Thursday, October 13, 2011

Old Solesmes vs. the Rhetorical Method

This video nicely displays two very different approaches to singing chant. The first is using the traditional edition and the traditional approach. The second uses the new edition of the Graduale Novum (which is not an official book) and the so-called rhetorical method of singing chant. I think this might be the first video I've seen to directly compare the two. No doubt that partisans of one approach over the other will say that the singing is not as it should be, and, truly, this is an extreme example of the rhetorical approach in action. Still, there is enough here to get the sense. My strong sense is that these days, people can learn from both approaches with the understanding that there is not now nor has there ever been one true way to sing chant to which everyone is somehow obligated to conform. We have testimony from a millennium ago that diversity has always prevailed. The universality of chant derives not from an implacable rhythmic structure but from its text, tonal structure, beauty, and purpose. h/t euoeae

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: