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Singing Chant

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  • #2
    Bill,

    Thank you for starting this topic! I, too, saw the allusion to chant in the other thread, and realized there are so many greater implications to singing chant.

    In addition to those you provided, pitch accuracy, blend, everyone leading/everyone following all at the same time, vowel shapes, and enunciation are only some of the possible conversations emenating from the discussion of chant. Then, there's the discussion of notation, temperament, and other similar information.

    I look forward to seeing this thread progress. I have to admit, this is probably one of many topics I feel uncomfortable discussing due to my relative ignorance.

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

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    • #3
      Chant? Did someone say chant? <running, ducking>

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      • #4
        Originally posted by myorgan View Post

        In addition to those you provided, pitch accuracy, blend, everyone leading/everyone following all at the same time, vowel shapes, and enunciation are only some of the possible conversations emenating from the discussion of chant. Then, there's the discussion of notation, temperament, and other similar information.

        Michael
        I’m certainly not a plainsong expert, but have sung it throughout my life. On that basis, my thoughts:

        I don’t think singing plainsong, or plainchant, involves many different techniques to any other singing, Michael. Nearly all of the things you mention are common to all choral music, aren’t they? I suppose the exception is notation. It is better to sing from plainsong notation but it’s not necessary. Better to sing from modern notation than not to sing it at all. I don’t think temperament is an issue if it’s sung unaccompanied – singers will naturally sing pure intervals and there won’t be any modulation to complicate matters. The style is best learned by listening to good plainsong singing – very flexible and relaxed.

        It doesn’t have to be unconducted – I usually conduct the starts of verses and lines with minimal movement but, I agree that the singers need to listen to each other and breathe together and if they're singing together regularly conducting won't be necessary.

        I think plainsong is a very useful resource with small choirs – such as my village church choir - hymns especially. We only occasionally sing plainsong: but this term we sang a Nunc Dimittis with appropriate antiphon for Candlemas and during Lent we are doing the “Lent Prose” on Ash Wednesday, a plainsong hymn (“Now is the healing time decreed”) on the First Sunday in Lent and Psalm 22 at the stripping of the altar on Maundy Thursday. The congregation seem to appreciate the atmosphere this austere music can produce.
        Last edited by Peterboroughdiapason; 02-24-2020, 10:15 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Peterboroughdiapason View Post
          I don’t think singing plainsong, or plainchant, involves many different techniques to any other singing, Michael. Nearly all of the things you mention are common to all choral music, aren’t they?
          Peterboroughdiapason,

          Yes, I agree with you. However, when sung a capella, vocal music is laid bare to the listener without instruments to obfuscate any mistakes. I guess that's the nature of unaccompanied vocal singing. Therefore, technique is exposed and mis-cues (shall we call them) are more visible.

          Michael
          Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
          • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
          • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
          • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

          Comment


          • Peterboroughdiapason
            Peterboroughdiapason commented
            Editing a comment
            Fair enough. Plainsong is easy, of course, unless we're talking about extended sequences or something. Not like a Bach or Poulend motet!

            It does have to be unanimous, though, and, I agree, it's very obvious if it isn't. I think it's better conducted unless it's a group that sings plainsong together regularly, but the singers do have to assimilate the style and listen to each other as Voet says - they can't be conducted like metrical music. I just indicate starts and, perhaps, occasionally the shape of a phrase. A bit like Anglican chant.
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