Gregorian chant is a form of monophonic, unaccompanied sacred song in Latin of the Roman Catholic Church. It developed mainly in western and central Europe during the 9th and 10th centuries, with later additions and redactions. Although popular legend credits Pope Gregory I with inventing Gregorian chant, scholars believe that it arose from a later Carolingian synthesis of the Old Roman chant and Gallican chant.
The chants can be sung by using six-note patterns called hexachords. Gregorian melodies are traditionally written using neumes, an early form of musical notation from which the modern four-line and five-line staff developed. Multi-voice elaborations of Gregorian chant, known as organum, were an early stage in the development of Western polyphony. Gregorian chant was traditionally sung by choirs of men and boys in churches, or by men and women of religious orders in their chapels. It is the music of the Roman Rite, performed in the Mass and the monastic Office.
Gregorian chant is characterized by its simple, unadorned melodies, its use of repetition, and its focus on the text. It is often said to be a "prayer in song," and its use of repetition is thought to help the listener to focus on the words and their meaning. Gregorian chant is also known for its use of isorhythm, a technique that creates a repeated rhythmic pattern over a changing melody.
Gregorian chant was the primary form of sacred music in the Roman Catholic Church for centuries, and it remains an important part of Catholic worship today. It is also studied and performed by many non-Catholic musicians, who appreciate its beauty, simplicity, and spiritual power.
Here are some of the benefits of listening to Gregorian chant:
If you are interested in learning more about Gregorian chant, there are many resources available online and in libraries. You can also find many recordings of Gregorian chant performed by professional choirs.