What is Gregorian Chant? History, Characteristics and Composers
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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.
It is a amonophonic type of music, which means that there is just one melodic line throughout the piece. A single melody is followed in unison by the entire choir, while polyphonic harmonies are absent. 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 such as the Vatican City. The call and answer liturgy of preaching, which is used in both Catholic and Protestant ceremonies today, is based on Gregorian chant.
They are chanting Gregorian chant when the priest or reverend leads the congregation in singing a line of the liturgy and the congregation responds in song. In addition, current solfege singing is rooted from historical Gregorian chanting practices.
Form and Texture
It is important to note that Gregorian chant is a amonophonic type of music, which means that there is just one melodic line. Because there are no polyphonic harmonies, all of the singers sing in unison to a 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 disturbing at times. Today, Gregorian chant is used in the call and answer ritual of sermons in both Catholic and Protestant ceremonies.
In addition, current solfege singing is derived from old Gregorian chant.
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)
Most of the most famous medieval composers of Gregorian chant were males, and the majority of them held positions of authority in the clergy. These composers had an impact on subsequent Renaissance composers, and several of their pieces are still popular among classical music enthusiasts today.
2. Fulbert of Chartres (960-1028)
Famous medieval composers of Gregorian chant were generally males who, on the whole, held ministerial posts in the clergy or were themselves ministers. It is possible that some of these composers inspired subsequent Renaissance composers, and several of their pieces are still famous among classical music fans today.
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)
Bingen, Hildegard of Bingen, was a medieval nun who lived between the years of 1230 and 1250. Her name was Hildegard von Bingen, and she lived around the early second millennium. She was a philosopher, mystic, writer, and composer. As a result of her miraculous deeds and immense devotion, Mary was canonized by the Catholic Church in 2012. In a spiritually induced trance-like state of divine joy, the prophetess wrote extensive works that are still read today.
Many of her works are considered classics of literature. However, St. Hildegard is not just the most recognized and most often recorded medieval musician of the contemporary era, but she was also acknowledged as the only known female composer of her day.
Hildegard von Bingen was a saint who lived in the 13th century. Her name was Hildegard von Bingen, and she lived around the early second millennium. She was a philosopher, mystic, author, and composer. The Catholic Church canonized Mary in 2012 as a result of the miracles she accomplished and her remarkable dedication. Many of the prophetess’s writings, produced in a spiritually induced trance-like state of divine ecstasy, are still popular today. Even though she was the only known female composer of her day, St.
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”
Hildegard von Bingen’s 82-song Gregorian operaOrdo Virtutumbebecame the world’s first morality drama, and her music was eventually influenced by numerous Renaissance musicians, including Johann Sebastian Bach.
3. “Planctus David super Saul et lonatha”
Hildegard von Bingen’s 82-song Gregorian operaOrdo Virtutumbebecame the world’s first morality drama, and her music was eventually influenced by numerous Renaissance musicians.
Hildegard von Bingen’s 82-song Gregorian operaOrdo Virtutumbebecame the world’s first morality drama, and her music eventually influenced numerous Renaissance musicians.
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
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.
History of Classical Music – Eras
|This is the first period where we can begin to be fairly certain as to how a great deal of the music which has survived actually sounded. The earliest written secular music dates from the 12th century troubadours (in the form of virelais, estampies, ballades, etc.), but most notated manuscripts emanate from places of learning usually connected with the church, and therefore inevitably have a religious basis.Gregorian chant and plainsong which are monodic (i.e. written as one musical line) gradually developed during the 11th to 13th centuries into organum (i.e. two or three lines moving simultaneously but independently, therefore almost inadvertently representing the beginnings of harmony). Organum was, however, initially rather stifled by rigid rules governing melody and rhythm, which led ultimately to the so-called Ars Nova period of the 14th century, principally represented by the composers de Vitry,Machaut, andLandini.Recommended Recording:|
- Adorate Deum: Gregorian Chant from the Proper of the Mass by the Nova Schola Gregoriana (Naxos 8.550711)
- Adorate Deum: Gregorian Chant from the Proper of the Mass by the Nova Schola Gregoriana (Naxos 8.550711)
See the Medieval Period Catalogue List for further information. When it comes to what is truly seen as “harmony” and “polyphony,” the fifteenth century saw a significant rise in flexibility, particularly in terms of what is actually perceived as “polyphony” (the simultaneous movement of two or three interrelated parts). Composers (despite the fact that they were barely recognized as such) were still almost entirely devoted to choral writing, and the few instrumental compositions that have survived frequently give the impression (in many cases entirely accurately) of being vocal works disguised as instrumental compositions, but without the words.
Dunstable, Ockeghem, Despres, and Dufay were the four most significant composers of the fifteenth century, according to the historians.
After more than 300 years of dominance (which still sounds a little ancient to some modern ears), composers began to organize their work into major and minor scales, resulting in the strong impression that each piece has a distinct tonal center or “key.” A capella (unaccompanied) masses, motets, hymns, psalms, and madrigals poured forth from the pens of the great artists of the time during this time period, which has been described as “a golden moment for choral music.” In addition, instrumental music, particularly keyboard music in the form of fantasias, variations, and dancing movements, came into its own for the first time during this period (galliards, pavanes etc.).
Doland, Tallis, Byrd, Gibbons, Frescobaldi, Palestrina, Victoria, Lassus, Alonso Lobo, Duarte Lobo, Cardoso, and Gesualdo are among the composers who deserve special mention.
- The following works by Byrd: Mass for Four Voices, Mass for Five Voices, and Infelix ego Gesualdo’s Sacred Music for Five Voices (Naxos 8.550574) is available on CD (Complete) The Lamentations are recorded on Naxos 8.550742
- The music is by Tallis, White, Palestrina, Lassus, and de Brito. Lassus: Missa super entre you
- Infelix ego
- Missa imitationem moduli susanne un tour Naxos 8.550572
- Lassus: Lobo: Missa pro defunctis / Naxos 8.550842
- Naxos 8.550842
- Naxos 8.550842 Cardoso’s Missa pro defunctisNaxos 8.550682
- Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli
- And Palestrina’s Missa aeterna Christi munera are among the works performed. The Naxos 8.550573 and Palestrina’s Missa hodie Christus natus est, as well as Hodie Christus natus est and Stabat mater, are available. Lassus: Missa bell’ amfitrit’ altera (Naxos 8.550836)
- Tallis: Mass for Four Voices (Naxos 8.550836)
- Motets (Naxos 8.550836)
- Naxos 8.550576
- Victoria: Missa O magnum mysterium
- Missa O quam gloriosum / Missa O magnum mysterium
- Missa O quam gloriosum A. Lobo: Versa est in luctumNaxos 8.550575
- Versa est in luctum
See the Renaissance Period Catalogue List for further information. A variety of musical forms, including opera (which included the overture, prologue, aria, recitative, and chorus), the concerto, sonata, and contemporary cantata were all developed during the Baroque period, laying the groundwork for the next 300 or so years of artistic expression. The Renaissance’s relatively soft-grained viol string family was progressively supplanted by the bolder violin, viola, and cello string families, the keyboard was developed, and significant developments were achieved in all instrumental groups throughout this period.
The dominance of choral music had waned, and as composers increasingly turned their attention to writing idiomatic instrumental works for ensembles of increasing color and variety, ‘classical’ music (as opposed to ‘popular’ music) began to work its way into the very fabric of society, whether it was performed outdoors at dinner parties or special functions (e.g., Handel’s Water Music), or as a spectacle in the form of opera.
For household purposes, every affluent woman would have a spinet to play, and at mealtimes, the large and wealthy homes would hire musicians to perform what was generally known in Germany asTafelmusik, of which Telemann was possibly the best famous composer.
Nonetheless, the most popular composers of the period, and indeed those who seem to define by their very names the sound of Baroque music at its most colourful and sophisticated, are Johann Sebastian Bach, Hans Christian Andersen, Telemann, Rameau, François Couperin, Domenico Scarlatti, and Vincenzo Vivaldi, all of whom were at the height of their creative powers during the first half of the 18th century See the Baroque Period Catalogue List for further information.
Despite the fact that the Baroque period saw the development of a number of musical genres that would have a lasting impact on composition for years to come, it was the Classical period that saw the introduction of a form that has dominated instrumental composition until the present day: the sonata form, which is still in use today.
If the Baroque period is distinguished by its textural complexity, the Classical period is distinguished by a near-obsession with the clarity of its structural structure.
They belonged to a period that has been variously described as rococo or galante, with the former implying a gradual move away from the artifice of the High Baroque and the latter an entirely novel style based on symmetry and sensibility that came to dominate the music of the latter half of the 18th century through the work of two composers of extraordinary significance: Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart See the Classical Period Catalogue List for further information.
It became more apparent as the Classical period neared its apex (particularly in the late works of Beethoven and Schoenberg) that the volume and intensity of emotion that composers were attempting went beyond what a Classically-sized/designed orchestra/piano could realistically accommodate As a result, the next period in musical history saw composers seeking to strike a balance between the expressive and the formal aspects of music using a range of tactics that would have left composers of any earlier era completely befuddled.
- It was the search for originality and individuality of expression that began here as the musical map began to expand, with nationalist schools beginning to emerge.
- A virtuoso’s paradise, the Romantic era was a time when even the most fiendishly difficult pieces of music could be performed with careless ease, and even the most trivial topic in a work could be extended at considerable length for the benefit of the adoring audience.
- Music was sometimes accompanied with a ‘programme’ or story-line, which was sometimes tragic or depressing in tone, and which occasionally represented natural phenomena like as rivers or galloping horses.
- A special mention should be made of two Nationalists who were active in the early Romantic period: the Russian Glinka (of Russlan and Ludmilla renown) and the Bohemian Smetana (composer of the famous symphonic poem Vltava, often known as ‘The Moldau’).
- See the Romantic Period Catalogue List for further information.
- In this period, the extraordinary quick creation of national schools, as well as the operatic domination of Verdi and Wagner, were the highlights of the period.
It was the fragmentation of this fundamental style that brought Romanticism to an end, with composers joining’schools’ of composition, each with a style that was fashionable for a brief period of time. Recommendations for recordings:
- Albéniz: Iberia Falla: Three-Cornered Hat
- El Amor Brujo
- La Vida Breve
- Three-Cornered Hat
- La Vida Breve Naxos 8.550174
- Balakirev: IslameyMussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (piano version)Naxos 8.550044
- Bizet: CarmenNaxos 8.550174
- Bizet: Carmen Borodin: Symphonies Nos. 1-3 (Naxos 8.550238
- Brahms: Hungarian Dances (Naxos 8.550238
- Borodin: Symphonies Nos. 1-3 (Naxos 8.550238
- Borodin: Symphonies Nos (Complete) 8.550110
- Brahms: Symphony No. 1
- Tragic Overture
- Academic Festival Overture (Naxos)
- Naxos 8.550110 Naxos 8.557428
- Brahms: Symphony No. 2
- Hungarian DancesNaxos 8.557429
- Brahms: Symphony No. 3
- Haydn VariationsNaxos 8.557428
- Hungarian DancesNaxos 8.557428
- Brahms: Symphony No. 3 Naxos 8.557430
- Brahms: Symphony No. 4
- Hungarian Dances Nos. 2, 4-9
- Naxos 8.557430
- Naxos 8.557430 (orch. Breiner) Naxos 8.570233
- Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4
- Haydn Variations
- Academic Festival Overture
- Serenades Nos. 12-14
- Naxos 8.570233
- Naxos 8.570233 Brahms: Violin Concerto (Naxos 8.504001, 4 CDs)
- Naxos 8.504001, 4 CDs Debussy’s Suite Bergamasque
- 2 Arabesques
- La plus que lenteNaxos 8.550253
- Delibes’ Ballet Music (Coppélia, Sylvia, La Source)
- Kassya – Trepak
- And Delibes’ Ballet Music (Coppélia, Sylvia, La Source)Naxos 8.550195
- Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 ‘ In a Summer Garden (Naxos 8.550080)
- Brigg Fair (Delius)
- Naxos 8.550080 Enigma Variations
- Pomp and Circumstance Marches Nos. 14
- Salut d’amourNaxos 8.550229
- Slavonic Dances
- Elgar: Enigma Variations
- Pomp and Circumstance Marches Nos (Complete) Symphony No. 9 ‘New World’ (Naxos 8.550143)
- Symphonic Variations (Naxos 8.550143)
- Symphony No. 9 ‘New World’ (Naxos 8.550143)
- Symphony No. 9 ‘New World’ (Naxos 8.550143). 8.550271
- Franck: Symphony No. 1
- Prelude, Choral and Fugue (Naxos 8.550271) Naxos 8.550155
- Grieg: Peer Gynt, Suites Nos. 1 and 2 / Sigurd Jorsalfar / Bergliot
- Grieg: Peer Gynt, Suites Nos. 1 and 2 / Sigurd Jorsalfar / Bergliot Naxos 8.550193
- Janácek: Sinfonietta
- Taras Bulba
- Lachian DancesNaxos 8.550193
- Holst: The Planets
- Suite de BalletNaxos 8.550193
- Lachian DancesNaxos 8.5501 Music by Naxos (8.550411), Kodály (Peacock Variations, Dances of Galánta and Marosszék), and other composers Naxos 8.550520
- Lalo: Symphonie Espagnole (with works by Saint-Saens, Sarasate, and Ravel)Naxos 8.550494
- Leoncavallo: Pagliacci (with works by Saint-Saens, Sarasate, and Ravel)Naxos 8.550520
- Lalo: Symphonie Espagnole (with works by Saint-Saens, Sarasate Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D minor (Naxos 8.660021)
- Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana is available on axos 8.550120.
- Ravel: Boléro
- Daphnis et Chloé
- Ma mère l’oye
- Naxos 8.550173
- Respighi: Pines of Rome
- Fountains of Rome
- Roman Festivals
- Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2
- Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
- Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2 Rimsky-Sheherazade Korsakov’s and Tsar Saltan Suite are available on Naxos 8.550539. Naxos 8.550726
- Saint-Sans: Carnival of the Animals (combined with Prokoviev: Peter and the Wolf
- Britten: Young Person’s Guide – see below)
- Prokoviev: Peter and the Wolf
- Britten: Young Person’s Guide Satie: Piano Works (Naxos 8.550499
- Satie: Piano Works) (Selection) Naxos 8.550305
- Sibelius: Finlandia
- Valse Triste
- Swan of Tuonela
- Karelia Suite
- Naxos 8.550305
- Naxos 8.550305 Naxos 8.550103
- Johann Strauss II: Famous Waltzes, Polkas, Marches, and Overtures Vol. 2
- Naxos 8.550103
- Johann Strauss II: Famous Waltzes, Polkas, Marches, and Overtures In addition to Richard Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra, Salome’s Dance, and Der Rosenkavalier, Naxos 8.550337 includes: (Waltzes) The following works by Tchaikovsky are available on Naxos: Capriccio Italien
- 1812 Overture
- Romeo and Juliet Overture
- Marche Slave. Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker (Naxos 8.550500)
- Naxos 8.550500 (Highlights) Wagner’s orchestral passages from the operas are available on Naxos 8.550515. Naxos 8.550136
- Naxos 8.550136
See the Romantic Period Catalogue List for further information. The era following the First World War is unquestionably the most perplexing of all, as composers have been drawn in a variety of seemingly conflicting and opposing directions at the same time. When it came to the Austrian composers, Webern and Lehar, their predicament was exemplified perfectly by their work during the inter-war years: the former was experimenting with the highly compressed and advanced form known as’serial structure,’ while Lehar was still indulged in an operetta style that would not have seemed out of place more than half a century earlier.
Although they are not exhaustive, the following recordings provide an excellent introduction that is well worth your time to listen to: Recommendations for recordings:
- Antill: Corroboree
- Outback Overture, among other things NAD 8.570241
- Britten: The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
- Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf
- Saint-Saens: Carnival of the Animals
- Naxos 8.570241
- Copland’s Rodeo, Billy the Kid, Appalachian Spring, and Fanfare for the Common Man are available on Naxos 8.550499 and Naxos 8.550499, respectively. Naxos 8.550282
- Gershwin: Piano Concerto
- Rhapsody in Blue
- An American in ParisNaxos 8.550295
- Orff: Carmina BuranaNaxos 8.550282
- An American in ParisNaxo Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet is available on Naxos 8.550196. (Highlights) Shostakovich’s Symphonies Nos. 59 and 60 (Naxos 8.550380)
- Stravinsky: Jeu des cartes
- Rite of Spring (1947 version)Naxos 8.550427
- Rite of Spring (1947 version)Naxos 8.550472
Gregorian Chant, A Beginner’s Guide
The music of the Middle Ages is often classified into two primary categories: secular music and religious music. Anyone who has delved into the complicated world of medieval music has almost certainly come across religious chants, which are also known as Gregorian Chants in some circles. While it may appear that all chants are essentially the same (particularly to those who are unfamiliar with medieval liturgical music), there is a broad range of genres, subjects, and purposes to be found within the genre.
Medieval Church Music
It is nearly hard to comprehend what Gregorian chants are without at least a passing familiarity with the Catholic Church. rather than attempt to describe theology and millennia of religious ceremonies and traditions, I will just clarify some basic terms that will be useful in the future…. Remember that the definitions and descriptions in this section are specific to Western Christianity (Roman Catholicism) and may not have the same meaning in the Eastern Orthodox Church (or vice versa). The Cantate Domino is an illustration for Psalm 97, composed in 1380.
- The Mass/Holy Eucharist and the Divine Office are the two most important services offered by the Roman Catholic Church.
- The overall structure of these services remains rather consistent, although the precise content varies based on the time of year and the season.
- Observances of religious festivals, which are religious celebrations or commemorations of events and/or persons, include Festivities are a time for feasting.
- The first is referred to as Proper of the Time, Temporale, or Feasts of the Lord in some circles.
- The second feast cycle is known as theProper of the Saintssorthe Sanctorale, and it is devoted to the lives of specific saints and their sanctified properties.
- A number of feasts are held on the same day each year.
- Mass is the most important liturgy in the Roman Catholic Church, and it is held every Sunday.
During the Mass, there are musical and nonmusical portions, some of which are taken from the Proper and others which are taken from the Ordinary.
These eight sets of prayers and services (referred to as “canonical hours”) are performed on a daily basis and are distinct and separate from the celebration of the Mass.
Hymns, psalms, canticles, responsories, and antiphons are some of the musical genres that are employed in the Office/Liturgy of the Hours.
Even though the melodies may alter according on the preferences of the local clergy, the text remain consistent.
There are no changes to these songs and chants because they are permanent aspects of the Mass and do not vary with the seasons.
In the Mass and the Office services, the Proper are the texts, chants, and music that vary from one feast to the next, and they are made up of the Proper.
There are several forms of music in the Proper that are used during Mass, including the introit, the Gradual, the Alleluia, the Offertory, and the Communion Song. Tropes, sequences, and processionals are some of the other types of chants that are utilized for special events.
Are you confused? Keep reading!
As a result, the usual Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Bendictus, and Agnus Dei would be included in the ordinary Mass. (Ordinary). It would also be necessary to conduct a feast-specific Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Offering, and Communion depending on whatever day of the liturgical calendar it was and which feast cycle it was during (Proper). As part of the Divine Office, specific prayers, canticles, psalms, and hymns would be performed throughout the day, distinct from Mass, as part of the daily routine.
- Psalmodic and non-psalmodic religious/liturgical music may be distinguished in the Middle Ages (with traditions extending into the Modern era) and can be divided into two categories: psalmodic and non-psalmodic.
- They are as follows: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei, Introit, Gradual, Offertory, Communion, Alleluia, Canticle, Antiphon, Responsory, Psalm, or Hymn, Introit, Gradual, Offertory, Communion, Alleluia, Canticle, Antiphon, Responsory, Psalm, or Hymn.
- Some forms of chants have been in use from the beginning of Christian chant, while others were introduced into the liturgy over time.
- For example, the Kyrie (a prayer from the Ordinary of the Mass) can be performed in a variety of styles.
- “Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison,” the choir sings.
- Every piece of religious Medieval music that fits under the umbrella term “Gregorian chant” is often referred to as such by the general public.
- Remember that the texts themselves have significant religious importance as you learn more about Gregorian chants and how they came to be canonized as you progress through your studies.
Not to mention the fact that there is an enormous range of chants, and that many liturgical melodies of the Middle Ages are not genuinely chants in the traditional sense. As you go more into the realm of Gregorian chant, you’ll come to appreciate how distinctive and lovely they truly are.
Gregorian Chant, a Brief History
In religious rituals, early Christians were already practicing unaccompanied singing and chanting even before Christianity was officially authorized in the 4th century AD. Plainchant and Plainsong are two terms used to describe these chants. As Christianity expanded across the Roman Empire, a number of musical traditions and plainchant repertories arose on their own, independently of one another. Mozarabic (Roman Spain), the Gallicanchants of Gaul (France), Ambrosianchant (Milan, Italy), Beneventan (Italy), Anglo-Saxon and subsequently theSarum (England), Old Roman, and Gregoryian were among the Western traditions that were known to scholars (Rome).
- Other liturgical variants, such as the Celtic rite in Ireland and the Slavonic rite in Scandinavia, existed in other parts of the world.
- There is a great deal of controversy about Pope Gregory’s role in the establishment and development of the Gregorian tradition in Rome.
- Regardless of who originated this liturgical practice, it gained widespread acceptance throughout the empire in a very short period of time.
- Charlemagne, in particular, was a staunch proponent of the abolition of all non-Roman customs and the replacement of such practices with Roman ceremonies.
- A papal edict had effectively outlawed the use of Gallican and Slavonic languages by the 9th century.
- Local customs were eventually displaced by Gregorian calendars, or they had evolved to the point where they could co-exist with Roman rituals, at least to some extent.
- Ambrosian chant, along with Gregorian chant, is the only kind of chant that has been officially sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church.
What makes a Gregorian chant a Gregorian chant?
Early Christians used solo singing and chanting in religious ceremonies even before Christianity was officially authorized in the 4th century. Plainchant and Plainsong are terms used to describe these types of chants. As Christianity expanded across the Roman Empire, a diverse range of musical traditions and plainchant repertories arose on their own, independently of one another. Mozarabic (Roman Spain), the Gallicanchants of Gaul (France), Ambrosianchant (Milan, Italy), Beneventan (Italy), Anglo-Saxon and subsequently theSarum (England), Old Roman, and Gregoryian were among the Western traditions that were known to us (Rome).
- Other liturgical variants, such as the Celtic rite in Ireland and the Slavonic rite in Scandinavia, existed in other parts of the world..
- Regarding Pope Gregory’s role in the establishment and formation of the Gregorian tradition in Rome, there is a great deal of disagreement.
- No matter who was responsible for creating this liturgical practice, it gained widespread acceptance across the empire in a very short period of time.
- Especially influential was Charlemagne, who advocated for the abolition of all non-Roman customs and the adoption of Roman ceremonies in their place.
- A papal edict in the 9th century outlawed the use of Gallican and Slavonic in all their forms.
- Local customs were eventually displaced by Gregorian calendars, or they had evolved to the point where they could coexist peacefully with Roman practices, at least to some extent.
Beyond Gregorian chant, Ambrosian is the only type of chant that has been sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church on a formal basis. Both of these words are still in common usage.
Sources and Further Reading
Because I am not a Catholic, I relied on information obtained from the following sources to guarantee that the material was accurate:
- Breviary Hymns, Fides Quaerens Intellectum, Chantblog, and GIA Publications, Inc. are some of the resources available. Music for the Church
- National Association of Pastoral Musicians
- Schola Cantorum Bogotensis
- Gregorian Chant Resources and History: Music Outfitters
- Gregorian Chant Resources and History: Encyclopaedia Britannica
- Mark Everist is a writer who lives in the United Kingdom. The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Music is a reference work on medieval music. Randel, Don Michael, et al., eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2011. The Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and Musicians is a concise reference work on music and musicians. The President and Fellows of Harvard College, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 1999. Print
The main image for this piece is an illuminated manuscript from a 14th-century choir book, which is worth mentioning in its own right. The picture is a carving of St. Lawrence in the letter “C,” which is seen in the letter “C.” The Introit to the Mass for the Feast of St. Lawrence begins with this opening syllable.
Medieval Church Music: Gregorian Chant & Plainchant – Video & Lesson Transcript
The arts were associated with the liturgy during the Middle Ages (500-1450), according to the church. They were powerful and wealthy, and they were in charge of the majority of choices, including dictating the job and paying musicians.
The church established a set of standards that everyone must adhere to. This music, which was termed plainchant, had a hollow tone to it. It was only slightly different from one location to the next when it came to unaccompanied church music (sang in unison). Despite this, holy music was the most popular, and it is said that the music regulations were delivered from above.
According to legend, the standardizing components It came from a dove who spoke in hushed tones to Pope Gregory. This may seem absurd, but it is the only record available, and as a result, the probable myth has endured for years. We’ll never know where it originates from in its true form. As a result, the tale continues to exist as status quo, with the belief that he is the one who established the cans and can’ts, which is why we refer to it as Gregorian Chant. Plainchant is a style of song that is sung in unison.
There was no harmony or instrumental accompaniment; they all sang the same song.
It was derived from other ancient religions, and perhaps simply a few inflections were borrowed from them.
Long, free-flowing rhythms were created from such a little quotation.
Organum and Interval Definitions
As time went on, the music became monotonous. One melody has missing notes, but they wanted it to be complete. Their hopes and ambitions came fulfilled in the year 900. Rather than simply one note, they might have two notes instead. The organum was composed of two melodic lines. Songs are sung at parallel intervals that have been properly defined The distance between two pitches on a football team’s field. You just read the notes as if they were a graph on a computer screen. It is possible to calculate the interval by counting the number of lines and spaces, which includes both notes and empty spaces.
The clergy conferred at three different intervals: the fourth, fifth, and octave were all deserving of the title.
It makes no difference whether you begin with a space or a line.
Thefifthis is another one that’s regularly encountered.
Both of the pitches lie on lines or spaces, which makes it easier to distinguish the fifth from the other pitches.
Finally, the octave is the longest span that has been seen. In between, there is a pitch range of eight different pitches. It’s a great choice for men’s and boys’ choruses. This wonderful sound is produced by an octave.