About this blogger:
Veronica Brandt holds a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering. As editor, she has produced fine publications (as well as valuable reprints) dealing with Gregorian chant, hymnody, Latin, and other subjects. These publications are distinguished on account of their tastefulness. She lives in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her husband Peter and five children.
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“I vividly remember going to church with him in Bournemouth. He was a devout Roman Catholic and it was soon after the Church had changed the liturgy (from Latin to English). My grandfather obviously didn't agree with this and made all the responses very loudly in Latin while the rest of the congregation answered in English. I found the whole experience quite excruciating, but my grandfather was oblivious. He simply had to do what he believed to be right.”
— Simon Tolkien (2003)

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Forget the First Note, give me the Do
published 14 January 2017 by Veronica Brandt

Nuns Singing Square HERE ARE LOTS of familiar pieces I can sing from a first note, but somehow when it comes to sight reading chant I need the Do or tonic note.

There is a habit passed around some choirs here to sing a descending few notes – Do La Fa – to anchor the ear and find the right note. The sequence helps get away from the modern major scale and cue the brain for more modal sounds.

And it’s not just for the beginning of a piece, but often as a safety net in case of mishaps along the way.

So, if you are helping me out at Mass and we’re ready to begin the Communion Antiphon, hum a Do, La, Fa before giving me the starting note.

I don’t know where this practice comes from, but I find it very handy myself. I offer it here in case someone else finds it useful.