by Sr Fidelis
I recently had this question posed to me: “Are all of the chants in this book in F major?” I found the genuineness of this question strangely refreshing. How might you answer this in a way that educates and cares for the person? Here is just one possibility:
You see in the chant, a symbol which has a peculiar resemblance to our modern “flat” sign. It is indeed where our modern “flat” sign came from and, like our modern “flat” sign, means lower the pitch in that same position by a half step. It reminds one of our modern key signature for “F Major” but, in chant, does not carry that particular meaning. It was used in chant to avoid a very “uncomfortable interval” known as the “tri-tone” – the devil in music! (THAT is another story!)
I thought this worth mentioning because the love for chant crosses all boundaries including that between the educated cantor and un-trained parish member or would-be schola member! What a joy to be presented with such an innocent and unpretentious question, that cries out “I love the chant – help me to learn more!” Encouragement and a gentle “push” –an essential part of our job in spreading the chant!