The choral performance of plainchant requires perfect synchronicity from the singers. Because the duration of each note is undetermined, and not subject to a regular beat, the task of singing together one melody at the unison poses challenges. The rhythmic flow of the music is dictated by the declamation of the text, so it is extremely important that all singers spell out each syllable at the text with the same speed and accentuation, creating at the same time a smooth and speech-like sense of phrasing. Additional challenges come from the conventions of chant notation of the 15th century: the alignment between text and music is often ambiguous, and the frequent clef changes between systems can be confusing to modern singers. On the other hand, the act of singing chant from the same page facilitates the choral ensemble in that it naturally brings the singers close to one another, so that they can all hear one another.
Dr. Stefano Mengozzi
Associate Professor of Musicology
University of Michigan
Benedetto Bordon, The Artist
Singing the Antiphonary