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What's the first Gregorian chant a choir should learn?


About a week ago I made the request of what chants would
work well for use in the rehearsal as a means of building
phrasing and a sense of line.

I found several excellent resources, the most beneficial
being the chants found on the Choral Public Domain Library

Thank you all for your responses. They were:

Try "Adoro Te devote" (tune name) in many hymnals -I know
it's in the
Episcopal and Presbyterian - with several versions of the
text , lilke maybe
Humbly I adore Thee.

I would start with a hymn, like "Creator alme siderum,"
but there are lots.
The hymns have short , syllabic melodies, and several
text verses, thus
you can learn the melody relatively quickly and nuance the
text, which is
very important in chant singing.

We do a chant to open every concert, not because it's
musically necessary,
but because I feel it's necessary to expose my students to
this vast

Paul Meers
American University of Beirut

There are 3 (if I remember) relatively easy and pretty
chants associated w/
Knut Nystedt's "Kyrie" from his THanksgiving Mass. It's a
very powerful
piece as well...could use it and kill 2 birds...hope this

Chris Harris

I've used K. Lee Scott's arrangement of "Gracious Spirit,
Dwell With Me"
for this purpose. It is based on the processional
chant "Adoro te
devote" (1697). The piece is technically easy, for 2-part
mixed choir.
You could write out the chant (without bar lines, of
course) and copy it
for the choir to read before turning to the Scott
arrangement. It is
set for organ accompaniment and published by Augsburg
Publishing House
(11-2198), and worked well for us. I'm sure there are
many others,
too. Good luck...


George Berglund
Director, Sanctuary Choir
Golden Valley Lutheran Church
5501 Glenwood Avenue
Golden Valley, Minnesota 55422

If you have not yet tried chant, you might start with one
that is relatively
syllabic. "Ut queant laxis" is most interesting. This
hymn was the one from
which Guido D'Arrezzo derived the solfa syllables. The
first notes of each
phrase make a rising scale, and Guido used the starting
syllable for each
line to arrive at "UT RE(sonare) MI(ra) FA(muli) SOL(ve) LA
(biis?)" (no TI
in the six-note scale of his day). It is not hard to
learn (one verse
anyway), and made an effective opener to our concert one

Fred Ford
East Brunswick, NJ

Adoro Te...
Try an Episcopal hymnal 1940..
If you can locate a Liber Usualis in the reference dept of
your music
library, that would contain much Gregorian chant... It
might be in the old

Pat Maimone
Post Chapel, West Point

the Hodie from A Ceremony of Carols is an actual chant,
and my girls love to do the opening sequence from Sound of

the Liber Usualis is available through Music Mart Inc.

mike reisig
thousand oaks hs, ca

One wonderful piece is Guido d'Arezzo's "Ut Queant Laxis";
it has proven as
useful as is the solfegio system that came from it. The
Julliard School of
Music published quite a few chants edited by none other
than Gustave Reese
way back in 1965 and they are lots of fun to do.
Norton's "Anthology of
Medieval Music" (ed. by Richard H. Hoppin) has a great
collection of
Troubadour Vers among other things. On the technique you
mentioned, check
out Wilhelm Ehmann's "Choral Directing" published by
Augsburg back in 1968;
he has a whole chapter on the art of unison singing that
is just full of
fantastic ideas.

Please let me know how things go.

M. Gray

I can't reccomend a specific chant, but there is a great
article in this months Choral Journal that may be of some
assistance. It gives tips on how to teach chant and
reccomends literature sources. Good luck!

Josh Viles
Choral Conducting Student
Western Washington University

Your letter regarding chant music came to my attention
through Choralist. If you would be so kind as to visit my
web site: , you will
find, "We Are One," with text, listed there. The piece is
briefly described and graded in difficulty. It is based
on "Dies Irae" and concerns the events of 9-11. Vocal
ranges are included. A score and tape is available at your
request. Simply click on the colored word, "choral" and
the proper portion of my web site will appear. Thanks for
your consideration.

Wallace De Pue

The "pange lingua" has always worked well for me.

--- George Hughes
--- choralcat(a)

"adoro te devote" should be found in the catholic liber

great idea! that is my all-time favorite chant.

good luck!

Phil Micheal
Director of Music
Jefferson Ave. Presbyterian Church (A great place to be!)
Detroit, Michigan
church website:


Garrett W. Lathe
Director of Choral Activities
Sartell High School
748 Seventh St. N
Sartell, MN 56377
(320) 656-3712

on September 5, 2002 10:00pm
I think the easiest chant to learn is the "Ubi Caritas" (Where chairity abd lover are, there God is) The tune is sinple. repetitious and beautiful. I know that it is in many hymnals, I am familiar with it in the Worship III RC hymnal. Dr. Gregory Hamilton
on March 13, 2003 10:00pm
The two that I think work well due to their melodic and repetitive nature are "Ave verum corpus" and "Attende Domine". You can find these and others in the Liber Cantualis published by Solemnes.
on July 23, 2003 10:00pm
try Haec dies .... the song is beatuful but its for mwn only so u'll have to inprovise and turn it into a SATB thing people will love it
good Luck
on March 9, 2004 10:00pm
Attende Domine (the Lent prose) is terrific for this. The Mode V is easy for intonation purposes and there is just enough repetition to make it accessible but a little challenging The two succesive fourths in the antiphon are also fun to sing. It provides experience in accenting against the ictus. Also, it is less familiar (and more authentically Gregorian) than Adoro te. Singers could carry over bad habits from singing the latter as an accomanied hymn.
on December 28, 2004 10:00pm
Having been a director of music at a Catholic church for 11 years, I led more than a few chants. Here are some of my favorite chants, mainly because they are beautiful melodies:

Victimae pascali laudes
Ubi caritas
Veni creator spiritus
Puer natus in Bethlehem

on June 5, 2007 10:00pm
Hodie Christus natus est, Ave Verum and Ubi Caritas are my 3 suggestions.
on July 30, 2007 10:00pm
Puer Natus Est -- text appropriate for Christmas, easy to learn, easy to sing, feature a baritone solo -- I've used this with men only and a mixed ensemble. Very effective.