Primary education students' experience of the expressiveness of authentic modes in Gregorian chant

Tihomir Prša, Jelena Blašković


Expressiveness of the church modes is reflected in their character and association of certain states with a specific mode or single Gregorian composition which possesses unique expressiveness. An important characteristic of Gregorian chant on the tonality level is diatonic singing based on scales without chromatics, using only one semitone in the tetrachord whose musical structure reflects the expressiveness of Gregorian chant. Such expressiveness achieves character specificities which each mode respectively reflects. Various modal material in the form of typical melodic shifts in a certain composition conditions the expressiveness of Gregorian music and influences the listening impression and assessment of individual Gregorian tunes. The goal of this work is to examine primary education students' experiences of the expressiveness of Gregorian modes and explore if today's auditory sense accustomed to two tonality genres, major and minor, recognises what has been stored in the heritage of Gregorian chant repertoire for centuries. The research was conducted in the school year 2018/2019 with students of first, second, third and fourth grade of primary school (N=100). The results have shown that first and second grade students express higher auditory sensibility in recognizing specific characteristic of authentic Gregorian modes. Third and fourth grade students are audibly less open and perceptive considering tonal character differences in the authentic Gregorian modes. 

Key words: Gregorian chant; modality; old church scales; students in primary education

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