Gregorian chant

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Gregorian chant:

see plainsongplainsong
or plainchant,
the unharmonized chant of the medieval Christian liturgies in Europe and the Middle East; usually synonymous with Gregorian chant, the liturgical music of the Roman Catholic Church.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gregorian Chant


the general designation of the liturgical chants of the Roman Catholic Church. Gregorian chant developed as a result of the selection and recasting of local Christian chants by the Catholic Church. The process of arranging prayer texts was begun under Pope Gregory I the Great (died 604 A.D.). Canonization of the melodies and their strict distribution according to the days of the liturgical year was concluded toward the end of the seventh century. The chorales of the Catholic Church were named after Gregory I 300 years after his death.

The church tried to impart to the chants the qualities of otherworldliness, mystical contemplation, and religious ecstasy. At the same time, the chants reflected the centuries-old development of musical culture, embodying artistically valuable elements from the song cultures of various peoples. A male choir singing in unison is prescribed by Gregorian chant. Most of the chants are based on prose texts taken from the Bible, and the melodies are constructed on the so-called medieval modes. Notes of equal duration were dominant (hence, the later designation for Gregorian chant— cantus planus, even or plain chant). When church music assimilated multivoiced music, Gregorian chant remained the thematic basis (cantus firmus) for sacred polyphonic works.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
After the Gregorian chant "In paradisum deducant te angeli" (May the angels lead you to paradise), guests will silently leave the cathedral.
What Gregorian chant is is a melody directly bearing meaning from composer to listener with a style that in essence was determined not by words but by its role in the service, with service requiring a broader definition than modern usage generally affords it.
Beethoven made slight changes to the tune of Pange Lingua, a 1,000-year-old Gregorian chant, Prof Cooper added.
His work on this Monza manuscript is part of a larger study to edit all of the existing sources of Gregorian chant for the Mass up to the end of the ninth century.
Especially with Gregorian Chant there's still a widespread prejudice that this is a kind of liturgical intended for male voices.
Bozza could have chosen any of the over 600 pieces of Gregorian chant for use in En Foret.
"The music is sensational, it's everything from opera to New Orleans jazz to barber shop to Gregorian chant, and there's just everything in it--and if you're not keen on one bit, you only have to wait five or 10 minutes for another tale to pop up."
"A Gregorian Chant Master Class" combines a distinctive text with a CD that fulfills a precious life goal of Dr.
Presenting Gregorian chant as a lectio divina by means of high art (495) is particularly inventive.
Emanating from the dark central apse of the 12th-century church, the ancient, mystical sound of Gregorian chant stirred the crowd and lived up to the subtitle of Reznikoff's show, "The Movement of the Soul."
Anyone with an interest in the powerful religious music of the traditional Gregorian Chant will relish Colin Shearing's strikingly illustrated, informed and informative history, which pairs a music cd with a history of chant from ancient Egyptian times to its heyday in the early 9th century.
He then looks at the history of chanting from ancient Egyptian times to the golden age of Gregorian chant from 800-1500.