I’m a very good musician (pianist) who sight reads well. But I don’t find Gregorian chant “easy.”
One of the reasons for this, which I mentioned in my other post, is that I, like most Americans, am ignorant of the the non-Western notation that is used in Gregorian chant and also about the vocal technique for singing it. I know it’s not supposed to be sung like Broadway or country or pop. There’s a different vocal technique. But I have no idea of the specifics. I never learned this while I was Protestant, and I never learned it in college during music classes.
As for people who do not read music, well, that’s another level of ignorance that makes it even more unlikely that Gregorian chant will be etablished in parishes. Some people are good enough ear singers that if they hear a piece many times, they can actually learn it. I cannot do this. I can’t even learn pop pieces like this.
And sorry, folks, I think a lot of others who say they sing by ear really can’t. They may be able to ear-learn a simple pop piece, but they honestly can’t learn complex, amelodic chants in a foreign language; they may warble through something approximating a melody, but each note is just a little off, or they slide up and down to the right notes–this is very grating and hard to listen to, hence my comments in the other post about “painful” Mass music. I don’t think badly-sung Gregorian chant is pleasant at all; mating cats comes to mind.
Of course there are exceptions. Some people truly do have an amazing talent for singing by ear. I envy them!
Ignorance can be overcome by education. But the problem is, there are so few people in each city who know anything about Gregorian chant that they can’t possibly be spread across all the parishes–or COULD they?
I think that if a diocese and its bishop is serious about wanting Gregorian chant in the OF Masses, they could put out a call across the diocese for those knowledgeable in Gregorian chant (probably, as you say, these people tend to flock to the parishes where the TLM is offered, or possibly to the SSPX chapels, or perhaps even one of the Protestant churches where G. chant has become “pop” music). Then the diocese could produce videos of these “experts” teaching Gregorian chant, and show these videos in all the parishes, especially to the musicians, so that at least the musicians in the parish could learn the unfamiliar notation and vocal techniques. They could also put the videos up on their diocescan websites so that everyone in the diocese would have access.
I have to admit, I honestly don’t think a lot of diocese are serious about establishing Gregorian chant in parishes.
My plan above would involve some little bit of work, and dioceses are already stretched. I think that the bishops are willing to allow the contemporary music and traditional vernacular hymns to continue to be the norm in most OF Masses, and if a few people complain, they are ignored. It’s too bad–I think my plan could work and it wouldn’t be that difficult or expensive.
And to be fair, it’s possible that some bishops are not serious about establishing Gregorian chant in their parishes because they know that many people who are barely singing the hymns now will drop out of singing entirely if Gregorian chant is used. Vatican II DOES call for participation, and although some people on this board argue that participation can happen even if people aren’t singing–I think that many bishops (and I, too) don’t see a non-singing congregation as a positive step. They WANT Christians to sing. There are too many verses in Scripture that admonish us to sing, not just listen to other musicians sing. It would be a bad thing to do something that makes it more difficult for people to sing in Mass.
Finally, it could be that some bishops are hesitant to try to make a push for Gregorian chant because they have Protestant churches in their diocese where G. chant is “popular” and perhaps ?? the bishops are waiting for the “fad” to pass so that people don’t begin to think of Gregorian chant as “pop” music. This is a long shot, but I think it’s a possibility.
But there has to be education. No one can expect the current musicians in most Catholic parishes to just suddenly “burst into” Gregorian chant instead of Gather Us In. We don’t know how.