What does it mean to “chant” ?
Often, we think of the term chant as a noun and, of course, it is. We don’t think as often as we might of the phrase “to chant,” which turns that same noun into a verb — a word of action rather than description. I was thinking about this difference after talking last week about what took place in the Office of Lauds as people truly began to engage with the chant — it became quite active!
I recently participated in a study in which I was asked to compare different performances of the same chants. Though the two renditions certainly came from differing viewpoints, they were equally valid, committed performances. Again, the reason was that the chant was active — the cantor and the chant were seeming to have a “conversation” as the impact of the words came to life. It seems significant to know chant as both noun and verb so that we might do as scripture tells us — “pray with knowledge and understanding.”