Chant Intensive - 2009
  • David DeavyDavid Deavy
    Posts: 105
    I just registered for the chant intensive.

    I am looking for suggestions on how to prepare for the experience.

    I attended the CMAA colloquium in 2008 as a result, just after the beginning of 2009 I began a small schola of 5 men including myself. We have chanted at two mass at our parish, received good feedback. Our offering included ordinaries, and a few Latin hymns, in combination with hymns for the other parish resources.

    But I have two challenges; I have no formal musical training and very basis Latin skills. We are using The Parish Book of Chant, and are beginning to look at the Richard Rice's Communio, but clearly I need to learn a lot more to lead to group beyond its simple beginnings.

    So I would like to know from people who have attended the intensive how can I best prepare for the Chant Intensive given my skill level. Also, I am bit shy and I would like to see some of the names of the folks who I will met in June.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    David
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I was in Chant Intensive last year and am going to Colloquium this year. Chant Intensive is wonderful, and Mr. Scott Turkington is the best teacher. He will start from the basics, but moves pretty quickly since you have only 5 days and there are lots to learn and understand. If you really want to absorb the materials fully, I'll try to study my own as much as I can before I go there. If you look at the back of the Parish Book of Chant, there is a section "Guide to singing Chant,' which has lots of info. Sing lots of modes everyday, sing solfeges as much as you can , try to remember how to sing different nuems etc. The more you are prepared, the more productive your learning will be.

    I met lots of wonderful people there. The meal time is a good chance to talk with others. I don't know who are coming this year, but everyone was so nice and had so many things to talk about. We wished that meal time was longer. Also many evenings we got to go out together. It was the best workshop!
  • G
    Posts: 1,389
    Solfege, solfege, solfege!

    (I am better at giving advice than heeding...)

    Save the Liturgy, save the World!
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    David,

    It sounds like you are doing magnificent things! God bless you!
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    You've already got some practical experience - and don't worry excessively about lack of "formal" training. It often gets in the way of chant.

    I have attended both Chant Intensives and can't recommend Scott highly enough. Like G, I recommend solfege more than I practice it. Review the basics, but don't drive yourself nuts. You will find yourself among people who love chant - some very experienced, some not at all. And all (in my experience) a pleasure to sing, dine, and hang out with.
  • a1437053a1437053
    Posts: 198
    Honestly, for someone in similar shoes (absolutely no musical skill, can barely carry a tune, and hoping for a schola), I must add concur that the information in back of the PBC goes a long, long way.

    And Solfege.
  • WGS
    Posts: 248
    David,

    After attending several Colloquia, I took Ted Marier's Chant Practicum at Catholic University. About that time, I grasped the importance of the rhythmic patterns of 2s and 3s as taught by Dom Mocquereau (although much maligned by many musicologists). The rules are simple and are stated at the back of the Parish Book of Chant. If you as director interpret and direct according to the ictus, your choir will understand and internalize the rhythm of the chant. This is much more effective than having the singers wait to respond to your direction. And as Ted Marier enthusiastically reminded us about singing chant "Keep it moving."
  • WGS: I so agree with you as to the usefulness of the rhythmic markings... and I was absolutely thrilled to learn that there are actually documented rules about assigning ictus locations (where the monks left them unmarked).
    David: Scott will give you a few more rules to add on to those in the back of the PBC, but mostly those listed will be all you need. I have also taught the rules (up to #4) to my schola. Usually with any new proper, I give them the music already marked with ictus locations and extra markings about Salicus, rests, etc. But whenever we learn something new from the PBC, it becomes a group learning lesson about rhythmic groupings :)

    You're going to love the class. It is the perfect size for getting to know classmates. The class size makes it possible to really get to meet and speak with everyone in the class before the week is out.
  • AOZ
    Posts: 369
    David - After having introduced chant to those with an extensive music background, and to those with very little background, I find that those with little background often have the advantage. People who've been musically literate for decades often have a difficult time when faced with chant notation - something brand new they have to to learn without the help of keys and bar lines and many of the other conventions of the modern (is it really???) system. So they spend, at least at first, a lot of their time convincing themselves they don't need to learn solfege, and basically trying to translate their knowledge to the a page of Gregorian notation. Mind boggling. See how much extra work they have to do? With little formal music education, you have the advantage - you can easily grasp how the system works - no baggage. By the end of the second day of class, everyone in the class, seasoned musicians, and novices like yourself, will have caught the chant bug - a lifetime affliction - and love affair.
  • David, I think you will love it all. To prepare I would also suggest listening a fair amount, and trying solfege on more simple chants you already know, choosing a handful from each clef and several modes if you can.

    I can't say enough about solfege when learning chant. The Latin text is always changing, but the solfege syllables don't in that they relate to eachother. By using the solfege system you are learning the relationships the notes of any given mode have to one another. I see (actually see) singers picking at the chant... "I sing up, then down, then down a big jump, then up a few..." But their intervals are imprecise. With solfege you develop a much better sense of the interconnectedness of the notes, which results in much better tuning, for one thing.

    As far as not having formal training, I wouldn't worry too much. It can get in the way, at least at first. On the other hand, musical training shouldn't be diminished. Take it from someone who spent nine (9!) years in music school- there are good things about it. The day-in day-out discipline and submitting to drill is helpful for life.

    For where (it sounds like) you are right now, I would focus on drilling the solfege a little each day or most days as a means to a beautiful end. Musical skills are developed by correct repetition over time. The double-edged sword of discipline AND a love for our amazing tradition of sung prayer is what will propel you forward.

    Here's prayerful wishes for you and your new schola!!!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,217
    Solfege, she said, looking sternly in the mirror.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    I shall put a jar of solfege on the counter next to the multivitamins and take one every day.

    The secret with solfege, as far as I'm concerned, is to start simple. Do not begin with the Graduale. Take an easy hymn, such as "Te lucis," or a stepwise Agnus Dei. And be patient with yourself - my favorite solfege syllable, useful for either chant or shape-note singing, is "fla"!

    You'll have the time of your life.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Umm, sorry, what is "fla"?
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Mia- It's the syllable created by the confused "solfeger" - and doesn't really exist. In other words, it's what comes out of my mouth when I've started to sing "fa" and realize that I should be singing "la."

    Adepts like AOZ, Singing Mum, Kathy and yourself never make silly mistakes. I do.
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    Deleted by author.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Thanks Mary jane for being patient with me. I miss lots of 'sense of humor' talk. (Still confused after living in this country for 30 years. My poor husband has to explain his jokes, because I just don't get it.)
  • David DeavyDavid Deavy
    Posts: 105
    Wow thanks for the great feedback, but no good deed goes unpunished, all the comments have triggered a few questions and request for favors.

    1) Solfege - I get the solfege message – I laughed out loud when I read the “fla” note comment from mjballou. - I have the Ted Marier's Masterclass – Scales & Solfege lesson to review, but I like the ideal of a tune for each mode to solfege on. This is where I would ask the groups help, can you all suggest a tune for each mode or would I be better off just using Communio or ordinary parts and picking one from each Mode?

    2) Ictus – I have reviewed the rules in the Parish Book of Chant for ictus marking, and think I have a fair understanding of how to mark the ictus, but the rhythm is a whole other story, my schola is working on the Gloria from Mass VIII and I have marked the ictus on this piece, is there somewhere I can check to see if the ictus markings I have made are correct before I give the marked version to them?

    3) Proper’s – Can you tell me the rules for determining which are used, for a given day. I am trying to figure out on my own what I will be singing at the intensive for the Friday Mass. The calendar I have indicates Friday, June 19th as the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. So are there specific proper’s or would you use the proper’s from the prior Sunday, which is Corpus Christi Sunday, or something else, see why I might be confused.

    Note: AOZ thanks for the encouragement - I am getting over the "Music Background" issue, your comments were highlighted when I was discussing some chant I want to do the next time the schola sings last night with our current music director and he just could seem to get past trying to apply modern notation rules to the chant.

    Note: MA Singing Mum - I would never diminish anyone with Musical training, it is something the world could use more, I am just jealous. I study business (boring)

    Cordially,

    David
  • David- I didn't think you were diminishing musical training, I just wanted to make a point about discipline. :) As for solfegging the Communion or something like it, I must concur with Mary Jane. Starting with more simple repertoire might seem too easy, but it will be much less frustrating and give you a solid foundation. And the time won't be wasted. Chances are you'll be singing Gloria Patri tones, chant hymns, and Ordinaries for a long, long time.

    Mary Jane- I think your 'fla' might have been a partial slip, and could have indicated how your long for a good Mexican flan in San Diego. Ok, I see the food connection in everything. Ha!
  • Heath
    Posts: 865
    Wow, less than 2 weeks away! Two questions:

    1) Who's comin'? I'll be there, with the proverbial bells on.

    2) Anyway driving south on I-57 on the concluding Friday? My wife is dropping me off on Monday, and it would be great if she didn't have to drive all the way back to Chicagoland to pick me up . . .
  • David DeavyDavid Deavy
    Posts: 105
    Heath,

    ddeavy looking forward to meeting you. I will be coming on the MegaBus so I can't help out with the ride. Get you pipes warned up for some chanting fun!
  • Heath
    Posts: 865
    G, you comin'? MJ, aren't you contractually obligated to attend all the chant intensives? : )

    Anyone else?

    ddeavy, looking forward to meeting you as well!
  • I'll be there. My name is Michael Kramer. I'll also be attending daily Mass at St. John Cantius in the Extraordinary Form and will probably see to it that I make a Mass at the Institute of Christ the King's headquarters as well (also Extraordinary Form) anyone interested in tagging along??
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Wish I could do yet another chant intensive. However, I'm happy that I'll make it to 4 days' worth of the colloquium. This is the wedding season.

    To all who will be at the Intensive - it will change your life. Enjoy every minute.
  • Yeah I'm really looking forward to it.
  • David DeavyDavid Deavy
    Posts: 105
    Mike - I would be interested in seeing St. John Cantius, and would be interesting in tagging along a few times, what time is the Mass?
  • 6:30 AM LOL...its about the only thing I'd get up that early for...8 AM at the Institute of Christ the King headquarters...I'll probably go to that one all the other days...
  • AND I just looked and on tuesday the Institute has a 6:30 PM Mass with Benediction and a Novena...so I'll be there as well...with ddeavy coming along I'll still have 3 seats available...
  • G
    Posts: 1,389
    Yes, I'll be there -- commuting, and I don't yet know when Himself can pick me up or drop me off, hence by failure so far to offer a lift to anyone for anything.

    It's not fair, hes an ACTOR, which essentially means he's utterly unemployed most of the time, but last year and this, during Intensive and Colloquium, wouldn't you know he'd have a gig?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Last year it was Gigi. This year?