Friday, September 12, 2008

Chant Project: Our First Meeting

With threats earlier last week that our first Chant Group meeting would be pre-empted by Hurricane Ike, a change in path allowed us to meet this past Wednesday evening. A few of the signed up participants were not able to be there, but they called me ahead of time to let me know that they will be there next week! They are certainly enthusiatic...

The level of the particpants varies... some have previous choir experience and can read music, others have sung in choirs but can't read music, while for others this is their first go at singing in a group. I decided to start at the most basic level, with a little terminology and explanation of the Staff, clef and the simple neumes and what they mean.

The first piece we are tackling is the Mass XVIII Kyrie... simple but a good example since it uses mostly punctum, podatus and clivis and is mostly linear. Also an added bonus was that many of them, even those with no choir experience, knew it well enough to sing along. This made for a good example. By the end of the evening, most of the participants felt that they understood the correlation between the notation and what they were singing. That seemed to be a big step!

I've promised myself to proceed slowly and allow everyone to understand what we're doing before moving on. For those who feel thay are a little more advanced, there is the opportunity to sing with the schola for the EF Mass at the parish that is hosting us.

I will try to keep posting updates to let everyone know how this thing is going. I'm overall rather happy!


Dad29 said...

The good news is that Chant is really VERY simple to learn and teach.

It's the musicianship that's tricky.

Chironomo said...

Ain't THAT the truth! Perhaps someday I'll assemble a group to actually study and perform chant rather than to teach basics! But for right now, I think the latter is needed more. There is a certain pleasure in bringing this music to more than the rarified group of musically informed!

jjgg84 said...

Dear chironomo,
do you know how I can train myself in chant?I really love it.I have never joined choir before but I do have musical background .Is there any free resource on the net because I can't seem to find any chant material here.

Chironomo said...


When you say "train yourself in chant", what exactly do you mean? Reading the notation? Is the Latin a problem? A good starting place is the Chant Tutorial at

It covers the basics of pitch and rhythm, neumes and modes. I would also encourage you to, if possible, avail yourself of one of the CMAA workshops, either the Chant Intensive or the Colloquium. I don't know where you live though, so that may not be possible. Also there are links to a lot of resources online at

Good luck and stay in touch!