Talk:Gregorian chant/Early discussions

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Earliest discussion topics

The following passage:

Gregorian chant, like the chants of the other rites, was later used to sing only certain parts of the liturgy. The rest of the parts are sung by the bishops, priests, and deacons with a certain default assigning of notes to words depending on their place in a sentence.

seems to imply that the singing by priests is not Gregorian chant, which it most certainly is. Furthermore, the implication of this section is that chant only occurs in the context of the Mass; but it also was used extensively in the Offices. - Wahoofive

Anonymous user thought to post a comment by blanking the above. I've restored it, and here is their comment below. --Gareth Hughes 14:33, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

There is an error in the article. The article says Greg. chant came from the ancient Greek modes. This is nonsense. The modes came from the Byzantine oktoechos in about the 8th century and were only then incorporated into the existing body of chant. Harold Powers explains this fairly well in the article 'mode' in the New Grove Encyclopedia of music and musicians. --
The article says nothing of the sort. What are you smoking? —Wahoofive | Talk 16:16, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I don't see it either. Could you ( please explain further exactly what your objection is? I wrote a lot of the "history" section of this article myself, and mainly from the Grove articles. Antandrus 16:29, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I think the idea of the modes came from the Greek Octoechos, but the eight Gregorian modes don't really have anything musical in common with the Octoechos. In considering where Gregorian Chant comes from, one has to remember that it is closely related to a variant version, usually called "Old Roman". The scenario that's usually believed nowadays is that when Charlemagne wanted to impose the Roman rite over his whole empire, the way of singing in Rome, not yet written down, had to be learned. Music notation may have played a part in fixing a northern European version of the Roman chant, and the northern version is what we call "Gregorian" chant. The Old Roman version wasn't written down until considerably later. It appears to be musically more archaic (perhaps nearer the "original" way of singing in Rome?), but the system of carving everything thing up into eight modes is not really present. It is Gregorian chant which introduced this, so the chant is a repertory to which the eight-mode system of classification was applied after it had already come into existence as an oral tradition.
I would not say that the chant of the Roman rite was necessarily proper to monks, for all that it is now associated with them. It's properly the chant of the secular Roman rite. As far as the Divine Office is concerned, I'd suggest the following order: The rule of St Benedict describes an order of service; nothing is known of the music which accompanied this. The order of service was slightly altered and adapted for the non-monastic Divine Office of the Roman rite, and Gregorian chant is the music of this rite. The Benedictine Office came to use this chant also, but probably got it from the Roman rite. So the order of service came from the monks; it was adapted for use outside monasteries. The music came from outside monasteries, but was adapted for use with the monastic service. This may be an oversimplification, of course! (Peter Wilton, 09:04, 8 Oct 2005)

Gregorian chants in modern music

For all that I know, groups such as Era, Enigma (musical project) and Gregorian (music group) have produced rather sucessful songs with Gregorian chants in them. Since I don't know that much about it, could anyone write about the topic regarding Gregorian chants in modern music? --Andylkl (talk) 12:22, May 1, 2005 (UTC)

I have a very limited experience with this type of fusion music. However, it seems that Gregorian modes i and iii are preferred. These are treated as jazz minor modes with the fifth as dominant, and with either a flattened second (mode iii) or a sharpened sixth (mode i) to give them the Gregorian feel. Plagal modes don't seem to be used very much (dominant is stuck on the fifth), and major modes, v and vii, are avoided probably for sounding too normal. This makes Gregorian music simpler than it really is, and gives the impression that it is a mediaeval kind of minor-mode jazz. --Gareth Hughes 18:42, 1 May 2005 (UTC)


When the caption for the sound file says "mode iii Gregorian chant", does that mean musical mode, and specifically Phrygian mode? (if so, we should link one or both). Secondly, shouldn't it be "mode III" rather than "mode iii"? -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 12:51, August 4, 2005 (UTC)

I fixed it. Pange Lingua is indeed in Phrygian (at least the version set by Josquin--there's a couple variants of the tune). I think capital III is correct. Thanks for pointing this out. Antandrus (talk) 15:40, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

List of masses

I removed [1] an edit by User: giving a list of masses, such as "In Festis Solemnibus" and "In Feriis per annum". Seems to be a table of contents of the Liber Usualis -- certainly these aren't the only masses that exist. It might belong on the Liber usualis page, although we don't usually include tables of contents in book articles. —Wahoofive (talk) 01:13, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

AFAIK, these are the only Gregorian masses that exist (18 + Pro Defunctis). There are several other Kyries, Glorias, etc., (ad libitum ones), but they don't form a mass. I don't see why they shouldn't be here - or perhaps in separate page (List of Gregorian Masses, maybe?). It's certainly not a table of contents of the Liber Usualis, that would be much longer. And Liber Usualis is not the only book where these chants are included. 11:53, 28 August 2005 (UTC)
In the earliest manuscripts you will find many movements of the Ordinary of the Mass which are not in the post-Tridentine books, including those of Solesmes. You won't necessarily find the modern melodies for these texts in the ancient manuscripts either. (Peter Wilton, 22:03, 11th of October, 2005)
According to Apel, the groupings of Ordinary chants into collections of Masses is something of a nineteenth-century invention anyway. Peirigill 13:26, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

Latin Pronunciation

The pronunciation of the Latin in the recording of the Pange Lingua Gloriosi is incorrect.

It has the word "Praestet" rhyming with the english word "Light", which would be appropriate for English Latin common in the Church of England, but not for gregorian chant. Another example is singing the first syllable of "Virgine" not as "Veerge" but as "Virge". Should I put a note next to it noting this?

Kamatsu 11:07, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Gregorian chant is often sung in whatever form of Latin is most familiar to the singer or the audience. There are different conventions in different regions. For example, "scio" would be sung [stsijo] in Germany, and "Dominus" sung [dominy] or [dominyz] in France. These regional variations go back to the Middle Ages, and are legitimate choices in historically informed performance practice. The Italianate Latin most common in ecclesiastical use isn't obligatory, as far as I know. If the pronunciation is simply wrong, however ("virge" isn't proper pronunciation in any version of Latin I'm familiar with), I think a better solution would be to find or make a public domain recording that has more precise pronunciation. Putting a note next to a singer's pronunciation, publicly pointing out their defects, seems a bit impolitic; would you put a note next to an instrumental recording pointing out that the shawm is out of tune? Peirigill 19:11, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm a gregorian performer and I've got a Liber Usualis. Perhaps I should do a recording. I'll see if I can dig up my microphone ;) --Kamatsu
Actually, no, scrap that. My microphone is of too poor quality. --Kamatsu 11:52, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Me, too, and I've got techie friends who can help out with the recording. Although Pange lingua is one of the best-known chants, and while it's a great example of a Hymn, it's not very representative of the repertory as a whole. It's very late as chants go, and it's a strophic hymn with lots of rhyme, whose multiple stanzas run a little long without adding any musical content. Ideally, I'd like to record one of the shorter Collects, one of the Mode 3 Introits, and maybe the Hodie Christus natus est Antiphon for Christmas Day, to represent the recitative, the Mass, and the Office chants. I'm concerned that might be overkill, though. Any thoughts on shorter chants that might be good representatives for the article? Peirigill 22:15, 13 June 2006 (UTC)