Sunday, January 18, 2009

Learning Gregorian Chant is not that difficult...

Just prior to Christmas I had the opportunity to speak with the Abbess of the Poor Clare Monastery that I've been writing about lately... during our conversation and discussion about our shared love of chant, she mentioned that she has not found it that difficult for the novices to learn. Her experience has not been anything like what we have been led to believe in that regard.

As my little schola has been learning introits along with some Communion propers, I think they may at times think it is a lot of work to learn a chant that will only be sung once in a year. I keep telling them that, over the course of a few years, these chants will be like old friends when the liturgical cycle comes back around.

As Mother Mary Angela said (not a direct quote -- my memory is too poor for that) it wouldn't seem like the beginning of Advent without Ad te levavi.

1 comment:

Aristotle A. Esguerra said...

Identifying the melodic similarities shared by many of the chants may help speed the process. For example, almost every Mode III introit approximates the melodic ascent found in the Pange Lingua Gloriosi; Mode III/IV propers almost always end in mi-sol-fa-sol-fa-fa-mi; and the Introit Salve sancta Parens (Holy Mary, Mother of God) is almost identical to the Introit Ecce advenit (Epiphany).

The chants may be sung once a year, but the shared melodic patterns make themselves known throughout its course.

And it doesn't feel like Advent without Ad te levavi (one of the chants I've committed to memory).