Making Connections

By Sr. Fidelis

I recently had the privilege of working with a small group of people for a day’s workshop on Gregorian Chant. We started with a brief review of some basics; the four line stave, the square notation, etc. After singing some simple chants, we launched into a more complex piece from the Graduale Triplex, and discussion ensued about the light hieroglyphics that appeared above and below the square notation. As I explained that these were the original neums from the early manuscripts, they were intrigued. I fortunately had included a snippet from an actual manuscript, and we were able to chant the opening of the piece straight from that. One woman piped up and said it was easier to sing from the original notation, than from the square neums. I then asked them, that judging from the appearance of the ancient neums, how did they think the chant must have sounded back then. They all agreed that it must have been light and speech-like, with places of emphasis. We also talked about the value of the square notation that showed us the actual note relations. We concluded that to have both…the “best of both worlds” so to speak, gave us the best possible way to study, interpret and chant these divinely inspired songs of prayer.Gregorian chant

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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.

2 thoughts on “Making Connections

  1. Dear Sr. Fidelis,
    Should you any time from May through October present sessions on
    singing Gregrorian Chant, and would allow a non-member to attend, I
    would be most interested. I attend Church each Sunday, however,
    My thanks for your consideration.

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