Gregorian Chant: Evolution

By Sr. Fidelis

Simple chants of only 2 or 3 notes, that circle around a single pitch, are most likely very ancient.  However, over time, the final pitches began to descend, and we see an expansion of range from the Reciting Tone to the Home Tone. Below are 3 brief antiphons—all beginning very similarly on LA and SOL.  But look at the endings!  The first ends on LA—obviously one of the very early ones..  The second antiphon descends to a MI.  We know this as Mode IV;  and the final antiphon descends to RE, which gives us the formula for Mode I.

Here is a very simplistic “snap shot” of some of the changes that took place in the Gregorian repertoire over the centuries.


This entry was posted in Church of the Transfiguration, Gregorian Chant, Liturgy of the Hours by Sr. Fidelis. Bookmark the permalink.

About Sr. Fidelis

I am 46 years old, and have been a Sister at the Community of Jesus for 26 years. Having grown up here, I have been singing Gregorian chant since I was 10! I was very blessed to study Gregorian chant with Dr. Mary Berry in Cambridge, England and here at home. Recently, I have been able to do some radio and tv interviews, sharing about the blessings of Gregorian chant. I love leading chant workshops, and have been able to do that in the US and abroad.

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