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Saturday, August 24, 2019

The Benedictine monk who changed the way we learn music | Art & Culture - Aleteia EN

For nearly two millennia, the Catholic Church has worked to develop music and its notation from its origins in chant right up to and through the limitless beauty of polyphony, continues Aleteia EN.

Photo: Levan Ramishvili | Flickr | Public Domain
Music helps to enhance our prayers so that we may better glorify God, which makes sense considering the angels are commonly depicted as singing in a choir to praise their maker.

To this end, countless composers have devoted their lives to writing sacred music, but they learned early on that they would need a way to disseminate their tunes. Thus musical notation was born, allowing for the widespread performance of hymns that would otherwise be trapped in the cathedral or monastery where the composer was stationed...

It was in the early 11th century that Guido of Arezzo, an Italian Benedictine monk and music theorist, began to work on developing a method for teaching the singers to learn chants in a short time. This method was most likely the Guidonian hand, a mnemonic system where note names are mapped to parts of the human hand. Although sources suggest Guido was not the original designer of the system, his work popularizing the hand led to his name’s attachment to it...

Today, solfège allows singers to easily read new music by ignoring the key — aside from the tonic tone (ex: in the key of G, G is tonic) — and determining the pitch based purely on the intervals between notes. This allows singers to face music in a variety of keys with the same method.

Source: Aleteia EN