Musical notation was tied to oral
transmission. The cantor had time to prepare himself before the service. Once
system of notation was developed, everyone focused their attention to the book.
Singers weren’t able to reproduce vocal pronunciation. A new chapter of music history began. According to Don Daniel Saulner, professor of
Gregorian Chant, “The loss of momentum in the flow of Gregorian music, caused
by fixed restrictive points of phraseology, opened up a new era of creation.”
Syllabication of melisma (moment of pure music that develops over single
syllable) was essential to the chant. When melisma was transformed into
syllabic chants, this changed the original
Simple Declamation to Psalmody: Original singing used about three to four
different pitched. It produced risen pitch for accent words and drop from
reciting tone to whole step. Next step was creating simple melodic patterns
around accents of phrase. Next stage was creating memorized patterns for
Last note of neume gains full syllabic
value. If there are two or more notes on a syllable, they move to the final
note, regaining its full syllabic value. When the notes are in unison, it’s
vital to practice the repetition of vowel sounds for each note. Remember: the
last note is not at unison. Join the vowel of each not the next. Repeat
instruction and sing while changing the volume of your voice. Latin accent is
handled by composition of melodic elevation.
Music was meant to be sung and executed a
certain way. Let’s dissect musical theory during the middle Ages. Gregoriant
Chant contained a vertical dimension with additional pitches and patterns. The
recitation pitch consisted of a pitch level by good speakers. Intonation
patterns linked to rising patterns used by speakers. Cadence patterns
correlated to a dropped pitch used by speakers. Also, Gregorian chants
contained a horizontal dimension. The rhythm and tempo correlated to rhythmic flow
of speech. Pretonic syllables flowed more or less toward tonic accent of word
or phrase. Post tonic syllables are carried by energetic tonic accent syllable.
Final syllables scatter energy from tonic accent (Ex: coasting boat).
There are four basic
Gregorian chant modes: Protus Dorian (Mode I & II). Deuterus Phrygian (Mode
III & Mode IV), Tritus Lydian (Mode V &VI), and Tetrardus Mixolydian
(Mode VII &VLL). The letters of fifth above the Finals indicate the Dominant
of each authentic mode (I, III, V & VII). The letters in bold specify ancient
Dominants of the Plagal modes (II, IV, VI & VIII). Modes IV and VIII have moved their dominants
to the fourth above Finals. Gregorian pieces terminate with only four notes: D,
E, F, or G.