MONKS SAY GREGORIAN CHANT WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE BETTER
It is 4:02 a.m. on June 3, 2015 in Rome, Italy. (CNA/EWTN News) – According to the CNA/EWTN News, The Benedictine Monks of Norcia devote their lives to prayer and labor – “ora et labora” — reciting the psalms and making crafts to sustain themselves and their communities. Additionally, they created an album this week to share their prayer with the world – music, they said, that contains the nutrients your soul need. In addition to reciting the Mass and the Divine Office for hours every day, the monks also study theology.
With so much pollution in our environment today, the pure oxygen of Gregorian chant is like “a breath of fresh air,” said Father Cassian Folsom, prior of the Benedictine monastery in Norcia, in a recent interview with Catholic News Agency (CNA).
A total of 33 songs are available for purchase on Amazon, with the majority of them being derived from the liturgical chants that have marked the lives of Benedictine monks for more than 1,000 years.
The chants are composed of hymns, antiphons, and responses taken from the liturgy.
- Cassian explained.
- A new chant, Nos Qui Christi Iugum (We who have received Christ’s yoke), is included on the CD, which was created particularly for Benedicta and is included on the CD.
- Basil Nixen, our choirmaster, is a very gifted musician and poet who possesses both musical and lyrical abilities.
- Cassian revealed.
- Benedict, which characterizes the monk as one who wears Christ’s yoke, similar to the picture of a good ox who throws his entire weight into the task at hand, that the term, ‘Christi Iugum,’ was chosen.
Throughout the song, there are echoes of the mournful tone that is utilized for one of the Christmas Matins readings.” They believe that Benedicta would not only allow them to share their personal prayers with listeners, but it will also enable them to contribute to the improvement of music in Catholic churches.
- Cassian expressed his hopes for the album’s success.
- There is a widespread myth that Vatican II abolished Latin and Gregorian chant.
- Quite the reverse, in fact!
- A number of CDs have been issued in collaboration with the Benedictine sisters Mary, Queen of Apostles, and its releases in 2014 accounted for three of Billboard’s Top 5 Classical Traditional Album Imprints for the year.
- Benedict, was formed in 1998 and is currently home to 18 men, half of whom are from the United States, with an average age of only 33 years.
- Cassian, “there are always projects in the works!” The community is hard at work building its grange, which is a piece of land it owns outside the city walls of Norcia.
- Also, we’ve begun work on a vegetable garden and have planted fruit trees.” Outside of monastic circles, the community is most known for its artisan brewery, Birra Nursia, which is located in the heart of the city.
- Cassian, “The beer, if I may say so myself, is rather good!” “We learned the craft from Trappist monks in Belgium,” says the artist.
Brother Francis, our master brewer, and his talented crew put in long hours and show great passion to what they do.” “At the present, our beer is not accessible in the United States, but we are working on making it available there.” In the meanwhile, you’ll have to come to Norcia with me.”
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.
If something is labeled “plainchant” or “plainsong,” one might expect it to provide little in the way of discussion material; after all, the word itself implies that it is plain and that it is chant. Although simple in appearance, Gregorian chant is anything from simple, save in the sense that its lovely melodies are intended to be performed without accompaniment and without harmonization, as befits the old monastic culture from which they emerged. In Western music, what we refer to as “Gregorian chant” is one of the most complex and delicate art forms available — indeed, in any culture’s music.
- Several passages of the Old Testament, particularly the Psalms and the Chronicles, attest to the vital role that music played in temple ritual.
- 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 teaching and writing.
- Because of this fusion of Psalter and sacrifice, the Christian liturgy as a whole has sprung forth.
- During the celebration of the mass Together, they form the logical sacrifice, which is comprised of the perfect offering made by Jesus Christ on the altar, who combines all of our petitions and praises to His, elevating them to the level of the All-Blessed Trinity.
- Until we reach Pope St.
- Saint Gregory ordered the musical repertoire even as he was giving final shape to the Roman Canon, which is the distinguishing characteristic of the Latin rite, and as a result of this, the chant has been known as “Gregorian” for the rest of time.
- Before the year 800, the core of the Gregorian chant repertory had been assembled, with the vast majority of it completed 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, in everyone’s minds.
Once the chasuble, stole, alb, amice, and maniple had become established, no one in their right mind would consider doing away with it.
And in this same way, the liturgical texts are dressed up in chants.
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, in everyone’s minds.
By the beginning of the nineteenth century, chant had fallen into a condition of extreme ruin and neglect due to a lack of attention.
Several monks and a pope worked together to achieve success.
It took years of research on the part of the monks at Solesmes, but they were eventually successful in re-creating the chant”s characteristic melodies and rhythms.
Pius X met with monks from Solesmes, France, and assigned them the job of printing all liturgical chant books, complete with revised melodies and rhythms, as soon as possible after his ascension.
As a result of this papal mandate, a long line of prominent publications from (or licensed by) Solesmes was produced, the majority of which are still in use today, including theLiber Usualis, theGraduale Romanum, and the Antiphonale Monasticum, among others.
According to Vatican II, the following is what they had to say about it: When the heavenly services are rendered solemnly in song, liturgical worship takes on a more majestic appearance…
Promoting choirs must be done with zeal and diligence.
In addition, the Church considers Gregorian chant to be uniquely adapted to the Roman liturgy, and as a result, it should be given precedence over all other forms of music in liturgical services.
With these rousing words, the original Liturgical Movement, which was dedicated to the restoration and recovery of the richest, most beautiful traditions of Catholic prayer, resurfaced in the modern world.
The good news is that, here and there, the tide is beginning to change. Chant will never perish since it is the most ideal form of liturgical music available today.
Peter Kwasniewski has a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Thomas Aquinas College, as well as an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America. He is a member of the American Philosophical Association. In addition to teaching at the International Theological Institute in Austria and the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Austrian Program, he was a member of the founding team of Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyoming. He was in charge of the choir and schola, and he also served as the college’s dean of academics.
His books include Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis: Sacred Liturgy, the Traditional Latin Mass, and Renewal in the Church, A Missal for Young Catholics, and Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness: Why the Modern Age Needs the Mass of the Ages.
His webpage may be found here.
A brief history of Gregorian chant
A Gregorian chant rehearsal at the school’s St. Vincent Chapel was conducted on October 10 by Timothy S. McDonnell, director of music ministries at The Catholic University of America’s Institute of Sacred Music, Benjamin T. Rome School of Music in Washington. Gregorian chant is the chanting of the liturgy, and the texts are nearly completely drawn from the Bible. (CNS photo courtesy of Chaz Muth) (CNS) – Washington, D.C. – Whenever Erin Bullock walks in front of the altar at Washington’s Cathedral of St.
- During an October Mass at the church, her function as cantor is as obvious as the priest’s, and much of the music she intones with her powerful soprano – together with the choir and those in the seats – is the unadorned resonances of Gregorian chant.
- In their performance by a choir, the chants are normally chanted in unison and unaccompanied by any kind of rhythmic or melodic accompaniment, with the tones rising and falling in an ad libitum way.
- McDonnell, director of the Institute of Sacred Music at The Catholic University of America in Washington, the history of sung prayer extends back to the first millennium, with Gregorian chant being the suitable music of the mature Roman rite.
- Despite its resurgence in popularity in recent decades, the chant is not the primary musical accompaniment in most Catholic parishes in the United States, according to McDonnell of Catholic News Service.
- According to Elizabeth Black, assistant music director at St.
As an example, when the priest sings, “the Lord be with you,” and the congregation responds in song, “and with your spirit,” they are participating in Gregorian chant because those holy texts are an essential part of the Mass, according to Black, who spoke to Catholic News Service in a recent interview about the practice.
- When you sing a component of the liturgy that is fundamental to the Mass, you’re singing Gregorian chant, according to Lang, who is an expert on the subject.
- Despite the fact that hymns, which are typically layered in rich harmonies, are liturgical in character, such melodies are intended to beautify the Mass with meditative spirituality rather than serving as a key component of the liturgy, according to Black.
- However, there are several exceptions to this unofficial chant rule, and certain choirs embellish their chants with harmonies and musical accompaniment on occasion.
- But, according to theologian John Paul II, it is only recently that Gregorian chant, which began to take shape in the ninth century, has been written down and kept for historical preservation.
The development of Gregorian chant is unlikely to have been a direct result of Pope Gregory I’s efforts, according to McDonnell, who described him as a “building pope” who helped reorder the liturgy in a more practical way, creating the artistic environment necessary for the establishment of some form of plainchant.
- Gregory the Great’s death that the music we know today as Gregorian chant began to develop, according to Dr.
- “In fact, most historians believe it was Pope Gregory II (715-731), who reigned about 100 years later, who was the Pope Gregory who actually had more of a hand in formulating this body of chants that we know today as Gregorian chant,” he said.
- Matthew the Apostle.
- John the Beloved, has made the chant a natural component of the liturgy.
McDonnell stated that “Gregorian chant has the potential to be extremely sophisticated, intricate, and convoluted, as well as possessing a high level of artistic merit.” However, much of its beauty may be found in the simplicity of the design and the fact that most of it is accessible to members of the congregation and children.” According to him, “everyone can learn to sing some amount of Gregorian chant,” and the church has organized the chants into categories based on their accessibility over the years.
- There are numerous chants that are intended to be sung by the faithful as part of their participation in the liturgy, and those chants are every bit as much Gregorian chant as the more florid and complex ones,” says the author.
- The chant is more effective because of this technique, in some ways,” says the author.
- According to him, the causes of these waves are unpredictable.
- “When the popes returned from Avignon (a period from 1309 to 1376 during which seven popes resided in Avignon, France, rather than in Rome), the city was in utter disarray, and the culture of Rome had to be reconstructed,” he explained.
As a result, we witnessed the resurgence of Gregorian chant.” The Renaissance polyphony of the 16th century, with its intricate texturized harmonies, became the dominant music in the church and for a time superseded Gregorian chant, according to McDonnell, who believes that the Renaissance was a period of cultural restoration.
Then, in 1947, Pope Pius XII released his encyclical “Mediator Dei” (“On the Sacred Liturgy”), which encouraged active involvement by the laity in the liturgy while also strengthening the use of Gregorian chant, according to historian Black.
The use of Gregorian chant was advocated for in papers produced during Vatican II in the 1960s; but, as the Latin Mass was replaced by the vernacular, most parishes opted for music that was more in tune with popular culture, such as praise and worship and folk genres, according to McDonnell.
When “Chant,” an incredibly successful CD produced by the Benedictine monks of Santo Domingo de Silos, Spain, was published in the 1990s, interest in the practice was once again piqued, according to him.
Gregorian chant is no longer the dominant force in parish life as it once was, but according to McDonnell, if history repeats itself, it is in the process of regaining its former prominence and might once again become a mainstay of church music.
Abbey of Regina Laudis: Gregorian Chant
|Gregorian chant is contemplative music that touches the soul and raises the heart to God. It is the sacred music of the Church, expressing the words of Scripture in Latin, the ancient language of the Church. It is, in a way,the Word made song. We invite you to come and experience for yourself the contemplative, timeless beauty of Gregorian chant.SUNG PRAYERThe simple, pure lines of Gregorian chant go back to the origins of the first Christian communities and the earliest recorded Western music. It is sometimes referred to asplainsong, because it predates the use of harmony or polyphony. Gregorian chant can also be defined as “sung prayer”. It is the official music of the Catholic Church’s liturgy. Blessed John Paul II emphasized its importance asthe clearest musical expression of sacred music in the service of God.Although chant can certainly be enjoyed as a beautiful genre of music, for us it is more than this. The poetry of the chant texts conveys the richness of the inexhaustible mysteries of Christ’s birth, passion, death and glorious resurrection. Chant is dynamic in its purpose, employed by the Church to express her liturgy in all its richness – her seasons, her solemnities, and all her saints.MONASTIC PRAYERGregorian chant has also long been the classic medium for monastic prayer. The Divine Office, Saint Benedict wrote, was the monk’s main “Work of God” (Opus Dei), and for over a thousand years the sound of chant has echoed down Benedictine cloisters. Each day monasteries throughout the world rise to sing theircanticum novum(new song) of praise.The chanting of the Office continues to sustain the whole Church around the world.(Pope Benedict XVI)PERSONAL PRAYERWhile Gregorian chant is the sung prayer of the Church, and that of our monastery, it can also be a profound source and medium of personal prayer.Its contemplative beauty deepens the meaning and mystery of the word.Gregorian chant is marked by a moving meditative cadence. It touches the depths of the soul. It shows joy, sorrow, repentance, petition, hope, praise or thanksgiving….It makes the psalms come alive.(Cardinal Francis Arinze) Gregorian chant can be described as a “prayer of song.” In the words of Saint Augustine,To sing is to pray twice,meaning that it is the singing itself that becomes the prayer. As an act of prayer, the chant can transform us. In his HolyRule, Saint Benedict exhorted his monks to conform their hearts to their song:Sic stemus ad psallendum ut mens nostra concordet voci nostrae.(“Thus may we sing so that our mind may be in harmony with our voice.”) Through this prayer we strive to become what we sing, offering up not just our voices but our selves as we do so. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has described this process of “becoming” through song as an integral part of monastic culture:The culture of singing is the culture of being.(Address to the College des Bernardins, Paris, 2008).THE HISTORY OF CHANT AT THE ABBEYI had an intuitive conviction that the Chant had the power to communicate the life of God as no other music does.(Mother Benedict, Lady Abbess) It was out of the darkness of the Second World War that our foundress, Mother Benedict, came to experience Gregorian chant in a profound way.As an American in France at that time, she was forced into hiding from the Gestapo for much of the war. It was during these prolonged periods of confinement that she studied Gregorian chant intensively. When Mother Benedict returned to the United States in 1946 to establish a new foundation here, she firmly believed that singing the chant would be an essential work of the community. It was providential then that, as she was about to board the S.S. Argentina to sail to America, she discovered that another passenger waiting to board was Dom Germain Cozien, Abbot of Solesmes, the French abbey that had led the revival of chant in Europe which began in the nineteenth century! During the crossing, a friendship formed and, on learning of her aspiration to found a monastery, Abbot Cozien offered to send his renowned choirmaster Dom Gajard to teach the prospective nuns Gregorian chant, certain that Mother Benedict would found her abbey and attract vocations. Dom Gajard did indeed visit in time and instructed the nuns in Gregorian chant, forming a life-long relationship with the Abbey. He was often brought to Regina Laudis by Theodore Marier, an ardent disciple of Dom Gajard. Dr. Marier was Director of Music at St. Paul’s Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts and founder of the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School. When, in 1970, Dom Gajard was no longer able to travel to America, Lady Abbess asked Dr. Marier to continue teaching the Chant at Regina Laudis, which he did with great energy and pleasure for the rest of his life, helping the community to prepare our first two chant CDs,Women in ChantandRecordare. He entrusted his legacy in Gregorian chant to the Abbey and we were privileged to collaborate with Scott Turkington (currently principal organist and choirmaster for the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston, South Carolina) to produceA Gregorian Chant Master Class, a workbook and companion CD giving the principles of Chant, with examples sung by the Regina Laudis Choir and the StamfordSchola Gregoriana.The important role of Gregorian chant in the Church was reaffirmed at Vatican II asa unique and universal spiritual heritage.Despite this, there were signs, Mother Benedict said later,that the chant might be thrown out.The Abbess continued to insist on the spiritual and aesthetic value of Gregorian chant, even as many other monasteries were turning to more contemporary musical expressions. Also concerned for the future of chant was Pope Paul VI who, as Cardinal Montini, had supported Mother Benedict’s petition to Rome to found a monastery. The Cardinal had personally asked Mother Benedict to continue to uphold the chant as an invaluable living tradition of the church. That promise has been kept, and the sound of Gregorian chant has characterized the Abbey of Regina Laudis for over fifty years. The Abbey still continues to follow what is known as theSolesmes Methodof singing chant.CHANT AT THE ABBEY TODAYGregorian chant is not something the Abbey “preserves” or “performs” simply as a treasured relic of the Church’s heritage. Chant for us is a way of life. We are privileged to continue our study of the Chant under thedirection of our Abbess, Mother David Serna, who is an accomplished musician and directed the monastic Choir for our third CD,The Announcement of ChristmasSeven times a day, and once in the middle of the night, the nuns of Regina Laudis come together to pray the Divine Office, an arrangement set forth by Saint Benedict in hisRulemore than 1500 years ago. For us, Gregorian chant is life-giving. In the words of Mother Benedict,Chant is a medium that has the power to release and strengthen people. The chant is for me unique and superior to all other musical responses to Scripture. There is nothing that equals it because of its paradoxical simplicity and complexity.The chant centers our mission to praise God at all times, a mission expressed in the Abbey’s motto:Non recedat laus —Let praise never cease.Watch a video clip of an Abbey class with Dr. Theodore Marier from the 1980’s on theRhythm of Kyrie XVI.|
Listen to the Benedictine Monks of Silos singing Gregorian Chant
A Gregorian chant rehearsal at the school’s St. Vincent Chapel was conducted on October 10 by Timothy S. McDonnell, director of music ministry at The Catholic University of America’s Institute of Sacred Music, Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, in Washington, DC. Gregorian chant is the chanting of the liturgy, and its texts are nearly exclusively derived from the Bible. Photo courtesy of Chaz Muth for the Central News Service. (CNS) – Washington, D.C. When Erin Bullock takes her place in front of the altar at the Cathedral of St.
- During an October Mass, her function as cantor at the church is as evident as the priest’s, and most of the music she intones with her remarkable soprano – together with the choir and those in the seats – is the plaintive resonances of Gregorian chant.
- In their performance by a choir, the chants are normally sung in unison and unaccompanied by any kind of rhythmic or melodic accompaniment, with the tones rising and falling in an ad libitum style.
- McDonnell, director of the Institute of Sacred Music at The Catholic University of America in Washington, the history of sung prayer extends back to the first millennium, with Gregorian chant emerging as the fitting music of the mature Roman rite.
- As McDonnell explained to Catholic News Service, despite its resurgence in popularity in recent decades, the chant is not the primary musical accompaniment to most Catholic services in the United States.
- According to Elizabeth Black, associate music director at St.
As an example, when the priest sings, “the Lord be with you,” and the audience answers in song, “and with your spirit,” they are participating in Gregorian chant since those holy scriptures are an integral component of the Mass, according to Black, who spoke with Catholic News Service recently.
- As Lang explained, “if you are singing a component of the liturgy that is an integral part of the Mass, then you are singing Gregorian chant.” A basic response song, even if it’s only a chant, is considered chant.
- One of the reasons for traditional a cappella singing in plain, monophonic tones, according to McDonnell, is so that the text may be heard as a focal point of the song.
- In the Catholic Church, singing has been a feature of the liturgy since its founding in the fourth century.
- Pope Gregory the Great, who reigned from 590 to 604, is credited with the invention of Gregorian chant.
- Gregorian chant, as we know it today, began to develop several generations after St.
- In music, “you might call it poetry,” said Thomas Stehle, director of music ministries at the Cathedral of St.
- “It’s really simple in certain respects, but it’s very sophisticated at others,” he said.
- John the Beloved in New Orleans.
McDonnell stated that “Gregorian chant has the potential to be quite complex, intricate, and time-consuming, while also possessing a high level of artistic merit.” However, much of its beauty may be found in the simplicity of the design and the fact that most of it is accessible to members of the congregation as well as young children.
- There are numerous chants that are intended to be sung by the faithful as part of their participation in the liturgy, and those chants are every bit as much Gregorian chant as the more florid and complex ones,” says the priest.
- Using music to pray is nearly like praying twice, according to St.
- The chant is more effective because of this technique, in some ways, because of it.
- According to him, the causes of these waves are always shifting and fluctuating.
- In the 15th century, when the popes returned from Avignon (a period from 1309 to 1376 during which seven popes resided in Avignon, France rather than in Rome), the city was in utter ruin, and the culture of Rome had to be restored, according to the historian.
- However, in the 16th century, when culture had been reassembled, Renaissance polyphony – with its intricate texturized harmonies – rose to prominence in the church and temporarily overtook Gregorian chant, according to McDonnell.
- “Mediator Dei,” or “On the Sacred Liturgy,” was released by Pope Pius XII in 1947, and it encouraged active involvement by the laity in the liturgy, further supporting Gregorian chant, according to Black.
The use of Gregorian chant was advocated for in documents issued during Vatican II in the 1960s; however, as the Latin Mass was replaced by the vernacular, most parishes opted for musical forms that were more in tune with popular culture, such as praise and worship and folk music, according to McDonnell.
Then, in the 1990s, an incredibly successful CD produced by the Benedictine monks of Santo Domingo de Silos, Spain, named “Chant,” was published, rekindling interest in the practice, according to him.
If history repeats itself, Gregorian chant, though no longer the dominant force in parish life as it once was, is still in the recovery stage and has the potential to reclaim its place as a mainstay of church music in the future, according to McDonnell.
French Benedictine nuns release 7,000 hours of Gregorian chant
A Gregorian chant rehearsal at the school’s St. Vincent Chapel on October 10 was led by Timothy S. McDonnell, director of music ministries at The Catholic University of America’s Institute of Sacred Music, Benjamin T. Rome School of Music in Washington. As the chanting of the liturgy, Gregorian chant is nearly exclusively derived from the Bible. (Photo courtesy of Chaz Muth/CNS) (CNS) – Washington, DC – When Erin Bullock walks up to the altar at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, she is there to sing sections of the liturgy and to lead members of the congregation in singing.
- The melodic tones are one-of-a-kind and sometimes referred to be mysterious.
- Tim McDonnell, director of the Institute of Sacred Music at The Catholic University of America in Washington, noted that the history of sung prayer extends back to the first millennium, with Gregorian chant being the appropriate music for the mature Roman ritual.
- Despite its resurgence in popularity in recent decades, the chant is not the primary musical accompaniment in most Catholic parishes in the United States, according to McDonnell.
- In contrast to other forms of worship, chant includes prayers and text necessary for the celebration of the liturgy, explained Elizabeth Black, assistant music director at St.
- For example, when the priest sings, “the Lord be with you,” and the audience answers in song, “and with your spirit,” they are singing Gregorian chant, according to Black, who told Catholic News Service that those sacred passages are an integral aspect of the Mass.
- “If you are singing a section of the liturgy that is an integral component of the Mass, you are singing Gregorian chant,” Lang explained.
- Despite the fact that hymns, which are typically layered in rich harmonies, are considered liturgical in character, such melodies are intended to beautify the Mass with meditative spirituality rather than serving as a key component of the liturgy, according to Black.
However, there are several exceptions to this unofficial chant rule, and some choirs embellish their chants with harmonies and even musical accompaniment on occasion.
But, according to theologian John Paul II, it is only recently that Gregorian chant, which began to take shape in the ninth century, has been written down and preserved for the historical record.
Gregory the Great, who served as Pope from 590 to 604.
“In reality, most historians believe it was Pope Gregory II (715-731), who reigned around 100 years later, who was the Pope Gregory who actually had a greater influence in establishing this set of chants that we know today as Gregorian chant,” he explained.
Matthew the Apostle.
The simplicity of the sung recitation from the priest and the response of repeated text by the congregation throughout the ages, with the choir handling the more sophisticated music, said James Senson, music director of St.
The chanting of the Gregorian chant may be “very complex, intricate, and involved, as well as having a great level of artistic value,” McDonnell added.
According to him, “everyone can learn to sing some amount of Gregorian chant,” and the church has organized the chants into categories based on their accessibility throughout time.
This, in a manner, helps the chant convey its emotional content more effectively.” Despite the fact that Gregorian chant finally became the official music of the church, its use has experienced times of high popularity throughout history as well as periods of decline, according to McDonnell.
“In many cases, it was simple things like the demise of towns and the fall of Rome,” McDonnell explained.
“Whenever you take the time to invest clergy, to spend resources in the growth of sacred things, the art flourishes once again.
During the early twentieth century, with the introduction of liturgical changes in Pope Pius X’s “Tra Le Sollecitudini” (“Among the Concerns”) in 1903, the chant had another renaissance.
In one particular passage, she explained, “he literally states, out of the blue, that Gregorian chant allows people to engage actively and that this is the people’s music and they should be singing it.” “He has a very specific piece on Gregorian chant,” she continued.
He explained that the theory was that if you are celebrating Mass in the language of the culture, you should be singing in musical styles that are popular in the community.
Although Gregorian chant is no longer the dominant force in parish life as it once was, McDonnell believes that, if history repeats itself, it is in the process of regaining its former prominence and might once again become a mainstay of church music.
What is Gregorian chant?
Gregorian chant, which dates back to the 8th century, is based on St Benedict’s rule, according to which the day is divided into physical and intellectual work, prayer, and repose, with the singing of matins signaling the beginning of the day’s work at 5 a.m. According to Anderson, who spoke to Classic FM about his visit to the abbey, “For a few days, I would get up at 5 a.m. and try to follow their lives and understand why it is that they do it.” “I would wake up at 5 a.m. and try to understand why they do it,” he adds.
- They spend the better part of the day in church, praying and singing together.
- It’s like a continuous tune.
- As an alternative to receiving a crowd on Easter Sunday, the nuns consented to the release of a week’s worth of chants during Holy Week, which is considered the high point of the liturgical year.
- Because of coronavirus regulations, the abbey is not open to the public.
What does the Neumz app do?
The chants, as well as the scores, Latin texts, and translations of the entire Gregorian chant, are all collected at Neumz in a single repository. Anderson said that the inspiration for the project came from his interest with his “mythical aunt,” who went away the morning after her brother’s wedding to Anderson’s father to become a nun at the Jouques monastery in France. His aunt, he explains to Classic FM, was “a fantastic figure to me.” “I grew up hearing these stories about Gregorian chant, about medieval Europe, and about this legendary aunt that I’d never met.” John visited his aunt in Provence for the first time when he was a young man, the summer before he went on to study music at Oxford University.
- “These aren’t the sister’s personal prayers,” he clarifies.
- All of their days are spent in prayer for the salvation of mankind, which includes all of us.
- It differs from western classical music in that it does not tell a tale about a person.
- This is a collective prayer, not a personal prayer.
- Image courtesy of the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Fidélité The nuns agreed to have eight microphones put in the chapel, which Anderson, who also owns a record label, had installed after negotiating with them.
- When the nuns enter the church, they push “record,” and when they depart after each service, they hit “stop,” respectively.
- According to him, “the feeling of time in a monastery, as well as in the chant, is very similar to what we are experiencing at this time.” “Everything is on a regular schedule, and while one day may seem like an eternity, three months may seem like a week.
- ” Every day, the nuns spend half of their time at church, praying and singing.
- As he continues, “it’s like one big song, and it’s a fantastic lesson for everyone all the time.” He also jokes, “The nuns are experts at quarantine.” More information may be found at: There have been 23 instances in which classical music has embraced quarantine in a fantastic way.
- Image courtesy of John Anderson
What are neumes?
“Neumz” is called from the scratch marks that can be found on top of the text in a Gregorian chant score: neumes (a contemporary version of which can be seen in the image above), which literally translate as “breaths.” In theory, neumes indicate whether the pitch is rising or falling in relation to the previous note. It was the method by which humans notated music prior to the invention of modern staves, which occurred hundreds of years later. The majority of individuals, according to Anderson, find that listening to the chanting is a powerful workout because “it’s the perfect music for detaching oneself from a sense of time and pressure.” In his words, “you can find a sense of spirituality or awareness.” “Moreover, in a day when everything is so personal, I believe it will be invigorating for people to witness this ancient custom being practiced uninterruptedly, which will confront the current world,” says the author.
There’s something more at work here than simply you and your worries.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, users will be able to listen to the entire liturgy, which will be sung by the Benedictine sisters from the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Fidélité of Jouques, on their smartphones or tablets using the new applications.
Library : Gregorian Chant: Back to Basics in the Roman Rite
Piunno, John C. (Piunno, John C.)
The use of Gregorian chant in the Catholic Church has been practiced for centuries, but in the few years following Vatican II, it appears to have been phased out completely. It’s hard to think that the Council Fathers intended for Gregorian chant and Latin to be completely eliminated from the liturgy, yet that was their goal. As a result of his work, John Piunno offers ideas on how the Catholic Church might revitalize the use of Gregorian chant as well as educate clergy, liturgy directors, and musicians about the teachings, directives, and sacred heritage of the Church.
The American Organist Magazine is a publication dedicated to the study of organs in the United States.
The American Organist Magazine is a publication that publishes articles on organs and organists in the United States.
- Conserve and gradually restore sacred chant and polyphony, as recommended in the Holy See’s documents on sacred music (Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and also theGeneral Instruction on the Roman Missal), so that the faithful can once again participate more actively in the sacred mysteries
- Restore chant to the parts of the Ordinary of the Mass (i.e., the Kyrie, the Credo, the Sanctus, and the Agnus Dei), because it has always As stated in Sacrosanctum Concilium, No.54, “and to take efforts so that the faithful may also be able to recite or sing together in Latin those sections of the Ordinary of the Mass which concern to them”
Conserve and gradually restore sacred chant and polyphony, as recommended in the Holy See’s documents on sacred music (Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and also theGeneral Instruction on the Roman Missal), so that the faithful may once again take an active part in the sacred mysteries; Restore chant to the parts of the Ordinary of the Mass (i.e., the Kyrie, the Credo, the Sanctus, and the Agnus Dei), because it has “And to take efforts to ensure that the faithful are also able to recite or sing together in Latin those sections of the Ordinary of the Mass that are relevant to them” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, No.54); and