About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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“In spite of what it is currently called, the music of these songs is not modem: this musical style is not new, but has been played in the most profane places and surroundings (cabarets, music halls, often for more or less lascivious dances with foreign names). The people are led on to rock or swing. They all feel an urge to dance about. That sort of “body language” is certainly alien to our Western culture, unfavorable to contemplation and its origins are rather suspect. Most of the time our congregations, which already find it hard not to confuse the crochets and the quavers in a 6/8 bar, do not respect the rhythm; then one no longer feels like dancing, but with the rhythm gone to pieces, the habitual poorness of the melodic line becomes all the more noticeable.”
— Unnamed choirmaster (Northern France) circa 1986

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“Agnus Dei” For Three Voices • Guillaume Dufay
published 19 September 2015 by Jeff Ostrowski

E HAVE BEEN ENCOURAGING choirmasters to use Solfège when training their choirs, but many readers are confused about why Solfège would help. The following piece demonstrates very well why Solfège is the best way to train amateurs in polyphony. During rehearsal, if your singers are missing a phrase, you can easily correct it when it’s done in Solfège. Isolating the incorrect pitches is much more difficult without Solfège:


For the record, my choir absolutely loves singing this Agnus Dei. It took us a while to learn, but has become one of our favorites now that it’s “clicked.”

    * *  PDF Download • “AGNUS DEI” by Guillaume Dufay (d. 1474)

EQUAL VOICES : YouTube   •   Mp3 Audio

HIGHEST VOICES : YouTube   •   Audio

MIDDLE VOICES : YouTube   •   Audio

BOTTOM VOICES : YouTube   •   Audio

The lowest voices must sing very, very softly when they ascend to the high notes—in falsetto if possible—otherwise the balance will be wrecked.