29 July 2010

Scholas in the South West

When I first created the Map of Scholas, the South West was a completely empty zone. Rather oddly the scholas I knew about all seemed to be in the middle of the country, keeping away from the East and West coasts.

But that has now changed, and I'm particularly pleased to advertise the existence of two schola in the South West singing at the Traditional Mass: one church-based one in Warminster, founded and directed by the Parish Priest, Fr Bede Rowe, and one peripatetic schola, in South Devon.

Fr Rowe's modest church of St George's in Warminster now has a Traditional Mass every Sunday evening; his (mixed) schola aims to sing at about quarterly intervals.

The South Devon Schola sings every Sunday, including at the monthly Sunday Traditional Mass at Buckfast. The great Abbey Church of Buckfast is the most remarkable example of neo-Gothic architecture, actually built on the foundations of a medieval Abbey church a century ago.

Neither has a website, but we can put readers in touch with them.

26 July 2010

Ealing Chant Workshops

“To sing is to pray twice”
(St.Augustine of Hippo)

Gregorian Chant Workshops

Wednesdays 6.40pm-8pm

Starting up again September 8th

New Chapel, Ealing Abbey

Marchwood Cresc.London W5

Jennifer Smith, RCM
0777 625 74 72

No special qualifications needed, only to be able to sing in tune
And to love to sing

All welcome

09 July 2010

Salmaire: Edinburgh Chant group

Before I started researching the Chant scene I had no idea such interesting things were going on. Having just blogged about a group at the Royal College of Music in London, here is a fascinating group in Edinburgh who I will add to the map as soon as I have a proper Internet connection!

Salmaire is a Gregorian chant study and performance group which meets every Wednesday evening at 7.30 in
St Patrick's
5, South Gray's Close
40 High Street

(This is just between the Cowgate and the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.)

Contact Alasdair Codona:
Tel 07511 201399
Contact: calumcille@yahoo.com


Salmaire is a Gaelic term equivalent to the Greek ψαλτός: the word denotes one who sings ecclesiastical chant. The group learns various ancient styles of neumatic notation which are used to assign long and short durations to pitches. Chants are memorised rather than read from and musical notation is used ultimately as a reminder rather than a text to be followed in performance.

The repertoire is taught according to a 'syllabic beat' interpretation, as per other Christian chant traditions where the basic short note is half the durational value of the average syllable. Generally, proportional pitch durations are assigned to communal items to match the syllabic beat and rhythmic nuancing is mainly a solo preserve.

The singing style is Scottish and modern, rather than French and Romantic. The Gaelic harp is used to guide singing when learning chants. An ability to read music is not necessary to take part, nor is a beautiful voice. The tutor of the group is Alasdair Codona.