Difference between revisions of "Gregorian Chant"

From OrthodoxWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
(Origins of the new tradition)
Line 1: Line 1:
'''Gregorian chant''' is the central tradition of Western [[plainsong|plainchant]], a form of [[monophony|monophonic]] [[liturgy|liturgical]] music within [[Western Orthodoxy]] that accompanied the celebration of Mass and other ritual services. It is named after [[Pope Gregory I]], 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 (disambiguation)|viva voce]] method, that is, by following the given example orally, which took many years of experience in the [[Schola Cantorum (disambiguation)|Schola Cantorum]]. 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]]. 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.
'''Gregorian chant''' is the central tradition of Western [[plainsong|plainchant]], a form of [[monophony|monophonic]] [[liturgy|liturgical]] music within [[Western Orthodoxy]] that accompanied the celebration of Mass and other ritual services. It is named after [[Pope Gregory I]], 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 (disambiguation)|viva voce]] method, that is, by following the given example orally, which took many years of experience in the [[Schola Cantorum (disambiguation)|Schola Cantorum]]. 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]]. 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.
Gregorian chant was organized, codified, and notated mainly in the [[Franks|Frankish]] 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 I|Pope Gregory the Great]] 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]] synthesis of Roman and [[Gallican chant]], and that at that time the attribution to Gregory I was a "marketing ruse" to invest it with a sanctified pedigree, as part of an effort to create one liturgical protocol that would be practised throughout the entire [[Holy Roman Empire]].
Gregorian chants are organized into eight [[musical mode|modes]] (scales). Typical melodic features include characteristic [[incipit]]s and [[cadence (music)|cadences]], the use of [[reciting tone]]s around which the other notes of the [[melody]] revolve, and a vocabulary of musical motifs woven together through a process called [[centonization]] to create families of related chants.
Although the modern eight-tone major and minor scales are strongly related to two of these [[church modes]] (the Ionian and Aeolian, respectively), they function according to different harmonic rules. The church modes are based on six-note patterns called [[hexachord]]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''. Modes with the same final share certain characteristics, and it is easy to modulate back and forth between them; hence, the eight modes fall into four larger groupings based on their finals.
The oldest manuscripts of Gregorian chants were written using a graphic notation which uses a repertoire of specific signs called [[neume]]s; each neume designates a basic musical gesture (see [[musical notation]]). As books, made of [[vellum]] (prepared sheepskins), were very expensive, the text was abbreviated wherever possible, with the neumes 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.
Gregorian chant was traditionally sung by [[choir]]s of men and boys in churches, or by  [[monastics]] in their [[chapel]]s, and is commonly heard in celebrations of the [[Western Rite]]Liturgies. It is the music of the [[Roman Rite]], performed in the [[Mass (liturgy)|Mass]] and the monastic [[Canonical hours|Office]].
===Development of earlier plainchant===
Singing has been part of the [[Christianity|Christian]] [[liturgy]] since the earliest days of the Church. Until the mid-1990s, it was widely accepted that the [[psalms|psalmody]] of [[History of ancient Israel and Judah|ancient Jewish]] worship significantly influenced and contributed to [[Early Christianity|early Christian]] 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]]s for centuries after the [[Siege of Jerusalem (70)|Destruction of the Second Temple]] in [[Anno Domini|AD]]&nbsp;70.<ref>David Hiley, ''Western Plainchant'' pp. 484–5.</ref> However, early Christian rites did incorporate elements of Jewish worship that survived in later chant tradition. [[Canonical hours]] have their roots in Jewish prayer hours. "[[Amen]]" and "[[alleluia]]" come from [[Hebrew language|Hebrew]], and the threefold "[[sanctus]]" derives from the threefold "kadosh" of the [[Kedusha]].<ref>Willi Apel, ''Gregorian Chant'' p. 34.</ref>
The [[New Testament]] mentions singing hymns during the [[Last Supper]]: "When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the [[Mount of Olives]]" {{bibleverse||Matthew|26.30|NT}}. Other ancient witnesses such as [[Pope Clement I]], [[Tertullian]], [[Athanasius of Alexandria|St. Athanasius]], and [[Egeria (pilgrim)|Egeria]] confirm the practice,<ref>Apel, ''Gregorian Chant'' p. 74.</ref> although in poetic or obscure ways that shed little light on how music sounded during this period.<ref>Hiley, ''Western Plainchant'' pp. 484–7 and James McKinnon, ''Antiquity and the Middle Ages'' p. 72.</ref> The 3rd-century Greek "[[Oxyrhynchus hymn]]" survived with musical notation, but the connection between this hymn and the plainchant tradition is uncertain.<ref>McKinnon, James W.: "Christian Church, music of the early", Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed 11&nbsp;July&nbsp;2006), [http://www.grovemusic.com/ (subscription access)]</ref>
Musical elements that would later be used in the Roman Rite began to appear in the 3rd century. The ''[[Apostolic Tradition]]'', attributed to the theologian [[Hippolytus (writer)|Hippolytus]], attests the singing of [[Hallel]] psalms with Alleluia as the refrain in early Christian [[agape feast|''agape'' feasts]].<ref>Hiley, ''Western Plainchant'' p. 486.</ref> Chants of the Office, sung during the canonical hours, have their roots in the early 4th century, when desert monks following [[Anthony the Great|St. Anthony]] introduced the practice of continuous psalmody, singing the complete cycle of 150 psalms each week. Around 375, [[antiphon]]al psalmody became popular in the Christian East; in 386, [[Ambrose|St. Ambrose]] 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, [[Augustine of Hippo|St. Augustine]] described the [[responsory|responsorial]] singing of a [[Gradual]] psalm at Mass. At ca. 520, [[Benedict of Nursia|Benedictus of Nursia]] 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]].<ref>James McKinnon, ''Antiquity and the Middle Ages'' p. 320.</ref> Distinctive regional traditions of Western plainchant arose during this period, notably in the British Isles ([[Celtic chant]]), Spain ([[Mozarabic chant|Mozarabic]]), Gaul ([[Gallican chant|Gallican]]), and Italy ([[Old Roman chant|Old Roman]], [[Ambrosian chant|Ambrosian]] and [[Beneventan chant|Beneventan]]). These traditions may have evolved from a hypothetical year-round repertory of 5th-century plainchant after the western [[Roman Empire]] collapsed.
===Origins of the new tradition===
Scholars debate whether the essentials of the melodies originated in Rome, before the 7th century, or in [[Franks|Francia]], in the 8th and early 9th centuries. Traditionalists point to evidence supporting an important role for [[Pope Gregory I|Pope Gregory the Great]] between 590 and 604, such as that presented in Heinrich Bewerunge's article in the ''Catholic Encyclopedia''.<ref>{{ws|"[[s:Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Gregorian chant|Gregorian chant]]" in the 1913 ''Catholic Encyclopedia''}}, article by Heinrich Bewerunge.</ref> Scholarly consensus, supported by [[Willi Apel]] and Robert Snow, asserts instead that Gregorian chant developed around 750 from a synthesis of Roman and [[Gallican chant]] commissioned by [[Carolingian]] rulers in France. During a visit to Gaul in 752–753, [[Pope Stephen II]] had celebrated [[Mass (liturgy)|Mass]] using Roman chant. According to [[Charlemagne]], his father [[Pippin the Younger|Pepin]] abolished the local [[Gallican rite]]s in favor of the Roman use, in order to strengthen ties with Rome.<ref>Apel, ''Gregorian Chant'' p. 79.</ref> In 785–786, at Charlemagne's request, [[Pope Hadrian I]] sent a papal [[sacramentary]] 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 [[musical mode|modes]]. 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]], 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]], 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]], once elevated to [[Holy Roman Emperor]], 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.<ref>David Wilson, ''Music of the Middle Ages'' p. 10.</ref> From English and German sources, Gregorian chant spread north to [[Scandinavia]], [[Iceland]] and [[Finland]].<ref>Hiley, ''Western Plainchant'' p. 604.</ref> In 885, [[Pope Stephen V]] banned the [[Church Slavonic language|Slavonic]] liturgy, leading to the ascendancy of Gregorian chant in Eastern Catholic lands including [[Poland]], [[Moravia]], [[Slovakia]], and [[Austria]].
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.<ref>Apel, ''Gregorian Chant'' p. 80.</ref> The Gregorian chant of the [[Sarum Rite]] displaced [[Celtic chant]]. Gregorian coexisted with [[Beneventan chant]] for over a century before Beneventan chant was abolished by papal decree (1058). [[Mozarabic chant]] survived the influx of the [[Visigoths]] and [[Moors]], but not the Roman-backed prelates newly installed in Spain during the [[Reconquista]]. Restricted to a handful of dedicated chapels, modern Mozarabic chant is highly Gregorianized and bears no musical resemblance to its original form. [[Ambrosian chant]] alone survived to the present day, preserved in [[Milan]] due to the musical reputation and ecclesiastical authority of [[Ambrose|St. Ambrose]].
Gregorian chant eventually replaced the local chant tradition of Rome itself, which is now known as [[Old Roman chant]]. In the 10th century, virtually no musical manuscripts were being notated in Italy. Instead, Roman Popes imported Gregorian chant from the German Holy Roman Emperors during the 10th and 11th centuries. For example, the [[Credo]] was added to the [[Roman Rite]] at the behest of the German emperor [[Henry II of Germany|Henry II]] in 1014.<ref>Richard Hoppin, ''Medieval Music'' p. 47.</ref> 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 [[musical mode|modes]]. 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]]'' of [[Good Friday]] are believed to be a remnant of the Gallican repertory.<ref>Carl Parrish, "A Treasury of Early Music" pp. 8–9</ref>
===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]] in Germany, [[Abbey of St. Gall|St. Gall]] in Switzerland, [[Laon]] and [[Abbey of St. Martial|St. Martial]] 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 [[musical mode|modes]]. In 1562–63, the [[Council of Trent]] banned most [[sequence (poetry)|sequences]]. 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.<ref>Apel, ''Gregorian Chant'' pp. 288–289.</ref> In 1811, the French musicologist [[Alexandre-Étienne Choron]], as part of a conservative backlash following the liberal Catholic orders' inefficacy during the [[French Revolution]], called for returning to the "purer" Gregorian chant of Rome over French corruptions.<ref>Hiley, ''Western Plainchant'' p. 622.</ref>
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]], Regensburg) which [[Pope Pius IX]] 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 [[St. Peter's Abbey, Solesmes|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]] 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]] died. His successor, [[Pope Pius X]], promptly accepted the Solesmes chant — now compiled as the ''[[Liber usualis]]'' — 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 [[Musical phrasing|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.<ref>Hiley, ''Western Plainchant'' p. 624–627.</ref> 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]] ''[[Tra le sollecitudini]]'', Pius X mandated the use of Gregorian chant, encouraging the faithful to sing the [[Ordinary of the Mass]], although he reserved the singing of the [[proper (liturgy)|Propers]] for males. While this custom is maintained in [[traditionalist Catholic]] 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 Catholic Church, and the music most suitable for worship.<ref name=autogenerated1>{{cite web|url=http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/v8.html |title=The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Second Vatican Council |publisher=Christusrex.org |date=1963-12-04 |accessdate=2011-01-03}}</ref>
==Musical form==
===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 (music)|ligature]]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.<ref>Hoppin, ''Medieval Music'' pp. 85–88.</ref>
Gregorian chants fall into two broad categories of melody: [[recitative]]s and free melodies.<ref>Apel, ''Gregorian Chant'' p. 203</ref> The simplest kind of melody is the '''liturgical recitative'''. Recitative melodies are dominated by a single pitch, called the ''[[reciting tone]]''. Other pitches appear in melodic formulae for [[incipit]]s, partial [[cadence (music)|cadences]], and full cadences. These chants are primarily syllabic. For example, the [[Collect]] for [[Easter]] 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.<ref>Hoppin, ''Anthology of Medieval Music'' p. 11.</ref> Liturgical recitatives are commonly found in the [[Accentus Ecclesiasticus|accentus]] chants of the liturgy, such as the intonations of the Collect, [[Epistle]], and [[Gospel]] during the [[Mass (liturgy)|Mass]], and in the direct [[psalmody]] of the [[Canonical hours|Office]].{{listen|filename=Epistle for the Solemn Mass of Easter Day.ogg|title=Epistle for the Solemn Mass of Easter Day|description=example of liturgical recitative in Gregorian chant}}
'''Psalmodic chants''', which intone [[psalms]], include both recitatives and free melodies. Psalmodic chants include ''direct psalmody'', ''antiphonal chants'', and ''responsorial chants''.<ref>Hoppin, ''Medieval Music'' p. 81.</ref> 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.
[[Image:Evora06.jpg|thumb|right|225px|Missal with Gregorian chants]]
'''Antiphonal chants''' such as the [[Introit]], and [[Communion (chant)|Communion]] 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]]''. Over time, the verses were reduced in number, usually to just one psalm verse and the [[Doxology]], 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]] and [[Gloria in Excelsis Deo|Gloria]], are not considered antiphonal chants, although they are often performed in antiphonal style.{{listen|filename=Loquetur Dominus.ogg|title=''Loquetur Dominus'', Introit for Week XXXIV of Ordinary Time|description=example of antiphonal psalmody in Gregorian chant}}
'''Responsorial chants''' such as the [[Gradual]], [[Alleluia]], [[Offertory]], and the Office Responsories originally consisted of a refrain called a ''respond'' sung by a choir, alternating with psalm verses sung by a soloist. [[Responsory|Responsorial]] chants are often composed of an amalgamation of various stock musical phrases, pieced together in a practice called ''[[centonization]]''. Tracts are melismatic settings of psalm verses and use frequent recurring cadences and they are strongly centonized. {{listen|filename=De profundis.ogg|title=''De profundis'', Tract for the Requiem Mass|description=example of responsorial psalmody in Gregorian chant}}
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.<ref>Hoppin, ''Medieval Music'' p. 123.</ref>
The non-psalmodic chants, including the [[Ordinary of the Mass]], [[Sequence (poetry)|sequences]], and [[hymn]]s, were originally intended for congregational singing.<ref>Hoppin, ''Medieval Music'' p. 131.</ref> 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.
{{Main|Musical mode}}
Early plainchant, like much of Western music, is believed to have been distinguished by the use of the [[diatonic scale]]. 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 [[Musica enchiriadis|Enchiriadis]] 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]]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 (music)|accidental]]. The use of notes outside of this collection was described as [[musica ficta]].
Gregorian chant was categorized into eight [[musical mode|modes]], influenced by the eightfold division of Byzantine chants called the ''[[oktoechos]]''.<ref>Wilson, ''Music of the Middle Ages'' p. 11.</ref> 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]] in the melody. ''[[Ambitus (music)|Ambitus]]'' 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.<ref>Hoppin, ''Medieval Music'' pp. 64–5.</ref> 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 mode|Dorian]] and [[Hypodorian mode|Hypodorian]].
:Modes 3 and 4 are the authentic and plagal modes ending on E, sometimes called [[Phrygian mode|Phrygian]] and [[Hypophrygian mode|Hypophrygian]].
:Modes 5 and 6 are the authentic and plagal modes ending on F, sometimes called [[Lydian mode|Lydian]] and [[Hypolydian mode|Hypolydian]].
:Modes 7 and 8 are the authentic and plagal modes ending on G, sometimes called [[Mixolydian mode|Mixolydian]] and [[Hypomixolydian mode|Hypomixolydian]].
Although the modes with melodies ending on A, B, and C are sometimes referred to as [[Aeolian mode|Aeolian]], [[Locrian mode|Locrian]], and [[Ionian mode|Ionian]], these are not considered distinct modes and are treated as [[Transposition (music)|transpositions]] 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 tone]]s between antiphons and psalm verses.<ref>Hoppin, ''Medieval Music'' p. 82.</ref>
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]]s suggest a warbling of pitches between the notes E and F, outside the hexachord system.<ref>Wilson, ''Music of the Middle Ages'' p. 22.</ref> Early Gregorian chant, like [[Ambrosian chant|Ambrosian]] and [[Old Roman chant]], whose melodies are most closely related to Gregorian, did not use the modal system.<ref>Apel, ''Gregorian Chant'' p. 166–78, and Hiley, ''Western Plainchant'' p. 454.</ref> 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.<ref>Hiley, ''Western Plainchant'' pp. 608–10.</ref> 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.<ref>Apel, ''Gregorian Chant'' pp. 171–2.</ref>
===Musical idiom===
Several features besides modality contribute to the musical idiom of Gregorian chant, giving it a distinctive musical flavor. Melodic motion is primarily [[steps and skips|stepwise]]. Skips of a third are common, and larger skips far more common than in other plainchant repertories such as [[Ambrosian chant]] or [[Beneventan 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.<ref>Apel, ''Gregorian Chant'' pp. 256–7.</ref> Gregorian melodies often explore chains of pitches, such as F-A-C, around which the other notes of the chant gravitate.<ref>Wilson, ''Music of the Middle Ages'' p. 21.</ref> 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 [[Offertory|Offertories]]; in chants with shorter, repeating texts such as the [[Kyrie]] and [[Agnus Dei]]; and in longer chants with clear textual divisions such as the Great Responsories, the [[Gloria in excelsis Deo|Gloria]], and the [[Credo]].<ref>Apel, ''Gregorian Chant'' pp. 258–9.</ref>
Chants sometimes fall into melodically related groups. The musical phrases [[centonization|centonized]] to create [[Gradual]]s and [[Tract (liturgy)|Tracts]] 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]]'' family of Graduals.<ref>Apel, ''Gregorian Chant'' pp. 344–63.</ref> Several [[Introit]]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.<ref>Hiley, ''Western Plainchant'' pp. 110–113.</ref> Similar examples exist throughout the repertory.
[[Image:Neume2.jpg|thumb|270px|right| Offertory ''Iubilate deo universa terra'' in unheightened [[neume]]s.]]
The earliest notated sources of Gregorian chant (written ca. 950) used symbols called ''[[neume]]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 [[cheironomy|cheironomic]] hand-gestures, the [[ekphonetic]] notation of [[Byzantine chant]], punctuation marks, or diacritical accents.<ref>Levy, Kenneth: "Plainchant", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (Accessed 20&nbsp;January&nbsp;2006), [http://www.grovemusic.com/shared/views/article.html?section=music.40099.2.3#music.40099.2.3 (subscription access)]</ref> 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 [[Saint Martial|St. Martial de Limoges]], 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]]. Another form of early notation used a system of letters corresponding to different pitches, much as [[Shaker music]] is notated.
[[Image:gregorian chant.gif|frame|270px|right|The ''Liber usualis'' uses square notation, as in this excerpt from the ''Kyrie eleison (Orbis factor)''.]]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.

Revision as of 15:22, February 6, 2011

Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form of monophonic liturgical music within Western Orthodoxy that accompanied the celebration of Mass and other ritual services. It is named after Pope Gregory I, 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. 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. 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.