Doherty Gregorian Chant

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The First Notated   Gregorian Chant,
                    Introit: Puer natus est

     Music          Nobis, c.600?

 590 – 1000 CE
Gregorian Chant
  The religious music of the Roman
  Catholic Church was derived from
  existing Jewish and Eastern musical
  Pope Gregory the Great (Pope from
  590-604 CE) is said to be responsible for
  unifying chant into a uniform body of
  Christian music;
  The standardization of the chant and a
  shift from improvising to composing
  music necessitated the development of
  musical notation. Thus, this is the first
  significant body of recorded music
  available to music historians.
                                                  Icon of Blessed Virgin Mary
Sources: Grove, pp 20 – 33; Miller and Cockrell            Byzantine
Gregorian Chant II
Pope Gregory ordered the
   collection and standardization of
   chants from all over Europe:

 Byzantium (now Istanbul) =
  hymns (songs of praise);
 Ambrosian Chant (Milan, after
  St. Ambrose) = antiphonal
  singing (two choirs alternate);
 Gallican chant (from France;
  chant with Northern European
  and Celtic characteristics) ;
 Mozarabic chant (from Spain;
  chant with North African and
  Spanish characteristics).
Characteristics of Gregorian Chant I
 Monophonic (a single
    melody with no harmony)
   Modal (not in a major/minor
    key, but using one of eight
    ancient range of pitches)
   A cappella (Instrumental
    music cannot communicate
    prayer as efficiently as vocal
   Non-metric (uses
    free/flexible rhythms that
    follow the natural rhythms of
    the words)
   Melodically conjunct (the
    melody mostly rises and falls
    by adjacent notes)

       Gregorian Chant, Mass for Christmas Day: Kyrie, c.600
     Characteristics of Greg. Chant II
   Limited range (usually within an octave range, suitable for higher male voices)
   Sung in Latin
   Written in neumatic notation (see below)
   Gregorian chant remains among the most spiritually moving music in western culture.
    However, its pure, floating melody was purely functional: a means of communicating
    prayer, whether it be for the eight Offices (prayers throughout the day), or for the
            Sources: History of Western Music, Miller & Cockrell, Grout “History of Western Music”
The Catholic Mass
The Roman Catholic Mass is a
„recreation‟ of the last supper.
• The Mass has two main parts, the
Proper and the Ordinary.
•The Proper of the mass varies
through the year and includes texts
unique to feasts and holy days.
•The Ordinary of the mass is
invariable and contains the following
five parts:

Kyrie (“Christ have mercy”)
Gloria (“Glory to God in the Highest”)   Ibid.
Credo (“We believe in one God”)
Sanctus (“Holy, Holy, Holy”)
Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”)                        Nave of Chartres Cathedral
Function &
Types of Chant

The main function of chant is to enhance the meaning of the church liturgy.
Music was set to the text in the following ways:
Syllabic (each syllable gets one note)     Greg. Chant, Sequence for Easter, Victimae, c.600?

Neumatic (each syllable gets a couple of notes)          Gregorian Chant, Introit: Puer natus est
                                                          Nobis, c.600?
Melismatic (some syllables get many notes) Gregorian Chant, Mass for Christmas Day: Kyrie, c.600?
Psalmodic (many syllables are sung to one note) Greg, Chant, Psalm 109: Dixit dominus, c.600?

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