An inclusive course for singers and non-singers alike. Sessions use chant as the vehicle for a shared exploration of its music, theology, and cultural history, with informal daily performances of a meditative chant sequence.


Resident: £453 Non-Resident: £345 (25% off for under 27s) Code: 22/R12

Booking for Members opens at 11am on Monday 18 October 2021.

Non-Member and online booking opens at 11am on Monday 15 November 2021.

For details on how to become a Member to take advantage of early booking, see here

What is the course about?

Each day’s work is experienced in the context of the shorter monastic Hour services with simple recitation in English alongside music sung in Latin. Within this framework the course looks at examples of the various forms of chant - Introit; Gradual; Alleluia; Tract, Offertory; Communion; as well as Antiphons, Hymns, psalmody and Responds. The course will use the modern printed chant notation which will be fully explained.

Gregorian Chant is the traditional unaccompanied vocal music of the sacred texts of the Western Christian Church. Originating in late 7th century Rome it has been in use in the church ever since in varying forms. During the 9th century the invention of a sophisticated notation to set down this orally transmitted Roman chant was a significant moment in European musical history. There will be time for a very basic introduction to this early Gregorian chant notation and the performance possibilities indicated by it, with examples of some of the ways in which it is now recreated for contemporary performance by professional choral groups. Later mediaeval notations and performance styles will also be briefly addressed; as well as examples of contemporary monastic choirs.

Above all the course aims to sing the music of the chant to discover some historical, theological and meditative aspects of our earliest music.

What will we cover?

Chant notation and performance. Gregorian Chant in Latin. Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Tract, Offertory, and Communion. Chant for the monastic service: Antiphon, Respond, Psalmody and Hymn.

What will we accomplish? By the end of this course you will be able to…

Read and sing the chant from modern printed chant notation, and also recognise early 9th/10th century chant notations and some later mediaeval notations. Have a practical experience of singing a number of original Gregorian chants from the Mass, and have experience of reciting together with others the straightforward music of the Office.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

Standard: Improver, Confident, Skilful

Singing experience is welcome though not necessary; former participants considering themselves not to be singers have surprised and enjoyed themselves by simply joining in. An acquaintance with choral society or church choir singing in Latin is an advantage; and experience of using chant is naturally helpful.

How will the course be taught, and will any preparation be required?

Group work is principally through practical singing and recitation in Latin, and in English. Varieties of historical notations are presented on printed sheets.

Will music be provided in advance of the course?

A course booklet is given to each participant containing all the music to be used, which will be done at the beginning of the course.

What previous participants said about this course…

“I learnt an enormous amount from an expert in his field.”

“Very pleasant, good-natured and accommodating tutor with a well prepared programme. Enjoyed the diversions into the history and context of the music - John is very knowledgeable and was happy to answer any questions, no matter how far from the immediate topic.”