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Essay sample - Music History
Pages 3 (753 words)
One word jumped out from the stiff, old paper tucked in the pages of the book in hand. "Alleluia." A word that means "praise to the Lord" and a word used countless times in hymns of praise. The other words, written in old style calligraphy, were foreign, possibly Latin, and didn't have any close English resemblance…
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Alleluia was introduced into Western churches around the fourth century and sung in response to the reading of the psalms (Bewerunge, Henry. "Plain Chant."). However, it is generally believed that the official recording occurred in the eighth century when St. Gregory made the effort to compile his beloved church music. It is at this time that the neum, the name of the strange characters, came into existence. (Bewerunge, Henry. "Neum"). The Alleluia was a melismatic composition which means that there were complex notes and melodies carried out on one syllable. The manuscript shows the squiggles streaming after the "a" in "Alleluia" which would suggest that the sound of the "a" is prolonged in the melody. The marks indicate how the sounds are sung or modulated, that is, whether there are glides or trills for example. Accent signs such as the acutus (/) written from left to right over a syllable would indicate a rise in the melody and the gravis, drawn downwards () would be the opposite, to lower the note. The gravis was abbreviated over time to only a dot, or punctum, and as a result was used in combination with
other marks to determine the melody. ...
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