HE SOUND OF A MELODY sung in unison an octave apart was not admired by the ancients. Personally, I don’t care for it, so whenever my choir sings plainsong, either all the men sing or all the women sing—or they alternate. I’m sure others will disagree. (After all, we musicians disagree constantly; and we do so with passion!) For the record, I can tolerate that sonority under certain circumstances. 1
The following setting of the Nicene Creed adds a simple men’s countermelody:
We usually have a soloist sing the odd verses (starting with “Patrem omnipotentem”) and full choir sing the even verses (starting with “Et in unum Dominum”).
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NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 For example, my ears can tolerate men & women singing plainsong an octave apart when a nice organ accompaniment is employed.