How to sing Square Notes

I have the original Crisis magazine article, with images. Here’s the online article:

How to Read Square Notes

You can probably order a back issue of this if you’d like a really good article on how to read Square notes, used in Chant.

I gave a copy of this to our Choir director.

Don’t ask me to explain this article because I’m tone-deaf, and I can’t sing a note, but I can appreciate this because I’ve tried to learn to play several instruments, all without success. LOL! This included piano, guitar and harmonica. Anyway, this seems a good article on music.

Anyway, this is for your enjoyment, and for discussion of the beautiful Latin Chant. If anyone has any good chant links, I’d sure love to have them. Thanks!

God Bless!

good resource would be better if the [place image here] feature actually included the illustrations. surely there must be a link to the illustrations, but I can’t find it.

I found this site:
Chant Links from the Gregorian Schola website

Hope this is helpful

good to follow on and of course to practise at home with the ups and downs…:rolleyes:

Article in PDF form (suitable for printing): :thumbsup:

Article in PDF form (suitable for printing): :thumbsup:

I need to learn square notation. Its supposed to be easier then standard notation, which I dont know either :o

If this were not such a serious subject, this question begs for someone to make a joke. I have forgotten all I ever knew about reading any notes, round or square, so I just try to “estimate” how much higher or lower each one might be.
My friends like me to sing solo…so lo they can’t hear it.:wink:

since the music people here will gravitate eventually, can someone tell me, is there any connection between “square notes” chant style with “shape note singing” a form adopted by African-American congregations for teaching hymns to groups that could not read music (or could not read at all), where the notes were designated by shapes, sometimes of various colors, and taught by “lining”–leader singing a line, congregation repeating the line.

Nope, no connection.

Very simple actually, and fun too. Gregorian chant was a very rewarding experience singing with the monks of Saint Procopius, even though I am otherwise a musical dunderhead!


It’s not that hard once you’ve done it once or twice.

So can you tell us who are not so musically talented a little overview.

God Bless

In post 5 I put a link to a printable version of the article (with the pictures). Check it out :thumbsup:

This might help…


Primarily, it comes with practice. Generally speaking, you sing the intervals from the spacing of the notes on the lines just like common music, but the rhythm is dictated by the text that is being sung as opposed to being pre-determined from the score. In Anglican Chant, for example, you might sing “Glory to God in the highest” on a single tone, in rhythem based on the natural cadences of the words, then switch to a different tone for “and on earth peace” and to another tone “good will towards men”. Again, it looks strange and, it is difficult at first, but not so difficult once you are used to the concept. Anyone can do it.

P.S.: I just took a look at the Wikipedia article cited above and the quote below pretty much sums up what I said above:

“Common modern practice favors performing Gregorian chant with no beat or regular metric accent, largely for aesthetic reasons. The text determines the accent while the melodic contour determines the phrasing.”

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