Sunday, May 21, 2006

Study Gregorian Chant in D.C.!

I will be there!


Anonymous said...


I'm SOOOO jealous!! I would never sign up to participate - we would not want the world punished in that way!! But DC is one of my favorite cities, the Basilica one of my favorite churches AND I could just hang out and listen!!! Gee - I wonder if I could rangle a reason to be in the DC area during that week???? I'll have to work on that!!

Have a great time!! So does this mean there will be chant in Piqua in the future??

Fr Martin Fox said...


Actually, I routinely sing much of the Mass, and have chanted almost every part of it at one time or another, using either very basic chant, or the Haugen setting for the Eucharistic Prayer (without accompaniment). I'm looking forward to this colloquium as a learning experience, something of a challenge, but also just for fun.

Jeffrey Tucker said...

Yeah! We'll see you there. Plan to bring your laptop and blog about it, nightly if possible.

I was struck over the weekend how few priests know that the liturgy comes furnished with its own music. A dear friend who is as orthodox as they come was surprised to know that the "processional hymn" is actually a substitute for the normative gregorian Introit--not something mentioned in seminary at all.

Any ideas you have for getting the word out to priests would be much appreciated.

Looking forward to meeting you!

Dad29 said...

When you get there, please say hello to Fr. S., the major domo of the event.

You will not encounter another individual with more knowledge of the history of musica sacra in this country.

email me here for a great story:

Fr Martin Fox said...


Well, the problem with blogging from there is internet access. I confess I am a dolt about the technical matters involved. I have roadrunner (and a wifi signal-sender thingamabob) here; but I don't care to buy an account with someone, so I can have internet access when I travel. So it depends on whether they'll have free internet access at CUA -- do you know?

Fr Martin Fox said...


Oh, and I can tell you this: at my seminary, we were instructed in chant, and the options that come with the liturgy, although I cannot recall many times we actually used the antiphons at Mass.

Pretty much my entire musical training came in the seminary; I am not a music guru.

I can't play a note on any instrument; I can sort of read music, but I can't look at a note on paper, and sing it (I need a cue); it's hit-or-miss if I can get the notes right, working upward; for some reason, trying to hit notes going lower on the scale utterly eludes me. I.e., I can read a piece of music only if I've practiced it.

And, while I have a reasonably good voice, I'm sure all manner of bad habits have crept back since I've escaped the icy stare of our seminary music director . . .

Which icy stare I always deserved -- particularly when I single-handedly sabotaged a rendition of "Joyful, Joyful, we adore thee," played on bells, at Vespers, before the entire seminary, by playing a B rather than B-sharp about four measures into it. It was like the spark on the Hindenberg -- the whole thing began to collapse, rapidly, irremediably, horribly, to consternation of our helpless bell choir, that had practiced -- and we were pretty good! -- to the astonished fury of our music director, and the barely concealed amusement of the rest of the house . . .

You see, this is one of the "sports" of the seminary (or at least, ours): everyone has to take his turn attempting certain tasks, such as cantoring, playing bells, leading vespers and preaching, and we all know each other's weaknesses, and we know the pitfalls, so we watch to see how So-and-so will do. Sometimes it can be very funny! But it's all in good humor, since we all go through it.

Jeffrey Tucker said...

Well, CUA does have a main campus Wi-Fi and perhaps we can snag a login from someone. There are also various signals floating here and there. For that matter, I can hand you my computer with cell-based dialup and you can blog from mine!

As for singing talent, chant most often sounds best when sung by people who do not believe they have vocal talent. If someone rolls up to me sporting an M.A. in voice, one thing I can know with apodictic certainty: he or she will not be able to manage a single line of chant, and won't have the necessary humility to learn.

A piece that might be worth reading is An Idiot's Guide to Square Notes"--this piece will help you before you get there.

You will be great, and you will be so inspired!