Talk:Gregorian chant/August 2006 to February 2009

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Myth vs. rumor

In response to Satanael's replacement of "the myth of Gregory's authorship" with "the rumor of Gregory's authorship":

  • I've tried reading through the links on the Mythology discussion page. Frankly, I couldn't find anything resembling "consensus." On the contrary, I mostly found ongoing disputation. If you could briefly summarize what exactly the consensus is - what counts as "myth," as "legend," and as "rumor" - that would be a big help.
  • I am familiar with the two meanings of "myth." The common meaning is a false statement generally believed to be true. The academic meaning, which is fairly specific to the field of mythology, is that of a religious narrative, passed down through tradition, which is meant to explain something about the world, especially some spiritual truth behind the existence of a real-world phenomenon. Gregory the Great's alleged authorship meets both of these definitions. It's a false statement that, both in medieval and modern times, has widely been accepted as historical fact. It's also a supernatural tale that was told, in a religious context, to explain the holy origins of one particular chant tradition and its spiritual superiority over all the others. I can't imagine either the "man on the street" or Joseph Campbell objecting to calling Gregory's authorship a myth.
  • Satanael is editing in "rumor" in place of "myth." On the talk pages s/he cites, "rumor" appears to be defined as a story with uncertain correctness. That's not the case here; Gregory pre-dated Gregorian chant by nearly 200 years. Scholarly consensus agrees that it is not simply unlikely that he composed the chant, but demonstrably false (with such limited certainty as historiography can offer). Despite what consensus this very technical distinction between "myth" and "rumor" might have achieved in the rarefied context of the field of mythology, it has entirely the wrong connotation here. "Rumor" implies something said on the sly whose truthfulness is questionable even to the person passing the rumor along. Gregory's authorship of the chant was proclaimed in no uncertain terms, both in writing and in images (such as the image in the article), by the faithful as unquestionable fact. It happened to be a false statement, but they wholly believed it to be true.
  • This dispute about the meaning of the word "myth" is ill-applied outside the field of mythology. You have to be judicious in deciding how far the meaning of a word which is a technical term in one field must be enforced outside that field. In this particular case, the story in question meets both the common and the academic meanings of the word "myth." "Rumor" adds an inaccurate connotation, which will only confuse the casual reader, who can't be expected to know, much less apply, a very idiosyncratic and technical definition of the word. Leave it as "myth."
  • If this is truly a problem, I'll simply quote directly from Wilson, who is the reference cited for that claim. Wilson uses the word "myth." Peirigill 23:41, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
"Myth" is the better word, by far, IMO. (I don't mind "legend" either). Antandrus (talk) 04:57, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
I too agree with Peirigill and fail to see this consensus. This particular "story" falls under both definitions of myth. You have to understand that the way people worship is extremely important, and they like to have the specific forms be somehow divinely inspired. This was the explanation for the divine inspiration of chant for worship, which seems pretty mythical to me. Mak (talk) 05:01, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Church Music Association of America

User:Cmaa emailed me this message and I thought I would post it here for further comment. I'm not sure if a link to Church Music Association of America belongs on the page or not. Any thoughts?

"I'm the person who added CMAA as an external link (which is an internal link of course). I'm also the managing editor of Sacred Music. We have so many good pieces up on, including one on chant as the paradigm for church music and I would love to add it. But not without your permission. I would add this to the talk page but my inexperience in Wikipedia makes me reticent.
I wrote the page on the Church Music Association of America, and it was my first experience here, even though I have vast web experience. Anything you think you can do to improve it would be great. I find the prospect of learning the ins and outs of wikipedia to be daunting.
Anyway, thank you again for all that you have done, and my apologies again for linking out of turn."

I also think it would be great if we could help him out with the CMAA article. MarkBuckles (talk) 20:20, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm ambivalent.
It's a scholarly organization dedicated to promoting Gregorian chant. On the other hand, the website doesn't actually provide any significant information about Gregorian chant.
It's not a blatantly commercial enterprise. (I would definitely advocate removing links to webpages whose purpose is to sell a particular ensemble's recording of Gregorian chant.) On the other hand, the primary function of that particular webpage is to sell a $30 membership.
While the organization's aims are in consort with Wikipedia's (to promote knowledge of the Gregorian chant tradition), the lack of academic content on the webpage itself and the promotion of a service at a cost can't be ignored. I reluctantly agree that this link is inappropriate. Moreover, this article is about to be featured on the main page, and therefore subject to much higher scrutiny than normal. I would have said "no" anyway, but with this article about to represent Wikipedia as a whole, we should adhere to the highest standards right now.
However, there is a page on the website that does give expanded academic information concerning the Ward method. Linking to that page, I think, would be wholly appropriate. Peirigill 20:51, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
User:Cmaa What this shows me is that I haven't organized the site well. Consider this piece: Gregorian Chant as a Paradigm of Sacred Music by William Mahrt, complete with chant examples and an explanation of how the same text is used in chant for several different liturgical purposes. This article is important for illustrating how chant melodies can vary depending on their purpose. Also: A Chronicle of Reform by Msgr. Richard Schuler, which explains the rise and decline of the use of liturgical chant in 20th century Catholicism, this wonderful piece by Justine Ward, who is mentioned in the article, and even a rare piece by Pope Benedict XVI] that ran in Sacred Music, in which he praises the art of chant. I hope to be putting more archives up as time permits. There are 133 volumes of this journal, so the task is rather overwhelming. CMAA
A link to any of these educational pages is fine; a link to a page whose function is to sell something violates Wikipedia policy. Maybe you could identify a few particularly good pages and link them to this article? The more you link, the less likely that anyone will go to the effort of looking through them all.
As a side note, I feel a little awkward about claiming that an article from 1985 was delivered by Pope Benedict XVI; he delivered it qua Cardinal, but this strongly implies he delivered it qua Pope, with all the gravitas that carries. There's a clarifying disclaimer, but it's in severely tiny type that vanishes next to the gigantic font declaring "POPE BENEDICT XVI." Just a small reservation. Peirigill 01:40, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Ok, then a link to the Marht piece and the Ward piece. I'll see if I can manage this without making a mistake.
That's done, and I hope properly. Thank you so much for the help. User:CMAA

Long Article

This article is way too long. It's a great article but I recommend each section be given it's own article with a redirect from here the main page by writting {{ Main| Whatever section }} and only having a little stock about the topic in the main article. If no one else will do this I will. Outside Center 17:26, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

This article size is typical of featured articles. Gimmetrow 17:36, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
The article does use summary style. The section on Notation directs the reader to the article on Neume, and the section on Modality directs the reader to the article on Musical mode.
Please note also that this article recently was given FA status after a fairly grueling FA candidacy. The issues of length, summary style, and comprehensiveness were raised, and this version of the article was judged appropriate for FA status by the consensus of reviewers. Please wait until you've determined that a new consensus for shortening the article has been achieved before unilaterally making substantial changes in the structure of the article.
There was a request in the FA candidacy for the section on rhythm to be reduced, directing to a new article on Rhythm in plainchant that would address issues of rhythm in plainchant from a global perspective, including not only rhythm in Gregorian but also the non-Gregorian chant traditions of the West and non-Western chant traditions. Writing such an article is beyond my scope, but if you'd like to tackle that project, it would be very much appreciated! Peirigill 20:07, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
That's why I post here first. Alright, I'll leave it as it is for now. Sorry, but I don't know enough to even start an article on issues of rhythm in plainchant. It needs to be shortened though according to the manual on the subject I'll dig up a link if you want. Outside Center 03:01, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
WP:SIZE is the relevant guideline. This is in the 30k-50k range (about 38k actual prose) so it's fine according to the "Rule of thumb". Gimmetrow 03:12, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Gregory's role in the formation of Gregorian chant

(moved from top of page, per Wikipedia convention — Peirigill 20:07, 23 August 2006 (UTC))

The last sentence of the first paragraph begins: "Although popular legend credits Pope St. Gregory the Great with inventing Gregorian chant [snip]" What "popular legend"? The "popular" view is not that he invented the chant, which implies that he invented the melodies, but that he edited and organized found melodies in such a way that they became useful as a coherent repertory. I don't think the question of Gregory I's relationship to chant should be deferred entirely to the section on origins. Perhaps the last sentence of the first paragraph could read instead: "Although popular legend credits Pope St. Gregory the Great with systemizing Western plainchant, scholars believe that it arose from a later Carolingian synthesis of Old Roman chant and Gallican chant."

The Catholic Encyclopedia also compiles historical proofs of Gregory I's role. See H. Bewerunge's entry: More discussion is needed to justify the dismissal of his role entirely. Thanks for your consideration.

Well, it appears the effort to erase Gregory I's role is going to be successful, despite the historical evidence adduced above, and despite the article's own admission that "Scholars are still debating how Gregorian chant developed during the fifth through the ninth centuries, as information from this period is scarce." If information is scarce, and there is good evidence among it that Gregory I played a role, what basis is there for erasing his contributions?

I'm not a professional historian, but this doesn't strike me as quite cricket. Particularly as "popular legend" remains unattributed. What's to prevent me from saying "popular legend" had it that Gregory the First gave Guido the idea of using the human hand as a memory aid?

Two procedural points, first off:
  • Please sign your messages by typing four tildes (~) at the end of your message. That automatically prints your name, so we know who wrote what. The tildes also generate a datestamp, so it's easier to follow the history of a discussion.
  • Please add new topics at the bottom of the page, so it's easier to find. This is the standard convention for talk pages.
I disagree with your assessment of the popular view. I would say that the popular view is that Gregory the Great actually composed the melodies. For example, I was once critiqued at an early music competition for not mentioning in my documentation that Gregory wrote the chant. (I pretty much blinked, and decided it was better not to argue with the judges.) Do a quick Google search on Gregorian chant, and you'll find many claims that Gregory himself wrote the chant.
Beyond that anecdotal evidence, there is already sourced material in the article to support this view. The image of Gregory dictating the chant to a scribe is not uncommon. That picture just happened to be the one available from Wikicommons. This image tells the story of a man not systematizing existing songs, but dictating music that the Holy Spirit was singing in his ear.
In addition, please note footnote #12, which cites Wilson's reference to popular belief in Gregory's authorship of the chant. I could add citations from Apel, Hiley, and Grove, but that would be overkill. I appreciate your concern about unverified, unattributed "popular legends," but in this case it's reasonably and adequately documented within the article.
I'm aware of the Catholic Encyclopedia's arguments for Gregory the Great's role in the tradition. I would advise against putting too much weight on it for several reasons:
  • The biographies that it claims are "trustworthy" (without supporting that claim) date from the eighth and ninth centuries. Gregory I died in 604.
  • The reference to modern authorities is severely out of date. Wagner was a great pioneer, but his work is a century old, and does not reflect current scholarly opinion. The grandiose claim that "at present practically all authorities ... hold that the large majority of plain- chant melodies were composed before the year 600" is simply false. More recent scholarship does not support that claim, as can be seen in Apel's and Hiley's works, and in the Grove Encyclopedia.
  • No scholar disputes that Gregorian plainchant evolved from previously existing plainchant. Just because a chant repertory is believed to exist in the 600s does not mean Gregory played any significant role in systematizing it. As Hiley discusses, there are virtually no references to music in Gregory the Great's extensive letters, and what there is has nothing to do with codifying or systematizing chant whatsoever. This isn't a matter of "erasing his contributions." It's an acknowledgement that there is no solid historiographical evidence to support that he made any contributions.
  • As both Hiley and the Grove Encyclopedia point out, there is strong reason to believe that the "Gregorian tradition" originally referred to Gregory II, and only later was attributed to Gregory I. Just because a medieval source mentions Pope Gregory, you can't automatically conclude it was referring to Gregory the Great.
  • The Catholic Encyclopedia is not an unbiased source. It has a vested, highly POV interest in supporting traditionalist beliefs about chant.
Having said that, I admit that by not including that perspective, the article is not wholly NPOV itself. I don't concede, though, that the two different perspectives should have equal weight. In the interests of compromise, let me do the following:
  • I'll add the Catholic Encyclopedia's dissenting viewpoint, with your link, to the article, but I won't change the assertion that scholarly consensus no longer supports the idea that Gregory the Great played any significant role in the development of Gregorian chant.
  • I'll change the line that says "Scholars are still debating how Gregorian chant developed during the fifth through the ninth centuries, as information from this period is scarce" to say "Scholars are still debating how plainchant developed during the fifth through the ninth centuries...." That conflation of the Western plainchant tradition and the specifically Gregorian tradition was already in the article when I revamped it, and it was my oversight not to catch and correct it.
I appreciate your concerns, but I hope you can see that modern scholarship really doesn't support the Catholic Encyclopedia's view. I hope these changes reasonably accommodate your input, and keep the article "cricket." Peirigill 20:07, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Again Peirigill is right: The idea that Gregory the Great had anything to do with organization or composition of chant is not taken seriously by anyone in the scholarly community. Of course, he MAY have, but there is no evidence for it.

"Roman chant" vs. Old Roman chant

Two people have replaced "Roman chant" with the linked Old Roman chant in the past couple of days. This isn't strictly accurate; "Old Roman" refers to the local traditions of Rome as we know them from their earliest musical transcriptions in the 11th and 12th centuries. This may or may not have evolved significantly from the form of the chant used in Rome in the 8th and 9th centuries, when Gregorian chant was developed. That earlier Roman chant should be thought of as a proto-Roman chant from which both Gregorian and Old Roman are descended. Also, some scholars have suggested than Old Roman chant may have been the local traditions of the city churches, distinct from the chants used by the Pope in the Vatican. If that's the case, then Old Roman chant would not be the chant brought north to Ireland and Francia, but a distinct tradition. Please see the discussion on User talk: If someone can document that it was in fact the same chant tradition that we call "Old Roman" that was exported north, I'll be glad to rescind my concerns and change "Roman" to "Old Roman." However, I believe it's more accurate and less misleading to use the more generic term "Roman chant" until such documentation can be cited. Peirigill 23:55, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

You might want to say this in a footnote to the first appearance of "Roman chant". The footnote can link to Old Roman chant, but at the same time it can make clear that the link is not certain. Carcharoth 22:23, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Peirigill is absolutely right: "Old Roman" chant refers to a tradition written in manuscripts from the 11th-13th centuries, and the terminology needs to distinguish between the Roman tradition of the eighth century and that of the eleventh century. There is increasing evidence that the two are not the same. Hucbald Jan. 29 2007

Pain of death!?

I must say that I find it difficult to believe that Charlemagne would have imposed the Gregorian chant on pain of death, or that, even if he so attempted, the Church would have permitted this deadly interference in the affairs of her priests. I can imagine ecclesiastical censures if Rome was eager to spread the new chant, or I can imagine local bishops imposing such censures if they wished to assist the Emperor in standardization, but I cannot imagine that a chant would be imposed by secular authorities with an accompanying threat of death in return for disobedience. Do we have a reference for this that is more reliable than page 10 (presumably the introduction) of a book about Medieval music? Something this significant ought to be backed up on page 243 of a more weighty tome. Does anybody have such information? Can we verify that the source for this death threat is actually a reliable work of historical scholarship?


I don't mean to nitpick about an excellent article, one I think is substantially better than many articles of the day I've read. I did trip over the phrase "chant spread north to Scandinavia, including Iceland and Finland." Iceland isn't north of Europe, and it isn't in Scandinavia. Something like "spread as far as Sweden, Finland, and Iceland," maybe? Or "to Scandinavia and to Iceland?" I don't know the history or the reason for specifying Finland, so I'm not going to be all that bold. — 13:27, 24 August 2006 (UTC) Oops, that was me...thought I was already logged in. — OtherDave 13:29, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

My understanding was that Iceland is considered a Scandinavian country, but Finland isn't. (Technically, it's "Nordic.") Your first wording is clearer and less problematic, so I'll use that. Peirigill 15:31, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Alteration of lede

The function of the lede is to be an abstract of the article. It should summarize its important points. The changes that User:SCCC is insisting on eliminate several such key points. The lede is not wholly to my liking, but it does reflect the consensus of several Wikipedians who participated in its peer review and its featured article candidacy. While I appreciate SCCC's concern with clarity and conciseness, his/her edits are not in accord with that consensus. Nor do they achieve his/her stated goals. SCCC has expressed a concern that the introduction should be readily accessible to non-specialists, and yet has left in the terms "monophonic" and "hexachords," two of the terms least likely to be familiar to the casual reader. Conciseness has to be gauged in terms of the length of the article and the complexity of the topic. If something is important enough to merit a section heading, it's important enough to be at least mentioned in the lede. I'm more than willing to discuss which points in the lede might be eliminated, but that discussion should take place here on the talk page, and not as an edit war. Please do not unilaterally and significantly alter the lede, contrary to the careful consensus achieved in its FA candidacy, without determining that a new consensus has been reached here. Peirigill 15:31, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Peirigill has asked me on my talk page to respond to him. If I may, I'd like to start by asking a question, which really cuts to the heart of why I made my edits. The question is: Who is this article being written for?
I first noticed this article as it was on the front page. It is a featured article, which I understand to mean that it is one of Wikipedia's best 1,000 or so articles. It is also about a subject that has a wide interest, or at least is of interest to far wider a group than just musicologists.
Based on this, I was assuming that the article would be written for a general audience, so that someone vaguely interested in the topic who is not a musicologist would get a lot out of reading it. I noticed, however, that for a layman, the article was not particularly accessible. Lots of technical terms were not defined, even when used early on. Asides, that are confusing to a layman, such as myself are used. My edits were designed to try to make the article more accessible to laymen, while still hopefully retaining interest to musicologists. The reason I only edited the lead and the start of the history section was because I soon realised I was having real difficulty understanding the content.
If the article is being written for a general audience, then I think my edits were good (though not perfect). I also have a number of points that would improve the article further.
On the other hand, if the article is not being written for a general audience, but instead is written for musicologists who will be familiar with the technical terms used, then I accept that many, maybe most, of my amendments would not be useful.
I have no desire to override Peirigill, who, I can see, has contributed much already to the article. Nor do I wish to ignore the views of other editors. After all, without them, there would be no article to begin with. I would like to understand who it is aimed for, however, and if it is aimed at a general audience, I would like to offer advice as to how to improve it. If it is aimed at musicologists, I will wish Peirigill well and move on to other things. SCCC 19:35, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for responding, SCCC. I think both of our concerns can be addressed. Let's see if we can find some compromise wording.
I understand your concern about technical terms. I agree that the article should be generally accessible, but that needs to be done respecting the context of the lede.
My main concern is that the lede has several specific functions, which your edits worked against. Here's the relevant guideline, from WP:LEAD:
"The lead section should provide a clear and concise introduction to an article's topic, establishing context, and defining the terms. It should contain several paragraphs, depending on the length of the article, and should provide an overview of the main points the article will make, summarizing the primary reasons the subject matter is interesting or notable, and including a mention of its notable controversies, if there are any. The lead should be capable of standing alone as a concise overview of the article, should be written in a clear and accessible style, should be carefully sourced like the rest of the text, and should encourage the reader to read more."
The fact that information in the lede is covered in the main article doesn't mean the lede is redundant. On the contrary, the lede is supposed to be an abstract, summarizing the important points of the article and demonstrating the notability of the topic.
Here are the portions you propose deleting, and my comments on those:
1. "(Latin: Cantus Gregorianus)" This was an addition made today, by a visitor to the main page. I don't think this is particularly relevant or informative, and it impedes flow, so I'm fine with removing this.
2. "Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form of monophonic, unaccompanied sacred song of the Catholic Church." This edit is not okay. Per WP:LEAD, the lede should define the article's topic, and per WP:WIAFA, the article must be accurate and comprehensive. Monophony is part of the essential definition of plainchant. Otherwise, polyphonic choral music (music sung in parts) qualifies. The lede shouldn't stop to define every term; that will disrupt flow, and violate requirement 2a of featured articles per WP:WIAFA. I think "monophonic" really is the best word. Maybe the phrase "solo or unison" would work, but if someone doesn't know what monophony is, I don't know that they'd know what unison was, either. (If they can work out the word roots to the one, they ought to be able to work out the other; "monophony" and "unison" have the same root meanings!)
3. "during the ninth 9th and tenth 10th centuries." I don't know why you feel that's stylistically superior. Abbreviation isn't the same as conciseness. The truth is that when I originally revamped the article, I used numbers for the centuries just like you did, and someone in the FA candidacy insisted they had to be changed to words. I'm really indifferent here. If you want to change the centuries to numbers, that's fine with me; just make sure you make it consistent throughout the article.
4. "with later additions and redactions." An important purpose of this article is to disabuse people of popular misconceptions about chant. Paramount among these is the notion that Pope Gregory wrote/compiled the chant repertory, and that it stayed fixed and immutable thereafter, forever and ever, amen. It's important to me that the lede reinforce the fact that chant was an evolving, living tradition. I'd really prefer not to excise that, although I'm open to compromising on an alternate wording that is more accessible. (I admit it, I just like the word "redaction." If it's truly a problem, and there's a better phrasing, I'm willing to bend.)
5. "a later Carolingian synthesis mix of Roman chant and Gallican chant. "Mix" is not the same as "synthesis." "Synthesis" is not a technical word known only to musicologists. You find a "mix" of Gregorian and Benevantan chant in the Beneventan songbooks; Gregorian chants are interspersed with Beneventan chants. Gregorian was a synthesis, a melding of two separate traditions into something fundamentally new. "Carolingian" is important because I want to make it clear that Charlemagne, not Pope Gregory, was the true driving force behind the creation of the Gregorian repertory. I would have preferred to say "Charlemagne," but that's not strictly accurate; Charlemagne's father Pepin was also instrumental, as were several later Holy Roman Emperors. "Carolingian" was the most concise way to express this accurately. "Carolingian" is also not a musicological term. If you can think of an equally concise, nontechnical way to say "Carolingian," I'm open to hearing it, but "Carolingian chant" practically is the distinguishing definition of Gregorian chant. It belongs in the lede. I'm fine with "Roman and Gallican chant" instead of "Roman chant and Gallican chant."
6. "Gregorian chants are organized into eight scalar modes. Typical melodic features include characteristic incipits and cadences, the use of reciting tones 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 definition of Gregorian chant must include information on what distinguishes it from the other six traditions of Western plainchant. The distinctive musical vocabulary used for incipits and cadences is an essential part of this. I'd be surprised if people didn't know what a "cadence" was. If you'd prefer to say something less technical, like "opening and closing melodic figures," I'm fine with that. I really don't understand your complaint about "centonization." I deliberately prefaced this technical word, which I didn't expect the non-expert reader to be familiar with, with its definition. Centonization, in a nutshell, is weaving together a vocabulary of musical motifs to form a full melody. I don't accept your complaint that a technical term has been left undefined in this case. Centonization is also a key, fundamental device in chant melodies. It's definitely important enough to the topic to be mentioned.
7. "Instead of octave scales, six-note patterns called hexachords underlie the modes. These patterns use elements of the modern diatonic scale as well as what would now be called B-flat." I'm sorry, but I find this edit especially vexing. Hexachords are the single most abstruse, musicological, technical aspect of chant, which even most performers of the chant are unlikely to know. You're not the first person to complain that the mention of the diatonic scale is too technical and yet prefer an edit that leaves "hexachords" in, and without an explanation to boot. Hexachords are fundamental to chant, and should be mentioned. The practical consequence of hexachords is that Greorian chant (except for a few unusual melodies) can be sung using only the white notes of the piano plus B-flat. Please look at the FA candidacy discussion on this point. We worked long and hard to achieve a balanced consensus on this phrasing, which satisfied all concerns:
  • mentioning and briefly explaining hexachords,
  • indicating that Gregorian melodies primarily use the diatonic scale,
  • mentioning that B-flat is also permitted, and
  • making it clear that the B-flat and B-natural can coexist in the same melody, or at least not implying that one "B" has tonal "priority" over the other.
I'm sorry; I don't mean to be difficult here, but this was a very difficult consensus to achieve, which required me, in order to keep the peace, to apologize to an editor who was rudely insulting to me about this very issue on my talk page. I agree that there needs to be a balance between accuracy and comprehensiveness on the one hand and accessibility and conciseness on the other. I have genuinely tried to accomplish that in a way that several disagreeing editors, some hostile, could agree on. The pendulum can't land on a place that's to every editor's preference, but I honestly believe the wording that passed FA was an acceptable balance, especially on this difficult but important aspect of chant. Please don't judge me too harshly based solely on our communications on this topic, but put my stance in the context of the larger discussion of editors.
  • "Gregorian melodies are transcribed using neumes, an early form of musical notation from which the modern five-line staff developed during the sixteenth century.[1] Gregorian chant played a fundamental role in the development of polyphony." Neumes are important, because Gregorian chant is notable in part because it spurred developments in musical notation that led directly to modern staff notation. "Neume" is a technical word, but it is immediately given a brief, non-technical explanation. The references to the modern staff and to polyphony were insisted upon by other editors in the FA candidacy. In fact, I had to soften one editor's opinion, who said, "'Gregorian chant also played an important role in the development of polyphony.' 'Important'? No, be stronger: 'critical" or "crucial'." This information belongs in the lede. Like "monophony," "polyphony" is a technical term, but it's also not one that only a musicologist would know, like "neume" or "centonization." It's concise and accurate. If you can suggest an alternative wording that's less technical but equally concise, please do, but don't cut this section out of the lede. It satisfies WP:LEAD's guidelines that we explain the notable consequences of Gregorian chant.
  • "This view is no longer generally accepted by scholars has now been overturned." Wrong word choice; you can't "overturn" a view. How about something like "Scholars now discount this view"?
Finally, let me explicitly address your opening question: is this article for specialists, or for laymen? It should be for both. I hope, after reading this (and, I hope, reading through the Gregorian chant talk page archive, the peer review, and the FA candidacy), you can see that we editors did make a concerted effort to balance the two. Like comprehensiveness and conciseness, there is an inherent tension, and no resolution will wholly satisfy everyone. (Just to be clear, there are things I very much wanted to include in the article but was outvoted, and things I did not want in the article that I accepted as a compromise.) I truly believe there's room to accommodate your concerns as well. I've pointed out a couple of deletions that make sense to me, and am willing to work with you on rewording technical terms like monophony, incipit, and polyphony.
I don't agree at all with your contention that the lede isn't concise. It essentially mentions everything in the table of contents, and no more. A point important enough to merit its own subsection merits at least a mention in the lede. I also believe that the lede minimizes technical terminology. Believe me, it could have been a lot more technical, but that wasn't our goal. I'm sorry if some of the concepts are a bit dry and abstract, but this is a music history article, after all. I had hoped that all the chants I recorded for this article would help offset the dryness. Maybe I was wrong. As for clarity, I'm willing to work on that, but cutting out information doesn't make the concepts more clear. It simply makes those important concepts disappear.
I realize that this must feel like a barrage. I apologize for that. However, significant and questionable cuts to a recently promoted featured article, especially when it's getting its laurel on the front page, without discussing those changes on the talk page, was not the most politic approach. A lot of work by a number of editors went into the article. It's rather abrupt for someone to come along and undo substantial work without checking first. I appreciate your willingness to come to this page, after the bad start we had, and discuss things. Peirigill 22:24, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

As another passer-by, my opinion is that the article would read better if the religious stuff were covered before the musical stuff, both in the lede and in the article. In the lede, this could be achieved (with minor alterations) by swapping the second and third paragraphs. In the article, this re-ordering could be achieved by moving section 4 (Liturgical functions) up to become section 2. I certainly found my eyes glazing over while reading section 2 (Musical form). Carcharoth 22:18, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

The trick is pausing to explain what "antiphonal" and "responsorial" mean in the Liturgical functions section. I have to stop to explain the vocabulary, as SCCC has pointedly remarked, before tossing this genuinely technical, musicological jargon around. At a minimum, I'd have to put something equivalent to the Melodic types section before the Liturgical functions section. Then you've got other references, like the one to musical modes in Communion chants, which would have to be explained. I'm not sure this switch is practical, given the need to define terms. Let me think about it. Peirigill 23:44, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
I have numbered the points Peirigill made above for ease of reference. I trust that is ok. I'd also like to state upfront that I am not seeking to argue for the removal of information from the article as a whole. I am, however, suggesting ways of improving its readability, in particular for laymen. That may involve removing info from the lead, leaving it to be covered later on. I also do not claim to be perfect in my amendments: quite the opposite, I claim to be imperfect. My comments are not me insisting on anything, they are suggestions offered to help improve the article. Addressing Peirigill's points in turn (see above):
1. Always nice to start with a point of agreement. I have removed the phrase again.
2. My point here is that "monophony" is not a common word. Nor does it seem to be a key piece of jargon here (unlike "hexachord" - see later on). "Unison" is a more common word than "monophony", and therefore preferable. Alternatively, maybe it would read better to replace "monophonic" with a short sentence explaining the point - particularly, as you note, it is a distinguishing feature of Gregorian chant. "The singers all chant the same note at the same pitch."
  • I had suggested the entire phrase "solo or unison" as a possible replacement for "monophonic." "Unison" isn't wholly accurate, because much chant is sung solo, and solo is not unison. "Unison" means two or more notes sounding the same pitch. "Monophony" means music for a single voice or part. (Can I assume that the casual layman knows what a "part" means in this context?) There's a broader scope that "monophonic" captures but "unison" doesn't. We can disambiguate, but at the cost of being less concise.
  • I really think that monophony is so essential to the definition that it has to be in the first sentence, but I don't see a way to explain the term in the first sentence. I'm going to ask some other early music editors for their suggestions. Peirigill 18:40, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
3. I thought WP style was to use digits rather than spell out the centuries. Seems like I was wrong on this point.
  • You're not alone. There are ongoing battles about this, and which form of English to use, and whether using "AD" and "BC" for years is more or less POV than "CE" and "BCE"... Unfortunately, there's a tendency on Wikipedia to interpret "BE BOLD" as "fight to the death for your personal taste." Peirigill 18:40, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
4. It's the word "redaction" that I don't like. There are simpler, more common synonyms, and it would be better to use one of those.
  • Like what? "Editings"? "Emendations"? "Changes" or "alterations" would be too vague. I don't like "revisions" or "versions" here. "Redaction" has exactly the right meaning and connotation here. At the risk of being blunt, this is the English Wikipedia, not the Simple English Wikipedia. Peirigill 18:40, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
5. "Carolingian" is not a common word either. "In the time of Charlemagne" would be better. Incidentally, I was unsure of Gallican chant. Maybe a brief clause saying what that is would help too.
  • "At the time of Charlemagne" isn't concise, and it isn't accurate, since the primary development of the corpus ranges at least from Pepin to Otto. All you need to know about Gallican chant is clear from context: it's another kind of chant that existed prior to Gregorian. Adding brief clauses is tempting, but to get to featured article status, they really insist on editing out anything extraneous. Peirigill 18:40, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
6. The sentence as a whole is complex. To understand it fully I need to know what the following terms mean: scalar, mode, melodic, incipits, cadences, centonization. That's a lot in one go. Particularly as in the same paragraph you introduce the terms: octave scales, hexachords, diatonic scale, B-flat major, neumes, modern five-line staff, polyphony. That's a lot of jargon that a layman just won't get through. There are (I guess) a small number of key fundamentals that are central to anyone's understanding of Gregorian chant - not deep understanding, just a basic understanding of the outline. It would be great if the lead could concentrate on these. If some technical words need to be introduced, keep their number small, and give a brief explanation of them when they are first used. Any detail (however minute) is best kept to the full text.
  • When I was in college, I took a class on existentialism. The final project was to give a presentation on existentialism in modern culture. I did mine on existential themes in twentieth-century music. I mentioned atonal music, and defined it (concisely) as music that wasn't in a key. One of the students, a very intelligent law student, asked me what a "key" was. The moral of this story is that some terms are simply technical, and no matter how much you try to simplify them, some people will always be unfamiliar with your terms, and eventually you'll get to a point where no simple explanation is possible. (I defy anyone to define "key" in a concise and accurate way that will be at all meaningful to someone who hasn't grasped the concept through experience.)
  • I don't accept that "octave," "B-flat," and "five-line staff" are jargon. These are basic musical terms. "Hexachord" and "neume" are technical terms, but they are also clearly and concisely defined. "Diatonic scale" was the result of a hard-won consensus, and I'm extremely resistant to tinkering with it. Peirigill 18:40, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
7. I took "six-note pattern" to be an explanation of "hexachords". If, however, it is the most abstruse point, then it really shouldn't be in the lead.
  • This touches on the heart of the matter. Let me discuss this below. Peirigill 18:40, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
I've looked at the FA candidacy. I didn't note anything saying or requiring that any particular text was covered in the introduction though. As noted above, I'm not suggesting you remove detail from the article as a whole, just to not have too much detail in the introduction and to explain your terms when you come to them. SCCC 12:07, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
  • We are fundamentally disagreeing about the purpose and function of the lede. The function of the lede is to be an abstract. It summarizes the entire article. It reiterates the main points of the article. It touches on the most important and notable aspects of the topic.
  • My rule of thumb is that to accomplish this, the lede should briefly address every section header in the table of contents. If the subtopic (such as notation or modality) was important enough to merit its own section, it's important enough to be mentioned in the lede. Conversely, if something isn't important enough to mention in the lede, then it doesn't deserve its own subsection. Contrary to your final comment, removing information from the lede does require removing (or at least consolidating) sections of the article.
  • This is not an article for the layman. This is not an article for the musicologist. This is an article for both, and represents a reasonable balance between the two. If this article didn't address the musicology of chant, then the lede could be much simpler — but it also wouldn't have become a featured article in the first place.
  • I think you want the lede to function more as an introductory paragraph than an abstract. An introductory paragraph presents a general topic, giving a basic understanding without detail or technical language, which is then fleshed out in the rest of the essay. Something like "Gregorian chant is sacred chant of the Roman Catholic Church. It originated in the Middle Ages and was sung at Mass and with monks' prayers. It impacted the way later music was written down and performed." But that's not what a lede is. A lede is essentially a separate entity from the main article, letting people know what points will be addressed in the article. That's why the table of contents comes after the lede, not before it.
  • Some degree of technical terminology is necessary. You and I clearly draw the line at different points as to what terms are jargon and need to be defined. I think we both agree that conciseness, accuracy, and flow need to be maintained in the lede, but we're not going to agree on how to accomplish that. Before we proceed, I'm going to ask some of the other editors who work on music articles to weigh in here. I'll feel a lot better about any significant changes if there's a consensus of several people rather than a difference of opinion between just us two.
  • Finally, I'd like to suggest something seriously to you. Your perspective is a valid one, and deserves to be heard. But the best time to present it is before an article becomes a featured article on the main page. Strong critiques and substantial edits to a main page article are like pointing out the bride's unibrow on her wedding day. Please consider putting your efforts into peer reviews and featured article candidacies. If the Gregorian chant article was selected as meeting Wikipedia's standards for our best work just weeks ago, and you find the lede markedly unacceptable, then there's a deeper problem here than musical jargon. You should be working towards a change in Wikipedia culture. There are too few Wikipedians actively working in peer review and on featured articles, so one person really can make a difference. Making a change in the construction process will be a lot more efficacious for your goals than changing articles after they've been through the crucible. (And yes, that last sentence reflects my normal writing style, so I hope you can see that the Gregorian chant article really did go through serious waves of copyediting!) Peirigill 18:40, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

I've been watching this for a little bit, and I suppose now is the time to chime in. One thing which might clear things up is that the lede is supposed to be able to stand on its own to a certain extent, to act as its own mini-article, which means that leaving out essential terms for later in the article does not work or make sense. If you disagree with that premise, here is not where you need to fight that good fight. Although I agree with the idea that it would be good for the lead to be understandable for a lay-person, I'm not sure that SCCC's edits were really accomplishing that, while at the same time they were taking out important points.

I think as for specifics, I agree with Peirigill on just about every point, except that I really don't think "unison" is an acceptable replacement for "monophonic". The trouble is that technical terms have precise and pertinent meanings which tell you exactly what something is. To replace technical terms with general terms is to remove a certain amount of underlying meaning clarity and concision. Monophonic, for instance, can refer to organum, whereas "unison" can't. To clarify the issue with "hexachord", understanding hexachords are fundamental to understanding the theories Medieval scholars applied to Gregorian chant, and is something that even many people who have BMs don't understand. So it's central, but not widely known or understood, making it essential for the lead. Really, I don't know how you can talk about chant without talking about monophony, as it's one of the biggest and clearest defining factors of what makes chant chant. My personal preference is for ninth and tenth, etc. although I don't really care, but I really wish people wouldn't make edits just to change it. As for AD/CE, since this is a (Christian) religious topic, I think it might be the better part of valor to just have AD, to avoid people perpetually changing it to AD, but I myself am perfectly happy to have CE. As for "Carolingian", this is precisely the type of place where in order to be accurate you either have to use "jargon" or you have to be long-whinded. I prefer the "jargon" in this place as well. Some of the terms SCCC seems to believe are jargon-ish, I really don't know how a person could write an article about a musical topic without using them, or trying to define each of them in the text. Terms like "melodic"-->melody I think of as parts of any adult's vocabulary, and anyone with a basic musical vocabulary should understand b-flat, scale, octave, staff (and any adult should understand the words "modern" "five" and "line"). I really do commend the idea that FAs should be readable by a layman, but I think perhaps SCCC thinks a precise and accurate definition of Gregorian chant is easier to come up with than it actually is. I realise not all the points I've made here have to do with SCCC's edits, I commend their ideas, and I think Peirigill makes an excellent point that the place to make a difference is in Peer Review and Featured Article Candidates, not while an author is trying to avoid their article being filled with "Joe sucks big cocks" and "My granny likes singing Gregorian chant". Mak (talk) 22:12, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

  • Mak, I shall never forgive you for making me juxtapose those two images in my head.  ;-) Peirigill 22:37, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, I was hoping to have something wise and unique to say, but now I find myself agreeing with Peirigill and Makemi on just about everything they said. Baaa. Baaa.
Technical terms are necessary, even in articles for the "general reader". We can no more avoid them in articles on music than in articles on quantum mechanics. What is essential is to wikilink terms obscure to a novice -- hexachord, centonization, neume, rhythmic mode (yeah, I know, that one shouldn't be in this article) -- or to have very brief definitions accompany the terms. This is done nicely in the G.C. article. Someone comes to an encyclopedia to learn about a topic, and when the topic is rich and deep, as is the case with music, they will discover terms they do not know, and can go to those articles to learn more about the richness and depth of the field.
In general, I think GC is an excellent article and written at about the right level of technical detail for an online encyclopedia. Antandrus (talk) 02:11, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

My first comment in this thread was to ask who the article is written for, musicologists or laymen. Peirigill replied that it is for both - leading to my further comments. The fundamental point I am making is that as it currently stands, a layman (such as myself) has considerable difficulty understanding it - mostly because of the density of technical terms and uncommon words. If this article is to appeal to a wide audience, this needs to be addressed.

As far as the function of the lead section is concerned, I have no difficulty at all with it functioning in the way Peirigill suggests. All I am saying is that, the language and style needs simplifying if the article is to be understood by laymen. I think that will inevitably lead to some technical terms leaving the lead section - but I could, conceivably, be proved wrong on that.

Personally, I was expecting my initial query to come back that it was written for musicologists. It certainly seems to have great reviews from musicologists - Antandrus comments above are certainly not isolated. Maybe, despite Peirigill's first answer, that is the audience for this article. I see nothing wrong with that if that's the case. Other featured articles are clearly written only with a particular narrow audience in mind (eg the Pokémon ones). If, however, you do want the article to appeal to laymen too, then my comments about needing to change the lead section (and later sections) so that a layman has a fair chance of understanding them applies. SCCC 11:52, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

SCCC, you keep insisting on articles having an "audience." They don't, unless you count "anyone interested enough to go to this page." If many featured articles appear to be written for an "audience" of specialists, that probably reflects the featured article requirements, which demand comprehensiveness and depth.
An article on Gregorian chant needs to discuss some musicology. That's going to appear in the lede. I think you're still thinking of a lede as an introductory paragraph rather than as an abstract.
There does need to be some balance between precision and accessibility. You are drawing the line much more sharply than other editors, contrary to consensus. I asked several music editors to come and comment, phrasing my request as neutrally as possible, and there's an astonishing degree of agreement that the wording in the lede is appropriate. Several editors who don't specialize in music approved of this prose during its peer review and FA candidacy, including Tony, who almost literally sets the standards for easily readable, encyclopedic prose.
Gregorian chant is, frankly, a complex and challenging topic. You cannot, in the scope of a short essay, let alone three paragraphs, explain every concept from the ground up. It's unreasonable to expect any editor to make a difficult topic instantly transparent to a hypothetical reader who doesn't understand basic terminology like "octave." As I find myself repeating, that's not the purpose of the lede, anyway.
Your disapproval of words like "synthesis" and "redaction" makes it clear that your goal is not the elimination of jargon, but communicating on roughly an eighth-grade level. (In American schools, that is.) I don't mean that dismissively; good eighth-grade-level writing is still good writing. But it's an unrealistic goal when addressing technical topics. This article addresses issues both technical and non-technical, and succeeds fairly well at outlining an incredibly complex body of music that has been adapted to serve a profoundly intricate rite over fifteen centuries of musical and liturgical evolution. This is about as perspicuous as it gets, while still remaining accurate and reasonably comprehensive. Try reading Apel's Gregorian Chant or even Hiley's more accessible Western Plainchant sometime — or even a basic music theory book that explains what an "octave" is — and you'll gain a whole new perspective on just how inaccessible this topic can be.
Compromise concerning prose is a central, crucial part of Wikipedia. This article, including the lede, reflects the input of many people. Your concern for readily accessible content, while legitimate, must be balanced with other equally important concerns such as brevity, accuracy, comprehensiveness, and adherence to the Wikipedia Manual of Style, as determined by consensus. You really don't appear to have consensus on your side here. I'm guessing, with disappointment, that you'll conclude that this is in fact an elitist article that alienates nonspecialists, and decide that washing your hands of a lost cause is a better use of your time than an edit war. I'm disappointed because I have a fairly good track record of accommodating other editors' concerns, but accommodating yours to the extreme degree you seem to be requesting would come at too high a cost (comprehensiveness or accuracy)... except for one thing.
I've been wanting to write the Simple English version of this article. I've wondered, off and on for months, whether it's even possible. I figure that most of the history and musicology will be lost. But I suspect it will be the article you want. I can't promise I'll finish it soon, but I'll be curious to see how much I can communicate under the difficult verbal constraints of that wiki. If nothing else, it will be good practice that may give me some insight into how some of these concepts might be expressed more simply. Peirigill 13:28, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

The "audience" are the people you are writing for. It could be yourself, yourself and fellow writers, musicologists, those who have studied music academically up to age 18, or 16, or whatever. It could be everyone who reads English. It is more likely to be narrower. But the article is written with the idea that some people will want to come here and read it. If you write without a specific audience in mind it is likely that the audience is just you yourself (though others may also choose to read your musings).

Good writing then means you adopt a style that suits your audience. You assume the right level of knowledge. You adopt a pace that suits. You include or exclude information depending on whether the audience will find it interesting, useful or just plain confusing. If you fail to do that, you will lose some or all of your audience (which may be a bad thing).

You note below one example of where you have chosen a style essentially because you think it is right and you believe that your audience should know about it. When making decisions like that you essentially add an element of writing for yourself into the text. That's a risk. You may reduce or confuse your audience. If it's a risk you're willing to take, then fair enough, that's up to you. But nevertheless, whenever you go away from what your audience wants or expects you do take that risk.

You're right that I will not continue on this article. That is not with disappointment on my side. You clearly have a good article that is suitable for those with the required level of assumed musical knowledge to follow it. Maybe those are the most likely readers of an article on Gregorian chant anyway - I certainly would not have read it had it not been a featured article (but then I tend to browse a fair number of featured articles anyway). It is not for laymen - but does that matter if it's useful for those who can follow it? Indeed, maybe recognising that it is not really suitable for laymen will be liberating and allow it to get even better still. I wish you all the best. SCCC 15:32, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Which German monasteries?

Regarding this sectence: "True antiphonal performance by two alternating choruses still occurs, as in certain German monasteries." - which German monasteries are being referred to here? Seems a bit too vague really, unless you can actually name them. Carcharoth 22:20, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Sorry; the source (Apel, if I remember correctly) just mentions German monasteries, but doesn't name them. That sentence is cites its source, so it should be okay. It's certainly less vague than "True antiphonal performance...still occurs," which would be even worse. If anyone does know which monasteries, please put them in the article! Peirigill 22:27, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Anyone attending Mass or Vespers in most any Benedictine monastery pretty much anywhere, could expect to witness antiphonal singing, as the monks are usually grouped in their respective choirbanks, thus facing each other. Psalmverses are divided between them so that one choir sings the uneven verse numbers, the other the even.Martinuddin (talk) 23:08, 5 February 2008 (UTC)


This article has seen a lot of "copyediting" while FA OTD. Much of this was unnecessary. WP:MOSNUM shows that centuries may be written as either 19th century or nineteenth century. Also, per WP:R, a link to a redirect does not need to be changed to point "straight" to the "correct" page. Gimmetrow 22:25, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Gregorian Chant rv. non-notable tid-bit

  • Gregorian Chant is currently in practice by the Catholic monks at St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, MN.

Why was this reversed? I think it would be cool to see a list of all places that Gregorian Chant is currently practiced. Fair enough that the information may belong in a different location, but I think it is irresponsible to just erase it. If you are going to change it, find a different place for it, but don't erase it. Start a list in an appropriate place or something. I'm not a Gregorian Chant expert, I'm just trying to contribute what I know in hopes that an expert can find a relevant place for it.

Two procedural points, first off:
  • Please sign your messages by typing four tildes (~) at the end of your message. That automatically prints your name, so we know who wrote what. The tildes also generate a datestamp, so it's easier to follow the history of a discussion.
  • Please add new topics at the bottom of the page, so it's easier to find. This is the standard convention for talk pages.
I didn't remove the tidbit, but it was right to remove it from this particular article. There are many, many places where Gregorian chant is sung. Unless there's something really notable about a particular performer, it's unfair to single just one out for mention. It would be a great idea to have an article of Gregorian chant performers that included them, if you'd like to start it! But the best place on Wikipedia to mention your tidbit would be an article on St. John's Abbey itself. To put it simply: it's probably quite important to mention Gregorian chant in an article on St. John's Abbey than it is to mention St. John's Abbey in an article on Gregorian chant.
Also, just so you know, it's considered bad style to have "trivia" or "miscellaneous" or other such tidbit sections in featured articles like Gregorian chant. Especially in an article this long, information has to be carefully selected to support the main points of the article. Nothing against the good monks of St. John's intended! Peirigill 22:58, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Holy Communion

Some editors seem to object to the phrase "bread and wine" in the sentence "Communions are sung during the distribution of the bread and wine." I'm concerned with any sentence similar to "Communion chants are sung during Communion." Because the chant and the sacrament share the same name, it looks like redundant prose (which violates a rule for featured articles) and it's potentially both uninformative and misleading.

Why is "bread and wine" problematic? If it's because of some concern about treating transubstantiation with proper respect, I'd like to know. If "bread and wine" is factually inaccurate, please explain to me why. If "bread and wine" really is a problem, please suggest a rewording that doesn't use both meanings of the word "Communion" in the same sentence. Thanks! Peirigill 20:01, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

In French we speak of "Saintes Espèces"; can one translate this to "Holy Species" or "Sacred Species" in English? If not, what about "consecrated bread and wine"? Grumpy Troll (talk) 22:44, 25 August 2006 (UTC).
"Holy Species" isn't a common English term. Most people will not know that's supposed to refer to the Eucharist. "Consecrated bread and wine" sounds great to me — I hope others will agree! Peirigill 22:48, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Possibly people are changing "bread and wine" because for some centuries, wine was not distributed during the communion rite. A notable group using chant today are traditionalist Catholics, and they generally only distribute bread. "Communion" or "species" would be general enough to include these cases, unless you wanted to go with "bread and/or wine." The various Eastern terms wouldn't fit the article's context. Gimmetrow 23:20, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, that's helpful. Would "distribution of consecrated bread" be accurate and sufficient? Peirigill 00:25, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, it should suffice, unless someone understands it as excluding wine. "and/or" would probably be the best in this regard, but it's up to you. Gimmetrow 00:50, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
I can't believe "and/or" would have passed the "compelling, even brilliant prose" patrollers at FAC. (Much as the redundancy and/or jingle of "Communion chants are sung at Communion" wouldn't have.)  :-) Peirigill 08:37, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Agreed, "and/or" doesn't sound good. This is an article on chant, not on the details of the liturgical setting. Gimmetrow 11:12, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
As a general stylistic recommendation, bread and/or wine should be replaced by bread or wine, or both — but consecrated wine is never distributed on its own, hence the statement is rendered erroneous; given that Communions are generally only sung at the tridentine Mass, distribution of consecrated bread seems the most appropriate wording to me. Grumpy Troll (talk) 16:09, 26 August 2006 (UTC).
Yes, wine alone is rare. One might write "bread (and possibly wine)", but it still doesn't sound like "brilliant prose" to me. Gimmetrow 05:19, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Both kinds are received by the clergy aren't they, just not the people? When would the chant start, before or after the clergy have finished receiving? David Underdown 09:54, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
At some liturgies only the officiating priest takes wine. The word "distribution" however implies everyone else, who therefore may only receive the consecrated bread. Gimmetrow 11:41, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

The objection is in my book due to the POV nature of using the terms "bread" and "wine". Using these terms pushes the POV that Catholic theology is wrong, plain and simple. We don't need to use terms too liturgical or unfamiliar to the common reader, but we still should strive to be neutral, to say nothing of respectful. Str1977 (smile back) 11:07, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

To elaborate:

  • "bread" and "wine" are unacceptable as POV, as explained above (and consecrated doesn't change that problem)
  • just as POV would be to write "body of Christ" and "precious blood of Christ"
  • "host" is a useful solution to one of the species
  • "Holy species" might be, as voiced above, too cryptic
  • A possible solution solving all these problems would be to simply write "sacrament".

Str1977 (smile back) 11:19, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Without making this a theological and liturgical treatise, I think "consecrated bread" is accurate - it is bread that has been consecrated at Mass. It makes no theological statement about what may or may not have happened as a result of this consecration. I don't find this term to be pushing an anti-Catholic POV. Gimmetrow 11:41, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
As a Catholic, I see no issue with the term consecrated bread (I would not have suggested it if there was one). Grumpy Troll (talk) 19:47, 29 August 2006 (UTC).
A lot of Catholics don't actually know that their Church teaches that it isn't bread. I'm not suggesting that you're one of them. I remember an almost identical discussion taking place at another article last October, and someone wrote, "I'm a Catholic, and I've no problem with calling it bread. It is bread. It's what the bread signifies that matters." Now, of course, Wikipedia talk pages are not intended for debates about whether or not transubstantiation really happens, but the point was that this editor didn't actually know that what he was saying contradicted the teachings of his Church. He didn't say, "I was brought up Catholic, and I disagree with the Church's teaching about the Real Presence". He didn't actually know that he was disagreeing with the Church. Official Vatican documents avoid calling it bread. To be truly NPOV, we should also avoid saying that it's bread, and we should avoid calling it the Body of Christ, or even the Sacred Species. Since "consecrated bread" causes some problems (though not as many as just "bread" would), there can be no justification for using it (even if most people think it's okay) unless it's absolutely impossible to find a term that doesn't cause equal or worse problems. I can see that "communion" causes a stylistic problem with the repetition, though I'm not sure that such a problem is as bad as or worse than the "bread" problem. But I can't see any reason at all not to have Eucharist or Sacrament or host. AnnH 20:35, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
The example that you cite is typical of the modernist mentality that the saintly Archbishop Mgr Marcel Lefebvre denounced, especially on the subject of the Novus Ordo Missæ, designed with the assistance of Protestants. I do not really see the problem with consecrated bread; even the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops thus refers to the Body of Our Lord: "All ministers of Holy Communion should show the greatest reverence for the Most Holy Eucharist by their demeanor, their attire, and the manner in which they handle the consecrated bread or wine. … The deacon or priest places the consecrated bread in several ciboria or patens, if necessary, as required for the distribution of Holy Communion. … The consecrated bread may be consumed or completely dissolved in water before being poured down the sacrarium."[1] Grumpy Troll (talk) 21:02, 29 August 2006 (UTC).
I have no problem either when someone in conversation says "bread" ... but WP should do better and strive to be accurate and neutral. And no, according to Catholic theology it isn't "consecrated bread" ... it was bread but is no longer. And since there's an easy way round this problem, without anyone having to bend his back, we may as well do it. This is much easier than the case of Terri's page, where we had to distinguish between the species. Str1977 (smile back) 21:32, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

The eucharist (Catholic Church) article defines "Eucharist" as referring either to the liturgy, or "the consecrated bread and wine which according to the faith become the body and blood of Christ." There's "consecrated bread" again, but also "Eucharist" is an ambiguous term. "Sacrament" has the same ambiguity, referring both to the entire liturgy and to the consecrated species. Even "host" has some issues; other terms like "species" are too unfamiliar. This is an article about chant, not the theology of the liturgical context. It is "bread which has been consecrated and is no longer substantially bread, only having the appearances" but everything after "bread which has been consecrated" is a Catholic POV. So:

...we should not at all be surprised, if, even after consecration, the Eucharist is sometimes called bread. It is so called, first because it retains the appearance of bread, and secondly because it keeps the natural quality of bread, which is to support and nourish the body. Moreover, such phraseology is in perfect accordance with the usage of the Holy Scriptures, which call things by what they appear to be...

That quote is from the Catechism of the Council of Trent (TAN, p.237-8). Gimmetrow 22:46, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

There is no issue with the term consecrated bread, is there? It pushes no point of view and is unambiguous. Grumpy Troll (talk) 22:53, 29 August 2006 (UTC).
Str1977 has an issue with it, but I think it's a misplaced issue. Poor Peirigill must be surprised people have argued this much over a short phrase! Gimmetrow 23:07, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Gimmetrow, I am not the only one to object. And at this rather specialised article you should draw conclusions based on silence.
In what you above, I think, you are badly misrepresenting Eucharist (Catholic) article, which says things like "the bread becomes ...", "not bread", "appearance of bread" etc.
Sacrament might be a bit ambiguous but it poses no problem as the context "distribution of ..." makes it clear ...
"Everything after ... is Catholic POV" cuts both ways - you want the text to push a non-Catholic POV, which is no less of POV pushing. "Sacrament", "Eucharist", "host" push no POV ... "Precious blood" would but no one is advocating this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Str1977 (talkcontribs)
You are asserting it pushes a non-Catholic POV. I'm saying it is allowable (per example of Trent and USCCB). I've not said the alternatives push a POV (except the long phrase I gave as an example.) In an academic setting you might use "species" or "elements" and expect students to understand, but I think in an article which is not about theology, such terms are not preferable to the simple-language alternate, "consecrated bread". "During distribution of Communion" avoided the theological issues but came across as repetitive. Gimmetrow 23:41, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree and still push the term consecrated bread as both objective and satisfactory to all parties. Grumpy Troll (talk) 23:48, 29 August 2006 (UTC).
But it's not "satisfactory to all parties", since Str1977 and I both have some problems with it. Nor is it "unambiguous", as you said above. I don't have terribly terribly strong objections, as I know that the Church uses the word "bread", and even that St Paul did, when writing to the Corinthians. But speaking as a linguist, rather than as a Catholic (although I am both), I would say that calling it "consecrated bread" creates the idea in the mind that it's just bread, even though it's "holy" in some way. After all, we can consecrate a building, but the building doesn't turn into the Second Person of the Trinity. Under no circumstances would I push for a "Body of Christ" wording on Wikipedia, since I respect the policy on NPOV. But if we want to be truly NPOV, and to avoid giving the impression that it's just holy bread (remember that even Protestants who don't believe in the Real Presence do consider that the "bread" is holy in some way), it would be more prudent to avoid "bread", even qualified with "consecrated". Yes, you'll find the word "bread" used by the USCCB, but the bishops are not linguists or psychologists, and may not be the best judges as to the dangers of a wording that allows the interpretation of "holy bread" — an interpretation that Presbyterians would accept for their Eucharist, despite their differences with Catholics. The Vatican tends to avoid the word "bread", although it is found in Inaestimabile donum. Anyway, I don't see what the objections could be to Eucharist. It can't be confused for something else, and it doesn't imply anything at all as to whether or not transubstantiation really takes place. AnnH 00:09, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for your clarification; I better understand your concerns. I have no objections to the term Eucharist if that can put an end to this discussion! Grumpy Troll (talk) 00:18, 30 August 2006 (UTC).
A version once had "sung during the Eucharist". That is vague. "Sung during distribution of the Eucharist"? If you can figure out whether to capitalize it or not, and are sure nobody will read it as "distribution of thanksgivings", it's OK with me; it also avoids the bread vs. bread&wine issue. Gimmetrow 00:47, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
The term distribution of the Eucharist is convenient. Eucharist is always capitalised. Grumpy Troll (talk) 01:12, 30 August 2006 (UTC).
Yes, Eucharist is always capitalized. Nothing to do with POV, or Catholic reverence. Secular dictionaries capitalize it. I can see the vagueness of "sung during the Eucharist". And yes, I'm quite sure there's no danger that anyone will read it as "distribution of thanksgiving"! Thanks, both of you, for accepting this. Cheers. AnnH 01:17, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
"Poor Peirigill must be surprised people have argued this much over a short phrase!" Heh. Not really. I'm surprised a bit at the implied accusation that I wasn't striving to be neutral and respectful. Mostly I'm just happy that everyone's respected my request not to use both meanings of the word "Communion" in the same sentence, and that everyone's reached consensus. Peirigill 06:22, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Peirigill, I hope you are not referring to me. If you are, I am sorry about that. That was not my intention.
I totally agree with your objection to repetitive wordings. They are stylistically bad and confusing.
Regarding the above, I am content with "distribution of the Eucharist"
Str1977 (smile back) 12:13, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
I'll also add that it never crossed my mind that anyone here was not trying to be respectful or neutral. However, occasionally, a word chosen can tilt the balance in a direction that the speaker/writer definitely did not intend, as for example when my sister referred to her husband as "my partner", simply because she had been reading so many books and magazines about childbirth preparation, and had unconsciously absorbed the langauge they used, or when Str1977 pointed out to me in another article that an edit I had made, while an improvement over what had been there previously, still carried a POV implication that I had not intended. Anyway, I'm fully satisfied with the wording we have now. Thanks, everyone. AnnH 19:30, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

A couple of editors have changed "70 CE" to "AD 70," stating that Anno Domini is "appropriate." I don't believe that this is the case. Although Gregorian chant comes from the Roman Catholic tradition, the reference to the year 70 in this article concerns the Destruction of the Second Temple in Jewish history. According to Wikipedia's Manual of Style, "[b]oth the BCE/CE era names and the BC/AD era names are acceptable," and "it is inappropriate for a Wikipedia editor to change from one style to another unless there is some substantial reason for the change." "70 CE" was the usage in the version of this article which was granted FA status. Please do not change "CE" back to "AD" without stating here, on the talk page, what substantial reason you feel necessitates it. Thanks! Peirigill 20:22, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

I'll respond to the other (far more important) points Peirigill notes above later today. This one can be dealt with quickly. As I noted above in a different context, the article should use style, words, etc. that will be easily understood by both a general audience and musicologists, as they are the target audience. (This may include defining technical terms that would be familiar to musicologists so that laymen can have some understanding of them, but this point isn't relevant here.) There's still only one date notation that is standard for a general audience, and that is "AD". I believe that is why it is considered appropriate here by others. Surely choosing a style appropriate to your target audience is a "substantial reason for change". Of course, "CE" has its place: if you were writing for a predominantly Jewish audience, or an academic audience in a subject area where that notation is standard or a standard, then "CE" notation would be appropriate - but that's not what we have here. Incidentally, I wonder whether being precise about the date of the destruction of the temple adds much anyway - would "in the first century" (where the "AD" would be assumed) not be better in any case? SCCC 09:09, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
As I've said, I'm not writing for a Jewish audience or a Christian audience or any other kind of audience. I am, however, referring to the date of a Jewish event. "AD" is problematic.
If people don't know the CE/BCE convention, they should. It's a big world out there, and there's no reason anyone comes to Wikipedia except to encounter it, topic by topic. You'll notice that when I restored the original "CE," I blue-linked it for an immediately accessible explanation of the term, in accordance with one Wikipedian's recommendation.
The Manual of Style is quite clear: CE is acceptable. It doesn't say "CE is acceptable provided you're talking to Jews or trying to talk over people's heads." Since I don't have a "target audience," writing in the style for my "target audience" is not a substantial reason for the change. If you honestly believe that Wikipedia entries should be accessible to a general readership of "laymen," then you should oppose CE/BCE in every Wikipedia article. The Manual of Style simply doesn't support your philosophy, at least not on this particular point.
I can't assume that the reader will assume "AD" instead of "BC." Precision is generally better than vagueness in most cases, especially in the History section of an article. Peirigill 13:28, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

I absolutely do not believe that every Wikipedia article should be accessible or should be written for laymen. (Although I think it is a pity that some potentially interesting articles are written for the writers themselves and become inaccessible, though that is not the case here.)

0n the other hand, I absolutely do believe that good writing means adapting your style for your audience. That audience can be "the world" (or at least the English-speaking world), or some narrower audience. Failure to adapt your language, style, assumed knowledge and general approach to your audience will result in them switching off. I see nothing in the manual of style that contradicts that in any way (it would be somewhat disappointing if we did).

I'll tell you my message bluntly, and then leave it there - if you choose a style because you like it and you think people should know it - you will alienate those people who do not like it and those who disagree with you. If you are not bothered about alienating that potential audience, then that is a choice you are making - for better or worse, but do be aware of what you are doing.

Finally, I'd like to stress that these are key principles of good writing. It is up to you whether or not you adopt them, either in this article or in others. I personally have no intention trying to force articles to adopt styles that their authors seek to resist. SCCC 15:14, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

And yet, you've quite forcefully maintained that writing for laymen (your preferred "target audience") trumps the Manual of Style's clear guidelines concerning CE/BCE, and seem to be implying that doing otherwise makes me a fundamentally bad writer. Not cricket, sir. Peirigill 21:53, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I tend to agree with SCCC. You are clearly trying to force political correctness where it is not needed. First, let's not forget that AD is clearly more recognizable to the average reader than CE. Second, this article is about 'the official music of the Roman Catholic liturgy' and not about destruction of the second temple. If this was the article about destruction of the second temple then yes the use of CE maybe more appropriate. However the use of CE in this article is just disrespectful to the core audience. Therefore I'm changing it. Roxi2 15:39, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Having read above comments, let me chime in:

  • Both CE and AD are acceptable per MoS.
  • Since CE was the long-standing style used in this article, it should remain so.
  • I say that though I personally prefer the well-known AD to the "politically correct" CE.
  • The fact that a Jewish event (well, is only a Jewish event, is not also a Roman event, and in a way even a Christian event) is no reason to write CE and consequently extend it over the entire article. Only if the article's topic made one style preferable should we implement a change ... and only after consensus.
  • BUT: this doesn't matter here, as the original style was CE and should remain so.

Str1977 (smile back) 16:04, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Writing for an audience

I'm still following this discussion, and I'd like to chime in with support for SCCC's comments on writing for an audience, in particular: "Good writing then means you adopt a style that suits your audience. You assume the right level of knowledge. You adopt a pace that suits. You include or exclude information depending on whether the audience will find it interesting, useful or just plain confusing.".

I've said similar things to this on Wikipedia, and I support the idea of writing for an audience. I do think that more complex articles could benefit from having versions in different styles to illustrate this point. An example of two alternatives to leaving readers to follow a wikilink to understand a term is to: (a) explain it in the prose of the article (which would increase its size and make it less readable for those who already have a degree of understanding of technical terms); or (b) have footnotes briefly explaining things for the layperson.

Finally, I strongly disagree with Peirigill's comment that articles don't have an audience. The changes made to this article when it was going through FAC were aimed at making the article acceptable to an audience: the regular participants at FAC. Carcharoth 20:09, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

...which is exactly why I suggested to SCCC that he/she woud be more effective at changing Wikipedia culture (so that nontechnical transparency is understood as an essential part of meeting requirement 2a for featured article status) by becoming a regular participant at peer reviews and featured article candidacies, rather than tackling featured articles after the fact. Fix the batter, not the cake. If SCCC can achieve his/her goal of making simple English a featured article standard, then eventually all featured articles will be revised to conform with that standard or be stripped of their star during WP:FAR and WP:FARC, Wikipedia's process for periodically reviewing old featured articles to make sure they continue to meet WP's evolving standards for "compelling, even brilliant" prose.
I'll wholeheartedly agree with your comments about meeting the requirements for the "audience" of FAC reviewers, but that's a fundamentally different notion of "audience" than SCCC was using). I don't expect that everyone is going to care about the technical details of an article, but then I'm not forcing them to read the entire article. Some things are simply challenging, technical, or esoteric. I've done my level best to make these things perspicuous in the main body of the article. Some knowledge, by its very nature, is not going to be accessible to readers who don't have a certain level of understanding. It seems irresponsible to omit that information for people who do, or who are willing to make the effort to gain it. Notice that SCCC's complaints have been primarily about the lede, not the body of the article. We've lost sight of an important point, so I'll raise it again: the point of a lede is to let people know what's in the article, not to leave people fully educated on the topic in the shortest possible reading. I wholeheartedly agree that jargon should be explained. However, SCCC actually edited out jargon whose explanation had just been given, and s/he defines what constitutes jargon so broadly ("octave," "five-line staff") as to make his/her requests unworkable. It's a hard thing to be judged simultaneously by standards as extreme as Tony1's and SCCC's, and be bluntly be called a bad writer who is deliberately alienating a vast readership for failing to do so. SCCC's preference would require sacrificing the quality of the content. If my unwillingness to play along makes me a bad writer, so be it. Peirigill 21:53, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Oh, you are a good writer. Don't worry about that. I'm just getting on a hobby-horse here about "writing for an audience". I enjoyed the article very much. I just wish someone would actually take a complex and stable featured article and write it in three or four different styles so that we have examples to point at. I would also like to see Wikipedia develop different styles for different subjects. A certain style for history articles, a style for articles about fiction, a style for articles about places, for articles about people, and so forth. This wouldn't be prescriptive, but would encourage diversity of styles, while still remaining encyclopedic. I know there are forks of Wikipedia that do this, but I think there is room for Wikipedia to do it as well, and still remain within the NPOV policy. Some of the best of the old-style encyclopedias had articles in very distinctive styles, so much so that you could tell who had written what. It makes a refreshing change of pace to switch from a scholarly article to a layperson's article, from scientific jargon to popular journalism (OK, that last one is a bad example - probably not encyclopedic). There is also the "footnote" style of writing I mentioned above. That can be used to present the key facts in a few paragraphs of prose, with additional, more in-depth details added as footnotes. One reader would read the article and ignore the footnotes, while another would read the article and the footnotes, and learn more. Carcharoth 23:16, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Okay, but doesn't linking already accomplish what your footnotes would? Peirigill 00:23, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Linking is good, but I think it is sometimes overdone. Or rather, I think sometimes the writer of an article needs to consider whether the reader should read an explanation in another article, or in the article being written. This is mentioned as one of the points at Wikipedia:The_perfect_article: "A perfect Wikipedia article is nearly self-contained; it includes essential information and terminology, and is comprehensible by itself, without requiring significant reading of other articles." Of course, this also needs to be balanced with point 4 of Wikipedia:What is a featured article?: "It is of appropriate length, staying focused on the main topic without going into unnecessary detail." The thing here is deciding when an article will require significant reading of other articles. I think this depends on the reader. The expert will not need to follow the links and read other articles. The layperson will often need to follow the links and read other articles. Putting more explanation in the article inconveniences the expert, but helps the layperson. As a general rule, when I'm reading an article in an area I don't know much about, I find it annoying if I have to click on a link every sentence or so. Maybe once a paragraph is OK, but more than that and I find myself reading other articles instead, in an attempt to understand the subject. To some extent that is what makes the Wikipedia reading experience so different. But it is also nice to be able to read an article as a self-contained whole - to reach the end of the article and feel you have learned something, rather than having to go off and read more articles to make sure you really understood what you just read. Hope that makes my comments a bit clearer. It is a delicate balancing act, but it really does help to run an article past someone with absolutely no knowledge of the article's subject - that layperson invariably ends up making useful suggestions, and is of course not as involved as the writer. Carcharoth 21:42, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Some comments

"Although Gregorian chant is no longer obligatory"

 ?? It never has been obligatory. It was and stil is the only official song for catholic liturgy, bt music in itself is not obligatory.

"the core liturgy of the Roman Mass was compiled over a brief period in the late 7th century."

Indeed, but pointless: this does not mean that the melodies were compiled at that stage, though the sentence suggests it was the case.

"originated in Rome, before the 7th century" ... "Traditionalists point to evidence supporting an important role for Pope Gregory the Great between 590 and 604, such as that presented in H. Bewerung's article in the Catholic Encyclopedia."

This was the traditionnal view indeed but is now outdated, as stated a few lines below. The modern interpretation is a mixt between Roman and Gallical plain chant. See fr:Chrodegang de Metz.

"three melodic types"

Actually, a difference should be made between syllabic proper (e.g.: Pater Noster) and recitative (where a single note holds several syllabes). Since the next paragraph makes this difference, it could as well be introduced here.

"melismatic chants have syllables that are sung to a long series of notes"

Well... has some syllabes, not all of them, of course. Melismes are like flowers of the melody, they need to be isolated!

"until Vatican II diminished the liturgical role of chant "

On the contrary, Vatican II insisted on gregorian chant. See constitution on liturgy, §116.

"the Ite missa est and the Benedicamus Domino, ... They have their own Gregorian melodies"

No, the melody most of the time duplicates that of the Kyrie, so that their discussion is pointless.

I'll translate some of the material in fr:chant grégorien, which you may in turn want to read. Michelet-Me laisser un message 07:43, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

the ictus

The entry says "ictus, an accented musical pulse akin to a downbeat.." but this is in eror. The Liber Usualis that the ictus is a "rhythmic step" that can be "strong or weak according to the its position in the melody and text." (p. xxvij). Further, Justine Ward in her [book on Solesmes] says (p. 49) "let no one confuse an ictus with an accent. They fill a different, purpose. The accent is the life of a word or of a phrase; the ictus shows us the grouping of the notes (whether duplex or triplex)." Sunol says something similar. In fact, all authorities are in agreement on this point, and yet the urban myth to the contrary continues. This entry should not perpetuate it. I propose to not only remove the above comment but to replace it with a clear statement that the ictus receives no stress. Please let me know if I can make the change. Cmaa 15:35, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

How about if we just change it to "...akin to a beat", since beats can be weak or strong. And remove the word "accented", of course. —Wahoofive (talk) 16:19, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Yes, excellent. Making that change. Cmaa 16:33, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Tonus Perigrinus?

It surprises me this isn't addressed along with the other church modes. Oversight?

Jay.ricketts (talk) 23:13, 30 January 2008 (UTC)


I was surprised to find no mention anywhere on developments in performance practice due to semiological researches. This is a very important and influential issue that has engendered a lot of fresh endeavours. Since the publication of 'Semiologie Grégorienne' Solesmes 1970, by Dom Eugène Cardine (1905-1988) a lot of research has been undertaken, notably by his students. Like nothing ever happened since 1970, so I definitely think this subject should be taken up in the article. I know that a lot of controversies exist among different interest groups, scholars, performers etc. and this has been going on since the renaissance of Gregorian chant (according to the manuscript traditons) which started in the 1850ies in Solesmes. The article touches upon some of these controversies but often fails to bring home the salient points in a clear and unambiguous manner. When I have time and am in the mood, I may make a start on the semiology section and add 'recent developments' Martinuddin (talk) 12:18, 6 February 2008 (UTC)


thanks for the last corrections. I am happy to contribute, especially as contributions are corrected instead of deleted as happened on the French Wiki where contributions from non-native speakers are judged more on proper syntax than on the value of the information, which made me ponder about the evaluation process going on in the mind of the suppressor. To a rather confusing article lacking precise and correct information I put in some serious work in my best French and 4hrs. after my last installment it was all deleted. I was surprised at the totalitarian attitude of suppressing ALL of it instead of leaving it to the diligent French readers to improve syntax and grammar where necessary in which case by a more democratic process flaws are corrected but the correct information would remain accessible to all. There must be a more appropriate place where to post this kind of discussion but I have not found it yet. Martinuddin (talk) 13:33, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Psalms of King David and Psalmody

I was always taught that Gregorian chants were a tradition of psalm singing derived from King David, and the current article has the POV that the chant originated in Christian monasteries. The citation 3. by Hiley, references the doubt that the Gregorian Tradition is rooted in the post Second Temple, exterior Synagogue rites. It is still widely accepted, afaik, that the Gregorian Antiphonary continues to show evolution and importation from Psalmody inherited during the centuries preceeding the Benedictine Offices. cf. Te Deum[2] [2]. Benitoite (talk) 20:41, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Naming of Artists

Would is be possible to compile a list of Greogrian Chant singers and performers, to give visitors something more to listen to?? Theosony (talk) 17:37, 15 July 2008 (UTC)


This section looks pretty long now. Do you think it could become its own article now, and what we have here be either abridged or rewritten? I haven't read the archived discussions, so I apologize if this has already been addressed. Now that I've mentioned it, is it highly recommended to read the archives before asking a question? The reason I ask is because I really don't have much time to go through 40 archives. I'm not referring only to this discussion page, but all discussion pages in general. I attribute my reasoning of asking here instead of in the Wikipedia general discussion because I'll forget if I don't ask here and now. My lack of ambition isn't usually this bad, so I'm trying to prevent that from happening in the future. Sorry if this has been inconvient to read and reply to as I have difficulty summarizing things--I'm constantly trying to improve on that, just like Wikipedia is constantly improving. Thanks. (talk) 05:09, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Hello. I've contributed a lot on fr: on fr:chant grégorien, & my advice would be first of all to be coherent with interwiki links. This being said, if I refer to the French decomposition (mine, actually, so open to criticisms...), it's the other way 'round: the "History" part probably belongs to the main article, and "musical form", "performance" & "Liturgical functions" may be the roots of sub-articles. As to your intervention, the wiki rule is simply "be bold", so - no problem, you're welcome to discuss any kind of improvement. Michelet-密是力-Me laisser un message 17:07, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Schola Hungarica has been publishing Gregorian Chant LPs and CDs since 1978, decades before Chant. The notion that somehow Chant was the root of Gregorian chant as plainchant for a popular resurgence during the '80 is simply US centric and sorely lacks an appropriate world view. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:06, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. I'm inserting a subheading to try both to reflect that and also to give scope for analogous work for other areas of the world. Feline Hymnic (talk) 18:37, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
  1. ^ Development of notation styles is discussed at Dolmetsch online, accessed 4 July 2006
  2. ^ Te Deum