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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“If a pope were only ever applauded, he would have to ask himself whether or not he was doing things right.”
— Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (2016)

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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.