Gregorian chant

Gregorian chant

Overview


Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant
Plainsong
Plainsong is a body of chants used in the liturgies of the Catholic Church. Though the Eastern Orthodox churches and the Catholic Church did not split until long after the origin of plainchant, Byzantine chants are generally not classified as plainsong.Plainsong is monophonic, consisting of a...

, a form of monophonic
Monophony
In music, monophony is the simplest of textures, consisting of melody without accompanying harmony. This may be realized as just one note at a time, or with the same note duplicated at the octave . If the entire melody is sung by two voices or a choir with an interval between the notes or in...

 liturgical
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

 music within Western Christianity
Western Christianity
Western Christianity is a term used to include the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and groups historically derivative thereof, including the churches of the Anglican and Protestant traditions, which share common attributes that can be traced back to their medieval heritage...

 that accompanied the celebration of Mass and other ritual services. It is named after Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I , better known in English as Gregory the Great, was pope from 3 September 590 until his death...

, Bishop of Rome from 590 to 604, who is traditionally credited for having ordered the simplification and cataloging of music assigned to specific celebrations in the church calendar. The resulting body of music is the first to be notated in a system ancestral to modern musical notation.
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The Introit
Introit
The Introit is part of the opening of the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations. In its most complete version, it consists of an antiphon, psalm verse and Gloria Patri that is spoken or sung at the beginning of the celebration...

 Gaudeamus omnes, scripted in square notation in the 14th—15th century Graduale Aboense, honors Henry, patron saint of Finland.


Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant
Plainsong
Plainsong is a body of chants used in the liturgies of the Catholic Church. Though the Eastern Orthodox churches and the Catholic Church did not split until long after the origin of plainchant, Byzantine chants are generally not classified as plainsong.Plainsong is monophonic, consisting of a...

, a form of monophonic
Monophony
In music, monophony is the simplest of textures, consisting of melody without accompanying harmony. This may be realized as just one note at a time, or with the same note duplicated at the octave . If the entire melody is sung by two voices or a choir with an interval between the notes or in...

 liturgical
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

 music within Western Christianity
Western Christianity
Western Christianity is a term used to include the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and groups historically derivative thereof, including the churches of the Anglican and Protestant traditions, which share common attributes that can be traced back to their medieval heritage...

 that accompanied the celebration of Mass and other ritual services. It is named after Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I , better known in English as Gregory the Great, was pope from 3 September 590 until his death...

, Bishop of Rome from 590 to 604, who is traditionally credited for having ordered the simplification and cataloging of music assigned to specific celebrations in the church calendar. The resulting body of music is the first to be notated in a system ancestral to modern musical notation. In general, the chants were learned by the viva voce method, that is, by following the given example orally, which took many years of experience in the Schola Cantorum
Schola Cantorum (disambiguation)
Schola Cantorum can refer to* Schola Cantorum, New York City* Schola Cantorum de Paris, a musical academy set up in the late 19th century* Schola cantorum , a medieval choir based in Rome...

. Gregorian chant originated in monastic life, in which celebrating the 'Divine Office' eight times a day at the proper hours was upheld according to the Rule of St. Benedict
Rule of St Benedict
The Rule of Saint Benedict is a book of precepts written by St. Benedict of Nursia for monks living communally under the authority of an abbot. Since about the 7th century it has also been adopted by communities of women...

. Singing psalms made up a large part of the life in a monastic community, while a smaller group and soloists sang the chants. In its long history, Gregorian chant has been subjected to many gradual changes and some reforms.

History



Gregorian chant was organized, codified, and notated mainly in the Frankish
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 lands of western and central Europe during the 10th to 13th centuries, with later additions and redactions, but the texts and many of the melodies have antecedents going back several centuries earlier. Although popular belief credited Pope Gregory the Great
Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I , better known in English as Gregory the Great, was pope from 3 September 590 until his death...

 with having personally invented Gregorian chant (in much the same way that a biblical prophet would transmit a divinely received message), scholars now believe that the chant bearing his name arose from a later Carolingian
Carolingian
The Carolingian dynasty was a Frankish noble family with origins in the Arnulfing and Pippinid clans of the 7th century AD. The name "Carolingian", Medieval Latin karolingi, an altered form of an unattested Old High German *karling, kerling The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the...

 synthesis of Roman and Gallican chant
Gallican chant
Gallican chant refers to the liturgical plainchant repertory of the Gallican rite of the Roman Catholic Church in Gaul, prior to the introduction and development of elements of the Roman rite from which Gregorian chant evolved...

.

During the following centuries, the chant tradition remained at the heart of Church music and served as the dominant platform for new performance and compositional practices. Newly composed music on new texts was first introduced within the context of existing plainchant. The late medieval style known as organum
Organum
Organum is, in general, a plainchant melody with at least one added voice to enhance the harmony, developed in the Middle Ages. Depending on the mode and form of the chant, a supporting bass line may be sung on the same text, the melody may be followed in parallel motion , or a combination of...

, where one or more voices have been added to a plainchant (acting as a cantus firmus
Cantus firmus
In music, a cantus firmus is a pre-existing melody forming the basis of a polyphonic composition.The plural of this Latin term is , though the corrupt form canti firmi is also attested...

) to form a new composition, marked the birth of polyphony
Polyphony
In music, polyphony is a texture consisting of two or more independent melodic voices, as opposed to music with just one voice or music with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords ....

 in Western music. The Parisian composers Leonin
Léonin
Léonin is the first known significant composer of polyphonic organum. He was probably French, probably lived and worked in Paris at the Notre Dame Cathedral and was the earliest member of the Notre Dame school of polyphony and the ars antiqua style who is known by name...

 and Perotin
Pérotin
Pérotin , also called Perotin the Great, was a European composer, believed to be French, who lived around the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th century. He was the most famous member of the Notre Dame school of polyphony and the ars antiqua style...

, chief exponents of the Notre Dame school
Notre Dame school
The group of composers working at or near the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris from about 1160 to 1250, along with the music they produced, is referred to as the Notre Dame school, or the Notre Dame School of Polyphony....

 of the late 12th century, continued to end their organum compositions with passages of monophonic
Monophony
In music, monophony is the simplest of textures, consisting of melody without accompanying harmony. This may be realized as just one note at a time, or with the same note duplicated at the octave . If the entire melody is sung by two voices or a choir with an interval between the notes or in...

 chant, so that continuity with the older tradition remained explicit. (The practice of juxtaposing monophonic chant with polyphonic writing can be found as late as the French Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 composer François Couperin
François Couperin
François Couperin was a French Baroque composer, organist and harpsichordist. He was known as Couperin le Grand to distinguish him from other members of the musically talented Couperin family.-Life:Couperin was born in Paris...

 (1668–1733), whose organ masses were meant to be performed with interludes of the appropriate plainchant.) Although it had mostly fallen into disuse after the Baroque period, Gregorian chant experienced a revival in the 19th century in the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

.

Organization


Gregorian chants are organized into four modes
Musical mode
In the theory of Western music since the ninth century, mode generally refers to a type of scale. This usage, still the most common in recent years, reflects a tradition dating to the middle ages, itself inspired by the theory of ancient Greek music.The word encompasses several additional...

, each of them divided into two tones (scales). Typical melodic features include characteristic incipit
Incipit
Incipit is a Latin word meaning "it begins". The incipit of a text, such as a poem, song, or book, is the first few words of its opening line. In music, it can also refer to the opening notes of a composition. Before the development of titles, texts were often referred to by their incipits...

s and cadences
Cadence (music)
In Western musical theory, a cadence is, "a melodic or harmonic configuration that creates a sense of repose or resolution [finality or pause]." A harmonic cadence is a progression of two chords that concludes a phrase, section, or piece of music...

, the use of reciting notes around which the other notes of the melody
Melody
A melody , also tune, voice, or line, is a linear succession of musical tones which is perceived as a single entity...

 revolve, and a vocabulary of musical motifs woven together through a process called centonization
Centonization
In music centonization is a theory about the composition of a melody, melodies, or piece based on pre-existing melodic figures and formulas...

 to create families of related chants.

Although the modern seven-note major and minor scales are strongly related to two church modes which were later added to the original inventory consisting of Dorian (final d, tones 1 and 2), Phrygian (final e, leading note from above, tones 3 and 4), Lydian (final f, tones 5 and 6; with the often-added bb = F major) and Mixolydian (final g, tones 7 and 8) and which are known as the Aeolian (final a, tones 9 and 10) and Ionian (final c, tones 11 and 12), they function according to different harmonic rules. As there is no mode based on b, the dissonant intervals f up to b ('augmented fourth') and b up to f ('diminished fifth') indeed causing b to be called 'the devil in music', the church modes are based on six-note patterns called hexachord
Hexachord
In music, a hexachord is a collection of six pitch classes including six-note segments of a scale or tone row. The term was adopted in the Middle Ages and adapted in the twentieth-century in Milton Babbitt's serial theory.-Middle Ages:...

s, the main notes of which are called the dominant and the final. Depending on where the final falls in the sequence of the hexachord, the mode is characterized as either authentic or plagal. Tones with the same final share certain characteristics, and it is easy to modulate back and forth between them; hence, the eight tones fall into four larger groupings ("modes") based on their finals.

Notation


The oldest manuscripts of Gregorian chants were written using a graphic notation which uses a repertoire of specific signs called neum
Neume
A neume is the basic element of Western and Eastern systems of musical notation prior to the invention of five-line staff notation. The word is a Middle English corruption of the ultimately Ancient Greek word for breath ....

s; each neum designates a basic musical gesture (see musical notation
Musical notation
Music notation or musical notation is any system that represents aurally perceived music, through the use of written symbols.-History:...

). As books, made of vellum
Vellum
Vellum is mammal skin prepared for writing or printing on, to produce single pages, scrolls, codices or books. It is generally smooth and durable, although there are great variations depending on preparation, the quality of the skin and the type of animal used...

 (prepared sheepskins), were very expensive, the text was abbreviated wherever possible, with the neums written over the text. This was a notation without lines and no exact melodic contour could be deciphered from it, which implies that the repertoire was learnt by rote. In later stadia, the neums are written onto staves of one or more lines; by the 11th century this had evolved into square notation, from which eventually the modern five-line staff
Staff (music)
In standard Western musical notation, the staff, or stave, is a set of five horizontal lines and four spaces that each represent a different musical pitch—or, in the case of a percussion staff, different percussion instruments. Appropriate music symbols, depending upon the intended effect,...

 developed in the 16th century. As the dominating musical tradition throughout Europe, Gregorian chant is the source of all subsequent musical development in Western music, beginning with the rise of polyphony
Polyphony
In music, polyphony is a texture consisting of two or more independent melodic voices, as opposed to music with just one voice or music with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords ....

 in the 11th century.

Singers


Gregorian chant was traditionally sung by choir
Choir
A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...

s of men and boys in churches, or by women or men of religious order
Religious order
A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. The order is composed of initiates and, in some...

s in their chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

s, and is commonly heard in celebrations of the Tridentine Mass
Tridentine Mass
The Tridentine Mass is the form of the Roman Rite Mass contained in the typical editions of the Roman Missal that were published from 1570 to 1962. It was the most widely celebrated Mass liturgy in the world until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI in December 1969...

 by those Catholics who follow the 1962 Missal. It is the music of the Roman Rite
Roman Rite
The Roman Rite is the liturgical rite used in the Diocese of Rome in the Catholic Church. It is by far the most widespread of the Latin liturgical rites used within the Western or Latin autonomous particular Church, the particular Church that itself is also called the Latin Rite, and that is one of...

, performed in the Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 and the monastic Office
Canonical hours
Canonical hours are divisions of time which serve as increments between the prescribed prayers of the daily round. A Book of Hours contains such a set of prayers....

. Although Gregorian chant supplanted or marginalized the other indigenous plainchant traditions
Latin liturgical rites
Latin liturgical rites used within that area of the Catholic Church where the Latin language once dominated were for many centuries no less numerous than the liturgical rites of the Eastern autonomous particular Churches. Their number is now much reduced...

 of the Christian West, Ambrosian chant
Ambrosian chant
Ambrosian chant is the liturgical plainchant repertory of the Ambrosian rite of the Roman Catholic Church, related to but distinct from Gregorian chant. It is primarily associated with the Archdiocese of Milan, and named after St. Ambrose much as Gregorian chant is named after Gregory the Great...

 still continues in use in Milan, and there are musicologists exploring both that and the Mozarabic chant
Mozarabic chant
Mozarabic chant is the liturgical plainchant repertory of the Mozarabic rite of the Roman Catholic Church, related to the Gregorian chant...

 of Christian Spain. The Roman Catholic Church still officially considers Gregorian chant the music most suitable for worship in the Roman Rite
Roman Rite
The Roman Rite is the liturgical rite used in the Diocese of Rome in the Catholic Church. It is by far the most widespread of the Latin liturgical rites used within the Western or Latin autonomous particular Church, the particular Church that itself is also called the Latin Rite, and that is one of...

, and should be given the "pride of place" in all Masses in the Roman Rite. During the late 20th century, Gregorian chant underwent a musicological and popular resurgence both within and outside the Roman Catholic Church.

Development of earlier plainchant


Singing has been part of the Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 liturgy
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

 since the earliest days of the Church. Until the mid-1990s, it was widely accepted that the psalmody
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

 of ancient Jewish
History of ancient Israel and Judah
Israel and Judah were related Iron Age kingdoms of ancient Palestine. The earliest known reference to the name Israel in archaeological records is in the Merneptah stele, an Egyptian record of c. 1209 BCE. By the 9th century BCE the Kingdom of Israel had emerged as an important local power before...

 worship significantly influenced and contributed to early Christian
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

 ritual and chant. This view is no longer generally accepted by scholars, due to analysis that shows that most early Christian hymns did not have Psalms for texts, and that the Psalms were not sung in synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

s for centuries after the Destruction of the Second Temple
Siege of Jerusalem (70)
The Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD was the decisive event of the First Jewish-Roman War. The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem, which had been occupied by its Jewish defenders in...

 in AD
Anno Domini
and Before Christ are designations used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars....

 70. However, early Christian rites did incorporate elements of Jewish worship that survived in later chant tradition. Canonical hours
Canonical hours
Canonical hours are divisions of time which serve as increments between the prescribed prayers of the daily round. A Book of Hours contains such a set of prayers....

 have their roots in Jewish prayer hours. "Amen
Amen
The word amen is a declaration of affirmation found in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. Its use in Judaism dates back to its earliest texts. It has been generally adopted in Christian worship as a concluding word for prayers and hymns. In Islam, it is the standard ending to Dua and the...

" and "alleluia
Alleluia
The word "Alleluia" or "Hallelujah" , which at its most literal means "Praise Yah", is used in different ways in Christian liturgies....

" come from Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

, and the threefold "sanctus
Sanctus
The Sanctus is a hymn from Christian liturgy, forming part of the Order of Mass. In Western Christianity, the Sanctus is sung as the final words of the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer, the prayer of consecration of the bread and wine...

" derives from the threefold "kadosh" of the Kedusha
Kedusha
The Kedushah is traditionally the third section of all Amidah recitations. In the silent Amidah it is a short prayer, but in the repetition, which requires a minyan, it is considerably lengthier...

.

The New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 mentions singing hymns during the Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

: "When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives
Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives is a mountain ridge in East Jerusalem with three peaks running from north to south. The highest, at-Tur, rises to 818 meters . It is named for the olive groves that once covered its slopes...

" . Other ancient witnesses such as Pope Clement I
Pope Clement I
Starting in the 3rd and 4th century, tradition has identified him as the Clement that Paul mentioned in Philippians as a fellow laborer in Christ.While in the mid-19th century it was customary to identify him as a freedman of Titus Flavius Clemens, who was consul with his cousin, the Emperor...

, Tertullian
Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

, St. Athanasius
Athanasius of Alexandria
Athanasius of Alexandria [b. ca. – d. 2 May 373] is also given the titles St. Athanasius the Great, St. Athanasius I of Alexandria, St Athanasius the Confessor and St Athanasius the Apostolic. He was the 20th bishop of Alexandria. His long episcopate lasted 45 years Athanasius of Alexandria [b....

, and Egeria confirm the practice, although in poetic or obscure ways that shed little light on how music sounded during this period. The 3rd-century Greek "Oxyrhynchus hymn
Oxyrhynchus hymn
The Oxyrhynchus hymn is the earliest known manuscript of a Christian hymn to contain both lyrics and musical notation. It is found on Papyrus 1786 of the Oxyrhynchus papyri, now kept at the Papyrology Rooms of the Sackler Library, Oxford. This papyrus fragment was unearthed in 1918 and the...

" survived with musical notation, but the connection between this hymn and the plainchant tradition is uncertain.

Musical elements that would later be used in the Roman Rite began to appear in the 3rd century. The Apostolic Tradition
Apostolic Tradition
The Apostolic Tradition is an early Christian treatise which belongs to genre of the Church Orders. It has been described as of "incomparable importance as a source of information about church life and liturgy in the third century".Re-discovered in the 19th century, it was given the name of...

, attributed to the theologian Hippolytus
Hippolytus (writer)
Hippolytus of Rome was the most important 3rd-century theologian in the Christian Church in Rome, where he was probably born. Photios I of Constantinople describes him in his Bibliotheca Hippolytus of Rome (170 – 235) was the most important 3rd-century theologian in the Christian Church in Rome,...

, attests the singing of Hallel
Hallel
Hallel is a Jewish prayer—a verbatim recitation from Psalms 113–118, which is used for praise and thanksgiving that is recited by observant Jews on Jewish holidays.-Holy days:...

 psalms with Alleluia as the refrain in early Christian agape feasts
Agape feast
The term Agape or Love feast was used of certain religious meals among early Christians that seem originally to have been closely related to the Eucharist...

. Chants of the Office, sung during the canonical hours, have their roots in the early 4th century, when desert monks following St. Anthony
Anthony the Great
Anthony the Great or Antony the Great , , also known as Saint Anthony, Anthony the Abbot, Anthony of Egypt, Anthony of the Desert, Anthony the Anchorite, Abba Antonius , and Father of All Monks, was a Christian saint from Egypt, a prominent leader among the Desert Fathers...

 introduced the practice of continuous psalmody, singing the complete cycle of 150 psalms each week. Around 375, antiphon
Antiphon
An antiphon in Christian music and ritual, is a "responsory" by a choir or congregation, usually in Gregorian chant, to a psalm or other text in a religious service or musical work....

al psalmody became popular in the Christian East; in 386, St. Ambrose
Ambrose
Aurelius Ambrosius, better known in English as Saint Ambrose , was a bishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He was one of the four original doctors of the Church.-Political career:Ambrose was born into a Roman Christian family between about...

 introduced this practice to the West.

Scholars are still debating how plainchant developed during the 5th through the 9th centuries, as information from this period is scarce. Around 410, St. Augustine
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 described the responsorial
Responsory
-Definition:The most general of a responsory is any psalm, canticle, or other sacred musical work sung responsorially, that is, with a cantor or small group singing verses while the whole choir or congregation respond with a refrain. However, this article focuses on those chants of the western...

 singing of a Gradual
Gradual
The Gradual is a chant or hymn in the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations. In the Tridentine Mass it was and is sung after the reading or chanting of the Epistle and before the Alleluia, or, during penitential seasons, before the Tract. In the Mass of Paul VI...

 psalm at Mass. At ca. 520, Benedictus of Nursia
Benedict of Nursia
Saint Benedict of Nursia is a Christian saint, honored by the Roman Catholic Church as the patron saint of Europe and students.Benedict founded twelve communities for monks at Subiaco, about to the east of Rome, before moving to Monte Cassino in the mountains of southern Italy. There is no...

 established what is called the rule of St. Benedict, in which the protocol of the Divine Office for monastic use was laid down. Around 678, Roman chant was taught at York
York
York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

. Distinctive regional traditions of Western plainchant arose during this period, notably in the British Isles (Celtic chant
Celtic chant
Celtic chant is the liturgical plainchant repertory of the Celtic rite of the Roman Catholic Church performed in Great Britain, Ireland and Brittany, related to but distinct from the Gregorian chant of the Sarum use of the Roman rite which officially supplanted it by the 12th century...

), Spain (Mozarabic
Mozarabic chant
Mozarabic chant is the liturgical plainchant repertory of the Mozarabic rite of the Roman Catholic Church, related to the Gregorian chant...

), Gaul (Gallican
Gallican chant
Gallican chant refers to the liturgical plainchant repertory of the Gallican rite of the Roman Catholic Church in Gaul, prior to the introduction and development of elements of the Roman rite from which Gregorian chant evolved...

), and Italy (Old Roman
Old Roman chant
Old Roman chant is the liturgical plainchant repertory of the Roman rite of the Roman Catholic Church formerly performed in Rome, closely related to but distinct from the Gregorian chant, which gradually supplanted it between the 11th century and the 13th century...

, Ambrosian
Ambrosian chant
Ambrosian chant is the liturgical plainchant repertory of the Ambrosian rite of the Roman Catholic Church, related to but distinct from Gregorian chant. It is primarily associated with the Archdiocese of Milan, and named after St. Ambrose much as Gregorian chant is named after Gregory the Great...

 and Beneventan
Beneventan chant
Beneventan chant is a liturgical plainchant repertory of the Roman Catholic Church, used primarily in the orbit of the southern Italian ecclesiastical centers of Benevento and Montecassino, distinct from Gregorian chant and related to Ambrosian chant...

). These traditions may have evolved from a hypothetical year-round repertory of 5th-century plainchant after the western Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 collapsed.

Origins of the new tradition


The Gregorian repertory was systematized for use in the Roman Rite
Roman Rite
The Roman Rite is the liturgical rite used in the Diocese of Rome in the Catholic Church. It is by far the most widespread of the Latin liturgical rites used within the Western or Latin autonomous particular Church, the particular Church that itself is also called the Latin Rite, and that is one of...

. According to James McKinnon
James McKinnon
James W. McKinnon was an American musicologist most known for his work in the fields of Western plainchant, medieval and renaissance music, Latin liturgy and musical iconography...

, the core liturgy of the Roman Mass was compiled over a brief period in the 8th century in a project overseen by Chrodegang of Metz
Metz
Metz is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz forms a central place...

. Other scholars, including Andreas Pfisterer and Peter Jeffery, have argued for an earlier origin for the oldest layers of the repertory.

Scholars debate whether the essentials of the melodies originated in Rome, before the 7th century, or in Francia
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

, in the 8th and early 9th centuries. Traditionalists point to evidence supporting an important role for Pope Gregory the Great
Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I , better known in English as Gregory the Great, was pope from 3 September 590 until his death...

 between 590 and 604, such as that presented in Heinrich Bewerunge's article in the Catholic Encyclopedia. Scholarly consensus, supported by Willi Apel
Willi Apel
Willi Apel was a German-American musicologist.Apel was born in Konitz, West Prussia. He studied mathematics from 1912 to 1914, and then again after World War I from 1918 to 1922, in various universities in Weimar Germany. Throughout his studies, he had an interest in music and taught piano lessons...

 and Robert Snow, asserts instead that Gregorian chant developed around 750 from a synthesis of Roman and Gallican chant
Gallican chant
Gallican chant refers to the liturgical plainchant repertory of the Gallican rite of the Roman Catholic Church in Gaul, prior to the introduction and development of elements of the Roman rite from which Gregorian chant evolved...

 commissioned by Carolingian
Carolingian
The Carolingian dynasty was a Frankish noble family with origins in the Arnulfing and Pippinid clans of the 7th century AD. The name "Carolingian", Medieval Latin karolingi, an altered form of an unattested Old High German *karling, kerling The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the...

 rulers in France. During a visit to Gaul in 752–753, Pope Stephen II
Pope Stephen II
Pope Stephen II was Pope from 752 to 757, succeeding Pope Zachary following the death of Pope-elect Stephen. Stephen II marks the historical delineation between the Byzantine Papacy and the Frankish Papacy.-Allegiance to Constantinople:...

 had celebrated Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 using Roman chant. According to Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

, his father Pepin
Pippin the Younger
Pepin , called the Short or the Younger , rarely the Great , was the first King of the Franks of the Carolingian dynasty...

 abolished the local Gallican rite
Gallican rite
The Gallican Rite is a historical sub-grouping of the Roman Catholic liturgy in western Europe; it is not a single rite but actually a family of rites within the Western Rite which comprised the majority use of most of Christianity in western Europe for the greater part of the 1st millennium AD...

s in favor of the Roman use, in order to strengthen ties with Rome. In 785–786, at Charlemagne's request, Pope Hadrian I sent a papal sacramentary
Sacramentary
The Sacramentary is a book of the Middle Ages containing the words spoken by the priest celebrating a Mass and other liturgies of the Church. The books were usually in fact written for bishops or other higher clegy such as abbots, and many lavishly decorated illuminated manuscript sacramentaries...

 with Roman chants to the Carolingian court. This Roman chant was subsequently modified, influenced by local styles and Gallican chant, and later adapted into the system of eight modes
Musical mode
In the theory of Western music since the ninth century, mode generally refers to a type of scale. This usage, still the most common in recent years, reflects a tradition dating to the middle ages, itself inspired by the theory of ancient Greek music.The word encompasses several additional...

. This Frankish-Roman Carolingian chant, augmented with new chants to complete the liturgical year, became known as "Gregorian." Originally the chant was probably so named to honor the contemporary Pope Gregory II
Pope Gregory II
Pope Saint Gregory II was pope from May 19, 715 to his death on February 11, 731, succeeding Pope Constantine. Having, it is said, bought off the Lombards for thirty pounds of gold, Charles Martel having refused his call for aid, he used the tranquillity thus obtained for vigorous missionary...

, but later lore attributed the authorship of chant to his more famous predecessor Gregory the Great. Gregory was portrayed dictating plainchant inspired by a dove representing the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

, giving Gregorian chant the stamp of holy authority. Gregory's authorship is popularly accepted as fact to this day.

Dissemination and hegemony


Gregorian chant appeared in a remarkably uniform state across Europe within a short time. Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

, once elevated to Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

, aggressively spread Gregorian chant throughout his empire to consolidate religious and secular power, requiring the clergy to use the new repertory on pain of death. From English and German sources, Gregorian chant spread north to Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 and Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

. In 885, Pope Stephen V
Pope Stephen V
Pope Stephen V was pope from 885 to 891. He succeeded Pope Adrian III, and was in turn succeeded by Pope Formosus. In his dealings with Constantinople in the matter of Photius, as also in his relations with the young Slavonic church, he pursued the policy of Pope Nicholas I.His father, Hadrian, who...

 banned the Slavonic liturgy, leading to the ascendancy of Gregorian chant in Eastern Catholic lands including Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Moravia
Moravia
Moravia is a historical region in Central Europe in the east of the Czech Republic, and one of the former Czech lands, together with Bohemia and Silesia. It takes its name from the Morava River which rises in the northwest of the region...

, Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

, and Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

.

The other plainchant repertories of the Christian West faced severe competition from the new Gregorian chant. Charlemagne continued his father's policy of favoring the Roman Rite over the local Gallican traditions. By the 9th century the Gallican rite and chant had effectively been eliminated, although not without local resistance. The Gregorian chant of the Sarum Rite
Sarum Rite
The Sarum Rite was a variant of the Roman Rite widely used for the ordering of Christian public worship, including the Mass and the Divine Office...

 displaced Celtic chant
Celtic chant
Celtic chant is the liturgical plainchant repertory of the Celtic rite of the Roman Catholic Church performed in Great Britain, Ireland and Brittany, related to but distinct from the Gregorian chant of the Sarum use of the Roman rite which officially supplanted it by the 12th century...

. Gregorian coexisted with Beneventan chant
Beneventan chant
Beneventan chant is a liturgical plainchant repertory of the Roman Catholic Church, used primarily in the orbit of the southern Italian ecclesiastical centers of Benevento and Montecassino, distinct from Gregorian chant and related to Ambrosian chant...

 for over a century before Beneventan chant was abolished by papal decree (1058). Mozarabic chant
Mozarabic chant
Mozarabic chant is the liturgical plainchant repertory of the Mozarabic rite of the Roman Catholic Church, related to the Gregorian chant...

 survived the influx of the Visigoths and Moors
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

, but not the Roman-backed prelates newly installed in Spain during the Reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

. Restricted to a handful of dedicated chapels, modern Mozarabic chant is highly Gregorianized and bears no musical resemblance to its original form. Ambrosian chant
Ambrosian chant
Ambrosian chant is the liturgical plainchant repertory of the Ambrosian rite of the Roman Catholic Church, related to but distinct from Gregorian chant. It is primarily associated with the Archdiocese of Milan, and named after St. Ambrose much as Gregorian chant is named after Gregory the Great...

 alone survived to the present day, preserved in Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 due to the musical reputation and ecclesiastical authority of St. Ambrose
Ambrose
Aurelius Ambrosius, better known in English as Saint Ambrose , was a bishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He was one of the four original doctors of the Church.-Political career:Ambrose was born into a Roman Christian family between about...

.

Gregorian chant eventually replaced the local chant tradition of Rome itself, which is now known as Old Roman chant
Old Roman chant
Old Roman chant is the liturgical plainchant repertory of the Roman rite of the Roman Catholic Church formerly performed in Rome, closely related to but distinct from the Gregorian chant, which gradually supplanted it between the 11th century and the 13th century...

. In the 10th century, virtually no musical manuscripts were being notated in Italy. Instead, Roman Popes imported Gregorian chant from (German) Holy Roman Emperors during the 10th and 11th centuries. For example, the Credo
Credo
A credo |Latin]] for "I Believe") is a statement of belief, commonly used for religious belief, such as the Apostles' Creed. The term especially refers to the use of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed in the Mass, either as text, Gregorian chant, or other musical settings of the...

 was added to the Roman Rite
Roman Rite
The Roman Rite is the liturgical rite used in the Diocese of Rome in the Catholic Church. It is by far the most widespread of the Latin liturgical rites used within the Western or Latin autonomous particular Church, the particular Church that itself is also called the Latin Rite, and that is one of...

 at the behest of the Emperor Henry II in 1014. Reinforced by the legend of Pope Gregory, Gregorian chant was taken to be the authentic, original chant of Rome, a misconception that continues to this day. By the 12th and 13th centuries, Gregorian chant had supplanted or marginalized all the other Western plainchant traditions.

Later sources of these other chant traditions show an increasing Gregorian influence, such as occasional efforts to categorize their chants into the Gregorian modes
Musical mode
In the theory of Western music since the ninth century, mode generally refers to a type of scale. This usage, still the most common in recent years, reflects a tradition dating to the middle ages, itself inspired by the theory of ancient Greek music.The word encompasses several additional...

. Similarly, the Gregorian repertory incorporated elements of these lost plainchant traditions, which can be identified by careful stylistic and historical analysis. For example, the Improperia
Improperia
The Improperia are a series of antiphons and responses, expressing the remonstrance of Jesus Christ with His people.They are also known as the "Reproaches"....

 of Good Friday
Good Friday
Good Friday , is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of...

 are believed to be a remnant of the Gallican repertory.

Early sources and later revisions


The first extant sources with musical notation were written around 930 (Graduale Laon). Before this, plainchant had been transmitted orally. Most scholars of Gregorian chant agree that the development of music notation assisted the dissemination of chant across Europe. The earlier notated manuscripts are primarily from Regensburg
Regensburg
Regensburg is a city in Bavaria, Germany, located at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers, at the northernmost bend in the Danube. To the east lies the Bavarian Forest. Regensburg is the capital of the Bavarian administrative region Upper Palatinate...

 in Germany, St. Gall
Abbey of St. Gall
The Abbey of Saint Gall is a religious complex in the city of St. Gallen in present-day Switzerland. The Carolingian-era Abbey has existed since 719 and became an independent principality during the 13th century, and was for many centuries one of the chief Benedictine abbeys in Europe. It was...

 in Switzerland, Laon
Laon
Laon is the capital city of the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France.-History:The hilly district of Laon, which rises a hundred metres above the otherwise flat Picardy plain, has always held strategic importance...

 and St. Martial
Abbey of St. Martial
St. Martial's Abbey was a monastery in Limoges, France, founded in 848 and dissolved in 1791.The buildings were razed at the beginning of the 19th century...

 in France.

Gregorian chant has in its long history been subjected to a series of redactions to bring it up to changing contemporary tastes and practice. The more recent redaction undertaken in the Benedictine Abbey of St. Pierre, Solesmes, has turned into a huge undertaking to restore the allegedly corrupted chant to a hypothetical "original" state. Early Gregorian chant was revised to conform to the theoretical structure of the modes
Musical mode
In the theory of Western music since the ninth century, mode generally refers to a type of scale. This usage, still the most common in recent years, reflects a tradition dating to the middle ages, itself inspired by the theory of ancient Greek music.The word encompasses several additional...

. In 1562–63, the Council of Trent
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

 banned most sequences
Sequence (poetry)
A sequence is a chant or hymn sung or recited during the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations, before the proclamation of the Gospel. By the time of the Council of Trent there were sequences for many feasts in the Church's year.The sequence has always been sung...

. Guidette's Directorium chori, published in 1582, and the Editio medicea, published in 1614, drastically revised what was perceived as corrupt and flawed "barbarism" by making the chants conform to contemporary aesthetic standards. In 1811, the French musicologist Alexandre-Étienne Choron
Alexandre-Étienne Choron
Alexandre-Étienne Choron for a short time directed the Paris Opera. He played an essential role in France in making a clear distinction between sacred and secular music, and was one of the originators of French interest in musicology.- Biography :Choron studied mathematics at the collège de Juilly...

, as part of a conservative backlash following the liberal Catholic orders' inefficacy during the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, called for returning to the "purer" Gregorian chant of Rome over French corruptions.

In the late 19th century, early liturgical and musical manuscripts were unearthed and edited. Earlier, Dom Prosper Gueranger revived the monastic tradition in Solesmes. Re-establishing the Divine Office was among his priorities, but no proper chantbooks existed. Many monks were sent out to libraries throughout Europe to find relevant Chant manuscripts. In 1871, however, the old Medicea edition was reprinted (Pustet
Pustet
-History:The original home of the Pustets was the Republic of Venice, where the name Bustetto is common. Probably in the seventeenth century, the founder of the Ratisbon line emigrated to South Germany, where one of his descendants, Anton Pustet, lived as a poor bookbinder in the Lower Bavarian...

, Regensburg) which Pope Pius IX
Pope Pius IX
Blessed Pope Pius IX , born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving from 16 June 1846 until his death, a period of nearly 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed papal...

 declared the only official version. In their firm belief that they were on the right way, Solesmes increased its efforts. In 1889, after decades of research, the monks of Solesmes released the first book in a planned series, the Paléographie Musicale. The incentive of its publication was to demonstrate the corruption of the 'Medicea' by presenting photographed notations originating from a great variety of manuscripts of one single chant, which Solesmes called forth as witnesses to assert their own reforms.

The monks of Solesmes brought in their heaviest artillery in this battle, as indeed the academically sound 'Paleo' was intended to be a war-tank, meant to abolish once and for all the corrupted Pustet edition. On the evidence of congruence throughout various manuscripts (which were duely published in facsimile
Facsimile
A facsimile is a copy or reproduction of an old book, manuscript, map, art print, or other item of historical value that is as true to the original source as possible. It differs from other forms of reproduction by attempting to replicate the source as accurately as possible in terms of scale,...

 editions with ample editorial introductions) Solesmes was able to work out a practical reconstruction. This reconstructed chant was academically praised, but rejected by Rome until 1903, when Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII , born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci to an Italian comital family, was the 256th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, reigning from 1878 to 1903...

 died. His successor, Pope Pius X
Pope Pius X
Pope Saint Pius X , born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, was the 257th Pope of the Catholic Church, serving from 1903 to 1914. He was the first pope since Pope Pius V to be canonized. Pius X rejected modernist interpretations of Catholic doctrine, promoting traditional devotional practices and orthodox...

, promptly accepted the Solesmes chant — now compiled as the Liber usualis
Liber Usualis
The Liber Usualis is a book of commonly used Gregorian chants in the Catholic tradition, compiled by the monks of the Abbey of Solesmes in France....

 — as authoritative. In 1904, the Vatican edition of the Solesmes chant was commissioned. Serious academic debates arose, primarily owing to stylistic liberties taken by the Solesmes editors to impose their controversial interpretation of rhythm. The Solesmes editions insert phrasing marks and note-lengthening episema and mora marks not found in the original sources.

Conversely, they omit significative letters found in the original sources, which give instructions for rhythm and articulation such as speeding up or slowing down. These editorial practices has placed the historical authenticity of the Solesmes interpretation in doubt. Ever since the restoration of Chant was taken up in Solesmes, there have been lengthy discussions of exactly what course was to be taken. Some favored a strict academic rigour and wanted to postpone publications, while others concentrated on practical matters and wanted to supplant the corrupted tradition as soon as possible. Roughly a century later, there still exists a breach between a strict musicological approach and the practical needs of church choirs. Thus the established performance tradition since the onset of the restoration is at odds with musicological evidence.

In his motu proprio
Motu proprio
A motu proprio is a document issued by the Pope on his own initiative and personally signed by him....

 Tra le sollecitudini, Pius X mandated the use of Gregorian chant, encouraging the faithful to sing the Ordinary of the Mass
Ordinary of the Mass
The ordinary, in Roman Catholic and other Western Christian liturgies, refers to the part of the Eucharist or of the canonical hours that is reasonably constant without regard to the date on which the service is performed...

, although he reserved the singing of the Propers
Proper (liturgy)
The Proper is a part of the Christian liturgy that varies according to the date, either representing an observance within the Liturgical Year, or of a particular saint or significant event...

 for males. While this custom is maintained in traditionalist Catholic
Traditionalist Catholic
Traditionalist Catholics are Roman Catholics who believe that there should be a restoration of many or all of the liturgical forms, public and private devotions and presentations of Catholic teachings which prevailed in the Catholic Church before the Second Vatican Council...

 communities, the Catholic Church no longer persists with this ban. Vatican II officially allowed worshipers to substitute other music, particularly sacred polyphony, in place of Gregorian chant, although it did reaffirm that Gregorian chant was still the official music of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, and the music most suitable for worship in the Roman Liturgy.

Melodic types


Gregorian chant is, of course, vocal music. The text, the phrases, words and eventually the syllables, can be sung in various ways. The most straightforward is recitation on the same tone, which is called "syllabic" as each syllable is sung to a single tone. Likewise, simple chants are often syllabic throughout with only a few instances where two or more notes are sung on one syllable. "Neumatic" chants are more embellished and ligature
Ligature (music)
In music notation, a ligature is a graphic symbol representing two or more notes performed in a single gesture, and on a single syllable, primarily in use ca. 800–1650 AD. They are characteristic of neumatic and mensural notation...

s, a connected group of notes, written as a single compound neume, abound in the text. Melismatic chants are the most ornate chants in which elaborate melodies are sung on long sustained vowels as in the Alleluia, ranging from five or six notes per syllable to over sixty in the more prolix melismas.

Gregorian chants fall into two broad categories of melody: recitative
Recitative
Recitative , also known by its Italian name "recitativo" , is a style of delivery in which a singer is allowed to adopt the rhythms of ordinary speech...

s and free melodies. The simplest kind of melody is the liturgical recitative. Recitative melodies are dominated by a single pitch, called the reciting tone
Reciting tone
In chant, a reciting tone is a repeated musical pitch around which the other pitches of the chant gravitate, or by extension, the entire melodic formula that centers on one or two such pitches. In Gregorian chant, reciting tones are used for a number of contexts, including the chanting of psalm...

. Other pitches appear in melodic formulae for incipit
Incipit
Incipit is a Latin word meaning "it begins". The incipit of a text, such as a poem, song, or book, is the first few words of its opening line. In music, it can also refer to the opening notes of a composition. Before the development of titles, texts were often referred to by their incipits...

s, partial cadences
Cadence (music)
In Western musical theory, a cadence is, "a melodic or harmonic configuration that creates a sense of repose or resolution [finality or pause]." A harmonic cadence is a progression of two chords that concludes a phrase, section, or piece of music...

, and full cadences. These chants are primarily syllabic. For example, the Collect
Collect
In Christian liturgy, a collect is both a liturgical action and a short, general prayer. In the Middle Ages, the prayer was referred to in Latin as collectio, but in the more ancient sources, as oratio. In English, and in this usage, "collect" is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable...

 for Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 consists of 127 syllables sung to 131 pitches, with 108 of these pitches being the reciting note A and the other 23 pitches flexing down to G. Liturgical recitatives are commonly found in the accentus
Accentus Ecclesiasticus
Accentus Ecclesiasticus is a Church music term, the counterpart of concentus, indicating those parts sung solo by a clergyman. The terms accentus and concentus were probably introduced by Andreas Ornithoparchus in his Musicae Activae Micrologus, Leipzig, 1517.In the medieval church, all that...

 chants of the liturgy, such as the intonations of the Collect, Epistle
Epistle
An epistle is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal didactic letter. The epistle genre of letter-writing was common in ancient Egypt as part of the scribal-school writing curriculum. The letters in the New Testament from Apostles to Christians...

, and Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

 during the Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

, and in the direct psalmody of the Office
Canonical hours
Canonical hours are divisions of time which serve as increments between the prescribed prayers of the daily round. A Book of Hours contains such a set of prayers....

.

Psalmodic chants, which intone psalms
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

, include both recitatives and free melodies. Psalmodic chants include direct psalmody, antiphonal chants, and responsorial chants. In direct psalmody, psalm verses are sung without refrains to simple, formulaic tones. Most psalmodic chants are antiphonal and responsorial, sung to free melodies of varying complexity.
Antiphonal chants such as the Introit
Introit
The Introit is part of the opening of the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations. In its most complete version, it consists of an antiphon, psalm verse and Gloria Patri that is spoken or sung at the beginning of the celebration...

, and Communion
Communion (chant)
The Communion is the Gregorian chant sung during the distribution of the Eucharist in the Roman Rite Catholic Mass. It is one of the antiphonal chants of the Proper of the Mass, and the final chant in the proper...

 originally referred to chants in which two choirs sang in alternation, one choir singing verses of a psalm, the other singing a refrain called an antiphon
Antiphon
An antiphon in Christian music and ritual, is a "responsory" by a choir or congregation, usually in Gregorian chant, to a psalm or other text in a religious service or musical work....

. Over time, the verses were reduced in number, usually to just one psalm verse and the Doxology
Doxology
A doxology is a short hymn of praises to God in various Christian worship services, often added to the end of canticles, psalms, and hymns...

, or even omitted entirely. Antiphonal chants reflect their ancient origins as elaborate recitatives through the reciting tones in their melodies. Ordinary chants, such as the Kyrie
Kyrie
Kyrie, a transliteration of Greek κύριε , vocative case of κύριος , meaning "Lord", is the common name of an important prayer of Christian liturgy, which is also called the Kýrie, eléison ....

 and Gloria
Gloria in Excelsis Deo
"Gloria in excelsis Deo" is the title and beginning of a hymn known also as the Greater Doxology and the Angelic Hymn. The name is often abbreviated to Gloria in Excelsis or simply Gloria.It is an example of the psalmi idiotici "Gloria in excelsis Deo" (Latin for "Glory to God in the highest")...

, are not considered antiphonal chants, although they are often performed in antiphonal style.

Responsorial chants such as the Gradual
Gradual
The Gradual is a chant or hymn in the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations. In the Tridentine Mass it was and is sung after the reading or chanting of the Epistle and before the Alleluia, or, during penitential seasons, before the Tract. In the Mass of Paul VI...

, Alleluia
Alleluia
The word "Alleluia" or "Hallelujah" , which at its most literal means "Praise Yah", is used in different ways in Christian liturgies....

, Offertory
Offertory
The Offertory is the portion of a Eucharistic service when bread and wine are brought to the altar. The offertory exists in many liturgical Christian denominations, though the Eucharistic theology varies among celebrations conducted by these denominations....

, and the Office Responsories originally consisted of a refrain called a respond sung by a choir, alternating with psalm verses sung by a soloist. Responsorial
Responsory
-Definition:The most general of a responsory is any psalm, canticle, or other sacred musical work sung responsorially, that is, with a cantor or small group singing verses while the whole choir or congregation respond with a refrain. However, this article focuses on those chants of the western...

 chants are often composed of an amalgamation of various stock musical phrases, pieced together in a practice called centonization
Centonization
In music centonization is a theory about the composition of a melody, melodies, or piece based on pre-existing melodic figures and formulas...

. Tracts are melismatic settings of psalm verses and use frequent recurring cadences and they are strongly centonized.

Gregorian chant evolved to fulfill various functions in the Roman Catholic liturgy. Broadly speaking, liturgical recitatives are used for texts intoned by deacons or priests. Antiphonal chants accompany liturgical actions: the entrance of the officiant, the collection of offerings, and the distribution of sanctified bread and wine. Responsorial chants expand on readings and lessons.

The non-psalmodic chants, including the Ordinary of the Mass
Ordinary of the Mass
The ordinary, in Roman Catholic and other Western Christian liturgies, refers to the part of the Eucharist or of the canonical hours that is reasonably constant without regard to the date on which the service is performed...

, sequences
Sequence (poetry)
A sequence is a chant or hymn sung or recited during the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations, before the proclamation of the Gospel. By the time of the Council of Trent there were sequences for many feasts in the Church's year.The sequence has always been sung...

, and hymn
Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

s, were originally intended for congregational singing. The structure of their texts largely defines their musical style. In sequences, the same melodic phrase is repeated in each couplet. The strophic texts of hymns use the same syllabic melody for each stanza.

Modality



Early plainchant, like much of Western music, is believed to have been distinguished by the use of the diatonic scale
Diatonic scale
In music theory, a diatonic scale is a seven note, octave-repeating musical scale comprising five whole steps and two half steps for each octave, in which the two half steps are separated from each other by either two or three whole steps...

. Modal theory, which postdates the composition of the core chant repertory, arises from a synthesis of two very different traditions: the speculative tradition of numerical ratios and species inherited from ancient Greece and a second tradition rooted in the practical art of cantus. The earliest writings that deal with both theory and practice include the Enchiriadis
Musica enchiriadis
Musica enchiriadis is an anonymous musical treatise from the 9th century. It is the first surviving attempt to establish a system of rules for polyphony in classical music. The treatise was once attributed to Hucbald, but this is no longer accepted. Some historians once attributed it to Odo of...

 group of treatises, which circulated in the late ninth century and possibly have their roots in an earlier, oral tradition. In contrast to the ancient Greek system of tetrachords (a collection of four continuous notes) that descend by two tones and a semitone, the Enchiriadis writings base their tone-system on a tetrachord that corresponds to the four finals of chant, D, E, F, and G. The disjunct tetrachords in the Enchiriadis system have been the subject of much speculation, because they do not correspond to the diatonic framework that became the standard Medieval scale (for example, there is a high F#, a note not recognized by later Medieval writers). A diatonic scale with a chromatically alterable b/b-flat was first described by Hucbald, who adopted the tetrachord of the finals (D, E, F, G) and constructed the rest of the system following the model of the Greek Greater and Lesser Perfect Systems. These were the first steps in forging a theoretical tradition that corresponded to chant.

Around 1025, Guido d'Arezzo revolutionized Western music with the development of the gamut, in which pitches in the singing range were organized into overlapping hexachord
Hexachord
In music, a hexachord is a collection of six pitch classes including six-note segments of a scale or tone row. The term was adopted in the Middle Ages and adapted in the twentieth-century in Milton Babbitt's serial theory.-Middle Ages:...

s. Hexachords could be built on C (the natural hexachord, C-D-E^F-G-A), F (the soft hexachord, using a B-flat, F-G-A^Bb-C-D), or G (the hard hexachord, using a B-natural, G-A-B^C-D-E). The B-flat was an integral part of the system of hexachords rather than an accidental
Accidental (music)
In music, an accidental is a note whose pitch is not a member of a scale or mode indicated by the most recently applied key signature. In musical notation, the symbols used to mark such notes, sharps , flats , and naturals , may also be called accidentals...

. The use of notes outside of this collection was described as musica ficta
Musica ficta
Musica ficta was a term used in European music theory from the late 12th century to about 1600 to describe any pitches, whether notated or to be added by performers in accordance with their training, that lie outside the system of musica recta or musica vera as defined by the hexachord system of...

.

Gregorian chant was categorized into eight modes
Musical mode
In the theory of Western music since the ninth century, mode generally refers to a type of scale. This usage, still the most common in recent years, reflects a tradition dating to the middle ages, itself inspired by the theory of ancient Greek music.The word encompasses several additional...

, influenced by the eightfold division of Byzantine chants called the oktoechos. Each mode is distinguished by its final, dominant, and ambitus. The final is the ending note, which is usually an important note in the overall structure of the melody. The dominant is a secondary pitch that usually serves as a reciting tone
Reciting tone
In chant, a reciting tone is a repeated musical pitch around which the other pitches of the chant gravitate, or by extension, the entire melodic formula that centers on one or two such pitches. In Gregorian chant, reciting tones are used for a number of contexts, including the chanting of psalm...

 in the melody. Ambitus
Ambitus (music)
Ambitus is a Latin term literally meaning "the going round", and in Medieval Latin means the "course" of a melodic line, most usually referring to the range of scale degrees attributed to a given mode, particularly in Gregorian chant. It may also refer to the range of a voice, instrument, or piece...

 refers to the range of pitches used in the melody. Melodies whose final is in the middle of the ambitus, or which have only a limited ambitus, are categorized as plagal, while melodies whose final is in the lower end of the ambitus and have a range of over five or six notes are categorized as authentic. Although corresponding plagal and authentic modes have the same final, they have different dominants. The existent pseudo-Greek names of the modes, rarely used in medieval times, derive from a misunderstanding of the Ancient Greek modes; the prefix "Hypo-" (under, Gr.) indicates a plagal mode, where the melody moves below the final. In contemporary Latin manuscripts the modes are simply called Protus authentus /plagalis, Deuterus, Tritus and Tetrardus: the 1st mode, authentic or plagal, the 2nd mode etc. In the Roman Chantbooks the modes are indicated by Roman numerals.
Modes 1 and 2 are the authentic and plagal modes ending on D, sometimes called Dorian
Dorian mode
Due to historical confusion, Dorian mode or Doric mode can refer to three very different musical modes or diatonic scales, the Greek, the medieval, and the modern.- Greek Dorian mode :...

 and Hypodorian
Hypodorian mode
The Hypodorian mode, a musical term literally meaning 'below dorian', derives its name from a tonos or octave species of ancient Greece which, in its diatonic genus, is built from a tetrachord consisting of a semitone followed by two whole tones. The rising scale for the octave is a single tone...

.
Modes 3 and 4 are the authentic and plagal modes ending on E, sometimes called Phrygian
Phrygian mode
The Phrygian mode can refer to three different musical modes: the ancient Greek tonos or harmonia sometimes called Phrygian, formed on a particular set octave species or scales; the Medieval Phrygian mode, and the modern conception of the Phrygian mode as a diatonic scale, based on the latter...

 and Hypophrygian
Hypophrygian mode
The Hypophrygian mode, literally meaning 'below Phrygian', is a musical mode or diatonic scale in medieval chant theory, the fourth mode of church music. This mode is the plagal counterpart of the authentic third mode, which was called Phrygian...

.
Modes 5 and 6 are the authentic and plagal modes ending on F, sometimes called Lydian
Lydian mode
The Lydian musical scale is a rising pattern of pitches comprising three whole tones, a semitone, two more whole tones, and a final semitone. This sequence of pitches roughly describes the fifth of the eight Gregorian modes, known as Mode V or the authentic mode on F, theoretically using B but in...

 and Hypolydian
Hypolydian mode
The Hypolydian mode, literally meaning "below Lydian", is the common name for the sixth of the eight medieval church modes . The name is taken from Ptolemy of Alexandria's term for one of his seven tonoi, or transposition keys...

.
Modes 7 and 8 are the authentic and plagal modes ending on G, sometimes called Mixolydian
Mixolydian mode
Mixolydian mode may refer to one of three things: the name applied to one of the ancient Greek harmoniai or tonoi, based on a particular octave species or scale; one of the medieval church modes; a modern musical mode or diatonic scale, related to the medieval mode.-Greek Mixolydian:The idea of a...

 and Hypomixolydian.


Although the modes with melodies ending on A, B, and C are sometimes referred to as Aeolian
Aeolian mode
The Aeolian mode is a musical mode or, in modern usage, a diatonic scale called the natural minor scale.The word "Aeolian" in the music theory of ancient Greece was an alternative name for what Aristoxenus called the Low Lydian tonos , nine semitones...

, Locrian
Locrian mode
The Locrian mode is either a musical mode or simply a diatonic scale. Although the term occurs in several classical authors on music theory, including Cleonides and Athenaeus , there is no warrant for the modern usage of Locrian as equivalent to Glarean's Hyperaeolian mode, in either classical,...

, and Ionian
Ionian mode
Ionian mode is the name assigned by Heinrich Glarean in 1547 to his new authentic mode on C , which uses the diatonic octave species from C to the C an octave higher, divided at G into a fourth species of perfect fifth plus a third species of perfect fourth : C D...

, these are not considered distinct modes and are treated as transpositions
Transposition (music)
In music transposition refers to the process, or operation, of moving a collection of notes up or down in pitch by a constant interval.For example, one might transpose an entire piece of music into another key...

 of whichever mode uses the same set of hexachords. The actual pitch of the Gregorian chant is not fixed, so the piece can be sung in whichever range is most comfortable.

Certain classes of Gregorian chant have a separate musical formula for each mode, allowing one section of the chant to transition smoothly into the next section, such as the psalm tones between antiphons and psalm verses.

Not every Gregorian chant fits neatly into Guido's hexachords or into the system of eight modes. For example, there are chants — especially from German sources — whose neume
Neume
A neume is the basic element of Western and Eastern systems of musical notation prior to the invention of five-line staff notation. The word is a Middle English corruption of the ultimately Ancient Greek word for breath ....

s suggest a warbling of pitches between the notes E and F, outside the hexachord system. Early Gregorian chant, like Ambrosian
Ambrosian chant
Ambrosian chant is the liturgical plainchant repertory of the Ambrosian rite of the Roman Catholic Church, related to but distinct from Gregorian chant. It is primarily associated with the Archdiocese of Milan, and named after St. Ambrose much as Gregorian chant is named after Gregory the Great...

 and Old Roman chant
Old Roman chant
Old Roman chant is the liturgical plainchant repertory of the Roman rite of the Roman Catholic Church formerly performed in Rome, closely related to but distinct from the Gregorian chant, which gradually supplanted it between the 11th century and the 13th century...

, whose melodies are most closely related to Gregorian, did not use the modal system. The great need for a system of organizing chants lies in the need to link antiphons with standard tones, as in for example, the psalmody at the Office. Using Psalm Tone i with an antiphon in Mode 1 makes for a smooth transition between the end of the antiphon and the intonation of the tone, and the ending of the tone can then be chosen to provide a smooth transition back to the antiphon. As the modal system gained acceptance, Gregorian chants were edited to conform to the modes, especially during 12th-century Cistercian reforms. Finals were altered, melodic ranges reduced, melismas trimmed, B-flats eliminated, and repeated words removed. Despite these attempts to impose modal consistency, some chants — notably Communions — defy simple modal assignment. For example, in four medieval manuscripts, the Communion Circuibo was transcribed using a different mode in each.

Musical idiom


Several features besides modality contribute to the musical idiom of Gregorian chant, giving it a distinctive musical flavor. Melodic motion is primarily stepwise
Steps and skips
In music, a step, or conjunct motion, is a linear or successive interval between two pitches which are consecutive scale degrees. Any larger interval is called a skip , or disjunct motion...

. Skips of a third are common, and larger skips far more common than in other plainchant repertories such as Ambrosian chant
Ambrosian chant
Ambrosian chant is the liturgical plainchant repertory of the Ambrosian rite of the Roman Catholic Church, related to but distinct from Gregorian chant. It is primarily associated with the Archdiocese of Milan, and named after St. Ambrose much as Gregorian chant is named after Gregory the Great...

 or Beneventan chant
Beneventan chant
Beneventan chant is a liturgical plainchant repertory of the Roman Catholic Church, used primarily in the orbit of the southern Italian ecclesiastical centers of Benevento and Montecassino, distinct from Gregorian chant and related to Ambrosian chant...

. Gregorian melodies are more likely to traverse a seventh than a full octave, so that melodies rarely travel from D up to the D an octave higher, but often travel from D to the C a seventh higher, using such patterns as D-F-G-A-C. Gregorian melodies often explore chains of pitches, such as F-A-C, around which the other notes of the chant gravitate. Within each mode, certain incipits and cadences are preferred, which the modal theory alone does not explain. Chants often display complex internal structures that combine and repeat musical subphrases. This occurs notably in the Offertories
Offertory
The Offertory is the portion of a Eucharistic service when bread and wine are brought to the altar. The offertory exists in many liturgical Christian denominations, though the Eucharistic theology varies among celebrations conducted by these denominations....

; in chants with shorter, repeating texts such as the Kyrie
Kyrie
Kyrie, a transliteration of Greek κύριε , vocative case of κύριος , meaning "Lord", is the common name of an important prayer of Christian liturgy, which is also called the Kýrie, eléison ....

 and Agnus Dei; and in longer chants with clear textual divisions such as the Great Responsories, the Gloria
Gloria in Excelsis Deo
"Gloria in excelsis Deo" is the title and beginning of a hymn known also as the Greater Doxology and the Angelic Hymn. The name is often abbreviated to Gloria in Excelsis or simply Gloria.It is an example of the psalmi idiotici "Gloria in excelsis Deo" (Latin for "Glory to God in the highest")...

, and the Credo
Credo
A credo |Latin]] for "I Believe") is a statement of belief, commonly used for religious belief, such as the Apostles' Creed. The term especially refers to the use of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed in the Mass, either as text, Gregorian chant, or other musical settings of the...

.

Chants sometimes fall into melodically related groups. The musical phrases centonized
Centonization
In music centonization is a theory about the composition of a melody, melodies, or piece based on pre-existing melodic figures and formulas...

 to create Gradual
Gradual
The Gradual is a chant or hymn in the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations. In the Tridentine Mass it was and is sung after the reading or chanting of the Epistle and before the Alleluia, or, during penitential seasons, before the Tract. In the Mass of Paul VI...

s and Tracts
Tract (liturgy)
The tract is part of the proper of the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations, which is used instead of the Alleluia during Lenten or pre-Lenten seasons, in a Requiem Mass, and on a few other penitential occasions, when the joyousness of an Alleluia is deemed...

 follow a musical "grammar" of sorts. Certain phrases are used only at the beginnings of chants, or only at the end, or only in certain combinations, creating musical families of chants such as the Iustus ut palma
Iustus ut palma
Iustus ut palma is the title of a number of sacred choral works which use Psalm 92:12 in the Latin Vulgate as lyrics. The Justus ut palma group refers to a family of melodically related Graduals in the Gregorian chant repertory....

 family of Graduals. Several Introit
Introit
The Introit is part of the opening of the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations. In its most complete version, it consists of an antiphon, psalm verse and Gloria Patri that is spoken or sung at the beginning of the celebration...

s in mode 3, including Loquetur Dominus above, exhibit melodic similarities. Mode III (E authentic) chants have C as a dominant, so C is the expected reciting tone. These mode III Introits, however, use both G and C as reciting tones, and often begin with a decorated leap from G to C to establish this tonality. Similar examples exist throughout the repertory.

Notation




The earliest notated sources of Gregorian chant (written ca. 950) used symbols called neume
Neume
A neume is the basic element of Western and Eastern systems of musical notation prior to the invention of five-line staff notation. The word is a Middle English corruption of the ultimately Ancient Greek word for breath ....

s (Gr. sign, of the hand) to indicate tone-movements and relative duration within each syllable. A sort of musical stenography that seems to focus on gestures and tone-movements but not the specific pitches of individual notes, nor the relative starting pitches of each neume. Given the fact that Chant was learned in an oral tradition in which the texts and melodies were sung from memory, this was obviously not necessary. The neumatic manuscripts display great sophistication and precision in notation and a wealth of graphic signs to indicate the musical gesture and proper pronunciation of the text.
Scholars postulate that this practice may have been derived from cheironomic
Cheironomy
Cheironomy is the use of hand signals to direct vocal music performance. Whereas in modern conductingthe notes are already specified in a written score, in cheironomy the hand signs indicate melodic curves and ornaments.-History:...

 hand-gestures, the ekphonetic notation of Byzantine chant, punctuation marks, or diacritical accents. Later adaptations and innovations included the use of a dry-scratched line or an inked line or two lines, marked C or F showing the relative pitches between neumes. Consistent relative heightening first developed in the Aquitaine region, particularly at St. Martial de Limoges
Saint Martial
Saint Martial was the first bishop of Limoges in today's France, according to a lost vita of Saturnin, first bishop of Toulouse, which Gregory of Tours quotes in his History of the Franks.-Life:...

, in the first half of the eleventh century. Many German-speaking areas, however, continued to use unpitched neumes into the twelfth century. Additional symbols developed, such as the custos, placed at the end of a system to show the next pitch. Other symbols indicated changes in articulation, duration, or tempo, such as a letter "t" to indicate a tenuto
Tenuto
Tenuto is a direction used in musical notation. Arguably, it is one of the first directions to be used in music notation, as Notker of St...

. Another form of early notation used a system of letters corresponding to different pitches, much as Shaker music is notated.

By the 13th century, the neumes of Gregorian chant were usually written in square notation on a four-line staff with a clef, as in the Graduale Aboense pictured above. In square notation, small groups of ascending notes on a syllable are shown as stacked squares, read from bottom to top, while descending notes are written with diamonds read from left to right. When a syllable has a large number of notes, a series of smaller such groups of neumes are written in succession, read from left to right. The oriscus, quilisma, and liquescent neumes indicate special vocal treatments, that have been largely neglected due to uncertainty as to how to sing them. Since the 1970s, with the influential insights of Dom. E. Cardine (see below under 'rhythm'), ornamental neumes have received more attention from both researchers and performers.
B-flat is indicated by a "b-mollum" (Lat. soft), a rounded undercaste 'b' placed to the left of the entire neume in which the note occurs, as shown in the "Kyrie" to the right. When necessary, a "b-durum" (Lat. hard), written squarely, indicates B-natural and serves to cancel the b-mollum . This system of square notation is standard in modern chantbooks.

Texture


Gregorian chant was originally used for singing the Office
Canonical hours
Canonical hours are divisions of time which serve as increments between the prescribed prayers of the daily round. A Book of Hours contains such a set of prayers....

 (by male and female religious) and for singing the parts of the Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 pertaining to the lay faithful (male and female), the celebrant (priest, always male) and the choir (composed of male ordained clergy, except in convents). Outside the larger cities, the number of available clergy dropped, and lay men started singing these parts. The choir was considered an official liturgical duty reserved to clergy, so women were not allowed to sing in the Schola Cantorum
Schola Cantorum (disambiguation)
Schola Cantorum can refer to* Schola Cantorum, New York City* Schola Cantorum de Paris, a musical academy set up in the late 19th century* Schola cantorum , a medieval choir based in Rome...

 or other choirs except in convent
Convent
A convent is either a community of priests, religious brothers, religious sisters, or nuns, or the building used by the community, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Anglican Communion...

s where women were permitted to sing the Office and the parts of the Mass pertaining to the choir as a function of their consecrated life.

Chant was normally sung in unison. Later innovations included tropes
Trope (music)
A trope or tropus may be a variety of different things in medieval and modern music.The term trope derives from the Greek τρόπος , "a turn, a change" , related to the root of the verb τρέπειν , "to turn, to direct, to alter, to change"...

, which is a new text sung to the same melodic phrases in a melismatic chant (repeating an entire Alleluia-melody on a new text for instance, or repeating a full phrase with a new text that comments on the previously sung text) and various forms of organum
Organum
Organum is, in general, a plainchant melody with at least one added voice to enhance the harmony, developed in the Middle Ages. Depending on the mode and form of the chant, a supporting bass line may be sung on the same text, the melody may be followed in parallel motion , or a combination of...

, (improvised) harmonic embellishment of chant melodies focusing on octaves, fifths, fourths, and, later, thirds. Neither tropes nor organum, however, belong to the chant repertory proper. The main exception to this is the sequence, whose origins lay in troping the extended melisma
Melisma
Melisma, in music, is the singing of a single syllable of text while moving between several different notes in succession. Music sung in this style is referred to as melismatic, as opposed to syllabic, where each syllable of text is matched to a single note.-History:Music of ancient cultures used...

 of Alleluia
Alleluia
The word "Alleluia" or "Hallelujah" , which at its most literal means "Praise Yah", is used in different ways in Christian liturgies....

 chants known as the jubilus
Jubilus
Jubilus is the term for the long melisma placed on the final syllable of the Alleluia as it is sung in the Gregorian chant. The structure of the Alleluia is such that the cantor first sings the word "alleluia," without the jubilus, and then the choir repeats the word with the melisma added...

, but the sequences, like the tropes, were later officially suppressed. The Council of Trent
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

 struck sequences from the Gregorian corpus, except those for Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

, Pentecost
Pentecost
Pentecost is a prominent feast in the calendar of Ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai, and also later in the Christian liturgical year commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ after the Resurrection of Jesus...

, Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi (feast)
Corpus Christi is a Latin Rite solemnity, now designated the solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ . It is also celebrated in some Anglican, Lutheran and Old Catholic Churches. Like Trinity Sunday and the Solemnity of Christ the King, it does not commemorate a particular event in...

 and All Souls' Day.

Not much is known about the particular vocal stylings or performance practices used for Gregorian chant in the Middle Ages. On occasion, the clergy was urged to have their singers perform with more restraint and piety. This suggests that virtuosic performances occurred, contrary to the modern stereotype of Gregorian chant as slow-moving mood music. This tension between musicality and piety goes far back; Gregory the Great
Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I , better known in English as Gregory the Great, was pope from 3 September 590 until his death...

 himself criticized the practice of promoting clerics based on their charming singing rather than their preaching. However, Odo of Cluny
Odo of Cluny
Saint Odo of Cluny , a saint of the Roman Catholic Church, was the second abbot of Cluny. He enacted various reforms in the Cluniac monastery system of France and Italy....

, a renowned monastic reformer, praised the intellectual and musical virtuosity to be found in chant:
True antiphonal performance by two alternating choruses still occurs, as in certain German monasteries. However, antiphonal chants are generally performed in responsorial style by a solo cantor alternating with a chorus. This practice appears to have begun in the Middle Ages. Another medieval innovation had the solo cantor sing the opening words of responsorial chants, with the full chorus finishing the end of the opening phrase. This innovation allowed the soloist to fix the pitch of the chant for the chorus and to cue the choral entrance.

Rhythm


Because of the obviously evasive quality of medieval notation as the silent remains of a living tradition, displaced a thousand years out of its cultural context, rhythm in Gregorian chant has always been a hotbed of debate among modern scholars who have fundamental differences in point of view on rhythm. To complicate matters further, a host of ornamental neumes are used in the earliest manuscripts that pose many difficulties on the rhythmic plane. Certain neumes such as the pressus, pes quassus, strophic neumes may indicate repeated notes, lengthening by repercussion, in some cases with added ornaments. By the 13th century, with the widespread use of square notation, most chant was sung with an approximately equal duration allotted to each note, although Jerome of Moravia
Jerome of Moravia
Jerome of Moravia was a medieval music theorist. He was a Dominican friar. His origin is unknown, but he is believed to have worked in Paris at the Dominican convent on the Rue Saint-Jacques...

 cites exceptions in which certain notes, such as the final notes of a chant, are lengthened.

While the standard repertory of Gregorian Chant was partly being supplanted with new forms of polyphony, the earlier melo-rhythmic refinements of monophonic chant seem to fall into disuse. Later redactions such as the Editio medicaea of 1614 rewrote chant so that melismas, with their melodic accent, fell on accented syllables. This aesthetic held sway until the re-examination of chant in the late 19th century by such scholars as Wagner, Pothier, and Mocquereau, who fell into two camps.

One school of thought, including Wagner, Jammers, and Lipphardt, advocated imposing rhythmic meters on chants, although they disagreed on how that should be done. An opposing interpretation, represented by Pothier and Mocquereau, supported a free rhythm of equal note values, although some notes are lengthened for textual emphasis or musical effect. The modern Solesmes editions of Gregorian chant follow this interpretation. Mocquereau divided melodies into two- and three-note phrases, each beginning with an ictus, akin to a beat, notated in chantbooks as a small vertical mark. These basic melodic units combined into larger phrases through a complex system expressed by cheironomic
Cheironomy
Cheironomy is the use of hand signals to direct vocal music performance. Whereas in modern conductingthe notes are already specified in a written score, in cheironomy the hand signs indicate melodic curves and ornaments.-History:...

 hand-gestures. This approach prevailed during the twentieth century, propagated by Justine Ward
Justine Ward
Justine Ward née Bayard Cutting was a musical educator who developed a system for teaching music to children known as the Ward Method....

's program of music education for children, until the liturgical role of chant was diminished after the liturgical reforms of Paul VI, and new scholarship "essentially discredited" Mocquereau's rhythmic theories.

Common modern practice favors performing Gregorian chant with no beat or regular metric accent, largely for aesthetic reasons. The text determines the accent while the melodic contour determines the phrasing. The note lengthenings recommended by the Solesmes school remain influential, though not prescriptive.

Dom Eugene Cardine, (1905–1988) monk from Solesmes, published his 'Semiologie Gregorienne' in 1970 in which he clearly explains the musical significance of the neumes of the early chant manuscripts. Cardine shows the great diversity of neumes and graphic variations of the basic shape of a particular neume, which can not be expressed in the square notation. This variety in notation must have served a practical purpose and therefore a musical significance. Nine years later, the Graduale Triplex was published, in which the Roman Gradual, containing all the chants for Mass in a Year's cycle, appeared with the neumes of the two most important manuscripts copied under and over the 4-line staff of the square notation. The Graduale Triplex made widely accessible the original notation of Sankt Gallen and Laon (compiled after 930 AD) in a single chantbook and was a huge step forward. Dom Cardine had many students who have each in their own way continued their semiological studies, some of whom also started experimenting in applying the newly understood principles in performance practice.

The studies of Cardine and his students (Godehard Joppich, Luigi Augustoni, Marie-Noël Colette, Rupert Fischer, Marie-Claire Billecocq to name a few) have clearly demonstrated that rhythm in Gregorian chant as notated in the 10th century rhythmic manuscripts (notably Skt. Gallen and Laon) manifest such rhythmic diversity and melodic – rhythmic ornamentations for which there is hardly a living performance tradition in the Western world. Contemporary groups that endeavour to sing according to the manuscript traditions have evolved after 1975. Some practising researchers favour a closer look at non Western (liturgical) traditions, in such cultures where the tradition of modal monophony was never abandoned.

Another group with different views are the mensuralists or the proportionalists, who maintain that rhythm has to be interpreted proportionately, where shorts are exactly half the longs. This school of interpretation claims the support of historical authorities such as St Augustine, Remigius, Guido and Aribo http://www.calumcille.com/griogair/9A14.html. This view is advocated by John Blackley and his 'Schola Antiqua New York'.

Recent research in the Netherlands by Dr. Dirk van Kampen has indicated that the authentic rhythm of Gregorian chant in the 10th century includes both proportional elements and elements that are in agreement with semiology. Starting with the expectation that the rhythm of Gregorian chant (and thus the duration of the individual notes) anyway adds to the expressivity of the sacred Latin texts, several word-related variables were studied for their relationship with several neume-related variables, exploring these relationships in a sample of introit chants using such statistical methods as correlational analysis and multiple regression analysis.

Besides the length of the syllables (measured in tenths of seconds), each text syllable was evaluated in terms of its position within the word to which it belongs, defining such variables as ‘the syllable has or hasn’t the main accent’, ‘the syllable is or isn’t at the end of a word’, etc., and in terms of the particular sounds produced (for instance, the syllable contains the vowel ‘i’). The various neume elements were evaluated by attaching different duration values to them, both in terms of semiological propositions (nuanced durations according to the manner of neume writing in Chris Hakkennes’ Graduale Lagal) ), and in terms of fixed duration values that were based on mensuralistic notions, however with ratios between short and long notes ranging from 1 : 1, via 1 : 1.2, 1 : 1.4, etc. to 1 : 3. To distinguish short and long notes, tables were consulted that were established by Van Kampen in an unpublished comparative study regarding the neume notations according to St Gallen and Laon codices. With some exceptions, these tables confirm the short vs. long distinctions in Cardine’s 'Semiologie Gregorienne'.

The lengths of the neumes were given values by adding up the duration values for the separate neume elements, each time following a particular hypothesis concerning the rhythm of Gregoriant chant. Both the syllable lengths and the neume lengths were also expressed in relation to the total duration of the syllables, resp. neumes for a word (contextual variables). Correlating the various word and neume variables, substantial correlations were found for the word variables 'accented syllable' and 'contextual syllable duration'. Moreover, it could be established that the multiple correlation (R) between the two types of variables reaches its maximum (R is about 0.80) if the neumatic elements are evaluated according to the following ‘rules of duration’: (a) neume elements that represent short notes in neumes consisting of at least two notes have duration values of 1 time; (b) neume elements that represent long notes in neumes consisting of at least two notes have duration values of 2 times; (c) neumes consisting of only one note are characterized by flexible duration values (with an average value of 2 times), which take over the duration values of the syllables to match.

It is interesting that the distinction between the first two rules and the latter rule can also be found in early treatises on music, introducing the terms metrum and rhythmus. As it could also be demonstrated by Van Kampen that melodic peaks often coincide with the word accent (see also), the conclusion seems warranted that the Gregorian melodies enhance the expressiveness of the Latin words by mimicking to some extent both the accentuation of the sacred words (pitch differences between neumes) and the relative duration of the word syllables (by paying attention to well-defined length differences between the individual notes of a neume).

Melodic restitution



Recent developments involve an intensifying of the semiological approach according to Dom Cardine, which also gave a new impetus to the research into melodic variants in various manuscripts of chant. On the basis of this ongoing research it has become obvious that the Graduale and other chantbooks contain many melodic errors, some very consistently, (the mis-interpretation of third and eighth mode) necessitating a new edition of the Graduale according to state-of-the-art melodic restitution
Melodic restitution
Restoration of Gregorian chants is the process of restoring the original melody in Gregorian Chant manuscripts.-Research:All mainstream editions of chantbooks are known to contain a large number of errors...

s. The so-called Munsterschwarzach-group under the guidance of Godehard Joppich and various other groups and individuals have done extensive work in this field.

In this approach the so-called earlier 'rhythmic' manuscripts of unheightened neumes that carry a wealth of melo-rhythmic information but not of exact pitches, are compared in large tables of comparison with relevant later 'melodic' manuscripts' that are written on lines or use double alphabetic and neumes notation over the text, but as a rule have less rhythmic refinement compared to the earlier group. However, the comparison between the two groups has made it possible to correct what are obvious mistakes. In other instances it is not so easy to find a consensus. In 1984 Chris Hakkennes published his own transcription of the Graduale Triplex. He devised a new graphic adaptation of square notation 'simplex' in which he integrated the rhythmic indications of the two most relevant sources, that of Laon and Skt. Gallen.

Referring to these manuscripts, he called his own transcription Gradual Lagal. Furthermore, while making the transcription, he cross-checked with the melodic manuscripts to correct modal errors or other melodic errors found in the Graduale Romanum. His intention was to provide a corrected melody in rhythmic notation but above all – he was also a choirmaster – suited for practical use, therefore a simplex, integrated notation. Although fully admitting the importance of Hakkennes' melodic revisions, the rhythmical solution suggested in the Graduale Lagal was actually found by Van Kampen (see above) to be rather modestly related to the text of the chant.

Liturgical functions


Gregorian chant is sung in the Office during the canonical hours
Canonical hours
Canonical hours are divisions of time which serve as increments between the prescribed prayers of the daily round. A Book of Hours contains such a set of prayers....

 and in the liturgy of the Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

. Texts known as accentus
Accentus Ecclesiasticus
Accentus Ecclesiasticus is a Church music term, the counterpart of concentus, indicating those parts sung solo by a clergyman. The terms accentus and concentus were probably introduced by Andreas Ornithoparchus in his Musicae Activae Micrologus, Leipzig, 1517.In the medieval church, all that...

 are intoned by bishops, priests, and deacons, mostly on a single reciting tone
Reciting tone
In chant, a reciting tone is a repeated musical pitch around which the other pitches of the chant gravitate, or by extension, the entire melodic formula that centers on one or two such pitches. In Gregorian chant, reciting tones are used for a number of contexts, including the chanting of psalm...

 with simple melodic formulae at certain places in each sentence. More complex chants are sung by trained soloists and choirs. The most complete collection of chants is the Liber usualis
Liber Usualis
The Liber Usualis is a book of commonly used Gregorian chants in the Catholic tradition, compiled by the monks of the Abbey of Solesmes in France....

, which contains the chants for the Tridentine Mass
Tridentine Mass
The Tridentine Mass is the form of the Roman Rite Mass contained in the typical editions of the Roman Missal that were published from 1570 to 1962. It was the most widely celebrated Mass liturgy in the world until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI in December 1969...

 and the most commonly used Office chants. Outside of monasteries, the more compact Graduale Romanum is commonly used.

Proper chants of the Mass


The Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Tract, Sequence, Offertory and Communion chants are part of the Proper
Proper (liturgy)
The Proper is a part of the Christian liturgy that varies according to the date, either representing an observance within the Liturgical Year, or of a particular saint or significant event...

 of the Mass. "Proprium Missae" in Latin refers to the chants of the Mass that have their proper individual texts for each Sunday throughout the annual cycle. As opposed to 'Ordinarium Missae' which have fixed texts (but various melodies) (Kyrie, Benedictus, Sanctus, Agnus Dei).

Introit
Introit
The Introit is part of the opening of the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations. In its most complete version, it consists of an antiphon, psalm verse and Gloria Patri that is spoken or sung at the beginning of the celebration...

s cover the procession of the officiants. Introits are antiphonal chants, typically consisting of an antiphon, a psalm verse, a repeat of the antiphon, an intonation of the Gloria Patri Doxology
Doxology
A doxology is a short hymn of praises to God in various Christian worship services, often added to the end of canticles, psalms, and hymns...

, and a final repeat of the antiphon. Reciting tone
Reciting tone
In chant, a reciting tone is a repeated musical pitch around which the other pitches of the chant gravitate, or by extension, the entire melodic formula that centers on one or two such pitches. In Gregorian chant, reciting tones are used for a number of contexts, including the chanting of psalm...

s often dominate their melodic structures.

Gradual
Gradual
The Gradual is a chant or hymn in the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations. In the Tridentine Mass it was and is sung after the reading or chanting of the Epistle and before the Alleluia, or, during penitential seasons, before the Tract. In the Mass of Paul VI...

s are responsorial chants that follow the reading of the Epistle
Epistle
An epistle is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal didactic letter. The epistle genre of letter-writing was common in ancient Egypt as part of the scribal-school writing curriculum. The letters in the New Testament from Apostles to Christians...

. Graduals usually result from centonization
Centonization
In music centonization is a theory about the composition of a melody, melodies, or piece based on pre-existing melodic figures and formulas...

; stock musical phrases are assembled like a patchwork to create the full melody of the chant, creating families of musically related melodies. Graduals are accompanied by an elaborate Verse, so that it actually consists in two different parts, A B. Often the first part is sung again, creating a 'rondeau' A B A. At least the verse, if not the complete gradual, is for the solo cantor and are in elaborate, ornate style with long, wide-ranged melisma's.

The Alleluia
Alleluia
The word "Alleluia" or "Hallelujah" , which at its most literal means "Praise Yah", is used in different ways in Christian liturgies....

 is known for the jubilus
Jubilus
Jubilus is the term for the long melisma placed on the final syllable of the Alleluia as it is sung in the Gregorian chant. The structure of the Alleluia is such that the cantor first sings the word "alleluia," without the jubilus, and then the choir repeats the word with the melisma added...

, an extended joyful melisma on the last vowel of 'Alleluia'. The Alleluia is also in two parts, the alleluia proper and the psalmverse, by which the Alleluia is identified (Alleluia V. Pascha nostrum) . The last melism of the verse is the same as the jubilus attached to the Alleluia. Alleluias are not sung during penitential times, such as Lent
Lent
In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and...

. Instead, a Tract
Tract (liturgy)
The tract is part of the proper of the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations, which is used instead of the Alleluia during Lenten or pre-Lenten seasons, in a Requiem Mass, and on a few other penitential occasions, when the joyousness of an Alleluia is deemed...

 is chanted, usually with texts from the Psalms. Tracts, like Graduals, are highly centonized.

Sequences
Sequence (poetry)
A sequence is a chant or hymn sung or recited during the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations, before the proclamation of the Gospel. By the time of the Council of Trent there were sequences for many feasts in the Church's year.The sequence has always been sung...

 are sung poems based on couplets. Although many sequences are not part of the liturgy and thus not part of the Gregorian repertory proper, Gregorian sequences include such well-known chants as Victimae paschali laudes
Victimae Paschali Laudes
Victimae paschali laudes is a sequence prescribed for the Roman Catholic Mass and liturgical Protestant Eucharists of Easter Sunday. It is usually attributed to the 11th century Wipo of Burgundy, chaplain to the German Emperor Conrad II, but has also been attributed to Notker Balbulus, Robert II of...

 and Veni Sancte Spiritus
Veni Sancte Spiritus
Veni Sancte Spiritus, sometimes called the "Golden Sequence," is a sequence prescribed in the Roman Liturgy for the Masses of Pentecost and its octave, exclusive of the following Sunday...

. According to Notker Balbulus, an early sequence writer, their origins lie in the addition of words to the long melisma
Melisma
Melisma, in music, is the singing of a single syllable of text while moving between several different notes in succession. Music sung in this style is referred to as melismatic, as opposed to syllabic, where each syllable of text is matched to a single note.-History:Music of ancient cultures used...

s of the jubilus of Alleluia chants.

Offertories
Offertory
The Offertory is the portion of a Eucharistic service when bread and wine are brought to the altar. The offertory exists in many liturgical Christian denominations, though the Eucharistic theology varies among celebrations conducted by these denominations....

 are sung during the offering of Eucharistic bread and wine. Offertories once had highly prolix melodies in their verses, but the use of verses in Gregorian Offertories disappeared around the 12th century. These verses however, are among the most ornate and elaborated in the whole chant repertoire. Offertories are in form closest to Responsories, which are likewise accompanied by at least one Verse and the opening sections of both Off. and Resp. are partly repeated after the verse(s). This last section is therefore called the 'repetenda' and is in performance the last melodic line of the chant.

Communions
Communion (chant)
The Communion is the Gregorian chant sung during the distribution of the Eucharist in the Roman Rite Catholic Mass. It is one of the antiphonal chants of the Proper of the Mass, and the final chant in the proper...

 are sung during the distribution of the Eucharist
Eucharist (Catholic Church)
"At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood."...

. In presentation the Communio is similar to the Introitus, an antiphon with a series of psalm verses. Communion melodies are often tonally ambiguous and do not fit into a single musical mode
Musical mode
In the theory of Western music since the ninth century, mode generally refers to a type of scale. This usage, still the most common in recent years, reflects a tradition dating to the middle ages, itself inspired by the theory of ancient Greek music.The word encompasses several additional...

 which has led to the same communio being classed in different modes in different manuscripts or editions.

Ordinary chants of the Mass


The Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei use the same text in every service of the Mass. Because they follow the regular invariable "order" of the Mass, these chants are called "Ordinary
Ordinary of the Mass
The ordinary, in Roman Catholic and other Western Christian liturgies, refers to the part of the Eucharist or of the canonical hours that is reasonably constant without regard to the date on which the service is performed...

".

The Kyrie
Kyrie
Kyrie, a transliteration of Greek κύριε , vocative case of κύριος , meaning "Lord", is the common name of an important prayer of Christian liturgy, which is also called the Kýrie, eléison ....

 consists of a threefold repetition of "Kyrie eleison" ("Lord, have mercy"), a threefold repetition of "Christe eleison" ("Christ have mercy"), followed by another threefold repetition of "Kyrie eleison." In older chants, "Kyrie eleison imas" ("Lord, have mercy on us") can be found. The Kyrie is distinguished by its use of the Greek language instead of Latin. Because of the textual repetition, various musical repeat structures occur in these chants. The following, Kyrie ad. lib. VI as transmitted in a Cambrai manuscript, uses the form ABA CDC EFE', with shifts in tessitura
Tessitura
In music, the term tessitura generally describes the most musically acceptable and comfortable range for a given singer or, less frequently, musical instrument; the range in which a given type of voice presents its best-sounding texture or timbre...

 between sections. The E' section, on the final "Kyrie eleison", itself has an aa'b structure, contributing to the sense of climax.

The Gloria
Gloria in Excelsis Deo
"Gloria in excelsis Deo" is the title and beginning of a hymn known also as the Greater Doxology and the Angelic Hymn. The name is often abbreviated to Gloria in Excelsis or simply Gloria.It is an example of the psalmi idiotici "Gloria in excelsis Deo" (Latin for "Glory to God in the highest")...

 recites the Greater Doxology
Doxology
A doxology is a short hymn of praises to God in various Christian worship services, often added to the end of canticles, psalms, and hymns...

, and the Credo
Credo
A credo |Latin]] for "I Believe") is a statement of belief, commonly used for religious belief, such as the Apostles' Creed. The term especially refers to the use of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed in the Mass, either as text, Gregorian chant, or other musical settings of the...

 intones the Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

. Because of the length of these texts, these chants often break into musical subsections corresponding with textual breaks. Because the Credo was the last Ordinary chant to be added to the Mass, there are relatively few Credo melodies in the Gregorian corpus.

The Sanctus
Sanctus
The Sanctus is a hymn from Christian liturgy, forming part of the Order of Mass. In Western Christianity, the Sanctus is sung as the final words of the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer, the prayer of consecration of the bread and wine...

 and the Agnus Dei, like the Kyrie, also contain repeated texts, which their musical structures often exploit.

Technically, the Ite missa est
Ite missa est
Ite, missa est are the concluding words addressed to the people in the Mass of the Roman Rite, as well as the Lutheran Divine Service. The exact meaning of the words is disputed, it has the effect of "Go", or "It is Sent", but the term "Mass" derives from this phrase...

 and the Benedicamus Domino
Benedicamus Domino
Benedicamus Domino is a closing salutation used in the Roman Mass instead of the Ite missa est in Masses which lack the Gloria . The response, said afterwards, is "Deo gratias"...

, which conclude the Mass, belong to the Ordinary. They have their own Gregorian melodies, but because they are short and simple, and have rarely been the subject of later musical composition, they are often omitted in discussion.


Chants of the Office


Gregorian chant is sung in the canonical hours
Canonical hours
Canonical hours are divisions of time which serve as increments between the prescribed prayers of the daily round. A Book of Hours contains such a set of prayers....

 of the monastic Office, primarily in antiphons used to sing the Psalms
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

, in the Great Responsories
Responsory
-Definition:The most general of a responsory is any psalm, canticle, or other sacred musical work sung responsorially, that is, with a cantor or small group singing verses while the whole choir or congregation respond with a refrain. However, this article focuses on those chants of the western...

 of Matins
Matins
Matins is the early morning or night prayer service in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox liturgies of the canonical hours. The term is also used in some Protestant denominations to describe morning services.The name "Matins" originally referred to the morning office also...

, and the Short Responsories of the Lesser Hours and Compline
Compline
Compline is the final church service of the day in the Christian tradition of canonical hours. The English word Compline is derived from the Latin completorium, as Compline is the completion of the working day. The word was first used in this sense about the beginning of the 6th century by St...

. The psalm antiphons of the Office tend to be short and simple, especially compared to the complex Great Responsories.

At the close of the Office, one of four Marian antiphons is sung. These songs, Alma Redemptoris Mater (see top of article), Ave Regina caelorum, Regina caeli laetare, and Salve, Regina, are relatively late chants, dating to the 11th century, and considerably more complex than most Office antiphons. Apel has described these four songs as "among the most beautiful creations of the late Middle Ages."

Medieval and Renaissance music


Gregorian chant had a significant impact on the development of medieval
Medieval music
Medieval music is Western music written during the Middle Ages. This era begins with the fall of the Roman Empire and ends sometime in the early fifteenth century...

 and Renaissance music
Renaissance music
Renaissance music is European music written during the Renaissance. Defining the beginning of the musical era is difficult, given that its defining characteristics were adopted only gradually; musicologists have placed its beginnings from as early as 1300 to as late as the 1470s.Literally meaning...

. Modern staff notation developed directly from Gregorian neumes. The square notation that had been devised for plainchant was borrowed and adapted for other kinds of music. Certain groupings of neumes were used to indicate repeating rhythms called rhythmic mode
Rhythmic mode
In medieval music, the rhythmic modes were set patterns of long and short durations . The value of each note is not determined by the form of the written note , but rather by its position within a group of notes written as a single figure called a "ligature", and by the position of the ligature...

s. Rounded noteheads increasingly replaced the older squares and lozenges in the 15th and 16th centuries, although chantbooks conservatively maintained the square notation. By the 16th century, the fifth line added to the musical staff
Staff (music)
In standard Western musical notation, the staff, or stave, is a set of five horizontal lines and four spaces that each represent a different musical pitch—or, in the case of a percussion staff, different percussion instruments. Appropriate music symbols, depending upon the intended effect,...

 had become standard. The bass clef and the flat, natural, and sharp
Sharp (music)
In music, sharp, dièse , or diesis means higher in pitch and the sharp symbol raises a note by a half tone. Intonation may be flat, sharp, or both, successively or simultaneously...

 accidentals derived directly from Gregorian notation.

Gregorian melodies provided musical material and served as models for tropes and liturgical drama
Liturgical drama
Liturgical drama or religious drama, in its various Christian contexts, originates from the mass itself, and usually presents a relatively complex ritual that includes theatrical elements...

s. Vernacular hymns such as "Christ ist erstanden" and "Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist
Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist
Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist is a chorale in four stanzas. The first stanza dates from the 13th century and alludes to the Latin sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus, three other stanzas were written by Martin Luther...

" adapted original Gregorian melodies to translated texts. Secular tunes such as the popular Renaissance "In Nomine
In Nomine
In Nomine is a title given to a large number of pieces of English polyphonic, predominantly instrumental music, first composed during the 16th century....

" were based on Gregorian melodies. Beginning with the improvised harmonizations of Gregorian chant known as organum
Organum
Organum is, in general, a plainchant melody with at least one added voice to enhance the harmony, developed in the Middle Ages. Depending on the mode and form of the chant, a supporting bass line may be sung on the same text, the melody may be followed in parallel motion , or a combination of...

, Gregorian chants became a driving force in medieval and Renaissance polyphony
Polyphony
In music, polyphony is a texture consisting of two or more independent melodic voices, as opposed to music with just one voice or music with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords ....

. Often, a Gregorian chant (sometimes in modified form) would be used as a cantus firmus
Cantus firmus
In music, a cantus firmus is a pre-existing melody forming the basis of a polyphonic composition.The plural of this Latin term is , though the corrupt form canti firmi is also attested...

, so that the consecutive notes of the chant determined the harmonic progression. The Marian antiphons, especially Alma Redemptoris Mater, were frequently arranged by Renaissance composers. The use of chant as a cantus firmus was the predominant practice until the Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 period, when the stronger harmonic progressions made possible by an independent bass line became standard.

The Catholic Church later allowed polyphonic arrangements to replace the Gregorian chant of the Ordinary of the Mass. This is why the Mass as a compositional form, as set by composers like Palestrina
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was an Italian Renaissance composer of sacred music and the best-known 16th-century representative of the Roman School of musical composition...

 or Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

, features a Kyrie but not an Introit. The Propers may also be replaced by choral settings on certain solemn occasions. Among the composers who most frequently wrote polyphonic settings of the Propers were William Byrd
William Byrd
William Byrd was an English composer of the Renaissance. He wrote in many of the forms current in England at the time, including various types of sacred and secular polyphony, keyboard and consort music.-Provenance:Knowledge of Byrd's biography expanded in the late 20th century, thanks largely...

 and Tomás Luis de Victoria
Tomás Luis de Victoria
Tomás Luis de Victoria, sometimes Italianised as da Vittoria , was the most famous composer of the 16th century in Spain, and one of the most important composers of the Counter-Reformation, along with Giovanni da Palestrina and Orlando di Lasso. Victoria was not only a composer, but also an...

. These polyphonic arrangements usually incorporate elements of the original chant.

20th century


The renewed interest in early music
Early music
Early music is generally understood as comprising all music from the earliest times up to the Renaissance. However, today this term has come to include "any music for which a historically appropriate style of performance must be reconstructed on the basis of surviving scores, treatises,...

 in the late 19th century left its mark on 20th-century music. Gregorian influences in classical music include the choral setting of four chants in "Quatre motets sur des thèmes Grégoriens" by Maurice Duruflé
Maurice Duruflé
Maurice Duruflé was a French composer, organist, and pedagogue.Duruflé was born in Louviers, Eure. In 1912, he became chorister at the Rouen Cathedral Choir School, where he studied piano and organ with Jules Haelling...

, the carols of Peter Maxwell Davies
Peter Maxwell Davies
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, CBE is an English composer and conductor and is currently Master of the Queen's Music.-Biography:...

, and the choral work of Arvo Pärt
Arvo Pärt
Arvo Pärt is an Estonian classical composer and one of the most prominent living composers of sacred music. Since the late 1970s, Pärt has worked in a minimalist style that employs his self-made compositional technique, tintinnabuli. His music also finds its inspiration and influence from...

.
Gregorian chant is vaguely imitated into other genres, such as London Boys
London Boys
London Boys were a British/German dance pop duo composed of Edem Ephraim and Dennis Fuller...

's "Requiem" and some other dance
Dance music
Dance music is music composed specifically to facilitate or accompany dancing. It can be either a whole musical piece or part of a larger musical arrangement...

 compositions, Enigma's
Enigma (musical project)
Enigma is an electronic musical project founded in Germany by Michael Cretu, David Fairstein and Frank Peterson in 1990. The Romanian-born Cretu conceived the Enigma project while working in Germany, but has based his recording studio A.R.T. Studios in Ibiza, Spain, since the early 1990s until May...

 "Sadeness (Part I)
Sadeness (Part I)
"Sadeness " is a 1990 single created by the musical project Enigma. The song was the first of four singles from the project's first album MCMXC a.D. and upon release became an international smash hit, reaching number one in 24 countries and the top ten in four others including the United States...

", the chant interpretation of pop
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

 and rock
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

 by the German band Gregorian
Gregorian (band)
Gregorian is a German band headed by Frank Peterson that performs Gregorian chant-inspired versions of modern pop and rock songs. The band features both vocal harmony and instrumental accompaniment.- Band history :...

, the New Age
New Age music
New Age music is music of various styles intended to create artistic inspiration, relaxation, and optimism. It is used by listeners for yoga, massage, meditation, and reading as a method of stress management or to create a peaceful atmosphere in their home or other environments, and is often...

 project Era
Era (musical project)
Era is a New Age music project by French composer Eric Lévi. The band has sold more than 12 million albums...

, the techno
Techno
Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan in the United States during the mid to late 1980s. The first recorded use of the word techno, in reference to a genre of music, was in 1988...

 project E Nomine
E Nomine
E Nomine is a German musical project, formed in 1999, by producers Christian Weller and Friedrich "Fritz" Graner. Their music, which they call monumental dance, is an unusual combination of trance, techno, and vocals which closely resemble Gregorian singing and chanting...

, many of the songs by American power
Power metal
Power metal is a style of heavy metal combining characteristics of traditional metal with speed metal, often within symphonic context. The term refers to two different but related styles: the first pioneered and largely practiced in North America with a harder sound similar to speed metal, and a...

/thrash metal
Thrash metal
Thrash metal is a subgenre of heavy metal that is characterized usually by its fast tempo and aggression. Songs of the genre typically use fast percussive and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work...

 band Iced Earth
Iced Earth
Iced Earth is an American heavy metal band from Tampa, Florida. Originally formed under the name "Purgatory" in 1984, Iced Earth has released a total of ten studio albums, one live album, three EP's, two compilations and boxsets...

, and the work of black metal
Black metal
Black metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. Common traits include fast tempos, shrieked vocals, highly distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, blast beat drumming, raw recording, and unconventional song structure....

 band Deathspell Omega
Deathspell Omega
Deathspell Omega are a French black metal band. Their lyrical content deals primarily with Satanism on a metaphysical level – as the band has stated that "all other interpretations of Satan are intellectually invalid" – and other various theological topics...

. The modal melodies of chant provide unusual sounds to ears attuned to modern scales. It has also been used in The Omen
The Omen
An original score for the film, including the movie's theme song Ave Satani, was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, for which he received the only Oscar of his long career. The score features a strong choral segment, with a foreboding Latin chant...

s main theme, Ave Satani
Ave Satani
"Ave Satani" is the theme song to the film The Omen composed by Jerry Goldsmith. The Omen won an Oscar for Best Score, with Ave Satani nominated for Best Song, one of the few foreign language songs ever to be nominated....

.

Popular culture


The monks of Solesmes, discussed above for their revival of Gregorian chant, issued a number of recordings. However, when Gregorian chant as plainchant experienced a popular resurgence during the New Age music
New Age music
New Age music is music of various styles intended to create artistic inspiration, relaxation, and optimism. It is used by listeners for yoga, massage, meditation, and reading as a method of stress management or to create a peaceful atmosphere in their home or other environments, and is often...

 and world music
World music
World music is a term with widely varying definitions, often encompassing music which is primarily identified as another genre. This is evidenced by world music definitions such as "all of the music in the world" or "somebody else's local music"...

 movements of the 1980s and '90s, the iconic album was somewhat unexpectedly Chant, recorded by the Benedictine
Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 monks of Santo Domingo de Silos, Spain. This was marketed as music to inspire timeless calm and serenity. In 2008, the Cistercian Monks of Austrian Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Heiligenkreuz Abbey is a Cistercian monastery in the village of Heiligenkreuz in the southern part of the Vienna woods, c. 13 km north-west of Baden in Lower Austria...

 released the CD Chant – Music for Paradise, which became the best-selling album of the Austrian pop charts and peaked #7 of the UK charts. In the US, the album was released under the title Chant – Music for the Soul and peaked at #1 on the Billboard
Billboard (magazine)
Billboard is a weekly American magazine devoted to the music industry, and is one of the oldest trade magazines in the world. It maintains several internationally recognized music charts that track the most popular songs and albums in various categories on a weekly basis...

 classical charts.

It became conventional wisdom
Conventional wisdom
Conventional wisdom is a term used to describe ideas or explanations that are generally accepted as true by the public or by experts in a field. Such ideas or explanations, though widely held, are unexamined. Unqualified societal discourse preserves the status quo. It codifies existing social...

 that listening to Gregorian chant increased the production of alpha wave
Alpha wave
Alpha waves are neural oscillations in the frequency range of 8–12 Hz arising from synchronous and coherent electrical activity of thalamic pacemaker cells in humans...

s in the brain, reinforcing the popular reputation of Gregorian chant as tranquilizing music. Gregorian chant has often been parodied for its supposed monotony, both before and after the release of Chant. Famous references include the flagellant monks in Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a 1974 British comedy film written and performed by the comedy group Monty Python , and directed by Gilliam and Jones...

 intoning "Pie Jesu Domine dona eis requiem" (Good Lord Jesus, grant them rest). Gregorian chant has been also used in Vision of Escaflowne and Death Note
Death Note
is a manga created by writer Tsugumi Ohba and manga artist Takeshi Obata. The main character is Light Yagami, a high school student who discovers a supernatural notebook, the "Death Note", dropped on Earth by a god of death, or a shinigami, named Ryuk...

 anime series, Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996 film)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a 1996 American animated drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released to theaters on June 21, 1996 by Walt Disney Pictures. The thirty-fourth animated feature in the Disney animated features canon, the film is inspired by Victor Hugo's novel of...

, the theme of the Temple of Time in the Legend of Zelda series and the Halo
Halo (series)
Halo is a multi-million dollar science fiction video game franchise created by Bungie and now managed by 343 Industries and owned by Microsoft Studios. The series centers on an interstellar war between humanity and a theocratic alliance of aliens known as the Covenant...

 series of videogames.

Miscellaneous


The asteroid
Asteroid
Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

 100019 Gregorianik
100019 Gregorianik
100019 Gregorianik is an asteroid. It was discovered by Freimut Börngen on October 23, 1989. Its provisional designation was 1989 UO7. It was named after Pope Gregory I.-External links:*...

 is named in its honour
Meanings of asteroid names
This is a list of named minor planets , with links to the Wikipedia articles on the people, places, characters and concepts that they are named for.-See also:*List of minor planets*List of minor planets named after people...

, using the German short form of the term.

External links