Thursday, August 23, 2012
Of Serpents and Ophicleides
Bring back the serpent? Is the title of a post on Chant Cafe, really I suppose to show some rather amusing pictures, mainly of ophicleide players.
Before the Solesmes' study and reforms under Guaranger chant was sung very badly; people had forgotten how to read square notes, there was no one understanding of how it should be sung. There are accounts of choirmasters in the 19th century beating time slowly with a stick, literally, like a metronome, every note having equal value, every syllable stressed. In other places neums were sung like conventional round note notation forcing treating single notes as crotchets and joined notes as quavers.
Quite how the accompaniment was done on these brass instruments again varied, rather like beating time with a stick it seems as if the playing was rather staccato.
Both these instruments could be substituted for the contemporary guit-box.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake