Posted in Project 2: Palestrina and the Mass, Uncategorized

Research Point 1.1, Part A1: Early Monophonic Mass

The first part of this research point is learning more about the mass, its history and musical structure. It is a very exciting topic for me, since I could link in my old research posts from composing music 1 unit, which allowed me to go over this extensive subject in much detail. As such, due to the depth of my research, I will divide this point into several posts. In this section, I will talk about the early monophonic mass, with a particular focus on the Gregorian chant.

Mass is the celebration and commemoration of the Last Supper, also called Eucharist. The name is derived from the Latin words ‘Ite, missa est’, translated as ‘Depart, the congregation is dismissed’, which appears at the end of the service as the dismissal of the assembly. However, there are some debates over the semantics of this vesicle and whether it simply designates the dismissal of the congregation or indicates a deeper meaning, as Pope Benedict XVI and the catechism referred to it in connection to the word missio – the mission. (Suerte Felipe, 2010: 90-93) In this regard, the vesicle is understood as the missionary nature of Christianity, denoting that the faithful are sent to put into practice what they have learned, and use the graces they have received during the liturgy in their daily lives.

Whichever the case, the origins of the mass is in the evening ceremonial meals, called agape or love feast. (Fig. 1) I wrote about this topic in a research for composing music 1 unit here. As I have indicated there, this type of meal was usually accompanied by singing, however, not only related to the Jewish ceremonial meals, but was also prevalent in the overall cultural context of the time, in other words, present in other religious settings, such as pagan cults. Due to some abuses described by Paul at Corinth, however, the Eucharist divorced from the evening meal, becoming a Sunday morning celebration.


Fig. 1. Fresco of Agape feast (2006) Continue reading “Research Point 1.1, Part A1: Early Monophonic Mass”

Posted in For Project 5 Examples

Example 1 Research, Part 2: The Formative Years of the Christian Plainchant

Christianity arose among Jews in the Roman Judea in the 30s and 40s of the first century AD in the wake of the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. As Smith (2011: 167) writes, the Christianized Jews, “although they added a Christian dimension to their Jewish system of belief, nevertheless followed a lifestyle which for the most part didn’t differ much from the accepted Jewish norms.” There was a close relationship between the two communities in apostolic and postapostolic times through to the fifth century, and the New Testament testify that the two religions often shared places of worship, even while the Christians were gradually coming to feel unwelcome there. At its origin, initially regarded as a movement or sect within Judaism, it should come as no surprise to find numerous imprints of Jewish heritage on the musical traditions of the Christian Church.


Fig. 1. Model of the Second Temple in Jerusalem Continue reading “Example 1 Research, Part 2: The Formative Years of the Christian Plainchant”