Gregorian chants still alive?
  • In the Netherlands there is this strange contradictive situation. Within the churches gregorian Chants slightly decreased over the past 40 years. It has become rare to experience each sunday a classsical original Mass served with gregorian chants.

    Still there is such a place. In Schiedam (near Rotterdam) every sunday this tradition is being preserved since 1880.

    At the same time, while non-believers over the years increased, the need for mindfullnes and transcedent music also increased. Now here starts the weird part.....

    By average Gregorian Chants are being experienced as mindfull, relaxe and spiritual music. You don't have to be a catholic to appreciate this musical cultural inheritage.

    Within the Church this awareness is not present. Their attention is replacing this traditional habits with dutch songs.

    With four or five other places in the Netherlands this location in Schiedam is one of the last places that is conducting this tradition.

    My question is how is this in other countries?

    Listen to some of our chants.

    [Fixed the links.--admin]
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,514
    In the U.S. it varies from place to place. I play/conduct at the only parish in my town that regularly uses chant. The others may touch on it occasionally, but there is no groundswell to replace the Broadway stage type music that has been the norm since Vatican II.

    Granted, there may be that happy city where all love and promote chant. My own experience is that chant enthusiasts overstate the demand for chant. Many parishes don't want it. Sad, but true.

    I couldn't get your link to work.
  • At my location here in the Philippines, the full, melismatic propers from the Graduale Romanum are sung at probably only one Mass every Sunday (EF). They're also sung at one Mass every first Friday and every 5th Sunday of the month (both OF).
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 678
    Welcome to the forum, in_honorem_dei!

    The downward trend of Gregorian chant in the Netherlands as you described depends on the place, I think. For example, in diocese of Breda I experience just the opposite: a modest upswing of the use of Gregorian chant in Sunday Mass, which is illustrated by the formation of at least two new scholas.

    Your link:
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,422
    Tridentine Mass: chant healthy and thriving. 3 regular Sunday Mass sites in the Diocese of Cleveland (3,414 sq. miles vs. 16,485 sq. mi. in the Netherlands)
    Mass of Paul VI: I know of 2 places in the same diocese that use chant regularly, and one more that uses it often.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,069
    Wikipedia has a fairly lengthy list of gregorian choirs in the Netherlands. How many of them sing at Mass regularly is another question. As the OP says, chant is popular with many secular groups.
    In this country - the Isle of Man - there are only seven Catholic churches, in three parish groups. I have been permitted, half a dozen times this century, to sing the GS propers on All Souls - when we have more than one Mass, so people can be warned to go to another, and attendance is low anyway. I suspect that this is more than elsewhere in this country. When we had a good (very good) cantor, we tried Missa de Angelis ordinaries maybe 3 times a year. OTOH the congregation sings Salve Regina or Regina Coeli with gusto more than a dozen times a year.
  • andreasadiandreasadi
    Posts: 15
    in indonesia,there are only 5 choirs i know singing gregorian specifically, although it only use fo singing at EF mass. i'm planning to introduce chant outside EF mass(i.e OF mass), but there are many factor which i cannot do it(e.g chant difficulty,congregation preferability of music, boring,not pleasant to hear, etc)
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,296
    congregation preferability of music, boring,not pleasant to hear,

    purple bold
    Does this mean that music chosen by the congregation is boring and when they sing, it is not pleasant to hear?
    end purple bold

    In London we have 3 /4 Sunday Masses (each in a different parishes) and Masses on Mondays, Wednesdays, and all feast days i.e. First Class feasts, and many doubles of the second class, all sung in chant by a volunteer choir. E.F. of course.
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  • andreasadiandreasadi
    Posts: 15
    Does this mean that music chosen by the congregation is boring and when they sing, it is not pleasant to hear?

    no,we(choir)choose it. in OF, people only know ordinarium and some hymn in latin,but i don't know about propers, even there are not many people liking polyphony.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • I sing in two choirs. They use distinct dialects of Gregorian chant, so I have to remind myself which dialect I'm using.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 102
    If anyone is ever traveling in Argentina, the Benedictines (female) at the Abbey of St. Scholastica in Buenos Aires chant beautifully, among the best chant I've ever heard. They chant all the propers, the offices, etc. as one might expect. The day I visited I also overheard them receiving voice lessons, which may explain the expertise and beauty of their chanting. Their site:

    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • I am currently re-working (re-translating into English) a collection of 25 pieces which Bernard Huijbers wrote in 1978/1979 on leaving the Amsterdam Dominicuskerk. These were original chant settings from various feasts and occasion, setting fragments of psalm texts and other biblical sources written by Huub Oosterhuis. Each piece had been carefully selected from the Liber Usualis, and from interviews with him I wrote explanatory notes about the association of each of the Gregorian selections with the news texts which these pieces embody. They clearly demonstrate Huijbers' principles of vocality and 'formula technique', and their transposition into English pays similar attention not merely to dynamic equivalence in translation but in syllabic integrity of notation. I regarded Huijbers as being a bridge between Gueranger and Mocquerau, and while the syllabic structure and timbre of Dutch differ from English, he was curious to discover how well (or otherwise!) an English re-telling of this corpus would 'succeed'. The answer, of course, always lies with the authenticity of the singers, and with the correct attention, I have worked happily with parish choirs and scholas to good effect.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,392
    They use distinct dialects of Gregorian chant, so I have to remind myself which dialect I'm using.

    I distinguish my choirs as those which like to aspire, and those which like to . . . aspirate.

    The internationality demonstrated by everyone's response is most encouraging. A Danish friend who was an exchange student at the local university came to my chant group a few times. I remember the first time he came, he had printed off copies of Missa de Angelis for everyone to sing. When I asked him why he did this, he said "simple - we all know this!" That really struck home the universality of Gregorian Chant. Two years later I had the honor of giving this gentleman my Liber before he went off to join the Institute.