Lesson 1 – Introduction to Notation

Handout # 1   – 
Use only for reference. Most information is contained below and throughout this blog.

Intro: Gregorian Chant: Oral tradition, not codified until 900s. Vatican (square) notation from 13th Century.

Basics on notation:

A. The staff: 4 lines and 3 spaces.

B. Clefs: symbol found beginning of staff line, indicting the name of notes on that line. Placement determines location of semitones (between mi-fa and ti-do).

C. Solfege Do – Re – Me – Fa – So – La – Ti – Do    =  a solfege (solfeggio) system

Based on hymn sung at the Divine Office for Feast of St. John the Baptist (June 24).  First note of each phrase is one step of the first 6 notes. 

Figure 1

Video demonstrating where Do Re Mi is derived (first pitch/syllable of each phase Ut (Do) – Re – Mi – Fa – So – La)

Additional background: Video explaining history and audio of complete hymn.

Figure 2: 

D.  Neumes = a note or group of notes to be sung to a single syllable. Refer to and review Notation Tab

E.  Chants – See examples below. and we will move to the Hymns Tab – Ubi Caritas.

Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.