For many months here, we have been bringing you an ongoing series on forming and training a Gregorian choir in the parish. In our previous article in this series, Best Practices for a Gregorian Choir, we recommended training the Gregorian choir in actual chant notation - real, square, Gregorian notation. This may seem imposing, but it is really not as difficult as you may think. Though there may be a little more work up front, modern notation is inferior for conveying the interconnectedness of the melody and text and natural grouping of notes in Gregorian chant. The singing of speech will be clunky and lack nuance. Thus, a well-trained choir must understand Gregorian notation.
To that end, we are happy to bring you the "Guide to Singing Chant" from the Parish Book of Chant, published by the Church Music Association of America. The Parish Book of Chant contains a complete order of Mass for both the Ordinary form of the Roman Rite and the Extraordinary form, in side-by-side Latin and English. The Ordos include the sung responses of the people and celebrant. In this respect, it serves as an ideal resource for parishes that use both forms or simply hope to emphasize the relationship between them. It contains the full Kyriale, which is a collection of chants that make up the “ordinary” of the Mass: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei. But from the point of view of these essays, of most interest is the 11 page tutorial on singing chant that is invaluable for the beginner and can also teach the more advanced singer. It teaches understanding of signs, melodies, style, rhythms, and modes, all in a very brief section at the back of the book.
It is this 11 page tutorial that we present to you here. Incidentally, this is the tutorial that has been used in our own parish to train our choir in the practice of singing chant.
CLICK HERE TO FREELY DOWNLOAD THE "GUIDE TO SINGING CHANT" FROM THE PARISH BOOK OF CHANT.
Copyright Disclaimer: The Parish Book of Chant is published under the Creative Commons attribution license 3.0, which means that you can copy, distribute, record, or distribute electronic files with no restrictions and no license whatsoever. It is published as part of the commons of the faith. To purchase the Parish Book of Chant, please see here.