You might be wondering how this early music of the Western Church got its name. The terms “chant”, “plainchant” or “plainsong” all refer to this same music, but “Gregorian chant” is the most common title – linking it to Gregory the Great. What role did he play? There was a medieval legend – depicted in early paintings of Gregory, showing him with a quill pen in his hand, a parchment filled with neumes (early chant notation) on his desk, and the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, whispering in his ear, perhaps imparting the divinely inspired chant tunes! History has clarified this and we’ve learned that Gregory’s contribution was his organization of the Mass chants, and his forming song schools for the teaching of the chant. What we know for certain is that this music of the early church still bears his name to this day.
by Sr Fidelis
“What’s in a Name?”