eight modes of prayer
minor and major
moods to match mine
joy and pain.
unfolding in hours
cast upon a staff
etched on vellum
etched in flesh.
echos through the years
rendered in music
rendered in breath.
Gregorian chant or plainchant is a form of music used in Monastic Communities and Religious Orders for the singing of the Liturgy of the Hours. It is also an age-old tradition for many liturgical ceremonies in the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian communities. Its style is reminiscent of ancient Hebrew chanting.
It is composed in eight modes or scales in major or minor tones. The minor modes are usually associated with the more serious or penitential times of the liturgical year, while the major tones for celebration and joyful events. In general, true Gregorian chant is sung without accompaniment or harmonization. In more recent years, Gregorian chant has caught the attention of popular culture and has on occasion merged with contemporary songs. The music of Enigma is an example of this.
The Liturgy of the Hours, along with the celebration of the Eucharist, constitute part of the official public prayer of the Church (including Anglicanism and Greek Orthodoxy). Also known as the Divine Office or Breviary, this prayer is recited eight times throughout the twenty-four hour day. In strict monastic settings, the monks arise during the night to recite one of the “hours.” While the hours may be recited privately, the ideal is to do so in community, preferably chanted. The Psalms make up a major part of the liturgical hours.
If you would like to listen to Gregorian Chant, there are numerous examples when you do a search on the Internet.
The image is of a portion of sheet music for the Salve Regina. Notice that there are only four lines of music and square notes.
Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck where the theme for this week is Saints, Hermits and Monks.