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Monday, 27 April 2015

Gregorian chant

Unaccompanied chanting of scriptures and prayers had been part of the liturgy of the Church since its early days. Pope Gregory The Great (c540-604) greatly admired the Eastern Byzantine chants he had heard and he wanted them introduced into Western church services so he asked for examples to be collected and organized.

It took around 200 years for these plainsong chorales to be formulated into what became known as plainsong or the Gregorian chant and to be unified throughout Europe, under the guidance of Charlemagne.. It was taken to France from Rome between about AD 750 and 850 and was most highly developed by Parisian masters from about 1000 to 1150.

In 1083 troops were summoned to Glastonbury Abbey in south west England to quell a rebellion over the abbot's plan to scrap Gregorian chanting. Three monks were killed and 18 wounded.

The Roman Catholic Church still uses this early form of vocal music. However, other types of chant that also developed have become extinct. These include Gallician, Mozarabic, and Ambrosian chant.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998

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