GREGORIAN CHANT - Willi Apel
  • I have this book, vintage 1958. Has current scholarship invalidated it or is it still of use? Recommendations for other newer texts are gratefully accepted. I am interested more in the history and development of the chant than strictly performance practice. May thanks to all! - tfs
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  • Gregorian Chant and Western Plainchant, both by David Hiley, are much more recent and perhaps what you're looking for.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,165
    Reviews at the time of publication are critical of some parts of Apel's book. Pointing to sections which seem to date from 1954 and have 'already become outdated'. He is also described as 'a newcomer to the field', and it is implied that his knowledge was patchy.
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • It is good that you have Apel. No library of chant is complete without it. His book was the last word when it was written, and while much of it is still of use it has on the whole become somewhat dated by now. Get the Hiley books (both of them) recommended above by Madorganist. There is currently no more authoritative and exhaustive treatment of chant.
    Thanked by 2madorganist CHGiffen
  • I think you might find Apel best in the more musical sections, for instance on melody, but that’s just me. Not good on rhythm. The Hiley books sound great.

    On the light side, and frankly not worth the expense, though it is nice to look at, is Kelly’s Capturing Music. I recommend borrowing it from a library.

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20663689-capturing-music

    A book to own and treasure is the Christian West and Its Singers. It gives a good sense of what conditions were actually like. If you want to hear about Gregory and the dove, this is not your book. If you love ancient history and hearing about real conditions, it’s a treasure trove.

    https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Christian_West_and_Its_Singers.html?id=w71VPgAACAAJ&source=kp_book_description

    Kenneth
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  • Nisi
    Posts: 54
    An Introduction to Gregorian Chant by Richard Crocker is wonderful.
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 279
    Try 'The RSCM Guide to plainchant' edited by John Rowlands-Pritchard from an original work by the late Dr Mary Berry.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Totally agree about The Christian West and It's Singers. It's a heavy tome, (literally) but worth the effort.
  • Seeing as there hasn't been much replies to that lately, I'll kidnap the thread a bit.

    I wonder what are the obligatory books that one should read on chant, regardless of the language they're written in?

    I have read (and have them on my shelves): Apel's Gregorian Chant, Cardine's Introduction to Gregorian Chant, Cardine's Gregorian Semiology, Turco's Iniziazione al canto gregoriano, Turco's Il neuma e il modo, Hornby's Medieval Liturgical Chant and Patristic Exegesis.

    While I'm fairly confident (sometimes too confident) in my knowledge of the topic, I wish for more. What do you suggest?
  • stulte
    Posts: 221
    While I'm fairly confident (sometimes too confident) in my knowledge of the topic, I wish for more. What do you suggest?


    Go sing some chant!
  • An Introduction to the Interpretation of Gregorian Chant: Foundations by Luigi Agustoni & Johannes Berchmans Göschl, tr. Columba Kelly
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,656
    sing some chant!


    That will provide FAR more education in Chant than the next 30 books....
  • An Introduction to the Interpretation of Gregorian Chant
    ¿ At $436.80?
    I would listen to some youtube Nova Schola Gregoriana, Direttore Luigi Agustoni, IF it is accessible 'in your country'.
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  • The second and third volumes are available in German, perhaps Italian too? About 1000 pages total. The English edition of the first volume recommended above has some valuable material not included in the original (but maybe not $436.80 worth)!.
  • Well, I do chant somewhat a lot, I guess. I just wanted more you know academic knowledge. As I chant whenever I'm in the monastery, which is during summers and weekends when I'm not at university.
    Nevertheless, thanks for the suggestions. I'll listen to Nova Schola and look into An Introduction to the Interpretation of Gregorian Chant as well.
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • I wanted to express my gratitude to all of you for your splendid suggestions on chant resources. I have taken several to heart and purchased a few, including that notable "tome": "The Christian West and It's Singers" (this one as good on scholarship as it is on vocabulary building ;-) I am truly in awe of the deep well of knowledge you so kindly share. Thank you!
    Thanked by 1madorganist