Chant Notes: February 22-28, 2016

This is the third week of the Great Fast.  At noon each day, we continue to hear from the prophecies of Isaiah, and in the evenings, at Vespers or the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, the story of the Great Flood and the salvation of Noah in the Ark. As Father David Petras explains, “This is a foreshadowing of our baptism, at which we are saved from sin by the mystery of water, a sign of death to sin and life to God.”

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Chant Notes: February 15-21, 2016

This is the second week of the Great Fast.  At noon each day, we continue to hear from the prophecies of Isaiah, and in the evenings, at Vespers or the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, from Genesis and Proverbs.  On Monday through Thursday, we hear the story of Cain and Abel; on Friday, we begin the story of Noah.

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Presentation: Music of the Great Fast

On Thursday, February 11, I gave a presentation on the music for the Great Fast at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Munhall, PA; it was also live-streamed over the Internet.  For those who missed it, here is a recording:

We used the green Divine Liturgies book and the 2010 Presanctified books, along with these handouts:

Two questions keep coming up:

  1. What should we sing at Holy Communion at the Presanctified?
  2. What sort of non-liturgical hymns should be be singing in the Great Fast?

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Harmonized Plain Chant – Part 1

Some years ago, the MCI distributed for trial use a set of harmonizations in four parts (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass) for the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.  We are currently revising these slightly and will be re-releasing them, to support parishes with a group of experienced (or willing!) singers who want to expand the sound of congregational singing in their parishes.

In the meantime, we are releasing two harmonizations of the Liturgy for the Presanctified Gifts, acording to the official 2010 books:
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Cantor education update

The first two courses in our online cantor education program are up and running, with most of the kinks worked out. The next course will be Introduction to Liturgy sometime this month, followed by Introduction to Church Singing. I think even experienced cantors will find something of value in the latter course, which will cover a lot of ground.

I also hope to integrate the Moodle distance learning software with this website, so that the Courses page will show which courses you have completed.

Other material that should appear within the next week or two:

  • Guidelines for finding (or being) a mentor
  • Using  the Theta Music ear training software

We will be providing music for the Great Fast and Pascha through the home page and blog on this website, so please check in regularly.

Website update

The liturgy articles have been transferred from the old website to this one;  I am fixing internal links are such, since these articles will be a crucial part of the next MCI Online course, Introduction to Liturgy.

Next will be the Recordings page and the paraliturgical hymn entries. I am trying out several different audio player plugins, and I will probably end up with two: one the whole width of the column (for podcasts and other long records, as well as playlists), and a tiny one for putting in where there is current a “listen” button. I actually have a lot more audio (tutorials and such) than conveniently fits on one big page; the challenge is organizing it.  You suggestions are welcome!

The weekly podcast is in full swing, and I plan to add a Question Box link so that anyone can post a question to the blog.

Check out the Singing the Services entry (which can also be found under Topics) in the main navigation)!

Originally, I had a pull-down menu on the top navigation bar, to make it easier to find things. I removed it because it did not work at all well on mobile devices;  I am thinking of putting it back. An alternative would be to change the Home list on the top navigation bar to a full Site Map (since you can always go Home by clicking on the title box at the top of any website  page).

Please post here is you have any other problems with the websites, or ideas to make it more useful!

Chant Notes: Sunday Afternoon Vespers in the Great Fast

This podcast explains how to lead the singing of Sunday afternoon Vespers in the Great Fast, using the following Metropolitan Cantor Institute books:

Chant Notes: Cheesefare Sunday

As I explained in the last episode of Chant Notes, Cheesefare Sunday takes its name from the fact that it is the last day before the Great Fast, or Lent. According to the traditional rules of fasting, no meat, fish, eggs, or dairy products are eaten from the first day of the Fast until the feast of the Resurrection. So during Cheesefare Week, we finish off all the eggs and dairy products in the house.

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Chant Notes: February 1-6, 2016

This week is Cheesefare Week, the final week before the beginning of the Great Fast. The name “cheese-fare”, or “cheese-eating”, refers to the traditional fasting practice of abstaining from meat this week, while using up the cheese, eggs, and other foods that would not be eaten again till Pascha.

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