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Inside Early MusicConversations with Performers$
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Bernard D. Sherman

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195169454

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169454.001.0001

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A Different Sense of Time

A Different Sense of Time

(p.25) 1 A Different Sense of Time
Inside Early Music

Bernard D. Sherman

Oxford University Press

Newspaper reports on the monks of Santo Domingo de Silos have called their best-selling CD “an album of 1,000-year-old Gregorian chant” or even “1,500-year-old chant”. But both estimates erroneously assume that the chants on the CD are unaltered relics from the Middle Ages. If anything in music can be shown clearly, it is that the chanting of modern monks bears only a general resemblance to what was sung a thousand years ago. It can be argued that today’s historical-performance movement began with plainchant. Marcel Pérès has devoted his career to exploring such chant traditions as the Old Roman, the Beneventan, and the Mozarabic. Pérès has also explored Ambrosian chant, which escaped suppression and was sung in Milan—though not necessarily in its original form—until our own time, and various Gregorian “dialects”, such as the 17th- and 18th-century plainsong repertoires of Auxerre, Paris, and the Italian Franciscans. This chapter presents an interview with Peres, who discusses plainchant, Gregorian chant, ancient chant, musicology, and the use of microtones in early chants.

Keywords:   Marcel Pérès, plainchant, Gregorian chant, Middle Ages, medieval music, musicology, microtones, ancient chant

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