For those interested in learning St. Gall/Laon
  • I know when I contribute more to the Forum, people thought I was strange to ask people to record whatever chants they do and post them on the web. More of that is happening, and from many good sources. It helps people get a sense of the music and not just the notes.

    This group, I take it based in Portugal, popped up just now, and for those who want to learn "rhythmic" notation, (aka, the chicken scratches), this one video was actually quite useful. They emphasize the rhythm almost to the breaking point, whereas someone like Giovanni Vianini in Milan, who has been using video for educational purposes for I guess a decade, sings it all quite delicately. If you don't own a Graduale Triplex, you can find a simplified St. Gall notation at , which I also linked below.

    Just if you are interested. Kenneth
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  • benstoxbenstox
    Posts: 23
    Thanks. I read through Dom Cardine's Gregorian Semiology a few years ago, found it really interesting and have been keeping my eyes open for recordings of interpreted St Gall/Laon notation ever since. I've run into the recordings of these Portuguese singers a few times now on the internet, but I must say, I find they sound very robotic. I don't think it's an interpretation I would ever want to emulate.

    I think a lot of people would say it's too fast and maybe not accurate, but I just find the "rhythmic" (or semiological or whatever the word is) recording of Dominique Vellard made in the 1980s sometime so beautiful. I can't find it on Youtube anymore. Maybe it was taken down. This is the album though.
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    Great recording! I found it refreshing, thanks.
  • You'll see I said that they stretched it to the breaking point--almost emphasized the rhythm to my mind. My choir director said he wanted to learn about it, though he hasn't exactly done much, and he found a German recording he liked. It, too, was very direct and clear, and so might sound robotic. They're, you know, GERMANS. I like the current Vatican choir. A schola director in Milan, Giovanni Vianini, does excelletn youtube demonstrations using St. Gall, but very, very delicately. It wasn't until I learned it that I realized that's what he's doing, so very, very gentle is the interpretation. The interpretations of Fr. Ruff at the Chicago Benedictines youtube channel are very informative, and if you just listen to what he says in his little three minute lectures, you will learn as much as any volunteer schola director really needs.

    Or you can just do equalism, where every note has the same length and dots are pretty strictly doubled, just beautifully, and you will have a hit recording, as some Benedictine sisters did in 2013.
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  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    I wrote a blog entry about this particular chant a couple years ago where I touch on possible explanations for pitch variants from manuscript to manuscript. Here's the accompanying recording:

    Thanked by 1amindthatsuits
  • Did anyone else find it strange to have the Gloria patri instead of a proper Psalm verse with a Communion antiphon? (Portuguese recording)
  • I like incantu's version better, closer to what I might sing. I can imagine the group's approach that was shared by amindthatsuits to be easier to teach for some, though these mechanically exaggerated habits might be hard to break down the road. Thank you both!

    In my limited experience rehearsing chant, I've studied Graduale Triplex beforehand, and given my (experienced) singers photocopies from either Liber 1961 or Palmer and Burgess's Plainchant Gradual. I then started from everyone's equal-note foundation adding the tiny stretches and accelerations according to the Triplex notation that the singers pencilled in for themselves. In English, more judgement is needed to ensure that the Triplex rhythms actually make sense with the words.

    I find that taking account of the St. Gall and Laon notations helps in rendering the text more immediately declamatory. It seems to me like that is what they really provide clues for. It would seem that's also the main motivation for printing these notations in a modern chant book.

    I've also found keeping Persian classical Radif singing in the back of my mind for singing chant to be a fruitful creative reference. In my basic understanding, Persian classical music theory is similar to ancient Greek in its structuring around tetrachords--not foreign to Western chant by any means.

    Call me crazy or heterodox, but, In my father's house are many rooms. :)
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn