Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Gregorian chant

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Gregorian chant[edit]

Self-nominationThis article has been through a major overhaul. The content has been reorganized to give a more comprehensive coverage of the topic. The article has been thoroughly copyedited by several editors, and has gone through a peer review. This is a great demonstration of the advantages to Wikipedia not being paper, using both images and sound files to illustrate the essay. Thanks for your consideration! Peirigill 06:29, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Object. I'd like to see this promoted, but the prose is not yet good enough. Here are examples.
    • The opening sentence is a long snake that needs splitting. I'd love an en dash for "800–1000"—perhaps "the ninth and tenth centuries" might be safer, or are you sure of those exact boundaries? PS I've learnt a new word: "redaction"—nice.
      • DoneBridesmill 15:34, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
        • I'm moving "Catholic Church" per WP:LEAD. The first sentence ought to define the term, and the context of Catholicism is essential to the definition. Peirigill 19:27, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
    • "but came to be associated"—are you contradicting the previous statement? If not, use "and" instead.
      • I think this is a valid contradiction of popular belief.Bridesmill 15:34, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
        • Bridesmill is correct; Gregorian chant didn't arise until a good 200 years after Gregory, but popular lore (both in the middle ages and today) credits Gregory with composing or at least organizing the chant. Peirigill 19:27, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
    • "Musically, it is organized ..."—I think we've lost sight of what "it" refers to.
      • Does anyone else insist? Unless there is a serious short term memory problem, flows good here to me.Bridesmill 15:34, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
        • Every use of "it" and "its" in the lede refers to "Gregorian chant." I've reworded the lede slightly to make that more clear.
    • "outside OF"—please no.
      • If you insist

SFriendly.gif - though I have a bit of a musical problem with that statement...Bridesmill 15:34, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

        • I have a bit of a musical problem with your edit here, Bridesmill. The B-flat isn't a "deviation" from the diatonic scale, it's a result of Guido's hexachords. "Deviation" has a negative connotation of "introduced error" that strikes me as incorrect and even POV. Moreover, a very small number of Gregorian chants include E-flats and F-sharps - not enough to dwell on, but enough that your statement "B-flat is the only deviation" is incorrect. If the concern is with the phrase "outside of," a simpler fix is to just say "outside the diatonic scale." Unless you disagree, I'd prefer to use this wording, and revert your edits, Bridesmill. Peirigill 19:27, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
          • I had the sense of 'deviation' as 'exception to the rule' rather than 'deviance'. My real problem though it the B flat - my music theory was in 1974 or so, hence I'm quite rusty, but seems to me this would be the case only in key of C; my recollection is that the rule is actually the 6th note rather than specifically B flat. If that's the case, it could read "...hexachords using the diatonic scale and (in solfege notation) Te" ? 00:04, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
      • I'm afraid your music theory is, in fact, a bit rusty, at least as regards the medieval use. There was no "key of C" during the period when Gregorian chant was being made to conform to the system of modes. The theory involved "hexa"-chords - patterns of six notes - so there was, in fact, neither "ti" nor "te" in Guido's solfège, only ut re mi fa sol la.It was very specifically the B-flat, and no other note, that was allowed. Specifically, the "B" from the the G hexachord was the "hard B," and the "B" from the F hexachord was the "soft B." This latter was drawn as a rounded b, which is the origin of the flat sign. If anything, it was the note beneath the clef marker, not the sixth note, that became linked with the flat. This is why the E-flat was the second "accidental" to be used; there were two "clefs" in common use, one clef where the C was marked and another where the F was marked. The soft-b sign originally placed beneath the C line was eventually stripped of its meaning as a "B," reinterpreted as a flat, and placed on the space beneath the F line to indicate an E-flat. The B-flat was not an "exception to the rule." It was an application of the hexachord pattern (whole tone-whole tone-semitone-whole tone-whole tone, the intervals between ut, re, mi, fa, sol, and la) to the core notes C, F, and G (the Pythagorean tonic, fourth, and fifth of the diatonic scale). But this takes us into territory that isn't germane, and belongs not in the Gregorian chant article but the solfège and music notation articles. The original wording - minus the redundant "of" - is more accurate.Peirigill 01:54, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
    • "a vocabulary of particular musical motifs"—Can you clarify "particular"? Either remove it, or disambiguate.
      • I believe this is clarified further down, to do so in lead would make the lead too big, at the same time, the point shouldn't be left out of lead altogether.Bridesmill 15:34, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
        • Nowhere in the article do I write out these motifs. There are hundreds of them, each consisting of around ten to thirty notes. As the article states, some motifs are used only as incipits, some only as cadences, some only in between. Honestly, I don't believe that writing out the particular musical phrases is appropriate for an encyclopedia article about chant, as opposed to a monograph. Even a representative sample, such as the motifs used for the Iustus ut palma chants, takes several pages in Apel. However, they're not completely absent from the article; a few of these motifs are included in the Tract "De profundis." One cadence motif in particular occurs several times. I could draw the reader's/listener's attention to that more explicitly, if you think it necessary. Peirigill 19:27, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
    • "from which the modern five-line staff would develop"—Since you've already located the development of the GC in time, can you specify the century here?
    • "Gregorian chant also played an important role in the development of polyphony." "Important"? No, be stronger: "critical" or "crucial".
      • Strong word would be 'nice', but without ref would be hyperbole, reading the article makes it obvious how important it was.Bridesmill 16:01, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
        • How about "fundamental"?That's not hyperbolic... and it's even not a terrible abuse of the musicological meaning of the term. Peirigill 19:27, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
    • "It is the music of the Roman Rite of the Mass, and of the monastic Offices"—"of the" occurs three times.
      • Fixed Bridesmill 16:01, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
        • "Roman Rite Mass" is problematic; I'm going to change this slightly. Peirigill 19:27, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
    • "Although it is no longer obligatory, the Catholic Church still officially considers it the music most suitable for worship"—maybe a reference for this? Unsure. And can you go through the whole article to audit the use of "it"; I find the referent unclear sometimes. Here, the first "it" might refer to "the Catholic Church"; although this becomes clearly not the case as you read on, you shouldn't have to be left hanging, even for a few seconds. There are three "its" at the end.
      • One 'it' & ref for Cath.Church opinion done Bridesmill 16:11, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
        • If you look at the talk page, you'll see that this issue has been raised and addressed.There's a more direct (and less biased) source than the Catholic Encyclopedia cited later in the article.Is it really necessary to cite this in the lede, which is supposed to summarize the article, when this exact point is elaborated and given a citation in the main body of the article?Similarly, I'm uncomfortable with Bridesmill's citation for modern notation in the 16th century; per WP:LEAD, the lede isn't supposed to contain information not in the article, and that detail isn't in the article.I'd prefer to move that added phrase about the 16th century down to the section on Medieval and Renaissance music, and use Bridesmill's citation there rather than the lede.Is that acceptable?Peirigill 19:27, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
          • I think you make a good point, but for me, it seems like the kind of statement that, while true, is immediately called into question and begs for verification. What about a link that just sends you down the page to the appropriate section for more info and your better reference? I was also surprised to find the relevant part ("Vatican II officially allowed worshipers to substitute other music, particularly modern music in the vernacular, in place of Gregorian chant, although it did reaffirm that Gregorian chant was still the official music of the Catholic Church, and the music most suitable for worship.") in the "Texture" section. This doesn't seem appropriate. MarkBuckles 05:15, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
            • Good point.I'll relocate it to the history section. Peirigill 08:51, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
        • Regarding the use of "it": I'm going through the article, editing the word "it" per your instruction, and I'm finding that this is primarily an issue in the lede.The word occurs hardly at all in the body of the article.I'm revising where I think there's even a slight chance of confusion.In general, I'm not rewriting the impersonal use of "it" in phrases such as "it is believed" or "it is common for" where "it" does not have a specific referent.Please let me know if there are specific cases that you find problematic.Your request for an "audit" is addressed below, in response to your request for better copyediting. Peirigill 19:27, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
    • The quote underneath the ogg link starts with quote marks and with a lower-case letter. I'd like the author of this statement in brackets, plus the year, rather than having to hit the reference link for this.
      • Done Bridesmill 16:18, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
        • Per WP:CITE, Wikipedia style doesn't prefer one style over the other, but it does require that citation style be consistent throughout the article: "All three are acceptable citation styles for Wikipedia. Do not change from Harvard referencing to footnotes or vice versa without checking for objections on the talk page. If there is no agreement, prefer the style used by the first major contributor."With all due respect, Tony, I don't think this particular objection is legitimate.The footnote should stay, and the Harvard reference be removed.Please let me know if this request of mine is unacceptable, and if so, why your instruction overrides WP:CITE.Peirigill 19:27, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
    • Caption for the image: can we have the year or century? Where is "St Henry"? Can you fix the funny angle of the page? (Even my computer will do this.)
      • Done Bridesmill 16:01, 5 July 2006 (UTC))
        • I had originally put more information (including the century and nationality) in the caption, but removed it per WP:CAPTION.That information is included in the body of the article, in the Notation section.I'm perfectly happy to put it back in, but the centuries should be spelled out to be consistent with the rest of the article. Peirigill 19:27, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

The article needs a thorough copy-edit; then we'll look at the musical side. Tony 08:48, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

  • The primary copyediting issue that you raised, the use of "it," isn't really an issue in the main body of the article.Prior to Bridesmill's editing, the word "it" occurred only sixteen times in the entire article."Its" occurred five times, and "itself" only once.However, I've cleaned up these cases where corrections seemed merited.If you have other specific copyediting concerns, you would be helping me out a great deal if you could point them out.Having copyedited this article a great deal, I'm less able to identify problems than I would be were I editing someone else's work with a fresh eye.Thanks to you both for your comments! Peirigill 19:27, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Thx; it's customary not to strike out reviewers' points as you address them. Tony 16:22, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Because I'm addressing some of these points, sometimes in opposition to Bridesmill's edits, I'm going to unstrike everything. Peirigill 22:17, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Further comments. Is the performer of the "Alma Redemptoris Mater" a Wikipedian? Nice, but I wonder whether a tiny bit of reverb wouldn't be inappropriate: it's a dry acoustic. I guess it's not mandatory, but there's nothing in the "file info" about the recording—date, recordist, venue, whether it's a private recording.

  • Yes, the performer of all the chants is a Wikipedian, namely me working with a broken microphone and recovering from a bout of bronchitis.If someone would like to instruct me how to add reverb using GarageBand, or wants to take it upon themself to add reverb, they're welcome to do so. Peirigill 16:26, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Then my eyes strayed onto the first para in the first section:

"Unaccompanied singing has been part of the liturgy of the Christian church since its beginnings. The singing of hymns is mentioned in the New Testament, and other ancient witnesses such as Tertullian, Pope Clement I, St. Athanasius, and the abbess Egeria confirm the practice,[4] although in a poetic or obscure way that sheds little light on how music sounded in these first centuries."

Does it change the meaning too much to start with "Unaccompanied singing has been part of the liturgy since the beginnings of the Christian church"? Sorry to be snapping terrier about "it" and "its", but here the pronoun could refer to "unaccompanied singing" or "the Christian church". Of course, after thinking about it for a few milliseconds you realise that it's the latter, but crystal clear prose typically avoids such ambiguities. There's further ambiguity in "although in a poetic or obscure way that sheds little light on ...". Here, "that" could refer to the confirming of the practice by the specified witnesses; it's the way I first comprehended it, only to do a reverse after finishing the sentence (realising that the referent is "a poetic or obscure way"). Have you got a few copy-editors who are unfamiliar with the text to collaborate on this job? (Lack of familiarity is an inherent advantage, of course.) Tony 12:19, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

  • I spend a few hours making exactly this kind of edit... Unfortunately, that resulted in an edit conflict, so it'll be a little while before I can post all the changes. Peirigill 16:26, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Stray, facetious afterthought: Tony, if you object to "outside of," does that mean you eat hors œuvres? Peirigill 16:26, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

"Certain classes of Gregorian chant have special musical formulae for each mode, allowing one section of the chant to transition smoothly into the next section"—I'm uncertain of the meaning of "special", which is rather broad in meaning. I wonder whether you mean "specific". Or perhaps "particular". Tony 12:55, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Technically, we're talking about species of formulae, so "special" is precisely the right word, as opposed to the usual, vaguer meaning of "special."I'll take the surgical solution and just remove "special" altogether, and make the problem go away. Peirigill 16:26, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Image I can't find where the image is discussed above; Bridesmill has uploaded a straightened-out copy, however to my eye it is not nearly as sharp (can I see some artefacts at the top even in the thumbnail?) Looking at the file sizes it seems to be 85-ish KB vs. 125-ish KB. As it is now I prefer the older image. Mak (talk) 16:00, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
    • I see what happened - hazards of jpegs - will fix later 2day.Bridesmill 16:31, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
      • My preference was for the original, at a large enough size that I could read the music and words clearly enough to sing the chant.Shrinking it made for better page layout, and rotating it made for less awkward composition, but both make it nearly impossible to read the score.I guess the "pretty" outweighs the "musicological" in this case, but it would be nice to have both.Peirigill 16:59, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
        • I agree with Peirigill that once the image is restored to its original resolution/filesize it would be nice to make the image large enough to read, making it not simply a pretty picture, but also demonstrate its use as a musical artifact. I have seen instances where images are made larger in the lead in order to increase their encyclopedic and pedagogic value. Mak (talk) 20:11, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
          • Added a sound file to accompany the lede image, and inserted a slightly larger, cleaner, more aligned copy of the image. Peirigill 01:22, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
  • "Outside of" and "inside of" have crept into the oral mode, particularly in North America. The preposition is absolutely idle, and professional editors in North America will remove it, solely for that reason; any serious editor will remove redundancies. Same as "she brought along food for the poor". Tony 16:37, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
    • English is a Germanic language, with a rich heritage of compound prepositions.I'm not giving up "in between" regardless of what anyone says.To my ear, "outside of" implies a metaphor ("outside of this group") whereas "outside" implies physical location ("outside the house").Mandating that the only good prose is that which reduces language to its most sparse strikes me as aesthetic as Orwellian Newspeak and as arbitrary as outlawing split infinitives (another fine Germanic linguistic convention) on the grounds that Latin prose didn't allow for it.But you're the one with your name on the style guide, and you're the one with veto power; so be it.I'm not arguing the point - I hope my "hors d'œuvres" comment was understood as a jest; I've already been accused of violating WP:CIVIL and WP:OWN during this FA review, and trust me, I have no desire to repeat that experience - but I don't want you thinking that my position is completely unconsidered. Peirigill 16:59, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
"In between" is fine in the right context, because it can mean more than "between". I'm unsure that your metaphor argument is substantive; can't "outside" be metaphorical? Sparse, no; plain and elegant, yes. Since you can't split infinitives in other Germanic languages, the concept was specifically English in the first place. It's a long-shot to compare my plea to drop the "of" to the outmoded ban on split infinitives. And thanks for the note about the style guide, but I don't mind being challenged, and my word should count just as much as that of other reviewers. I continue to learn. Tony 03:44, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
    • Stray afterthought #2... Re: "she brought along," it's not the case that "she brought" and "she brought along" are absolutely identical.Just ask our comrades on the German Wikipedia whether "bringen" (to bring) ("sie bringt es," she brings it) and "mitbringen" ("to bring along") ("sie bringt es mit"), she brings it along) are absolutely interchangeable. I'm reminded of an Iowan friend of German blood who would say, "We're going to the store.Come with!"It was a disconcerting phrase, but one that makes sense as German-influenced dialect; "come!" means "get over here!" whereas "come with!" means "join me!"A small but important difference, that implies a personal connection.I don't mean to push this example too far; clearly, in standard English, "she brought along food to the poor" is for all practical purposes equivalent to "she brought food to the poor," and I wouldn't challenge such an edit.But it does seem to me that a trace of that personal connection lingers in the phrase "brings along," which seems to imply that the food was hers to bring, or that she carried it herself.It's not true that the phrases are absolutely equivalent in connotation or even in denotation. Again, I hasten to say, not to challenge your editorial policy.Just food for thought. One thing about being a medievalist is that you start paying attention to the long-lost connections between languages like this.Peirigill 20:05, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, but only when they're substantive; I'm unsure that your ascription of additional meanings to "along" would strike a chord in others. Tony 03:44, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Lots of copyedits of the kind I hope Tony was requesting have been added. Peirigill 16:59, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Nice, flows better IMHO; though the "This results in melodies that fall within the diatonic scale, but allow both B-natural and B-flat." in the lead, not sure if its adding anything - the 'Modality' section expands on it in a very clear & understandable fashion, but summarized (as it needs to be) in the lede, to my ears it only confuses - also, it is providing expansion, explanation, or assessment (depending on how you look at it) which is not the place of the lead. Bridesmill 17:08, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Phrasing this point has been a thorn for some time (see the talk page).Here's the crux: the lede should mention hexachords, and give a very brief, non-technical description of the word, since hexachords are discussed in detail in the article.The lede should also mention, in some precise but not overly technical language, that Gregorian chants (generally) can be sung using the white notes (including B-natural) and B-flat.In practical terms, that's more important than the hexachords are.The role B-flat and B-natural play in Gregorian tonality comes up in the discussion of modality and of Communions... and it occurs to me that the "soft b" should really be mentioned in the notation section, as well. Now, how to word all of this succinctly in the lede? The B-flat isn't really an accidental.In fact, it's not technically even a B-flat.As you pointed out, Bridesmill, B-flat is a modern term, anachronistic in the context of Gregorian chant, and yet it's the only reasonable way to discuss the note without getting far too technical for the lede.I still prefer my original phrasing, but I tried to incorporate your phrasing into the last edit, and felt I had to split the sentence into two in order to meet Tony's stylistic requirements.I agree that "diatonic - but not really" isn't the best way to say express the situation, but I also think introducing solfège is both overly technical and misleading.Is there a better solution that
  • mentions and briefly explains hexachords,
  • indicates that Gregorian melodies primarily use the diatonic scale,
  • mentions that B-flat is also permitted, and
  • makes it clear that the B-flat and B-natural can coexist in the same melody, or at least doesn't imply that one "B" has tonal "priority" over the other?
Peirigill 22:08, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
    • Does it really need to mention it any deeper than the brief explain of hexachords, given that as you say (and I agree) the Modality section does a stellar job of explaining how this fits in with our modern understanding? I'm afraid that any more either risks getting too technical for a good lede, or too brief and confusing. You're right about the solfege - that just thows a 3rd monkey into the works.The lengthy version which meets your wishes might be: " 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 the B-flat " Anyone else with an opinion?Bridesmill 22:46, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Inserted this version, minus one "the." Peirigill 19:20, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Strong Support (of somewhat involved editor) with all due respect to Tony's copy-edit reservations, I believe the article is well and clearly written , very thorough, covering all important aspects of the topic without too much "cruft" creeping, good solid supporting articles, especially on neumes and other types of chant in the Catholic tradition. The images, although few, are of high quality and free, as well as adding significantly to the article. It is neutral and factual, and well sourced with inline references, using the most important and well respected sources for the topic. The article is not and never has been subject to edit wars, and the number of recent edits are mainly copy-editing, so I would say that the article is stable. In addition it follows the Manual of style. I believe that's all of the criteria. I also feel that, aside from simply meeting the criteria, it is also a very good article on a somewhat difficult topic. Mak (talk) 20:18, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Support I know I've been working on tweaking this the last few days, but most of this is very much picking nits among perfectionists rather than being an active contributor. A very good article that explains the subject understandably, links well into background, does not get 'too' absurdly technical, is well documented, in short - better than most FA's currently out there IMHO. Bridesmill 22:46, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Further comments. Here's a jingle I don't know how to fix: "was common practice until the beginning of common-era practice". I'm uncomfortable referring to organum as harmony, which I've always thought of as involving triads, whether sounded or implied. Organum is essentially anti-triadic, isn't it? "Individual composers" is odd if not placed in the context of anonymous composition that characterised the invention of GCs. Tony 03:57, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

I tried a fix on that one.Maybe try "usual" or "predominant" instead of "common" -- in general I don't like sticking the two words "common" and "practice" together unless the usual, very specific musical meaning is intended. Antandrus (talk) 04:18, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
Harmony doesn't have to involve triads.(Check out Antandrus' article on bicinia.)The usual definion of harmony is "two or more pitches sounded simultaneously," especially in the context of independently moving lines.Organum qualifies.The difference between chant and organum is the difference between melody and harmony."Harmony" can mean different things in other contexts, but here the broader meaning of harmony should be clear. Peirigill 17:21, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
"Individual composers" is odd.I think it's trying to get at the idea of a deliberate composition of a unified Mass, which you'd expect to be composed by an individual, as opposed to most Gregorian Masses, whose songs are musically unrelated.I'll revise it. Peirigill 17:21, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
The independent bass line existed in Renaissance times, but it became a standard feature in the baroque.I'll reword the article to split the difference. Peirigill 17:21, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Support.Well-written, thorough, and informative.I really have to struggle to find nits to pick.A question on content:are there any examples of early, early Christian liturgical music in ancient musical notation?I don't think so, but maybe one of you know better.Ancient musical notation survived until around 300, at least that is the date of the latest scraps of which I'm aware.Isidore of Seville famously mentioned around 600 AD that it was "impossible" to notate music, so there was a gap of around 600 years during which chant was an oral tradition only.Later on in the article, it could be mentioned that the chant made its way into Protestant services as well:for example, Christ lag und Todesbanden is the Victimae paschali laudes, fitted with a D# as the second note, at least in Bach's version, and there's lots more chants that ended up as Protestant hymns.Nice article, excellent work, and thank you to all who helped with the writing and copyedit.Antandrus (talk) 04:02, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't think there are any notated ancient Christian songs before medieval plainchant.The Ugaritic notation's all pre-Christian, and the Greek songs are all pagan, so far as I know.You got me on the early Protestant stuff.I know that the earliest attested vernacular hymns were German versions based on Gregorian, but that was c. 1100, well before Luther. Peirigill 17:21, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
There is in fact at least one Greek Christian hymn. You can see it included on this cd (track 16) and this CD (track 17); I think I have both but I'm in the middle of moving and it may be a while until I can find them. I think there is a bit of a discussion in the liner notes about how it is the earliest known notated Christian hymn. It is notated in the same way as other (mostly older) ancient Greek music, which used a letter notation. Rigadoun 19:52, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
Cool!Here we go, from Grove:

"There exists only one certain monument of early Christian music, and a possible second. The first is the so-called Oxyrhynchus Hymn, a substantial fragment of a hymn to the Trinity discovered at Oxyrhynchus in Lower Egypt in about 1920 by Grenfell and Hunt (1922); it was copied on the back of a papyrus towards the end of the 3rd century by a Greek-speaking Christian (seeillustration). Its Greek letter notation allows for an accurate transcription. It is a diatonic piece of slightly less than an octave in range, with its final on G, and with most syllables of its text set to one or two notes. Scholars have held widely divergent views on how characteristic of early Christian music this seemingly isolated fragment was. The possibly contemporary example of Christian song is the simple Sanctus melody that is best preserved in the Western medieval Requiem Mass. Kenneth Levy (1958–63) has argued persuasively that this melody, and indeed the entire dialogue between celebrant and congregation of which it forms a part, dates from the 4th century. It is narrower in range than the Oxyrhynchus Hymn, as befits a congregational acclamation, and slightly more syllabic, while its diatonic tonality differs from that of the Hymn in that it has a half-step below its final."

"Even if this Sanctus is accepted as authentic music of the 4th century, and its rough similarity to the Oxyrhynchus Hymn is noted, the two provide little evidence on which to generalize about the character of early Christian song. Only a number of broad reflections on the subject are possible. It can be said with some degree of certainty that early Christian music was largely diatonic. The one or two preserved examples aside, it appears that the music of the entire Mediterranean basin and Mesopotamian area, over a period of many centuries, was basically diatonic, even if sometimes embellished chromatically and microtonally (see Crocker). No doubt Christian music inevitably participated in this tonal environment." (James W. McKinnon: 'Christian Church, music of the early', Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed 11 July 2006), <>)

It doesn't sound like it really fits into the Gregorian chant article, though... would it go under Notation, Modality, or History? Peirigill 21:07, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
Restructuring the early history, following suggestions by Sarabil701, created an obvious and integral place to mention the Oxyrhynchus hymn.Yay! Peirigill 19:27, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Re: Tony's interpolated comment: "!--Is this a reference to neumes? If so, most readers won't have a clue. Refer them to the image above, and specify square noteheads?--" Yes, it's a reference to neumes.Square notation is mentioned at the top of the article (in the lede image caption) and discussed in the Notation section.Should I assume that the reader hasn't read the article up to this point?If not, the reader should have a clue.If so, then I shouldn't assume the reader will know what a "neume" is, either.I was taught to assume an intelligent but uninformed reader: assume they know nothing until you tell them, but you only have to tell them once.... Hm.I'm worried that "the square noteheads of square notation" is going to cause the same problem as "common practice in common-era practice."Peirigill 17:21, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

I think all of the objections have been addressed.Several of us have continued to fine-tune the writing even after Tony withdrew his objection.Still, a week has passed without further comment on this page.Is this a concern?Peirigill 21:02, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Support - text reads well and is comprehensive.--Peta 03:21, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
  • I'm wondering why this nomination is still here. The contributors have worked very hard to make it excellent. Tony 04:33, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. I went over this with a fine-tooth comb and found virtually no problems. Comprehensive, NPOV and excellently referenced. Moreschi 19:12, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Support.--Dwaipayan (talk) 18:06, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Support - In the rhythm section it says Mocquereau's approach was "promulgated" by the Ward system. I had changed it to "popularized" but it's back to "promulgated". For me "promulgated" is a legal term that seems out of place here. Two other nits I puzzled over: the comma after "monophonic" in the lead made me parse it as a noun at first, and I read "significative letters" as "significant letters." Gimmetrow 02:03, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
    • The primary meaning of "promulgate" is to officially declare in a public way that a law is in effect; the secondary meaning is to make something widely known.The primary meaning of "propagate" is to cause plants or animals to reproduce; the secondary meaning is to spread ideas to many people.Justine Ward was disseminating a performance style that had just been mandated by Vatican decree, and thus "promulgating" it, but I'm sure she saw herself as sowing musical seeds in the dear little children, and thus "propagating."Neither word is perfect, but both are acceptable.I only included Justine Ward and her impenetrable, moralizing pedagogy under duress, so I'm certainly not going to fight about which 50-cent word has the least objectionable primary connotation.;-)"Propagate" it is.
    • I'm not sure what to tell you about "monophonic" and "significative letters."These are technical terms in musicology.I really think that they're the correct terms to use, and that the opening sentence is grammatical.Would it be less confusing if the opening sentence read "unaccompanied, monophonic" instead of "monophonic, unaccompanied"? Peirigill 11:22, 31 July 2006 (UTC)