Cover image for An introduction to Gregorian chant
An introduction to Gregorian chant
Crocker, Richard L.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven, CT : Yale University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
248 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm + 1 audio disc (digital ; 4 3/4 in.)
Chant, chanting and Gregorian chant -- Tone and tonal space for Gregorian chant -- Melodic movement, rhythm and words -- Gregorian chant, Roman politics and European polyphony -- Singing the praises in early Christian worship -- Gregorian chant in the Roman rite -- Monastic chant in time and eternity -- Gregorian chant in notation and in the mind.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML3082 .C73 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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For modern listeners, the sounds of Gregorian chant are compelling, with words and rhythms that seem at once familiar and remote. Even without a musical background or knowledge of the religious significance of Gregorian chant, listeners respond to the unique qualities of this music. Richard L. Crocker, a world-renowned authority on chant, offers in this book and its accompanying compact disc an eloquent introduction to the history and meaning of the Gregorian chant. He explains how Gregorian chant began, what functions and meanings it had over time, who heard it and where, and how it was composed, learned, written down, and handed on. His guided tour of the Gregorian chant provides for any interested listener a richer understanding of this enduringly powerful music. Crocker explains Gregorian chant and its functions within modern catholic liturgy as well as its position outside this liturgy, where the modern listener may hear it just as music. He describes the origins of the chant in the early Middle Ages, details its medieval development and use, and considers how it survived without, and later with, musical notation. The author probes the paradoxical position of the chant in mona

Author Notes

Richard L. Crocker was professor of music and is now professor emeritus, University of California at Berkeley.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

An appealing blend of erudition and practical insights gleaned from a long and distinguished career, this volume does not strive to supplant David Hiley's benchmark Western Plainchant: A Handbook (CH, Dec'93) but nonetheless abounds in fresh ways of considering and hearing these melodies. Crocker (emer., Univ. of California, Berkeley) has spent 40 years both studying and performing this music, and his dual engagement with it informs the book throughout, drawing the reader in through sheer enthusiasm. Arguing that "the best access to Gregorian chant is through becoming very familiar with single pieces," he accompanies the book with an inestimably valuable CD of performances and cogent explanatory notes. The performances also illustrate some of Crocker's idiosyncratic views--e.g., he departs from traditional practice on track 2 with a convincing antiphonal performance of a passage usually heard in unison. Also departing from received scholarship, Crocker reserves the term "Gregorian chant" for the melodies in the Mass that are proper to each day; he prefers the term "Medieval chant" for the melodies of the Divine Office and those portions of the Mass that remain constant. Too sophisticated by far for beginning undergraduates or general audiences, this book will make a wonderful resource for an upper-level undergraduate seminar. Highly recommended. E. Gaub; Grinnell College

Table of Contents

List of compact disc tracksp. vi
List of illustrationsp. vii
Acknowledgementsp. xiii
1 Chant, chanting and Gregorian chantp. 1
2 Tone and tonal space for Gregorian chantp. 22
3 Melodic movement, rhythm and wordsp. 41
4 Gregorian chant, Roman politics and European polyphonyp. 64
5 Singing the praises in early Christian worshipp. 88
6 Gregorian chant in the Roman Ritep. 111
7 Monastic chant in time and eternityp. 128
8 Gregorian chant in notation and in the mindp. 148
Commentary on the compact discp. 173
Notesp. 221
Bibliographyp. 228
Glossaryp. 230
Indexp. 242