Help a Chant N00B! Want to compose – where do I start?
  • Looking for a charity case? That'd be me...

    I'm a secular composer interested in composing chant. Specifically, looking for help in the arrangement and structure of chant.

    Yes, I have Googled. But, there are so many resources out there it's overwhelming and I'd like to avoid any spurious documents. Hoping a veteran here could offer some suggestions.

    Ideally, I'd like to find 1-3 books to begin this journey.

    Thanks in advance and God Bless!
  • Susan Treacy's "A Plain and Easy Introduction to Gregorian Chant," might be helpful it getting some of the basics; I'm sure there are others.
    Thanked by 1catholicservant
  • @yellowroseoftexas - Thanks! That's exactly what I was looking for. :)

    Just ordered a copy. Wish they had an electronic version though.
  • Also check out the Musica Sacra "Books to buy" tab - this looks like it might be helpful:
  • Immerse your ears and soul in lots of recordings, as well :¬)
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    What Aristotle said.

    It's like learning to harmonise Bach chorales: a while lot easier if you sing and/or play them with some frequency.
  • If you are really serious you might consider a journey to St Meinrad's Archabbey in Indiana to study chant structure, form and notation with Fr Columba Kelly, who is one of the world's greatest scholars of chant. You will not be disappointed. If you wish to give me your e-mail, I will send you the Bibliography that we use for our courses at St Basil's School of Gregorian Chant here in Houston. Too, there are certain chant theory and method books that one would want to avoid.
  • Hey folks...thanks for the suggestions!

    Just finished Susan Treacy's "A Plain and Easy Introduction to Gregorian Chant". Gotta be honest – ouch! This might be tougher than I thought. It's a good book, but the immense Latin terminology has my head swimming.

    I have a pretty good understanding of modern music theory – including modes – but this feels like starting all over.

    My wife studied some chant at Magdalene (N.H.) and she was surprised at the depth of the book as well.

    She gave me a few books she got while studying, so I might take a look at those.

    "Gregorian Semiology" by Dom Eugene Cardine
    "Graduale Romanum"
    "Beginning Studies In Gregorian Chant" by Dom Eugene Cardine

    I've downloaded the "Missa Jubilate Deo" and since this is considered a sort of 'bare minimum', I'll start there.

    I'm a convert and didn't grow up around any Latin or Chant. I've been to a few parishes where they've used "Jubilate Deo", but that's about it.

    Thanks again for all of the suggestions!

  • mahrt
    Posts: 512
    Get yourself a Liber or a Gradual, lock yourself in a room, and sing through it, several times.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,367
    Then come out or the room, walk around the building, go back into the room, lock it, and sing it again, this time with joy.
    Thanked by 1Chris Allen
  • Chris AllenChris Allen
    Posts: 150
    I'd also suggest Theodore Marier's Gregorian Chant Master Class, which you can get directly from the Abbey of Regina Laudis, the convent at which former film actress Mother Dolores Hart is the prioress (click on the "Women in Chant CDs" link to get to the order page).