Sunday, November 13, 2011

What did chant sound like in the early centuries?

I am no musical historian or scholar but I found this sample of how chant might have sounded in the earliest time of Christian worship to be both intriguing and inspiring.... maybe you will, too!


Anonymous said...

Sounds a lot of what I hear on Orthodox Christian Radio or Ancient Faith Radio

Chris said...

Most of the recordings of Gregorian Chant that are produced today are not historically accurate. Gregorian chant stems from the Byzantine tradition and so there was an ison and also a lot of ornamentation. Recordings done on the Harmonia Mundi label from the Medieval and Renaissance eras are guided by the recent trends in musical scholarship which seek to give a more "accurate" rendering of this tradition.

Terry Maher said...

You know what, recordings of Gregorian Chant to-day sound a hell of a lot like Gregorian Chant to-day, and, you know what, it's to-day.

There's all kinds of chant traditions, and not all of them Christian. There is nothing whatever specifically Christian about chanting liturgical texts, nothing. "Scholars" (of whose number I am recovering) bottom line have no idea what exactly developed from what. There is no point whatever in attempting an accuracy to a history that is unclear.

Great Leonin and Perotin, just chant the stuff according to whatever "tradition" you follow.

Janis Williams said...

For some of the best Chant in an 'authentic' style, see Marcel Peres' recordings.

For good internet radio on early music go to Live 365, and check out Musica Antiquior.

Janis Williams said...

BTW, Terry, "Tallis is dead, and music has died," as the song goes...

Anonymous said...

I wished Terry Maher would take his negative comments elsewhere. I dont think I have seen you say one kind word on this blog and quite frankly I find it disgusting.

Terry Maher said...

Good old William Byrd, Janis!

That there are many chant traditions and not all of them Christian is neither kind nor unkind, negative nor positive, but true or false.

Likewise that there is nothing specifically Christian about chanting religious texts.

Likewise that musicologists are far from any real overall consensus about what influenced what, therefore to speak of or seek an accuracy to a history that is not altogether clear is illusory.

And likewise this -- that it was "inaccurate" jacking around with chant (hence the mention of Leonin and Perotin) that is the entire basis of Western music, including what centuries later emerged as our hymn tradition.

I chanted from my earliest memories as a schoolkid when we were the "choir" for parish funerals until I was 20 and the magister of our schola cantorum at the abbey got kicked out to make way for more "relevant" postconciliar stuff. If you're looking for someone who's negative about chant look somewhere else.

Supposedly the "anonymous" is so that comments can be considered on their own merits. I put my name to what I write; any argument ought to be considered on its merit, not the "kindness" or "negativity" imputed to them. That is ad hominem in the classic sense -- not slurring someone, but pointing to other supposed factors to dismiss consideration of what was said.

Janis Williams said...

Right-O, Terry!

It is no sin to be a curmudgeon in other people's eyes.

The anonomyi on this blog cover both sides of the field.