Gregorian chorales, Gregorian chants … Most of us automatically associate these words with the Middle Ages (and rightly so). But the roots of this liturgical chant go back to the late antiquity, when the first Christian communities appeared in the Middle East. The foundations of the Gregorian choir took shape over the II-VI centuries under the influence of the musical system of antiquity (odic chants), and music of the East (ancient Jewish psalmody, melismatic music of Armenia, Syria, Egypt).
The earliest and only documentary evidence depicting the Gregorian choral dates back to the third century. AD It is about recording a Christian hymn in Greek notation on the back of a report on harvested grain on papyrus found in Oksirinha, Egypt. Actually the name “Gregorian” was given to this sacred music by the name of Pope Gregory the Great (c. 540-604), who basically systematized and approved the main body of official chants of the Western Church. Continue reading