individual notes are combined in the second one to form one neume.
  8. In the help box, you may get a description of each of its components.
  9. If you want to make changes to an existing document, you can add a new staff and modify the document type to “Gregorian.” Choose the clef change tool and place a click on the gregorianstaff to begin writing in the clef.

The C or F clef, as well as the base line of the clef, are then selected. Including a note To move the gregorianstaff, select a note duration from the Gregorian toolspalette (dotted punctum, punctum, or liquescens) and drag the cursor over it. The following information is displayed on the help line:

  • The type of neume that is located under your mouse cursor (together with the note pitches that are present)
  • The type of neume you will get if you combine thenote with thenote

If a neume already has four notes, this information is highlighted in the help line; if you attempt to add a fifth note to a neume that already contains four notes, an error warning is presented and the fifth note is not included. For example, to insert a note at the beginning of a neume, click on the right line before the neume. To insert a remark at the end of a neume, click on the right line after the neume. To insert a remark in the center of a neume, simply click on the appropriate spot within the neume.

Tip:Notes are sometimes graphically very close togetherwithin a neume. To be sure of clicking at the right place, increase thedisplay scale of your document.

Including a pause Then select a rest from the palette and move the gregorian staff over to it. Insert a break by clicking on it (breath). Increase the duration of each breath by clicking many times. Getting rid of a note or a rest Select the delete tool (lightning bolt) and then click on the note (rest) that you want to remove from the document. By selecting a neume and clicking on it, only the note that is being pointed to will be removed from the neume’s contents. IX-Limitations

  • Choosing a time signature for the document is required if you want to sync several Gregory staves (or a gregorian staff with a standard staff). With a 16/4 time signature, on the other hand, you may write 32 puncta in a single bar
  • Nevertheless, the position of the neume graphic inside the bar is not fully free. The addition of a punctum immediately following a four-note neume will not be feasible since the area required by a neume is always the total of the corresponding puncta
  • Nonetheless, it will be possible to cut and paste between gregorian and contemporary staves. Some sets of notes (for example, chords) can, on the other hand, produce odd outcomes when written on a gregorian staff.

Torculus is a three-note neume that goes up and down in the key of C. The answer to the exercise is: page before page after page after page after page after page after page

Gregorian Chant Notation

This is a description of the traditional Gregorian Chant notation, with the goal of making it easy for anybody to read and sing the music. Chant is written in neumes, which are notes spoken on a single word that are separated by a space. Gregorian Chant does not have a meter at all, yet it does have a rhythm consisting of groups of two or three notes that is repeated. Vertical lines divide musical phrases and may occasionally provide a break for taking a breath, like in Chant, which is not in a major or minor key, but inmodesto, which means inmodesto (though there are some modes which can sound like a modern scale).

Dois is indicated on the staff by a dot.

Do would occupy the bottom available place in this case.

On the right is a modern-day version of this.

Liquescent Neumes

There are several different ways to demonstrate that a note is in your possession: One way to achieve this is to add a dot (punctum-mora) after the note. In modern music, it’s a little like a dotted note in the middle of a phrase. In order to demonstrate that a note is held, more than one of the same note in a row on the same syllable should be included in the composition. A repurcussive neume is what is referred to as this. In contemporary music, a horizontal line (episema) over a neume indicates that the note should be held or that it should be slowed down a bit likerit.

A single accidental that may be employed in Chant notation is the B-flat, which appears to be quite similar to the current B-flat on the piano keyboard.

In every other case, it just lasts for a single syllable.

If you love this website and would want to contribute a few of dollars to help keep it running, you may do so by sending a check to the following address: The payment is made to That is how to read Gregorian Chant notation, in its entirety!

On another part of our website, you may find several chants written in Guitar notation. The LPH Resource Center for Catholic Homeschoolers offers elementary-level Latin and music lessons to homeschooling families. You can write to me at the following address: Rick Kephart is a well-known actor.

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How to Read and Sing Gregorian Chant

It is likely that not everyone will agree with all of the concepts, findings, and methodologies presented in this section. However, it is anticipated that some of the lessons learned would be of assistance. As time goes on, the lessons will be built upon, and even more examples will be given to further illustrate the points. Additionally, if readers spot any typos or grammatical issues, these can be remedied. — Jeff Ostrowski, in the month of June 2012 Anyone can learn to read Gregorian chant with a little practice and dedication!

  • There is little question that some vocalists will benefit from completing the following courses “out of sequence.” Lesson 1: The Principles of “Movable Do” Introduction to “Movable Do” Lesson 2: Intervallic Relationships in Mathematics Do Clef and Fa Clef are the third and final lessons.
  • Scandicus (Lesson 8) In this lesson, you will learn about ecclesiastical pronunciation of Latin.
  • Lesson 11: Reflections on the Gregorian Rhythm Rare recordings from the Gregorian Congress of 1904, including Don Antonio Rella.
  • (video) — Dom Joseph Pothier, “Gaudeamus” as an introduction Alleluia “Assumpta est Maria” – Dom Joseph Pothier, recorded in 1904 (video).
  • (video) “Optimam partem,” as Dom Joseph Pothier put it, “is the best way to start a new day.” The recording dates back to 1904.
  • Alleluia “Fac nos innocuam” — Dom André Mocquereau, recorded in 1904 (video).
  • (video) Dom André Mocquereau’s “Resurrexi” serves as an introduction.
  • (video) Dom André Mocquereau’s “Haec Dies” is a recurring theme.
  • (video) “Pascha Nostrum” — Dom André Mocquereau, Alleluia, “Pascha Nostrum” The recording dates back to 1904.
  • Treatment of the Solesmes Ictus and the ArsisThesis in Great Detail Is it possible to sing Gregorian Chant in English?

Reading chant notation

In the years before I learned to read neumes or chant notation, I was completely unable to sight-sing and had to rely almost exclusively on a keyboard in order to learn how to sing new songs.

Now I am able to sight-read from chant notation, and as a result, my sight-singing ability in contemporary notation has much increased. Listed below is a brief introduction that will not cover every sign but will get you started with the ones that you will see the most often.

The very basics

If you are already familiar with the fundamentals of music theory, you may probably skip this part. Everybody is familiar with the fundamental musical scale: do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do. Sing it out loud! We can write it like this in modern music notation: In modern music notation, we can write it like this: Plainchant is built on the foundation of this basic scale. Basic re-arrangement of the notes of this simple scale into different orders results in all of the melodies of plainchant. In contrast to current music notation, there are no notes from A to G, no sharps and flats, and no major and minor keys can be found.

  1. Observe how much smaller the difference in pitch is between re and mi when you sing the step between mi and fa numerous times.
  2. A similar statement may be made about the distinction between ti and do when comparing la and ti.
  3. The musical scale contains eight notes, but it is not divided into seven equal steps.
  4. As a result, the large steps are referred to as whole steps or whole tones, while the little steps are referred to as half steps or semitones.
  5. In order to figure this out, chant notation provides us with two symbols known as clefs.
  6. Two clefs are used in music: one is called the do clef and is written on the line where do is, and the other, the fa clef, is written on the line where fa is…
  7. It is written in the do and the fa clef.
  8. A step in the scale is represented by each line and space that counts up or down from the line on which the clef is written, relative to the notes on that line.

A half-step separates both clefs from the note printed in the space below them; where they differ is in the number of whole steps between that note and the next half-step, and the number of whole steps between the clef and the following half-step above the clef till the next half-step.

Practical examples

Consider the introduction of one of the most renowned tunes in the Gregorian chant repertory, the Dies irae from the Requiem mass, as an example of how to put this into practice. Numerous different pieces of music have used this short phrase as a starting point. Because the do clef is written on the first line of the staff, we must count lines and spaces along the staff in order to determine where all of the other notes are printed: Because they’re placed next to each other, we can tell that the first note of the melody is the letter fa.

  • Sing the words ‘do, re, mi, fa’.
  • If you want to repeat this, but once you go back to the fa, proceed straight down to the re, skipping over mi completely.
  • Consider whether you can complete the remaining notes on your own.
  • We begin on this top do this time, rather than on the previous fa, because the clef is on the top line of the staff as previously.
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Jumping multiple notes

Think about the introduction of one of one of the most well-known tunes in the Gregorian chant repertoire: Dies ira from the Requiem mass, to give you an idea of what we’re talking about. Numerous different pieces of music have made use of this little quotation. Because the do clef is printed on the first line of the staff, we must count the lines and spaces down the staff in order to determine where all of the other notes are located. Because they’re placed next to each other, we can tell that the first note of the melody is the letter fa.

  • Perform a ‘do, re, mi, fa’ rhythmic sequence.
  • If you want to repeat this, but once you get back to the fa, proceed straight down to the re, skipping over mi all all.
  • Test your ability to complete the remaining notes on your own.
  • We begin on this top do this time, rather than on the previous fa, since the clef is on the top line of the staff, just as previously.

When singing this, it may be beneficial to begin by singing the scale backwards all the way down to so (do, ti, la, so) and then try to sing the notes in the right sequence as printed.

Steps Example Modern musical name Think about …
½ do–ti Semitone The first two notes ofFür Elise
1 do–re Tone/Whole tone First two notes of the scale
do–la Minor third Bird singing ‘cuckoo’
2 do–mi Major third First two notes of ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’
Perfect fourth Second and third notes of the theme to2001: A Space Odyssey
3 fa–ti Augmented fourth/diminished fifth The opening notes of ‘Purple Haze’*
do–so Perfect fifth First two notes of the theme to2001: A Space Odyssey

* The augmented fourth is extremely rare in chant since it is difficult to acquire when singing alone, and it has a sour and unmusical tone; don’t be concerned if you are unable to obtain it successfully. A difference of two positions will always be either a half-step or a whole step; a difference of three positions will always be either a minor third (if there is a half step within the lines and spaced between those positions) or a major third (if there is no half step within the lines and spaced between those positions); and a difference of four positions will almost always be a perfect fourth, and a difference of f positions will almost always be a perfect fifth, if you consider each line In chant, leaps that are greater than a perfect fifth are extremely unusual.

Creating one is generally simplest if you divide it down into numerous sections in your thoughts and then simply sing the beginning and ending notes of each section.

That means, you must be able to sing and distinguish the differences between a semitone, tone, third, fourth, and fifth immediately ‘by ear,’ without the need of any reference materials or charts.

One more practical example

One more practical example that is a somewhat more difficult to understand before we move on to some of the more technical aspects of the notation. This one is the beginning of the Sanctus from John Merbecke’s setting of the Anglican communion ceremony, which you can hear here (1549). We are making our first use of the fa clef, but we are still starting on the note do and progressing up the first three notes of the scale to finish the piece. It’s worth a shot!

One syllable, multiple notes

A distinguishing trait of advanced Gregorian chant is the tendency to sing a large number of notes to the same syllable at the same time. A melisma is a figurative expression that represents this (plural melismata). Chant notation is written in the same way you’d expect it to be, with many square notes above a single syllable, but there are a few subtleties to be aware of. A note that appears to the right of another note is sung after it, and this is the fundamental rule of Gregorian chant. Example: In this psalm’s tone ending, there are melismata from mi to re on the word “out” and from fa to me on the word “end,” as you might expect: However, because mediaeval monks were limited by the amount of space available on their pricey vellum sheets, they developed a number of abbreviations that are still in use today.

Here is the alleluia that is sung at the beginning of the office’s opening responses (note that the do clef is on the third line from the bottom, rather than on the first line): In this instance, we find a melisma from do to re on the letter ‘le,’ and another from do to ti on the letter ‘ia.’ If the melismata move down and then back up, they are written in a slightly different way.

The swoosh does not imply a glide or glissando from the first to the second note in any way!

If you look closely at some melismata, you may see that some notes are written with a diamond note () rather of a square note ().

In terms of sound, there is no difference between diamond and square notes; nonetheless, a diamond note never appears on its own; instead, it always appears inside the same syllable as the previous square note that occurred before it.

Consider giving it a shot; if you don’t succeed, or if your performance takes significantly longer than the others, don’t be concerned. Long melismata might be intimidating to play!

A lie exposed

As I mentioned at the outset of this book, all of plainchant’s melodies may be constructed by simply rearranging the notes of a basic scale in different sequences. In contrast to current music notation, there are no notes from A to G, no sharps and flats, and no major and minor keys can be found. Now I have to admit that this is a fabrication. I realize this is really un-Christian, immoral, and so forth. — On Sunday, I’ll be coming clean about it. In my defense, it is just a little fabrication, and an apedagogical one at that, because I didn’t want to overcomplicate things at the outset of the conversation.

(In the same way that “te” rhymes with “re,” so does “ti” rhyme with “me.”) In the case of la and te, the difference is a half-step, whereas the difference between te and do is a whole step.

(Don’t be concerned if this wasn’t immediately clear; all that is required is an understanding that the whole-step and half-step at the top of the scale have been switched.) The flat sign in chant notation is very identical to the flat sign in contemporary notation seen above.

That is, the two songs following are identical in terms of musical composition: Despite the fact that it is not officially known as the’so clef,’ you may conceive of the do clef with this flat sign as being used for reading reasons.

And finally, a short note on rhythm

When plainchant is performed nowadays, only a few number of rhythmic characteristics are regarded to be musically significant. With the exception of these, the beat is either equivalent to speech rhythm (in which lengthier parts are spoken on a single note) or has equal duration on each note. One method of indicating rhythm is to write the same note for the same syllable twice in a row on the same line. According to what you might assume, this means you spend almost twice as much time on one note as you do on the others.

In this example, we should spend almost twice as much time on the ‘dore’ in ‘adore’ as we would on the ‘a’ or the ‘O’ at the beginning of the sentence.

This is the same as in current musical notation in that it indicates to prolong the length of the note without nearly doubling its length completely.

Plainchant also contains other rhythmic signs, such as the episema, which is a line placed above or below some notes, which also has the effect of lengthening or emphasizing their duration, and thequilisma, which is a wavy note () in a melisma which is sung short, with the previous note sung longer in order to compensate (similar to a dotted rhythm in modern notation), but you don’t really need to know about them to perform

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Make an attempt at reading the following little samples from the Gregorian chant repertory. Some of them are well-known, while others are less well-known.

More resources to practice with

Briggs and Frere’s Manual of Plainsong is considered to be the definitive book on English plainchant. In its original version, formit employed a non-standard simplified notation; however, according to David Stone, it has been reconstructed in normal plainchant notation, which is excellent fer practicing reading the notation. This book has all of the psalms written out in their entirety (there is no pointing on the text!) as well as the canticles for morning and evening prayer and other passages from the Anglican prayer book.

(As St Augustine did not say, qui cantat bis orat— whomever sings prays twice— whoever sings prays once more!) Later on, if your singing skills improve, you can progress to the more “solemn” versions of the Magnificat and Benedictus (one of which is listed above in Latin), which were originally reserved for feast days while the simpler versions were used for ferias.

It also goes through all of the signs that are used in chant notation in the preface, including the ones that I didn’t mention here.

Rubricically speaking, it’s a headache to wrap your brain around, but when he’s through, we’ll have what is arguably the world’s largest single archive of English plainchant, according to some estimates.

Clefs in Gregorian chant: complete guide [with examples]

First, I believe it would be helpful to offer a succinct description of the term clef before discussing the typology and purpose of clefs in Gregorian chant. What exactly is meant by clef? In music, a clef is nothing more than a key that allows you to notate, interpret, and execute the musical intervals that make up a tune accurately. It’s likely that you already knew this, but I felt it was important to note. What’s notable is that the clefs used in Gregorian chant are more flexible than the clefs now in use in Western music, which is a unique characteristic.

  • It is customary to place the treble clef on the second line of the five-line staff, indicating the position of the G note, and the bass clef on the fourth line, indicating that of the note F.
  • These two clefs serve two primary functions: they indicate the connections between half-notes and entire notes on the staff, and they associate the symbols of the notes with a specific set of frequency values (or frequencies).
  • Both might be put on distinct lines of the Gregorian 4-line staff, in contrast to what I’ve just written regarding the treble and bass clefs, which are both fixed on the same line of the staff.
  • This means that a Gregorian chant might be transcribed into any vocal range as long as the intervals printed on the score remained the same as they were originally written.

In addition, I’d like to point out that clefs can be altered in the middle of a chant to ensure that all notes fit on the staff.

C clef or Do clef

Look at the following musical notation that represents asyllabic melody: TheC clefis the symbol at the top left of the score, which is highlighted in red. If you look closely at the shape of this clef, you will see that it closely resembles the letter C. According to what you can see, it has been placed on the fourth line of the four-line staff, known as the tetragram, which was historically used by Medieval monks to notateGregorian chant. It’s vital to note that the C clef can be placed in any of the four lines of the staff, depending on the situation.

In this example, you can see how the first two bars of the Gregorian melody stated above were transposed from a four-line staff to a five-line staff: Keep in mind that the frequency assigned to the note C was chosen at random since the clefs in Gregorian chant were used to help the performer identify the intervals of a certain tune rather than the precise frequencies.

F clef or Fa clef

Let me now focus my attention to the F clef and how it was represented in the Gregorian chanting system. Pay close attention to the following musical notation: Located at the top left of the four-line staff, the F clef is represented by a red circle around the sign. A square note and the C clef are combined to make this key in terms of graphical representation. When you look at the sample I’ve picked, the F clef is positioned on the third line of the staff and marks the position of the note F, as you would anticipate.

However, the great majority of Gregorian musical compositions choose to use the F clef on the third line rather than the first.

G is placed on the third line, and A is placed on the fourth line, as we progress higher.

As previously stated, theclefs in Gregorian chant are used to indicate the relationships between half and whole notes, not to indicate an absolute frequency, so you are free to begin the piece at any pitch you want.

Rather than starting with the note C, as written on the staff, the performer who performs this rendition ofUt queant laxis begins with a note D. Take a listen to this:

Gregorio project website

It was composed by a monk from the monastery of Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux in order to express his vision of the structure of the writing of Gregorian chant, which he believed to be correct. In the beginning, it was focused with the development of an XML standard for the description of Gregorian chant. While Gregorio did attempt to integrate this XML standard at one time, the functionality was so little utilized that it was eventually dropped entirely. Gregorio, on the other hand, continues to employ this structure while evaluating its gabc code, making it valuable for users who want to understand how Gregorio “thinks” about a score.


In the same way as human sentences are made up of words, syllables, and letters, it is possible to distinguish between neumes, neumatic components, and neumatic glyphs when transcribing Gregorian chant in typographical transcription. The following analogy (which we will describe in greater detail later) is formed as a result:

  • Words are represented by neumes
  • Syllables are represented by neumatic components
  • Letters are represented by neumatic glyphs.

Here is an example of a neume, which we will go over in further detail later in this document: An illustration of a neume This neume’s initial constituent is referred to as. This element is made up of the glyph, which is followed by the three glyphs, and finally the word and. It is possible that our example of a neume made of 32 notes will surprise you. It is simply a matter of preference in vocabulary: we refer to aneume as “a collection of notes sung on the same syllable.” For this example of a neume, which may be found in the Antiphonale Monasticum (Solesmes, 2005, vol.

542-543), we will use the following passage: Score in its entirety

The neumatic elements

In music, the neumatic components are a series of notes that are sung in a linked fashion and that together constitute a specific entity. The terminology used to denote these elements varies from one liturgical book to the next in terms of meaning. The following are the names that are often given to the elements that make up the neume that we used as an example:

Role of the neumatic elements

Due to the differences or articulations that they contribute to the thread of the melody, these aspects provide an indicator of rhythm. It might have been able to transcribe our neume in the following way, without affecting the melody of the first eight notes:instead of. Although it appears that the second transcription has been chosen above the first, it does not appear that this decision was motivated by a musical reason. Some might interpret this subtlety in the way of singing, by identifying the final punctum inclinatum with a little more “weight,” a very light sustain, and a little more “volume.” It is sometimes necessary to just consider how to articulate the two neumatic parts properly in order to convey this distinction.

According to the neume sang onDó, these cuts are of a same duration or somewhat shorter.

It is not the typographer’s responsibility to be concerned with whether the musical subtlety suggested by a neumatic cut is short or long in duration.

As it turns out, these variations may be traced back to the early Gregorian chant manuscripts, which were also copied into typography in this manner.

Definition of the neumatic element

We shall return to the idea of neumatic cut, which is still a little hazy in our minds, but for now, we may define theneumatic element as “a set of notes that do not include a neumatic cut.”

The list and the number of neumatic elements

Neumatic elements are found in a number of different forms in modern Gregorian chant scores, which are as follows: When the varying heights (pitches) of the notes and the liquescent forms are not taken into consideration, this list is rather thorough for the elements having only one or two notes in it. Starting with the three-note components, the number of elements increases dramatically, and providing a comprehensive list of all the elements appears to be, if not impossible, at the very least laborious, and not useful for developing a lexical typography for chant.

But, before we get into it, we need to clear up the confusion concerning the gaps that we can come into while following the thread of certain neumatic parts.

Because a typographer is not by definition a musician, a musicologist, or a gregorianist, he need a language that is appropriate for his or her profession.

  • In elements beginning or ending with severalpuncta inclinata
  • In groups of two or three successivepuncta quadrata, strophae, or virgae on the same pitch

As a result, just one neumatic element will be examined for each of the textual forms listed below: However, the following written forms are considered to be two distinct elements:

Difficulties resulting from this choice in establishing a XML standard

Consider the following two examples: If we view thescandicus flexus and theporrectus flexustypographically as one element at times and as two elements at other times, it is very difficult to construct a common XML representation of these two elements. Will the neumatic cut definition we just described be superseded by a more musical one, or will the one we just defined be retained? In many situations, the distinctions are questionable, if not outright challenged, which suggests that this is not the case.

In some manuscripts, both of these sentences are written in this manner.

after which it was transcribed using the following formats: Illustrations of the salicus in various styles.

However, doing so at the level of theneumatic glyphs will almost probably be more beneficial in the long run.

The neumatic glyphs

According to what we have mentioned above regarding the large number of existent and imagined neumatic parts and the difficulty in identifying them, we must go back to the initial and smallest units for the typographical construction of a gregorian chant score in order to get the best results. A typographer will attempt to identify the various shapes that he will want in order to create his scores on the spur of the moment, and he will discover four primary genres of shapes that will be juxtaposed next to one another.

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For example, consider the following geometric forms: Typefaces including this set of primary shapes or glyphs were plainly required in order for lead characters to be used in typography.

We, on the other hand, have never had the opportunity to come across such a typeface. For the same reason, the designers of digital typefaces have gone about their business by replacing the numerous neumatic glyphs with their respective tables of characters.

Definition of the neumatic glyph

Consequently, we may define theneumatic glyphas “a pictorial symbol that expresses a neumatic element, either alone or in combination with others.”

The list and the number of neumatic glyphs

Throughout the first pages of most liturgical books published in the twentieth century, we may discover tables of “neumes.” Unfortunately, these tables are the source of some misunderstanding regarding the distinction between neumatic components and neumatic glyphs. In general, they are not adequate to provide a comprehensive list of all the different types of neumatic components, for a variety of reasons. The fact that they are intended to be read by vocalists rather than typographers means that they go beyond the mere listing of primary glyphs.

  1. It appears to be pretty difficult to make this number correct.
  2. An example of a neumatic element that is exceptionally lengthy For example, the “neumes”punctum, pes, scandicus, and scandicus may all be found in this form of table: punctum, pes, and scandicus.
  3. This type of neumatic element will be easier to put together if you combine somepuncta and some podatuses, which will make it easier to assemble.
  4. It appears to be more feasible to confine ourselves to textual forms that do not include a space.
  5. Once we have taken into consideration these two constraints, we must search out all of the conceivable textual forms that may be created using the various pitch sequences and all of the variants.

A Beginner’s Guide to Reading Gregorian Chant Notation: Learning to recognize big neumes first makes reading from small missals and chant books easier in the future. (Gregorian Chant for Beginners) – Kindle edition by Jones, Noel. Arts & Photography Kindle eBooks @

A little excerpt of the material is available; double tap to view the complete excerpt. Double touch to view the abbreviated content if the full material is not accessible. He began participating in and singing in daily Mass at his native church when he was twelve years old. During the summers, he attended summer sessions at a Benedictine monastery where he studied Gregorian Chant. The Church Center for the United Nations in New York City employed him as an accompanist for the United Nations Singers and as an organist when he was 17 years old.

  • As a member of the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church choir, which had eight singers from the Metropolitan Opera Studio as its core, he also had the chance to tutor vocalists who were auditioning for musical parts in the New York region.
  • While serving in the United States Army, he accompanied the US Army Chorus at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and served as organist in chapels at both Fort Knox and Fort Gordon, Georgia.
  • Christopher’s Anglican/Episcopal Church, which shared a building with the Old Catholic Church of St.
  • He also served as organist for the Old Catholic Church of St.
  • In the months before he was discharged from the Army, he directed a musical for Frankfurt Special Services.

In the years following his military service, he worked as musical director for a German production of Hair in Hamburg, and later as guest director at the Bremen Stadttheater, where he directed “The Me Nobody Knows,” which had its German premiere there and featured Donna Gaines, who would later go on to become better known as Donna Summers, as the lead actress.

  1. In Berlin, he sang at recital with an American mezzo-soprano from the touring cast of Porgy and Bess, who had previously performed in the work’s world premiere in Moscow during the Cold War, an event that was covered by Life Magazine at the time.
  2. This cast member was featured on the cover of Life Magazine when he was a little boy, as the Catholic son of the president of an African country who was receiving communion at the time.
  3. As a student at the Cleveland Institute of Music, he trained vocalists and accompanied lessons for Eleanor Steber of the Metropolitan Opera and Lorenzo Malfatti, among other notable artists.
  4. At the Opera Barga in Italy, he instructed singers in roles in both Italian and French.
  5. Aside from conducting the Saint’s Day Festival Concert Choir and Soloists in Barga, he also played for Masses in the Duomo in Milan.
  6. A chapel created by architect Maya Ling Yin was dedicated at Alex Haley Farm in Tennessee, which is currently owned by the Children’s Defense Fund.
  7. The organ for the chapel was designed and voiced by him, and he performed with the late soprano Bridget Hooks, who was well-known for her Mahler performances, at the ceremony’s conclusion.
  8. Jones rejoined the choral director’s chair at St.
  9. He has stated that the choir may be the most hardworking Catholic chorus in the United States, based on his observations.

The hymnal has been given the IMPRIMATUR designation.

Gregorian Chant Notation

2. GREGORIAN NOTATIONManuscript:”A Child was born for us and the Son has beengiven to us” In the 11th century the repertoire of chants in the Church coveredalready the feast of each day and of each event of the Liturgy.The sacred texts had its own characteristic and variety of forms:Introits, Antiphons, Graduals, Hallelujahs, Offertories, Communions,Sequences, etc. to which it should be added those parts of the Liturgycalled “Ordinary”: Kyries, Glorias, Creeds, etc.All this had to be entrusted to the memory of singers who did nothave any musical help, except some marks on the text indicatingsimply when the melody rose or descended just as is shown in theabove manuscript.

It not wasintended that notation was “scientifically” precise.

From the hymn of the Eves of St John the Baptist feastd’Arezzo organized what would be later the scale:UT queant laxis (C)RE sonare fibris (D)MI ragestorum (E)FA muli tuorum (F),SOL vepolluti (G)LA bii reatum (A),S ancteI oannes (SI —B—).

HEIGHT OF THE SOUNDS The height of the sounds is indicated by the location of the notesin a stave of four lines, with the possibility to use lower andupper additional lines.The clefs are of DO (C) and of FA (F) which can be in the second,third or fourth line.The possible extension is:Simple notes Here is presented, in its order, the primitive notation, the presentGregorian notation and its equivalent one in modern notation.Virga=Stick; Punctum quadratum=square point, Punctum inclinatum=inclinedpoint.Simple neumesPes, Podatus of the Latin foot; Torculus, of thelatin torquere=to twist, by its broken form; Porrectus, of the Latinporrigere=to extend, by the extended form of its lines; Climacus,of climax=stair; Scandicus, of scandere=to rise; Salicus of salire=tojump.Compound neumes

  • Individual syllables that are generated by connecting basic neumes to make a single unit of speech.
  • Those who carry a greater number of notes before or after are referred to as: Flexus: when ascending notes are used in conjunction with a flexus

When they are accompanied with rising notes, they are referred to as resupini.

Notes before or after the praepunctis or subpunctis, depending on whether they are included:

Neumes that are unique

  • The neumes that contain the last one or two notes of lesser size are referred to as licuescens or semivowels, and the goal of these notes is to draw the listener’s attention to the right pronunciation of the text in the first place. Ancus, sometimes known as anepiphonus, is used to refer to the Pes, Clivis, and Climacus licuescens species of lizard. The smallest size of the lisquescens note does not signify any change in the length of time it is valid for
  • Pressus (from the Latin premo=to press, to halt), which is the coincidence in height of the last note of a neume with the start note of another neume in the same syllable, is found in the following neumes: It is also offered in the context of a punctum and a neume.
  • A jagged note with quilisma (from the Greek külo=to revolve, to roll) is used to unite two notes that have been separated by a third interval. It is never presented on its own terms. A considerable lengthening of the note that precedes the quilisma is required, but it must not be repeated in length.

Neumes that are aesthetically pleasing

  • There are three different ways in which the strophicus (from Greek strophao, which means to rotate) can be represented:
  • It is a punctum quadratum that is put at the extremity of a neume (from the Greek óros, which means limit or height, hill).
  • In the case of Bivirga and Trivirga, the union of two or threevirgas is required to make them. (Virga=Stick. Bivirga and Trivirga are two and three sticks, respectively
  • Bivirga and Trivirga are three sticks.


  • The horizontal episema is put on one or more notes and indicates expressive and light expansion of those sounds: it is represented by a horizontal line in music. The note with the ictus in the salicus should be protracted as if it had episema, according to the rules. The episema stretches the note a bit further, but it does not repeat it in any way. Contrary to the vertical episema, which is typically often positioned under the note and signifies the binary or ternary steps (see the section on Rhythm), this episema is horizontal.
  • Distropha and Tristropha should be carried out in a flexible and light manner to maximize their effectiveness. It is required that the repercussion occurs on the first note of each of them, as well as in the first note of the neume that follows them if they are all at the same height
  • A tristropha can have ictus as its third note, which can be performed with repercussion. The oriscus is always of a smooth texture to the touch. A clear, forceful, and double sound should be produced by the two notes of the pressus (the distropha, tristropha, and theoriscus never combine to make pressus). Bivirga and trivirga should be conducted in the same manner as the strophicus, although their repercussions are more well-known. The scandicus, which has the melodic structure D-A-B, should be performed in the same manner as a salicus.

Examples of repercussion:4. SIGNS OF PAUSE (bars). The signs of pause, originated by the structure of the text, are:a) Minimum dividing line, that separates theclauses or smaller parts in which the text is divided; it doesnot imply to breath.b) Smaller dividing line, that separates themembers of phrase. These are not more than clauses of greateramplitude; it implies to breath almost always.c) Greater dividing line that separates thephrases: Equals to a silence of simple duration of a note andobliges to breathe.d) Double dividing line, that indicates greaterconclusive or also final sense of the composition.

OTHER SIGNS Custos: The custos is a sign that goes at the end of each stave.

Also it is used when inside a samemusical piece there is a change of clef.B Flat:In Gregorian Chant the only accidental isB flat (rarely)which is indicated bya B Flat sign.

“Euouae” indicatesthe vowels of the syllables of “saeculorum Amen”, whichends the “Gloria Patri”._SeeMARTINEZ SOQUES, Fernando.


Barcelona, 1943.

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