OST PEOPLE REALIZE that Gregorian chant was often sung from large scores during the Middle Ages, since paper was so hard to come by. Some conductors still use this technique, as it tends to help choirs sing “together” — musicians understand what it means for a choir to sing, breathe, feel, and think together. Here is Dr. William Mahrt:
However, GIA’s Gather Hymnal performed this way does not seem to possess the same charm, possibly because Gather contains so little Gregorian chant, as opposed to newer Catholic publications like the Vatican hymnal:
AS MANY HAVE POINTED OUT in the past, most of the major “hymnals” (Gather, Glory & Praise, JourneySongs) should not be called “hymnals.” They are songbooks. They are books containing (mostly) songs. How can you tell the difference between a song and a hymn? If it requires accompaniment, has extremely long note values and rests, emphasizes vague notions of “gathering,” and sounds like it could be used in a Disney movie, it’s most likely a song.