Gregorian Chant

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All throughout history, the easiest way for information to travel and be remembered was through music. As the Catholic Church spread in Europe, a problem arose that the people that needed salvation were unable to read the very text that was to redeem them to the Lord. Not only their inability to read, but the simple fact that memory is not a strong point of people who are generally uneducated, especially to a new and complex school of thought and worship. The simplest way for people to remember the new teachings of a loving Messiah was through music, in simple chant.

The title Antiphon at First Vespers, the Finding of the Holy Cross is very revealing of its liturgical use in the Office, 8 services performed daily at designated times. The differing prayer services were every 3 hours and were particularly important to the Monasteries and Convents in which they were performed for several hours daily along with mass. An Antiphon is a chant sung before and after a psalm quite simply. The First Vespers refer to the time of day in which the service is held, in this case at sunset around mid evening being one of the most important services of the Office which ranged from 30-60 minutes.

Services were held with a strong emphasis on a musical transmission of the text with monks chanting in Latin, the language of the Church. The song that the class was charged to analyze (Antiphon at First Vespers, The Finding of the Holy Cross) is no different, with moving text praising the sacrifice Jesus made. “Crux, splendi di or cunctis artris mundo celebris, hominibus multum amabilis Sancti or universes: quae sola fuisti digna portare talentum mundi: dulce lignum, dulces clavos dulci-a ferens pondera : salva praesentem catervam in tu is hodie laudibus congregatam T.P. Alleluia, alleluia. E U O U A E”

“O cross more radiant than the stars, celebrated throughout the earth beloved of the people, holier than all things which alone was found worthy To bear the light of the world,...
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