Gregorian chant

  • "Gregorian chant originated as a reworking of Roman ecclesiastical song by Frankish cantors during the Carolingian period; it came to be sung almost universally in medieval western and central Europe"
  • "The earliest Frankish chant books – unnotated libelli with the texts of the Mass chants copied from lost Roman exemplars – have a short preface beginning with the words ‘Gregorius presul composuit hunc libellum musicae artis’".
  • "The assimilation of the Roman chant by the Franks was no small task: while the texts and their liturgical framework appear to have been absorbed virtually intact, there is much anecdotal evidence to suggest that the melodies – which unlike the texts were transmitted orally – were altered in the process."
  • "One view has it that the chant was reconstructed annually in a quasi-improvisatory manner until finally fixed in notation (see Hucke; and van der Werf); another holds that it was maintained for the entire century with substantially intact melodies (Hughes); and a third, while agreeing with the latter view, contends that such melodic stability required the support of notated manuscripts, now lost, that existed already in the time of Charlemagne (Levy)."
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