Accompanying Chant Is Not A Bad Thing....
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,373
    "Then why are some people against accompanied chant it if was normal?"

    Because chant unfortunately attracts extremists. Those purists could take the joy out of heaven. I'm afraid they do more to turn the average folks against chant, than our supposed worst enemies in the contemporary camp could ever do. In many fields - music is the worst - some set themselves up as authorities who are more pure and "right" than the rest, and their way is the only way. Back in the days when Catholics actually believed in sin, it was called pride. One is on really shaky ground in taking this approach with chant, since documentation only goes back a few hundred years, at most. It's entirely possible that 10th century musicians hearing chant performance practice today would say, "You are doing it all wrong!" It seems to me that one of the reasons chant has survived through the ages, is because of its adaptability in blending with various cultures and musical time periods. If chant were static, it might not have survived. In reality, chant has been done many different ways in many different times and places. I have no problem with that.
  • "a capella ... norm throughout history..." Presumably yes - at least in some sense - since a cappella is "as the church" does it.


    I'm no music historian, but I had always understood "a cappella" to mean "in the style of the chapel," which would thus distinguish what was sung in the intimate surrounds of, say, a Lady Chapel from the music that was performed in the nave at large. I'll welcome any correction, though.
  • Yes, "capella" is Latin for "chapel", and "cappella" is Italian for "chapel".
  • Thanks, JC, I've always wondered why both spellings always passed muster! ;-)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,744
    While "capella" is Latin for "chapel", I think that "a capella" is not a proper Latin phrase (surely "a" as a preposition should take the ablative). At any rate, with italianate musical terminology dominating the scene, "a cappella" is (even today) regarded as the norm.
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,021
    "A capella" being regarded as the norm is only in the USA. All of Europe, including Rome, Germany, and the Solesmes Abbey use the organ with Gregorian chant. It is American modern academia that has forced this false norm on the Church in the USA since Vatican II.
  • It is American modern academia that has forced this false norm on the Church in the USA since Vatican II.


    But why? Aren't there enough things being forced on us already?
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,744
    I meant the norm in spelling ... not in practice. :)
  • The Sistine Chapel has been, for centuries, without an organ until recently.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,744
    I wonder how many monasteries have organs?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,373
    These days, a better question might be, "How many monasteries have monks?
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Just wondering... who here prefers accompanied chant? I pointed out that there is no need to use accompaniment (in most situations), but one would be likely to use it if one thought it superior to unaccompanied.. so who will stand up for the beauty of chant with organ accompaniment as an ideal?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,373
    I don't do ideals, I try to do the best music possible under the circumstances. I leave ideals to those who have the time and resources to indulge in them. But as a practical matter, some pieces do sound better accompanied, while others do not.
  • I consider the Durufle Requiem as a very, very constructed chant accompaniment...and the practice of alternating chant between the singers at the choir organ , accompanied by it, and the large organ at the other end of the church is another example of chant being accompanied and the main organ serving to punctuate it of excellent chant accompaniment.

    Of course, these examples involve talented people with creative minds, not someone slogging through a chant accompaniment because they have to.

    I know that I was VERY impressed with Justins chanters in Nashville months ago in which the organist accompanied the choir but not the singers singing by themselves, supporting the choir as needed, keeping the pitch constant as those artists at the dual consoles do in France.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Steve Collins,
    FWIW, Last year I was at Solesmes and two other Benedictne abbeys in France and did not hear accompaniment except for at one of the abbeys during psalmody.
    The idea that unaccompanied chant is an American ideal has not been my experience, in France or in Italy.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I was thinking of the same, Noel, and I must confess my horrible sin: I prefer the Duruflé to the chant melodies themselves. At least as far as the Requiem Mass and Cum Jubilo go.

    Although I think it's fair game to counter: aren't these a whole different genre than Gregorian chant?
  • Charles,
    +1
    Other Charles
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,021
    I have not visited Solesmes - yet. But I have some of their recordings. No, not all chant is accompanied. But they don't seem to be afraid to use it. They also have published the entire Graduale Romanum for organ accompaniment. So they must figure that there is a need throughout the Church.

    Maybe I am thinking more on the German and English traditions - which is where the best of American liturgical tradition comes from.

    And, yes, I prefer chant accompanied - but only in the right way. Even as Administrative Assistant at Catholic Radio Association, I cringe at the accompaniments heard on EWTN!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,612
    SC


    I agree. EWTN does a disservice to the effort of liturgical music. It would be better not to have music than to have it done poorly.
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,021
    I find accompanying from NOH so easy. I wish more people would try it. It's no more "tricky" than any other system - and that's the beauty of it: its system. And, of course, I always chant along, whether I'm it (i.e. one man band) or with others. It IS possible for an organist to learn to play with complete rhythmic freedom and follow the flow of the melody, and still provide a foundation for whomever else is singing along. I've had people ask me who all I have singing with me up in the loft. The only answer I can think of is the stop I'm using: Voix Celeste!
  • And, yes, I prefer chant accompanied - but only in the right way. Even as Administrative Assistant at Catholic Radio Association, I cringe at the accompaniments heard on EWTN!


    I think they have used The Adoremus Hymnal chant accompaniments.

    I've cringed when I tried them, too.