Monday, January 17, 2011

Musical Rhetoric in the Chants of the Second Sunday After Epiphany

A beautiful and telling reflection by Michael Lawrence that is not to be missed.

Many say that chant cannot depict the meaning of the text because so many melodies are used for multiple texts. Many other melodies are highly formulaic. For instance, mode 5 has little motifs that are typically found, all mixed up, in any number of mode 5 chants, even though the melody, from start to finish, is not exactly the same. This is also cited as a reason why the chant cannot be expressive of the meaning of the text: How can the same material express the several ideas of different antiphons? Sometimes, in our rush to come up with thesis topics, we say some awfully questionable things, and this whole business of early music taking no heed of the text is an example of this. READ MORE