Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form
of monophonic, unaccompanied sacred song of the Roman Catholic Church.
Gregorian chant developed mainly in western and central Europe during
the 9th and 10th centuries, with later additions and redactions.
Although popular legend credits Pope St. Gregory the Great with
inventing Gregorian chant, scholars believe that it arose from a later
Carolingian synthesis of
Roman chant and Gallican chant.
Gregorian chants were organized initially into four, then eight, and
finally 12 modes. Typical melodic features include a characteristic
ambitus, and also characteristic intervallic patterns relative to a
referential mode final, incipits and cadences, the use of reciting
tones at a particular distance from the final, around which the other
notes of the melody revolve, and a vocabulary of musical motifs woven
together through a process called centonization to create families of
related chants. The scale patterns are organized against a background
pattern formed of conjunct and disjunct tetrachords, producing a
larger pitch system called the gamut. The chants can be sung by using
six-note patterns called hexachords. Gregorian melodies are
traditionally written using neumes, an early form of musical notation
from which the modern four-line and five-line staff developed.
Multi-voice elaborations of Gregorian chant, known as organum, were an
early stage in the development of Western polyphony.
Gregorian chant was traditionally sung by choirs of men and boys in
churches, or by men and women of religious orders in their chapels. It
is the music of the Roman Rite, performed in the Mass and the monastic
Gregorian chant supplanted or marginalized the other
indigenous plainchant traditions of the Christian West to become the
official music of the Christian liturgy,
Ambrosian chant still
continues in use in Milan, and there are musicologists exploring both
that and the
Mozarabic chant of Christian Spain. Although Gregorian
chant is no longer obligatory, the
Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church still
officially considers it the music most suitable for worship. During
the 20th century,
Gregorian chant underwent a musicological and
1.1 Development of earlier plainchant
1.2 Origins of mature plainchant
1.3 Dissemination and hegemony
1.4 Early sources and later revisions
2 Musical form
2.1 Melodic types
2.3 Musical idiom
3.3 Melodic restitution
4 Liturgical functions
4.1 Proper chants of the Mass
4.2 Ordinary chants of the Mass
4.3 Chants of the Office
5.1 Medieval and Renaissance music
5.2 20th century
5.2.1 Popular culture
6 See also
9 External links
Development of earlier plainchant
Singing has been part of the
Christian liturgy since the earliest days
of the Church. Until the mid-1990s, it was widely accepted that the
psalmody of ancient Jewish worship significantly influenced and
contributed to early Christian ritual and chant. This view is no
longer generally accepted by scholars, due to analysis that shows that
most early Christian hymns did not have
Psalms for texts, and that the
Psalms were not sung in synagogues for centuries after the Destruction
of the Second Temple in AD 70. However, early Christian rites
did incorporate elements of Jewish worship that survived in later
Canonical hours have their roots in Jewish prayer
hours. "Amen" and "alleluia" come from Hebrew, and the threefold
"sanctus" derives from the threefold "kadosh" of the Kedushah.
New Testament mentions singing hymns during the Last Supper: "When
they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives" Matthew
26.30. Other ancient witnesses such as Pope Clement I, Tertullian, St.
Athanasius, and Egeria confirm the practice, although in poetic or
obscure ways that shed little light on how music sounded during this
period. The 3rd-century Greek "Oxyrhynchus hymn" survived with
musical notation, but the connection between this hymn and the
plainchant tradition is uncertain.
Musical elements that would later be used in the
Roman Rite began to
appear in the 3rd century. The Apostolic Tradition, attributed to the
theologian Hippolytus, attests the singing of
Hallel psalms with
Alleluia as the refrain in early Christian agape feasts. Chants of
the Office, sung during the canonical hours, have their roots in the
early 4th century, when desert monks following St. Anthony introduced
the practice of continuous psalmody, singing the complete cycle of 150
psalms each week. Around 375, antiphonal psalmody became popular in
the Christian East; in 386, St.
Ambrose introduced this practice to
the West. In the fifth century, a singing school, the Schola Cantorum,
was founded at Rome to provide training in church musicianship.
Scholars are still debating how plainchant developed during the 5th
through the 9th centuries, as information from this period is scarce.
Around 410, St. Augustine described the responsorial singing of a
Gradual psalm at Mass. At c. 520,
Benedict of Nursia
Benedict of Nursia established what
is called the rule of St. Benedict, in which the protocol of the
Divine Office for monastic use was laid down. Around 678, Roman chant
was taught at York. Distinctive regional traditions of Western
plainchant arose during this period, notably in the British Isles
(Celtic chant), Spain (Mozarabic), Gaul (Gallican), and Italy (Old
Roman, Ambrosian and Beneventan). These traditions may have evolved
from a hypothetical year-round repertory of 5th-century plainchant
after the western
Roman Empire collapsed.
John the Deacon, biographer (c. 872) of Pope Gregory I, modestly
claimed that the saint "compiled a patchwork antiphonary",
unsurprisingly, given his considerable work with liturgical
development. He reorganized the Schola Cantorum and established a more
uniform standard in church services, gathering chants from among the
regional traditions as widely as he could manage. Of those, he
retained what he could, revised where necessary, and assigned
particular chants to the various services. According to Donald Jay
Grout, his goal was to organize the bodies of chants from diverse
traditions into a uniform and orderly whole for use by the entire
western region of the Church. His renowned love for music was
recorded only 34 years after his death; the epitaph of Honorius
testified that comparison to Gregory was already considered the
highest praise for a music-loving pope. While later legends
magnified his real achievements, these significant steps may account
for why his name came to be attached to Gregorian chant.
Origins of mature plainchant
A dove representing the
Holy Spirit sitting on Pope Gregory I's
shoulder symbolizes Divine Inspiration
The Gregorian repertory was further systematized for use in the Roman
Rite, and scholars weigh the relative influences of Roman and
Carolingian practices upon the development of plainchant. The late 8th
century saw a steadily increasing influence of the Carolingian
monarchs over the popes. During a visit to Gaul in 752–753, Pope
Stephen II celebrated Mass using Roman chant. According to
Charlemagne, his father Pepin abolished the local Gallican Rites in
favor of the Roman use, in order to strengthen ties with Rome.
Thirty years later (785–786), at Charlemagne's request, Pope Adrian
I sent a papal sacramentary with Roman chants to the Carolingian
court. According to James McKinnon, over a brief period in the 8th
century, a project overseen by
Chrodegang of Metz
Chrodegang of Metz in the favorable
atmosphere of the
Carolingian monarchs, also compiled the core liturgy
of the Roman Mass and promoted its use in Francia and throughout
Willi Apel and Robert Snow assert a scholarly consensus that Gregorian
chant developed around 750 from a synthesis of Roman and Gallican
chants, and was commissioned by the
Carolingian rulers in France.
Andreas Pfisterer and Peter Jeffery have shown that older melodic
Roman chant are clear in the synthesized chant
repertory. There were other developments as well. Chants were
modified, influenced by local styles and Gallican chant, and fitted
into the theory of the ancient Greek octoechos system of modes in a
manner that created what later came to be known as the western system
of the eight church modes. The Metz project also invented an
innovative musical notation, using freeform neumes to show the shape
of a remembered melody. This notation was further developed over
time, culminating in the introduction of staff lines (attributed to
Guido d'Arezzo) in the early 11th century, what we know today as
plainchant notation. The whole body of Frankish-Roman Carolingian
chant, augmented with new chants to complete the liturgical year,
coalesced into a single body of chant that was called "Gregorian."
The changes made in the new system of chants were so significant that
they have led some scholars to speculate that it was named in honor of
the contemporary Pope Gregory II. Nevertheless, the lore
Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I was sufficient to culminate in his
portrayal as the actual author of Gregorian Chant. He was often
depicted as receiving the dictation of plainchant from a dove
representing the Holy Spirit, thus giving
Gregorian chant the stamp of
being divinely inspired. Scholars agree that the melodic content of
Chant did not exist in that form in Gregory I's day. In
addition, it is known definitively that the familiar neumatic system
for notating plainchant had not been established in his time.
Nevertheless, Gregory's authorship is popularly accepted by some as
fact to this day.
Dissemination and hegemony
Gregorian chant appeared in a remarkably uniform state across Europe
within a short time. Charlemagne, once elevated to Holy Roman Emperor,
Gregorian chant throughout his empire to
consolidate religious and secular power, requiring the clergy to use
the new repertory on pain of death. From English and German
Gregorian chant spread north to Scandinavia,
Finland. In 885,
Pope Stephen V banned the Slavonic liturgy,
leading to the ascendancy of
Gregorian chant in Eastern Catholic lands
including Poland, Moravia, Slovakia, and Austria.
The other plainchant repertories of the Christian West faced severe
competition from the new Gregorian chant.
Charlemagne continued his
father's policy of favoring the
Roman Rite over the local Gallican
traditions. By the 9th century the Gallican rite and chant had
effectively been eliminated, although not without local
Gregorian chant of the
Sarum Rite displaced Celtic
chant. Gregorian coexisted with
Beneventan chant for over a century
Beneventan chant was abolished by papal decree (1058).
Mozarabic chant survived the influx of the
Visigoths and Moors, but
not the Roman-backed prelates newly installed in Spain during the
Reconquista. Restricted to a handful of dedicated chapels, modern
Mozarabic chant is highly Gregorianized and bears no musical
resemblance to its original form.
Ambrosian chant alone survived to
the present day, preserved in
Milan due to the musical reputation and
ecclesiastical authority of St. Ambrose.
Gregorian chant eventually replaced the local chant tradition of Rome
itself, which is now known as Old Roman chant. In the 10th century,
virtually no musical manuscripts were being notated in Italy. Instead,
Roman Popes imported
Gregorian chant from (German) Holy Roman Emperors
during the 10th and 11th centuries. For example, the
Credo was added
Roman Rite at the behest of the Emperor Henry II in 1014.
Reinforced by the legend of Pope Gregory,
Gregorian chant was taken to
be the authentic, original chant of Rome, a misconception that
continues to this day. By the 12th and 13th centuries, Gregorian chant
had supplanted or marginalized all the other Western plainchant
Later sources of these other chant traditions show an increasing
Gregorian influence, such as occasional efforts to categorize their
chants into the Gregorian modes. Similarly, the Gregorian repertory
incorporated elements of these lost plainchant traditions, which can
be identified by careful stylistic and historical analysis. For
Good Friday are believed to be a remnant of
the Gallican repertory.
Early sources and later revisions
Two plainchants from the Mass Proper, written in adiastematic neumes,
from St. Gallen, MS 359
Universi qui te expectant,
Gradual for the Mass (first Sunday of
This chant corresponds to the second one on the manuscript folio above
beneath the large rubric Responsorium Graduale; by Schola Antiqua of
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The first extant sources with musical notation were written around 930
(Graduale Laon). Before this, plainchant had been transmitted orally.
Most scholars of
Gregorian chant agree that the development of music
notation assisted the dissemination of chant across Europe. The
earlier notated manuscripts are primarily from
Regensburg in Germany,
St. Gall in Switzerland,
Laon and St. Martial in France.
Gregorian chant has in its long history been subjected to a series of
redactions to bring it up to changing contemporary tastes and
practice. The more recent redaction undertaken in the Benedictine
Abbey of St. Pierre, Solesmes, has turned into a huge undertaking to
restore the allegedly corrupted chant to a hypothetical "original"
Gregorian chant was revised to conform to the theoretical
structure of the modes. In 1562–63, the
Council of Trent
Council of Trent banned most
sequences. Guidette's Directorium chori, published in 1582, and the
Editio medicea, published in 1614, drastically revised what was
perceived as corrupt and flawed "barbarism" by making the chants
conform to contemporary aesthetic standards. In 1811, the French
musicologist Alexandre-Étienne Choron, as part of a conservative
backlash following the liberal Catholic orders' inefficacy during the
French Revolution, called for returning to the "purer" Gregorian chant
of Rome over French corruptions.
In the late 19th century, early liturgical and musical manuscripts
were unearthed and edited. Earlier, Dom
Prosper Guéranger revived the
monastic tradition in Solesmes. Re-establishing the Divine Office was
among his priorities, but no proper chantbooks existed. Many monks
were sent out to libraries throughout Europe to find relevant Chant
manuscripts. In 1871, however, the old Medicea edition was reprinted
(Pustet, Regensburg) which
Pope Pius IX
Pope Pius IX declared the only official
version. In their firm belief that they were on the right way,
Solesmes increased its efforts. In 1889, after decades of research,
the monks of Solesmes released the first book in a planned series, the
Paléographie Musicale. The incentive of its publication was to
demonstrate the corruption of the 'Medicea' by presenting photographed
notations originating from a great variety of manuscripts of one
single chant, which Solesmes called forth as witnesses to assert their
The monks of Solesmes brought in their heaviest artillery in this
battle, as indeed the academically sound 'Paleo' was intended to be a
war-tank, meant to abolish once and for all the corrupted Pustet
edition. On the evidence of congruence throughout various manuscripts
(which were duly published in facsimile editions with ample editorial
introductions) Solesmes was able to work out a practical
reconstruction. This reconstructed chant was academically praised, but
rejected by Rome until 1903, when
Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII died. His successor,
Pope Pius X, promptly accepted the Solesmes chant – now compiled as
Liber Usualis – as authoritative. In 1904, the Vatican edition
of the Solesmes chant was commissioned. Serious academic debates
arose, primarily owing to stylistic liberties taken by the Solesmes
editors to impose their controversial interpretation of rhythm. The
Solesmes editions insert phrasing marks and note-lengthening episema
and mora marks not found in the original sources.
Conversely, they omit significative letters found in the original
sources, which give instructions for rhythm and articulation such as
speeding up or slowing down. These editorial practices has placed the
historical authenticity of the Solesmes interpretation in doubt.
Ever since restoration of
Chant was taken up in Solesmes, there have
been lengthy discussions of exactly what course was to be taken. Some
favored a strict academic rigour and wanted to postpone publications,
while others concentrated on practical matters and wanted to supplant
the corrupted tradition as soon as possible. Roughly a century later,
there still exists a breach between a strict musicological approach
and the practical needs of church choirs. Thus the performance
tradition officially promulgated since the onset of the Solesmes
restoration is substantially at odds with musicological evidence.
In his motu proprio Tra le sollecitudini, Pius X mandated the use of
Gregorian chant, encouraging the faithful to sing the Ordinary of the
Mass, although he reserved the singing of the Propers for males. While
this custom is maintained in traditionalist Catholic communities (most
of which allow all-female scholas as well, though), the Catholic
Church no longer persists with this ban.
Vatican II officially allowed
worshipers to substitute other music, particularly sacred polyphony,
in place of Gregorian chant, although it did reaffirm that Gregorian
chant was still the official music of the
Roman Rite of the Catholic
Church, and the music most suitable for worship in the Roman
Gregorian chant is, as 'chant' implies, vocal music. The text, the
phrases, words and eventually the syllables, can be sung in various
ways. The most straightforward is recitation on the same tone, which
is called "syllabic" as each syllable is sung to a single tone.
Likewise, simple chants are often syllabic throughout with only a few
instances where two or more notes are sung on one syllable. "Neumatic"
chants are more embellished and ligatures, a connected group of notes,
written as a single compound neume, abound in the text. Melismatic
chants are the most ornate chants in which elaborate melodies are sung
on long sustained vowels as in the Alleluia, ranging from five or six
notes per syllable to over sixty in the more prolix melismata.
Epistle for the Solemn Mass of
Example of liturgical recitative in Gregorian chant
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Gregorian chants fall into two broad categories of melody: recitatives
and free melodies. The simplest kind of melody is the liturgical
Recitative melodies are dominated by a single pitch,
called the reciting tone. Other pitches appear in melodic formulae for
incipits, partial cadences, and full cadences. These chants are
primarily syllabic. For example, the
Easter consists of
127 syllables sung to 131 pitches, with 108 of these pitches being the
reciting note A and the other 23 pitches flexing down to G.
Liturgical recitatives are commonly found in the accentus chants of
the liturgy, such as the intonations of the Collect, Epistle, and
Gospel during the Mass, and in the direct psalmody of the Office.
Psalmodic chants, which intone psalms, include both recitatives and
free melodies. Psalmodic chants include direct psalmody, antiphonal
chants, and responsorial chants. In direct psalmody, psalm verses
are sung without refrains to simple, formulaic tones. Most psalmodic
chants are antiphonal and responsorial, sung to free melodies of
Antiphonary with Gregorian chants
Introit for Week XXXIV of Ordinary Time
Example of antiphonal psalmody in Gregorian chant
De profundis, tract for the Requiem Mass
Example of responsorial psalmody in Gregorian chant
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Antiphonal chants such as the Introit, and Communion originally
referred to chants in which two choirs sang in alternation, one choir
singing verses of a psalm, the other singing a refrain called an
antiphon. Over time, the verses were reduced in number, usually to
just one psalm verse and the doxology, or even omitted entirely.
Antiphonal chants reflect their ancient origins as elaborate
recitatives through the reciting tones in their melodies. Ordinary
chants, such as the
Kyrie and Gloria, are not considered antiphonal
chants, although they are often performed in antiphonal style.
Responsorial chants such as the Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, and the
Office Responsories originally consisted of a refrain called a respond
sung by a choir, alternating with psalm verses sung by a soloist.
Responsorial chants are often composed of an amalgamation of various
stock musical phrases, pieced together in a practice called
centonization. Tracts are melismatic settings of psalm verses and use
frequent recurring cadences and they are strongly centonized.
Gregorian chant evolved to fulfill various functions in the Roman
Catholic liturgy. Broadly speaking, liturgical recitatives are used
for texts intoned by deacons or priests. Antiphonal chants accompany
liturgical actions: the entrance of the officiant, the collection of
offerings, and the distribution of sanctified bread and wine.
Responsorial chants expand on readings and lessons.
The non-psalmodic chants, including the Ordinary of the Mass,
sequences, and hymns, were originally intended for congregational
singing. The structure of their texts largely defines their
musical style. In sequences, the same melodic phrase is repeated in
each couplet. The strophic texts of hymns use the same syllabic melody
for each stanza.
Main article: Musical mode
Early plainchant, like much of Western music, is believed to have been
distinguished by the use of the diatonic scale. Modal theory, which
postdates the composition of the core chant repertory, arises from a
synthesis of two very different traditions: the speculative tradition
of numerical ratios and species inherited from ancient Greece and a
second tradition rooted in the practical art of cantus. The earliest
writings that deal with both theory and practice include the
Enchiriadis group of treatises, which circulated in the late ninth
century and possibly have their roots in an earlier, oral tradition.
In contrast to the ancient Greek system of tetrachords (a collection
of four continuous notes) that descend by two tones and a semitone,
the Enchiriadis writings base their tone-system on a tetrachord that
corresponds to the four finals of chant, D, E, F, and G. The disjunct
tetrachords in the Enchiriadis system have been the subject of much
speculation, because they do not correspond to the diatonic framework
that became the standard Medieval scale (for example, there is a high
F#, a note not recognized by later Medieval writers). A diatonic scale
with a chromatically alterable b/b-flat was first described by
Hucbald, who adopted the tetrachord of the finals (D, E, F, G) and
constructed the rest of the system following the model of the Greek
Greater and Lesser Perfect Systems. These were the first steps in
forging a theoretical tradition that corresponded to chant.
Guido d'Arezzo revolutionized Western music with the
development of the gamut, in which pitches in the singing range were
organized into overlapping hexachords. Hexachords could be built on C
(the natural hexachord, C-D-E^F-G-A), F (the soft hexachord, using a
B-flat, F-G-A^Bb-C-D), or G (the hard hexachord, using a B-natural,
G-A-B^C-D-E). The B-flat was an integral part of the system of
hexachords rather than an accidental. The use of notes outside of this
collection was described as musica ficta.
Gregorian chant was categorized into eight modes, influenced by the
eightfold division of Byzantine chants called the oktoechos. Each
mode is distinguished by its final, dominant, and ambitus. The final
is the ending note, which is usually an important note in the overall
structure of the melody. The dominant is a secondary pitch that
usually serves as a reciting tone in the melody. Ambitus refers to the
range of pitches used in the melody. Melodies whose final is in the
middle of the ambitus, or which have only a limited ambitus, are
categorized as plagal, while melodies whose final is in the lower end
of the ambitus and have a range of over five or six notes are
categorized as authentic. Although corresponding plagal and authentic
modes have the same final, they have different dominants. The
existent pseudo-Greek names of the modes, rarely used in medieval
times, derive from a misunderstanding of the Ancient Greek modes; the
prefix "hypo-" (under, Gr.) indicates a plagal mode, where the melody
moves below the final. In contemporary Latin manuscripts the modes are
simply called Protus authentus /plagalis, Deuterus, Tritus and
Tetrardus: the 1st mode, authentic or plagal, the 2nd mode etc. In the
Roman Chantbooks the modes are indicated by Roman numerals.
Modes 1 and 2 are the authentic and plagal modes ending on D,
sometimes called Dorian and Hypodorian.
Modes 3 and 4 are the authentic and plagal modes ending on E,
sometimes called Phrygian and Hypophrygian.
Modes 5 and 6 are the authentic and plagal modes ending on F,
sometimes called Lydian and Hypolydian.
Modes 7 and 8 are the authentic and plagal modes ending on G,
sometimes called Mixolydian and Hypomixolydian.
Although the modes with melodies ending on A, B, and C are sometimes
referred to as Aeolian, Locrian, and Ionian, these are not considered
distinct modes and are treated as transpositions of whichever mode
uses the same set of hexachords. The actual pitch of the Gregorian
chant is not fixed, so the piece can be sung in whichever range is
Certain classes of
Gregorian chant have a separate musical formula for
each mode, allowing one section of the chant to transition smoothly
into the next section, such as the psalm verses that are sung between
the repetition of antiphons, or the Gloria Patri. Thus we find models
for the recitation of psalmverses,
Alleluia and Gloria Patri for all
Gregorian chant fits neatly into Guido's hexachords or into
the system of eight modes. For example, there are chants —
especially from German sources – whose neumes suggest a warbling of
pitches between the notes E and F, outside the hexachord system, or in
other words, employing a form of chromatism. Early Gregorian
chant, like Ambrosian and Old Roman chant, whose melodies are most
closely related to Gregorian, did not use the modal system. The
great need for a system of organizing chants lies in the need to link
antiphons with standard tones, as in for example, the psalmody at the
Office. Using Psalm Tone i with an antiphon in Mode 1 makes for a
smooth transition between the end of the antiphon and the intonation
of the tone, and the ending of the tone can then be chosen to provide
a smooth transition back to the antiphon. As the modal system gained
acceptance, Gregorian chants were edited to conform to the modes,
especially during 12th-century
Cistercian reforms. Finals were
altered, melodic ranges reduced, melismata trimmed, B-flats
eliminated, and repeated words removed. Despite these attempts to
impose modal consistency, some chants — notably Communions — defy
simple modal assignment. For example, in four medieval manuscripts,
the Communion Circuibo was transcribed using a different mode in
Several features besides modality contribute to the musical idiom of
Gregorian chant, giving it a distinctive musical flavor. Melodic
motion is primarily stepwise. Skips of a third are common, and larger
skips far more common than in other plainchant repertories such as
Ambrosian chant or Beneventan chant. Gregorian melodies are more
likely to traverse a seventh than a full octave, so that melodies
rarely travel from D up to the D an octave higher, but often travel
from D to the C a seventh higher, using such patterns as
D-F-G-A-C. Gregorian melodies often explore chains of pitches,
such as F-A-C, around which the other notes of the chant
gravitate. Within each mode, certain incipits and cadences are
preferred, which the modal theory alone does not explain. Chants often
display complex internal structures that combine and repeat musical
subphrases. This occurs notably in the Offertories; in chants with
shorter, repeating texts such as the
Kyrie and Agnus Dei; and in
longer chants with clear textual divisions such as the Great
Responsories, the Gloria, and the Credo.
Chants sometimes fall into melodically related groups. The musical
phrases centonized to create Graduals and Tracts follow a musical
"grammar" of sorts. Certain phrases are used only at the beginnings of
chants, or only at the end, or only in certain combinations, creating
musical families of chants such as the
Iustus ut palma family of
Graduals. Several Introits in mode 3, including Loquetur Dominus
above, exhibit melodic similarities. Mode III (E authentic) chants
have C as a dominant, so C is the expected reciting tone. These mode
III Introits, however, use both G and C as reciting tones, and often
begin with a decorated leap from G to C to establish this
tonality. Similar examples exist throughout the repertory.
Offertory Iubilate deo universa terra in unheightened neume
The earliest notated sources of
Gregorian chant (written ca. 950) used
symbols called neumes (Gr. sign, of the hand) to indicate
tone-movements and relative duration within each syllable. A sort of
musical stenography that seems to focus on gestures and tone-movements
but not the specific pitches of individual notes, nor the relative
starting pitches of each neume. Given the fact that
Chant was learned
in an oral tradition in which the texts and melodies were sung from
memory, this was obviously not necessary. The neumatic manuscripts
display great sophistication and precision in notation and a wealth of
graphic signs to indicate the musical gesture and proper pronunciation
of the text. Scholars postulate that this practice may have been
derived from cheironomic hand-gestures, the ekphonetic notation of
Byzantine chant, punctuation marks, or diacritical accents. Later
adaptations and innovations included the use of a dry-scratched line
or an inked line or two lines, marked C or F showing the relative
pitches between neumes. Consistent relative heightening first
developed in the Aquitaine region, particularly at St. Martial de
Limoges, in the first half of the eleventh century. Many
German-speaking areas, however, continued to use unpitched neumes into
the twelfth century. Additional symbols developed, such as the custos,
placed at the end of a system to show the next pitch. Other symbols
indicated changes in articulation, duration, or tempo, such as a
letter "t" to indicate a tenuto. Another form of early notation used a
system of letters corresponding to different pitches, much as Shaker
music is notated.
Liber usualis in square notation (excerpt from the
By the 13th century, the neumes of
Gregorian chant were usually
written in square notation on a four-line staff with a clef, as in the
Graduale Aboense pictured above. In square notation, small groups of
ascending notes on a syllable are shown as stacked squares, read from
bottom to top, while descending notes are written with diamonds read
from left to right. When a syllable has a large number of notes, a
series of smaller such groups of neumes are written in succession,
read from left to right. The oriscus, quilisma, and liquescent neumes
indicate special vocal treatments, that have been largely neglected
due to uncertainty as to how to sing them. Since the 1970s, with the
influential insights of Dom Eugène Cardine (see below under
'rhythm'), ornamental neumes have received more attention from both
researchers and performers. B-flat is indicated by a "b-mollum" (Lat.
soft), a rounded undercaste 'b' placed to the left of the entire neume
in which the note occurs, as shown in the "Kyrie" to the right. When
necessary, a "b-durum" (Lat. hard), written squarely, indicates
B-natural and serves to cancel the b-mollum. This system of square
notation is standard in modern chantbooks.
Gregorian chant was originally used for singing the Office (by male
and female religious) and for singing the parts of the Mass pertaining
to the lay faithful (male and female), the celebrant (priest, always
male) and the choir (composed of male ordained clergy, except in
convents). Outside the larger cities, the number of available clergy
dropped, and lay men started singing these parts. The choir was
considered an official liturgical duty reserved to clergy, so women
were not allowed to sing in the Schola Cantorum or other choirs except
in convents where women were permitted to sing the Office and the
parts of the Mass pertaining to the choir as a function of their
Chant was normally sung in unison. Later innovations included tropes,
which is a new text sung to the same melodic phrases in a melismatic
chant (repeating an entire Alleluia-melody on a new text for instance,
or repeating a full phrase with a new text that comments on the
previously sung text) and various forms of organum, (improvised)
harmonic embellishment of chant melodies focusing on octaves, fifths,
fourths, and, later, thirds. Neither tropes nor organum, however,
belong to the chant repertory proper. The main exception to this is
the sequence, whose origins lay in troping the extended melisma of
Alleluia chants known as the jubilus, but the sequences, like the
tropes, were later officially suppressed. The
Council of Trent
Council of Trent struck
sequences from the Gregorian corpus, except those for Easter,
Pentecost, Corpus Christi and All Souls' Day.
Not much is known about the particular vocal stylings or performance
practices used for
Gregorian chant in the Middle Ages. On occasion,
the clergy was urged to have their singers perform with more restraint
and piety. This suggests that virtuosic performances occurred,
contrary to the modern stereotype of
Gregorian chant as slow-moving
mood music. This tension between musicality and piety goes far back;
Gregory the Great himself criticized the practice of promoting clerics
based on their charming singing rather than their preaching.
However, Odo of Cluny, a renowned monastic reformer, praised the
intellectual and musical virtuosity to be found in chant:
For in these [Offertories and Communions] there are the most varied
kinds of ascent, descent, repeat..., delight for the cognoscenti,
difficulty for the beginners, and an admirable organization... that
widely differs from other chants; they are not so much made according
to the rules of music... but rather evince the authority and
validity... of music.
True antiphonal performance by two alternating choruses still occurs,
as in certain German monasteries. However, antiphonal chants are
generally performed in responsorial style by a solo cantor alternating
with a chorus. This practice appears to have begun in the Middle
Ages. Another medieval innovation had the solo cantor sing the
opening words of responsorial chants, with the full chorus finishing
the end of the opening phrase. This innovation allowed the soloist to
fix the pitch of the chant for the chorus and to cue the choral
Given the oral teaching tradition of Gregorian chant, modern
reconstruction of intended rhythm from the written notation of
Gregorian chant has always been a source of debate among modern
scholars. To complicate matters further, many ornamental neumes used
in the earliest manuscripts pose difficulties on the interpretation of
rhythm. Certain neumes such as the pressus, pes quassus, strophic
neumes may indicate repeated notes, lengthening by repercussion, in
some cases with added ornaments. By the 13th century, with the
widespread use of square notation, most chant was sung with an
approximately equal duration allotted to each note, although
Moravia cites exceptions in which certain notes, such as the final
notes of a chant, are lengthened.
While the standard repertory of Gregorian
Chant was partly being
supplanted with new forms of polyphony, the earlier melo-rhythmic
refinements of monophonic chant seem to fall into disuse. Later
redactions such as the Editio medicaea of 1614 rewrote chant so that
melismata, with their melodic accent, fell on accented syllables.
This aesthetic held sway until the re-examination of chant in the late
19th century by such scholars as Wagner, Pothier, and Mocquereau, who
fell into two camps.
One school of thought, including Wagner, Jammers, and Lipphardt,
advocated imposing rhythmic meters on chants, although they disagreed
on how that should be done. An opposing interpretation, represented by
Pothier and Mocquereau, supported a free rhythm of equal note values,
although some notes are lengthened for textual emphasis or musical
effect. The modern Solesmes editions of
Gregorian chant follow this
interpretation. Mocquereau divided melodies into two- and three-note
phrases, each beginning with an ictus, akin to a beat, notated in
chantbooks as a small vertical mark. These basic melodic units
combined into larger phrases through a complex system expressed by
cheironomic hand-gestures. This approach prevailed during the
twentieth century, propagated by Justine Ward's program of music
education for children, until the liturgical role of chant was
diminished after the liturgical reforms of Paul VI, and new
scholarship "essentially discredited" Mocquereau's rhythmic
Common modern practice favors performing
Gregorian chant with no beat
or regular metric accent, largely for aesthetic reasons. The text
determines the accent while the melodic contour determines the
phrasing. The note lengthenings recommended by the Solesmes school
remain influential, though not prescriptive.
Dom Eugene Cardine, (1905–1988) monk from Solesmes, published his
'Semiologie Gregorienne' in 1970 in which he clearly explains the
musical significance of the neumes of the early chant manuscripts.
Cardine shows the great diversity of neumes and graphic variations of
the basic shape of a particular neume, which can not be expressed in
the square notation. This variety in notation must have served a
practical purpose and therefore a musical significance. Nine years
later, the Graduale Triplex was published, in which the Roman Gradual,
containing all the chants for Mass in a Year's cycle, appeared with
the neumes of the two most important manuscripts copied under and over
the 4-line staff of the square notation. The Graduale Triplex made
widely accessible the original notation of Sankt Gallen and Laon
(compiled after 930 AD) in a single chantbook and was a huge step
forward. Dom Cardine had many students who have each in their own way
continued their semiological studies, some of whom also started
experimenting in applying the newly understood principles in
The studies of Cardine and his students (Godehard Joppich, Luigi
Augustoni, Johannes B. Göschl, Marie-Noël Colette, Rupert Fischer,
Alexander M. Schweitzer to name a few) have
clearly demonstrated that rhythm in
Gregorian chant as notated in the
10th century rhythmic manuscripts (notably Skt. Gallen and Laon)
manifest such rhythmic diversity and melodic – rhythmic
ornamentations for which there is hardly a living performance
tradition in the Western world. Contemporary groups that endeavour to
sing according to the manuscript traditions have evolved after 1975.
Some practising researchers favour a closer look at non Western
(liturgical) traditions, in such cultures where the tradition of modal
monophony was never abandoned.
Another group with different views are the mensuralists or the
proportionalists, who maintain that rhythm has to be interpreted
proportionately, where shorts are exactly half the longs. This school
of interpretation claims the support of historical authorities such as
St Augustine, Remigius, Guido and Aribo. This view is advocated by
John Blackley and his 'Schola Antiqua New York'.
Recent research in the Netherlands by Dr. Dirk van Kampen has
indicated that the authentic rhythm of
Gregorian chant in the 10th
century includes both proportional elements and elements that are in
agreement with semiology. Starting with the expectation that
the rhythm of
Gregorian chant (and thus the duration of the individual
notes) anyway adds to the expressivity of the sacred Latin texts,
several word-related variables were studied for their relationship
with several neume-related variables, exploring these relationships in
a sample of introit chants using such statistical methods as
correlational analysis and multiple regression analysis.
Beside the length of the syllables (measured in tenths of seconds),
each text syllable was evaluated in terms of its position within the
word to which it belongs, defining such variables as "the syllable has
or has not the main accent", "the syllable is or is not at the end of
a word", etc., and in terms of the particular sounds produced (for
instance, the syllable contains the vowel "i"). The various neume
elements were evaluated by attaching different duration values to
them, both in terms of semiological propositions (nuanced durations
according to the manner of neume writing in Chris Hakkennes’
Graduale Lagal), and in terms of fixed duration values that were
based on mensuralistic notions, however with ratios between short and
long notes ranging from 1 : 1, via 1 : 1.2, 1 : 1.4,
etc. to 1 : 3. To distinguish short and long notes, tables were
consulted that were established by Van Kampen in an unpublished
comparative study regarding the neume notations according to St Gallen
Laon codices. With some exceptions, these tables confirm the short
vs. long distinctions in Cardine’s 'Semiologie Gregorienne'.
The lengths of the neumes were given values by adding up the duration
values for the separate neume elements, each time following a
particular hypothesis concerning the rhythm of Gregoriant chant. Both
the syllable lengths and the neume lengths were also expressed in
relation to the total duration of the syllables, resp. neumes for a
word (contextual variables). Correlating the various word and neume
variables, substantial correlations were found for the word variables
'accented syllable' and 'contextual syllable duration'. Moreover, it
could be established that the multiple correlation (R) between the two
types of variables reaches its maximum (R is about 0.80) if the
neumatic elements are evaluated according to the following rules of
duration: (a) neume elements that represent short notes in neumes
consisting of at least two notes have duration values of 1 time; (b)
neume elements that represent long notes in neumes consisting of at
least two notes have duration values of 2 times; (c) neumes consisting
of only one note are characterized by flexible duration values (with
an average value of 2 times), which take over the duration values of
the syllables to match.
It is interesting that the distinction between the first two rules and
the latter rule can also be found in early treatises on music,
introducing the terms metrum and rhythmus. As it could also be
demonstrated by Van Kampen that melodic peaks often coincide with the
word accent (see also), the conclusion seems warranted that the
Gregorian melodies enhance the expressiveness of the Latin words by
mimicking to some extent both the accentuation of the sacred words
(pitch differences between neumes) and the relative duration of the
word syllables (by paying attention to well-defined length differences
between the individual notes of a neume).
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Recent developments involve an intensifying of the semiological
approach according to Dom Cardine, which also gave a new impetus to
the research into melodic variants in various manuscripts of chant. On
the basis of this ongoing research it has become obvious that the
Graduale and other chantbooks contain many melodic errors, some very
consistently, (the mis-interpretation of third and eighth mode)
necessitating a new edition of the Graduale according to
state-of-the-art melodic restitutions. Since the 1970 a melodic
restitution group of AISCGre (International Society for the Study of
Gregorian Chant) has worked on an "editio magis critica" as requested
by the 2. Vatican Council Constitution "Sacrosanctum Concilium". As a
response to this need and following the Holy See's invitation to edit
a more critical edition, in 2011 the first volume "De Dominicis et
Festis" of the "Graduale Novum Editio Magis Critica Iuxta SC 117"was
published by Libreria Editrice Vatican and ConBrio
In this approach the so-called earlier 'rhythmic' manuscripts of
unheightened neumes that carry a wealth of melo-rhythmic information
but not of exact pitches, are compared in large tables of comparison
with relevant later 'melodic' manuscripts' that are written on lines
or use double alphabetic and neumes notation over the text, but as a
rule have less rhythmic refinement compared to the earlier group.
However, the comparison between the two groups has made it possible to
correct what are obvious mistakes. In other instances it is not so
easy to find a consensus. In 1984 Chris Hakkennes published his own
transcription of the Graduale Triplex. He devised a new graphic
adaptation of square notation 'simplex' in which he integrated the
rhythmic indications of the two most relevant sources, that of Laon
and Skt. Gallen.
Referring to these manuscripts, he called his own transcription
Gradual Lagal. Furthermore, while making the transcription, he
cross-checked with the melodic manuscripts to correct modal errors or
other melodic errors found in the Graduale Romanum. His intention was
to provide a corrected melody in rhythmic notation but above all –
he was also a choirmaster – suited for practical use, therefore a
simplex, integrated notation. Although fully admitting the importance
of Hakkennes' melodic revisions, the rhythmical solution suggested in
the Graduale Lagal was actually found by Van Kampen (see above) to be
rather modestly related to the text of the chant.
Gregorian chant is sung in the Office during the canonical hours and
in the liturgy of the Mass. Texts known as accentus are intoned by
bishops, priests, and deacons, mostly on a single reciting tone with
simple melodic formulae at certain places in each sentence. More
complex chants are sung by trained soloists and choirs. The most
complete collection of chants is the Liber usualis, which contains the
chants for the
Tridentine Mass and the most commonly used Office
chants. Outside of monasteries, the more compact
Graduale Romanum is
Proper chants of the Mass
The Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Tract, Sequence,
Communion chants are part of the Proper of the Mass. "Proprium Missae"
in Latin refers to the chants of the Mass that have their proper
individual texts for each Sunday throughout the annual cycle, as
opposed to 'Ordinarium Missae' which have fixed texts (but various
melodies) (Kyrie, Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei).
Introits cover the procession of the officiants. Introits are
antiphonal chants, typically consisting of an antiphon, a psalm verse,
a repeat of the antiphon, an intonation of the Gloria Patri Doxology,
and a final repeat of the antiphon. Reciting tones often dominate
their melodic structures.
Graduals are responsorial chants that follow the reading of the
Epistle. Graduals usually result from centonization; stock musical
phrases are assembled like a patchwork to create the full melody of
the chant, creating families of musically related melodies. Graduals
are accompanied by an elaborate Verse, so that it actually consists in
two different parts, A B. Often the first part is sung again, creating
a 'rondeau' A B A. At least the verse, if not the complete gradual, is
for the solo cantor and are in elaborate, ornate style with long,
Alleluia is known for the jubilus, an extended joyful melisma on
the last vowel of 'Alleluia'. The
Alleluia is also in two parts, the
alleluia proper and the psalmverse, by which the
Alleluia V. Pascha nostrum). The last melisma of the verse
is the same as the jubilus attached to the Alleluia. Alleluias are not
sung during penitential times, such as Lent. Instead, a Tract is
chanted, usually with texts from the Psalms. Tracts, like Graduals,
are highly centonized.
Sequences are sung poems based on couplets. Although many sequences
are not part of the liturgy and thus not part of the Gregorian
repertory proper, Gregorian sequences include such well-known chants
Victimae paschali laudes and Veni Sancte Spiritus. According to
Notker Balbulus, an early sequence writer, their origins lie in the
addition of words to the long melismata of the jubilus of Alleluia
Offertories are sung during the offering of Eucharistic bread and
wine. Offertories once had highly prolix melodies in their verses, but
the use of verses in Gregorian Offertories disappeared around the 12th
century. These verses however, are among the most ornate and
elaborated in the whole chant repertoire. Offertories are in form
closest to Responsories, which are likewise accompanied by at least
one Verse and the opening sections of both Off. and Resp. are partly
repeated after the verse(s). This last section is therefore called the
'repetenda' and is in performance the last melodic line of the
Communions are sung during the distribution of the Eucharist. In
presentation the Communio is similar to the Introitus, an antiphon
with a series of psalm verses. Communion melodies are often tonally
ambiguous and do not fit into a single musical mode which has led to
the same communio being classed in different modes in different
manuscripts or editions.
Ordinary chants of the Mass
The Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus and
Agnus Dei use the
same text in every service of the Mass. Because they follow the
regular invariable "order" of the Mass, these chants are called
Kyrie consists of a threefold repetition of "
("Lord, have mercy"), a threefold repetition of "Christe eleison"
("Christ have mercy"), followed by another threefold repetition of
Kyrie eleison." In older chants, "
Kyrie eleison imas" ("Lord, have
mercy on us") can be found. The
Kyrie is distinguished by its use of
the Greek language instead of Latin. Because of the textual
repetition, various musical repeat structures occur in these chants.
Kyrie ad. lib. VI as transmitted in a Cambrai
manuscript, uses the form ABA CDC EFE', with shifts in tessitura
between sections. The E' section, on the final "
Kyrie eleison", itself
has an aa'b structure, contributing to the sense of climax.
Kyrie 55, Vatican ad lib. VI, from Cambrai, Bibl. Mun. 61, fo.155v, as
transcribed by David Hiley
Example of musical repeat structures in Gregorian chant
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The Gloria recites the Greater Doxology, and the
Credo intones the
Nicene Creed. Because of the length of these texts, these chants often
break into musical subsections corresponding with textual breaks.
Credo was the last Ordinary chant to be added to the Mass,
there are relatively few
Credo melodies in the Gregorian corpus.
Sanctus and the Agnus Dei, like the Kyrie, also contain repeated
texts, which their musical structures often exploit.
Ite missa est
Ite missa est and the Benedicamus Domino, which
conclude the Mass, belong to the Ordinary. They have their own
Gregorian melodies, but because they are short and simple, and have
rarely been the subject of later musical composition, they are often
omitted in discussion.
Plainchant notation for the solemn setting of the Salve Regina; a
simple setting is used more commonly.
Chants of the Office
Gregorian chant is sung in the canonical hours of the monastic Office,
primarily in antiphons used to sing the Psalms, in the Great
Responsories of Matins, and the Short Responsories of the Lesser Hours
and Compline. The psalm antiphons of the Office tend to be short and
simple, especially compared to the complex Great Responsories.
At the close of the Office, one of four Marian antiphons is sung.
These songs, Alma Redemptoris Mater (see top of article), Ave Regina
caelorum, Regina caeli laetare, and Salve, Regina, are relatively late
chants, dating to the 11th century, and considerably more complex than
most Office antiphons.
Willi Apel has described these four songs as
"among the most beautiful creations of the late Middle Ages."
Alma Redemptoris Mater
Marian antiphon sung at
Compline and Lauds between the First Sunday of
Advent and Candlemas
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Medieval and Renaissance music
Gregorian chant had a significant impact on the development of
medieval and Renaissance music. Modern staff notation developed
directly from Gregorian neumes. The square notation that had been
devised for plainchant was borrowed and adapted for other kinds of
music. Certain groupings of neumes were used to indicate repeating
rhythms called rhythmic modes. Rounded noteheads increasingly replaced
the older squares and lozenges in the 15th and 16th centuries,
although chantbooks conservatively maintained the square notation. By
the 16th century, the fifth line added to the musical staff had become
standard. The bass clef and the flat, natural, and sharp accidentals
derived directly from Gregorian notation.
Gregorian melodies provided musical material and served as models for
tropes and liturgical dramas. Vernacular hymns such as "Christ ist
erstanden" and "Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist" adapted original
Gregorian melodies to translated texts. Secular tunes such as the
popular Renaissance "In Nomine" were based on Gregorian melodies.
Beginning with the improvised harmonizations of
Gregorian chant known
as organum, Gregorian chants became a driving force in medieval and
Renaissance polyphony. Often, a
Gregorian chant (sometimes in modified
form) would be used as a cantus firmus, so that the consecutive notes
of the chant determined the harmonic progression. The Marian
antiphons, especially Alma Redemptoris Mater, were frequently arranged
by Renaissance composers. The use of chant as a cantus firmus was the
predominant practice until the
Baroque period, when the stronger
harmonic progressions made possible by an independent bass line became
Catholic Church later allowed polyphonic arrangements to replace
Gregorian chant of the Ordinary of the Mass. This is why the Mass
as a compositional form, as set by composers like Palestrina or
Mozart, features a
Kyrie but not an Introit. The Propers may also be
replaced by choral settings on certain solemn occasions. Among the
composers who most frequently wrote polyphonic settings of the Propers
William Byrd and Tomás Luis de Victoria. These polyphonic
arrangements usually incorporate elements of the original chant.
The renewed interest in early music in the late 19th century left its
mark on 20th-century music. Gregorian influences in classical music
include the choral setting of four chants in Quatre Motets sur des
thèmes grégoriens by Maurice Duruflé, the carols of Peter Maxwell
Davies, and the choral work of Arvo Pärt.
Gregorian chant is vaguely
imitated into other genres, such as London Boys' Requiem and some
other dance compositions, Enigma's Sadeness (Part I), the chant
interpretation of pop and rock by the German band Gregorian, the
new-age project Era, the techno project E Nomine, many of the songs by
American power/thrash metal band Iced Earth, and the work of black
metal band Deathspell Omega. The modal melodies of chant provide
unusual sounds to ears attuned to modern scales. It has also been used
in The Omen's main theme, Ave Satani.
The monks of Solesmes, discussed above for their revival of Gregorian
chant, issued a number of recordings. However, when
Gregorian chant as
plainchant experienced a popular resurgence during the new-age and
world-music movements of the 1980s and '90s, the iconic album was
somewhat unexpectedly Chant, recorded by the
Benedictine monks of
Santo Domingo de Silos, Spain. This was marketed as music to inspire
timeless calm and serenity. In 2008, the
Cistercian Monks of Austrian
Heiligenkreuz Abbey released the CD
Chant – Music for Paradise,
which became the best-selling album of the Austrian pop charts and
peaked #7 of the UK charts. In the US, the album was released under
Chant – Music for the Soul and peaked at #4 on the
Billboard classical charts.
It became conventional wisdom that listening to Gregorian chant
increased the production of alpha waves in the brain, reinforcing the
popular reputation of
Gregorian chant as tranquilizing music.
Gregorian chant has often been parodied for its supposed monotony,
both before and after the release of Chant. Famous references include
the flagellant monks in
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Monty Python and the Holy Grail intoning "Pie
Jesu Domine dona eis requiem" (Good Lord Jesus, grant them rest). "The
Gregorian Chant" was the title of a British television play in the
Billie Whitelaw as a prostitute with unexpectedly
Gregorian chant has been also used in Vision of
Death Note anime series, Disney's The Hunchback of
Notre Dame, the theme of the Temple of Time in the Legend of Zelda
series and the Halo series of videogames, although it had been used in
such a number of productions and movies that this is only a very
selective list of examples.
Semiology (Gregorian Chant)
^ Development of notation styles is discussed at Dolmetsch online,
accessed 4 July 2006
^ a b The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Second Vatican Council;
Pope Benedict XVI: Catholic World News 28 June 2006 both
accessed 5 July 2006
^ David Hiley, Western Plainchant pp. 484–5.
^ Apel, Gregorian
Chant p. 34.
^ Apel, Gregorian
Chant p. 74.
^ Hiley, Western Plainchant pp. 484–7 and James McKinnon, Antiquity
and the Middle Ages p. 72.
^ McKinnon, James W.: "Christian Church, music of the early", Grove
Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed 11 July 2006),
^ Hiley, Western Plainchant p. 486.
^ Grout, A History of Western Music, pp. 28
^ James McKinnon, Antiquity and the Middle Ages p. 320.
^ a b Bewerunge, Heinrich (1913). "Gregorian chant". In
Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton
^ Grout, A History of Western Music, pp. 28–9
^ Grout, A History of Western Music, p. 30
^ Apel, Gregorian
Chant p. 79.
^ Kenneth, Levy; et al. "Plainchant, §2: History to the 10th
century". Grove Music Online. Oxford University Press.
^ Grier J. (2003) Ademar de Chabannes,
Carolingian Musical Practices,
and Nota Romana. Journal of the American Musicological Society. 56
^ McKinnon, Antiquity and the Middle Ages p. 114.
^ Taruskin, Richard The Oxford History of Western Music, Volume I –
Music from the earliest notations to the 16th century Chapter 1, the
curtain goes up, page 6. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)
^ Wilson, Music of the Middle Ages p. 13.
^ David Wilson, Music of the Middle Ages p. 10.
^ Hiley, Western Plainchant p. 604.
^ Apel, Gregorian
Chant p. 80.
^ Richard Hoppin, Medieval Music p. 47.
^ Carl Parrish, "A Treasury of Early Music" pp. 8–9
^ Apel, Gregorian
Chant pp. 288–289.
^ Hiley, Western Plainchant p. 622.
^ "Paléographie musicale : fac-similés phototypiques des
principaux manuscrits de chant grégorien, ambrosien, mozarabe,
gallican". Internet Archive.
^ Hiley, Western Plainchant p. 624–627.
^ Hoppin, Medieval Music pp. 85–88.
^ Apel, Gregorian
Chant p. 203
^ Hoppin, Anthology of Medieval Music p. 11.
^ Hoppin, Medieval Music p. 81.
^ Hoppin, Medieval Music p. 123.
^ Hoppin, Medieval Music p. 131.
^ Wilson, Music of the Middle Ages p. 11.
^ Hoppin, Medieval Music pp. 64–5.
^ Hoppin, Medieval Music p. 82.
^ Wilson, Music of the Middle Ages p. 22.
^ Apel, Gregorian
Chant p. 166–78, and Hiley, Western Plainchant p.
^ Hiley, Western Plainchant pp. 608–10.
^ Apel, Gregorian
Chant pp. 171–2.
^ Apel, Gregorian
Chant pp. 256–7.
^ Wilson, Music of the Middle Ages p. 21.
^ Apel, Gregorian
Chant pp. 258–9.
^ Apel, Gregorian
Chant pp. 344–63.
^ Hiley, Western Plainchant pp. 110–113.
^ Levy, Kenneth: "Plainchant", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy
(Accessed 20 January 2006), (subscription access)
^ Carol Neuls-Bates, Women in Music p. 3.
^ Hiley, Western Plainchant p. 504.
^ Apel, p. 312.
^ Apel, Gregorian
Chant p. 197.
^ Hiley, "Chant", Performance Practice: Music before 1600 p. 44. "The
performance of chant in equal note lengths from the 13th century
onwards is well supported by contemporary statements."
^ Apel, Gregorian
Chant p. 289.
^ Apel, Gregorian
Chant p. 127.
^ Dyer, Joseph: "
Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church Music", Section VI.1, Grove
Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed 28 June 2006),
^ William P. Mahrt, "Chant", A Performer's Guide to Medieval Music p.
^ "The symbolism of chant rhythm". Calumcille.com. Archived from the
original on 15 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-06.
^ Dirk van Kampen (1994). Het oorspronkelijke ritme van het
Gregoriaans: Een 'semiologisch-mensuralistische' studie. Landsmeer,
^ Dirk van Kampen (2005). Uitgangspunten voor de ritmiek van
Gregoriaans. Tijdschrift voor Gregoriaans, 30, 89–94.
^ Chris Hakkennes (1984). Graduale Lagal. Den Haag: Stichting Centrum
voor de Kerkzang.
^ Peter Wagner (1916). Zur ursprünglichen Ausführung des
Gregorianischen Gesanges. Gregoriusblatt, 81–82.
^ J. Jeannin (1930). Proportionale Dauerwerte oder einfache
Schattierungen im Gregorianischen Choral? Gregoriusblatt, 54,
^ G. Reese (1940). Music in the Middle Ages. New York: Norton &
Comp., p. 166.
^ Richard Crocker, The Early Medieval Sequence pp. 1–2.
^ Hiley, Western Plainchant p. 153.
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gregorian chant.
Canticum Novum, Lessons on Gregorian
Chant – Notation,
characteristics, rhythm, modes, the psalmody and scores
Liber Usualis compares, inter alia, modern and chant
notations. It is also a handy reference for all the types of neumes.
Singing Gregorian Chant: Pitch and Mode
Chant School Online
Gregoriani Cantus. Gregorian
Chant Free Fonts under Creative Commons
The Divine Office in Latin at the Community of Jesus
Chant Manuscript – A collection of Gregorian chants, hymns
and psalms (Spain, 1575–1625) from the UBC Library Digital
Concertzender Gregoriaans Radio – live stream
 Website of Anton Stingl jun. including articles and editions of
Sankt Gallen notations
"The living textbook" on the choral notation of the Gregorian chant
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