Week 2: September 8, 2010

| September 10, 2010

We began class by going around and asking people what the Latin name was that they came up with from their research. Dr. Pogonowski then instructed everyone to come in on either a 1 or a 5, holding the pitch of their choice as a type of drone. People took turns coming in on that specific pitch and sing their Latin name. We did this more than once, adding more names over the do-sol drone that we established. Once everyone had shared their Latin name, we repeated this “warm up” and everyone was asked to share their name in same manner as before while Dr. Pogonowski conducted, bringing people in and out and creating small duets; people were encouraged to improvise in the style. Finally, we then repeated the same exercise yet again; this time Dr. Pogonowski did not ‘conduct’ the group and people were asked to close their eyes while engaging in the activity.

“What did it feel like?”:
“very spiritual,” “like a cushion,” as though something were “stretching out and in,” “very vertical,” “calm,” “waves,” “meditation,” “transcendent,” “together yet separate,” “unifying,” “organic.”

In conclusion, think of this specific exercise as a brief improvisatory composition in an organum style. This segued into listening activities in-class (see below for a review of class discussion about what we heard). This, in turn, began a discussion and review of the church modes.

Mandatum novum do obis, Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos

Describing what we heard: “repetition on a single note,” “syllabic at first and then melismatic,” “beginning either mp or mf,” “no sense of measured time,” “repeated rhythmic idea,” “modal centre,” “hinging on breath support.”

Genuit puerperal regem, Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos

What was the difference in tessitura between the two different chants we listened to? Could we make out the mode of this chant based on just listening? (Dorian; raised 6 to differ from the Aeolean).
General reflection centered around feeling that there were “different sections throughout the chant;” is this due to changing emphasis from different words or phrases?

In-Class Activity:
Dr. Pogonowski split the class up into 3 groups of 5 to do a group chant (does not have to be more than a minute.)

Here’s a link to the recordings. Click the downwards arrow on the right to download the track of your choice.

Compose your own chant, using the musical characteristics we identified today to guide your work writing the chant.