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Lyrics for liturgy 2 gregorian chant


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Lyrics for Liturgy 2: regorian nt G ChaIan Coleman In part two of the ‘Lyrics for Liturgy’ series, Ian Coleman looks at the history and form of Gregorian chant.What are the features of this particular genre of music that make it so ideally suited to Christian liturgy?All liturgical music aspires toearliest notated manuscripts of the condition of Gregorianthe 9th and 10th centuries, chant. Before you file thistogether with certain later statement away under whateveradditions and developments. pre-conceived heading you mayGregorian chant probably has choose – 'liturgical purist',little or nothing to do with St 'elitist reactionary', 'one ofusthe Great, whose name', Gregory 'one ofthemit bears. The title was added' and so forth – I would like to spend some timeafter the Frankish Reforms, explaining exactly what I do andwhich gave rise to these first do not mean by saying this.notated manuscripts, and may And especially what I donot indicateeither a claim to mean. In actual fact, I shall beauthority (especially Roman Photo by amppit at flickr.com most satisfied if, by the time myauthority) on their behalf, or readers reach the end of thispossibly refer to the tradition piece, none of them, whatever their inclinations andthat Gregory reformed and expanded: the Roman orientations, feels particularly comforted by it, and allSchola Cantorum, which was, as its name suggests, feel more than a little disconcerted.one of the first training colleges for cantors and clerics  tolearn how to sing the liturgy. In the Gregorian To say 'all liturgical music aspires to the condition ofrepertoire, music for all the Propers (texts that vary Gregorian chant' is not the same as saying that theaccording to the season and feast-day of the liturgical only proper liturgical music isyear) and the Ordinary (invariant parts, like the KyrieGregorian chant. Not at all. But neither is it the same thing as sayingand Gloria) of the Mass can be found. The Propers 'Gregorian chant belongs only in its own time.' Whatare part of the earliest strand, and James MacKinnon th I have to say aims at clearing the ground, a necessaryhas claimed that these probably date back to the 7 2 prelude to a proper consideration of what liturgicalcentury. Outsideof the Mass, there is also music for music needs to be. And Christians in the West at leastthe Divine Office, particularly for what we now know should start this process by a profound examinationas Morning and Evening Prayer (Lauds and Vespers). of that great and subtle repertoire that we usually name 'Gregorian chant'. We perhaps ought to call it,The music is all monodic, which is to say it is melody 1 like David Hiley, 'Western plainchant'and therebyonly, with no harmony, accompaniment or rhythmic include what remains of the distinct music of Spanish,punctuation. At various times, it is true, there have Milanese and 'Old Roman' traditions. But, for thebeen performance traditions which added drones, moment, because it is the dominant form, 'Gregorian'organum, bells or other techniques to the chant, but will do.these have always been frowned on by purists of all  ages.This is the first, and most vital normative This is the name applied to the ancient chant of thecondition of liturgical music – that it should be Western Catholic Church that has its origins in theessentially vocal, and essentially 'univocal'. Clearly, a 6th century, but which we largely know through thesingle vocal line enables the liturgical text to be