03 February 2011

Proportionalism in the Chant

A fascinating article based on numerous historical sources on rythm in the chant, by Alasdair Cordona of Salmaire, Gregorian Chant Study and Performance Group (Edinburgh), can be read here.

Only rarely do we read hints that chant may have been rhythmically differentiated, and only in two instances are there remarks about the choir singing in strict proportional rhythms. Sometimes silence may speak volumes, but an argumentum ex silentio is weak for all that.
Gregorian chant (2009), David Hiley, p185

Is it true that only rare hints and an argumentum ex silencio support the use of proportional durations in Latin chant? Or is it rather the case that there are only rare (and condemnatory) descriptions of rhythmic nuancing and an argumentum ex silencio supporting that instead?

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