Hello, new friends from my UNIV presentation!

St. Peter statue outside St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter statue outside St. Peter's Basilica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thank you so much for your interest in Gregorian Chant in the Liturgy!  It makes me truly glad to see so many people of our generation drawn towards the chant and the heightened sense of the sacred that it lends to the Mass.  Bis Orat Qui Bene Cantat was a labor of love, and I’m eternally grateful to my benefactors Dr. Kathleen Glenister Roberts of the Duquesne University Honors College, Fr. James McCloskey of the Office of Mission and Identity, and Dean Edward Kocher of the Mary Pappert School of Music, without which my presentation to you would not have been possible.
Below I have posted, for your convenience, a link to the full text of my paper, the new and innovative chant resource The Simple English Propers, the congregational pew resource The Parish Book of Chant, and the website of the Church Music Association of America (CMAA).  I received several questions about how to go about introducing chant to a group that is unfamiliar with it.  If you are interested in making Gregorian Chant more available in your parish or diocese, these resources will take you far.  Nota bene: All Gregorian Chant and most of sacred polyphony is in the public domain, so downloading copies of it is always, always free.  Just like the rest of the best things in life.  If you’re really passionate about learning chant and how to teach it, I recommend attending the CMAA’s annual Colloquium.  I went last summer, and there I learned to read Solesmes notation (the most common chant notation, standardized in 1888) well, I learned about the different genres within chant and their position and function in the Liturgy, I learned how to conduct chant (very, very different from standard conducting), and I networked with people from across the USA and the UK who were much better educated about traditional Catholic music than I was.
I didn’t mean for this to turn into an advertisement for the CMAA.  But, it is what it is.  Without further ado, dear reader, your links:


American Tune

In honor of my resolution to enjoy music again, I’ve been singing some of my favorite songs for fun.  It is SO refreshing to make music outside of work again.  And with my handy dandy MacBook (hah), I made you a recording of a favorite song of Lucas and I.  I like it because it allows me to combine my love for both Paul Simon and Johann Sebastian Bach.  In case you don’t know, it combines these two because the melody is taken from Bach’s Passion Chorale “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden (O head full of blood and wounds)”, which he uses in the St. Matthew Passion and again in the Christmas Oratorio.  I used to think, “oh, how ironic it is that Paul Simon’s ‘American Tune’ isn’t even an American tune.”  But recently I have realized that borrowing something from a different culture and calling it “American” is oh so Yankee.  So it’s totally American now, anyway.  And then Lucas informed me that not only did Paul Simon borrow it from Bach: Bach also borrowed it from an obscure German love song that was actually in 3/4.  So it started out as this very, very secular song by someone about whom nobody cares anymore, and became this poignant chorale of devotion to Christ’s suffering and death.

[This is by NO means a professional recording; just part of my practice session.  I used my built-in laptop speakers and recorded it in my dorm room, hence the bit of distant background noise of doors slamming near the beginning.]