Gregorian Chant does not follow the example of Baroque composers, who strongly emphasize (“slam”) the tonic accent. Cantus Gregorianus has a very sophisticated way of honoring the text—an approach which goes far beyond the “goo goo gah gah” approach of slamming the tonic accent. Thousands of examples in the Gregorian repertoire demonstrate this reality, but my favorite is a Gradual (“Oculi Omnium”) from the 20th Sunday after Pentecost. It has the word “áperis,” with the accent on the first syllable. The Gregorian composer places a million notes on the 2nd syllable and only gives one note (JPEG) to the tonic accent!
10 February 2021 • “Follow the text…”
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