Online Edition: October 2007
Vol. XIII, No. 7
Chant: Music for the Few? Or the Many?
A slightly light-hearted look at the history and usage of Gregorian chant
Chant, particularly Gregorian chant, is inexorably tied to the image of the Catholic Liturgy. Watch a documentary that mentions the Church or the pope, and what music is playing in the background? If not the Schubert “Ave Maria”, then it is probably chant. Yet in our parishes today, a generation or two have grown up never having heard or sung any Latin chant.
The method of chanting currently in use in the Catholic Church is called the Solesmes Method, for the Benedictine Abbey of Solesmes, France, which led the great revival of Gregorian Chant at the end of the nineteenth century. It was Solesmes that collected the chants and printed the Liber Usualis, the collection of chants for the Mass and Divine Office.
I remember attending one of my first musicology conferences. I saw a notice of a future talk on chant, and told a colleague I wanted to attend. “Oh, no”, he laughed. “They will tell you that you are singing it all wrong.”
Indeed, musicologists studying ancient manuscripts (paleographers) are questioning our performance of chant as they begin to decipher some early manuscripts. Are those of us who are singing it, singing it incorrectly? To come to an understanding of the chants and their usage, a brief and generalized history of the chants is needed.
Various Kinds of Chant
There are many kinds of chant in the Catholic liturgy. Gregorian is the most common and plentiful, and is from the pure Roman tradition. Its origins are obscure, but it was collected, codified, and refined in the time of Pope Saint Gregory the Great (c 540-604), and it continued to be written for many centuries.
There is also Ambrosian chant, from Milan, which began with Saint Ambrose, 4th century. Few manuscripts have survived; those that do are from about the 11th and 12th centuries. A Gloria and a Te Deum are in common usage, as well as an Advent hymn, Veni Redemptor Gentium.
Sarum, from England, is akin to Roman.
Gallican, or Merovingian chant, is from France, used until Roman chant replaced it in the early 9th century. The Exultet is one rare surviving example.
Mozarabic or Spanish, has many Oriental influences. There remains a Tantum Ergo setting found in the Liber that is Spanish chant.
There are also Eastern traditions of Byzantine, Armenian, Coptic, and other styles of chant. For our purposes, we will include all Western styles in the term “chant”.
It is important to understand that chant did not come to us fully formed, inscribed with colorful illumination on sheets of vellum bound in calfskin and tinged with gold, borne to us poor mortals on wings of angels amid thunder clap and heavenly choirs. No, it was the product of evolution (the good kind of evolution). Chant evolved, or grew and developed, over nearly two millennia. It began as an oral (spoken)/aural (heard) art.
It did derive from Hebraic cantillation and chanting, but it soon took on its own nature, for the new Christian liturgy it accompanied was unlike the Hebraic Temple service. Musical instruments, an important part of Temple worship, were not used in early Christian worship for several centuries. Yes, instruments were used, but only for special events, devotions, dramas, not for the Mass. Eventually the organ made its way into the large monastic churches, to keep everyone together. But chant, by its definition, is an unaccompanied, single line melody.
There are three styles within Gregorian chant: syllabic (one note per syllable), neumatic (some nuemes or groups), and melismatic (many ornamented passages). The melismatic grew up where there were choirs, scholas, or groups of monks and nuns able to study and rehearse it.
Now, one thing is certain: we have no idea what it sounded like when it first appeared. We have no recordings, CDs, or tapes. And as chant traveled, with Christianity, around the known world, it began to take on characteristics of the different countries.
Perhaps it had more rhythmic feel here; perhaps less, there. After all, even the pronunciation of Latin was affected by the language of the country. I have a lovely recording of Gregorian Masses from Poland, with some pronunciation that would raise the eyebrows of Roman purists. Just consider the varied pronunciations of English in America alone. And yes, for a time in the Middle Ages, little bells or tintinnabula accompanied the singing.
But chant was first sung as the music of the people. Chant was for everyone. It grew for one purpose and one purpose only: to serve the liturgy. It is, in its pure form, totally unsuited to birthday parties, cocktail parties, senior proms, or slasher flicks. To use it in a setting other than the sacred liturgy, one must alter its very musical nature.
Notating the Chants
For several decades, the chants were sung and not written down. Then the monks began to put symbols over the texts in the sacred books, just symbols: higher, lower; everything was approximate. If one didn’t already know what the chant sounded like, it couldn’t be learned from those little squiggles. They were just reminders.
Then a horizontal line or two was added. Symbols changed: they became rounded, cursive, or hobnail; there were many styles before the square notes as we now know them. Eventually books of music were prepared, in the now-familiar four-line staff and square notation. Many of these were lavishly ornamented, in the style of Bibles and Missals. The square note format was evolved from the use of the quill pen: holding it one way gave nice square marks, holding it sideways gave the diamond-shaped marks.
Chant and the Liturgy
As the great monastic houses grew, the work of the Divine Office took on great musical stature. The exquisite hymns of the Office, and the very practical psalm tones, evolved. The Propers of the Mass, too, became musically ornate, for they were sung by groups of monks, priests, or nuns, who had the time to meet together regularly. In parish churches, choirs or scholas took over this responsibility.
But the Ordinary of the Mass, and many hymns, belonged — and still do belong — to the folks in the pew. Glorias and Credos are usually syllabic or only slightly neumatic in style, so they can be sung by all. After all, the priest turned around to the congregation for the Credo to invite all to sing; he intoned it and left the rest to the folks to sing. Once the Creed began, he turned back to the altar. Sadly, in our over-zealous rush to fill in with the latest top-ten hymns, which are not liturgy but adjuncts to liturgy, the folks in the pews have been deprived of two musical prayers that truly belong to them: the Gloria and the Credo.
So there are two basic repertoires of chant: those intended for all, and those more difficult pieces intended for monastic scholas. To use only the schola is to cheat the folks in the pew of their musical birthright and the opportunity to join in this timeless music. To use only the congregation is to cheat us of our musical heritage and legacy.
Interpreting the Notation over the Centuries
Are the musicologists correct? Are we singing it all wrong when we sing in the Solesmes fashion? Six musicologists on a panel to discuss chant will result in at least seven opinions; they will not agree with themselves let alone with each other.
Chant did indeed change over the centuries. In the Abbey of St. Whomever in Switzerland, it would have sounded different in 1412 than in 1312. Even in 1312, it would have sounded different in another abbey in another country. There were no global communications in those days. Music traveled long journeys over hills, mountains, and towns, and during those journeys, it changed.
Did you ever play “whisper down the lane?” And what about folk songs? There are many versions of some folk songs. If even our American folk songs can have so many variants in the space of two centuries, imagine how much chant metamorphosed over more than a millennium as it evolved to serve the liturgies of many lands.
And then, of course, there were the times of persecution. Manuscripts destroyed, monasteries demolished. Much was lost. Indeed, in the 18th century, chant was nearly gone from the churches. It took the Benedictines of Solesmes, in re-establishing their monastery in France, to study the ancient manuscripts and synthesize all that was known of chant, in theory, manuscript, and tradition, so that chant could be restored to “pride of place”.
Now here we must be just the slightest bit technical. Chant does not have a fixed meter; that is, you can’t count 1-2-3-, 1-2-3. It has free rhythm. In Bach’s time, the Baroque era of the 17th-18th centuries, music became fixed into rigid counting: four beats in a measure, strong accent on one, or three beats in a measure, whatever. But there had to be a steady, recurring beat. As this style become popular (and remains in use today), the old, un-metered music either disappeared or was changed. Many of the great German hymn tunes harmonized by Bach were not just harmonized, but forced into rigid rhythms that their original composers wouldn’t recognize.
And chants, too, found themselves being altered into rhythms that were certainly not as they were first sung.
Some of the later chants and hymns, while not written in forced meter, still were more balanced phrase-wise. That is, they were strophic, each verse able to use the same music, for each strophe or verse had the same number of word accents as other strophes or verses. Adoro te devote and Creator alme siderum, for example, are more like the strophic hymns of the 16th and 17th centuries than of the freer chant of the Mass ordinaries or of the Te Deum settings.
Early Attempts at Restoring Chant
One can find chant in print from the time before Solesmes where the music is forced into rhythms we would not recognize.
Those who would impose a rhythm on the chants are called “mensuralists”; the rest of us use “free rhythm”. The mensuralists began in the 19th century to restore the ravages of chant. Father Dechevrens, SJ, would have written chant within a fixed time signature, like modern music. This forced a rhythm that was surely inappropriate.
Pére Houdard did not fix a time signature, but considered that each neume or group was equal to one beat. So, if there were two notes in a group, they were eighth notes. If three, as in a torculus, it would be a triplet. Four notes in a group would then become sixteenth notes. This was very restrictive, and gave a strange rhythm that is quite surely not in any way authentic to the ancient methods.
Dom Jeannin, a Benedictine of Hautecombe, put the chant into measures, but altered the time signature for each measure, in the manner of modern music. This stretched the music inordinately. There were others, as well, all slightly different, all supposedly using the same medieval sources.
Dom Ferretti, a director of the Pontifical School of Sacred Music in Rome, leaned toward mensuralism. His book Il Cursu Metrico, however, met with no success. He then adapted the Solesmes Method as we know it today.
It makes absolute sense: we know that polyphony evolved from chant, and the free-flowing lines of early polyphony, like chant, are devoid of strong accents, rigid meter, or chromaticism.
The Solesmes Method
Even at Solesmes, the re-discovery did not happen overnight. Dom Pothier advocated free speech rhythm, based on his understanding of classical languages. Dom Guéranger had just restored Benedictine life in France and given them back the Opus Dei: they had to sing. Chanoine Gontier, with Dom Guéranger, wrote Methode raisonnée de Plainchant in 1859. Fixed rhythms and meters were abandoned. Dom Poithier then wrote Les Mélodies Grégoriennes in 1880. The book was translated into German and Italian, and began the universal re-evaluation of plainsong.
Dom Mocquereau, the disciple of Dom Pothier, discovered free musical rhythm, for he found that the speech accents and rhythms were not always identical to the musical accents and line. Interestingly, as a trained musician, he didn’t like chant: he felt it had little or no musical value.
However, he soon realized that it was the music that gave the freedom of rhythm, not the text. Final syllables or weak syllables were ornamented, posing an enigma. As he came to understand the fluidity of line, he soon began to find great beauty in the chants. His work in analyzing the melodic lines and the texts then led to what we know today as the Solesmes Method. Much was added based on current practice in those abbeys and monasteries where chant had continued; thus, there are some differences with the Vatican editions and the Solesmes editions.
Then, on the very eve of the Second Vatican Council, Dom Gregory Murray challenged the free rhythm of Solesmes. The battle raged.
Scholarship versus Tradition
Now, what are we to do? If we follow musicologists, then we might end up saying, “Today we will do Kyrie VIII as it was done in St. Swithin in Somerset in 1434, based on the Vatican edition; the Gloria X as sung in Beaune Abbey in 1421, the Sanctus XIV according to the mensuralist theories of Dom Ferretti…” and so on. That may be fine for concerts of ancient music and study forums and the like, but it is totally unsuited for the folks in the pews and the choir lofts. No, Dom Mocquereau, and his successor Dom Gajard, gave us the synthesis of styles. They gave us pure chant, as it came together over centuries and continents, through space and time. It is our traditional style, it is valid, and it is a unifying method that allows all of us to taste of the glories of chant, even if the monks of St. Eustache might have sung it differently in the 15th century.
So where does that leave us? Chant has been restored to us, in a manner and a method we can use. And we can use it. Chant is best used when sung from chant notation. That notation evolved for the many monks, nuns, and priests in the monasteries and abbeys, not all of whom would have qualified as music majors. Some members of our choir at the monastery much prefer chant notation, since most of them don’t read regular notation. When we started, we used the Adoremus Hymnal, and read the chant from square notation. One day several years back I gave them a transcription of a different Sanctus and Agnus, one not in the hymnal. I did it in traditional transcription, eighth notes and quarter notes. They had trouble with it. “Can’t we have the chant notes?” One asked me. Next rehearsal I gave pages photocopied from my old Liber Usualis, and they sailed through the music.
Until 1970, chant was transcribed into eighth notes and quarter notes. In the wake of Vatican II, it was transcribed with black and white note-heads. As a musician, I much prefer the former method, which gives more of a rhythmic feel to the music. However, the best way to read it is in the square notation.
How to Use Chant
So where are we? Do we need to know all this? Yes, in a way! Folks will divide into three groups: Purists who follow the 19th-century reform of Solesmes; musicologists who try to decipher based on other medieval manuscripts and writings; and finally, those who would alter or adapt the chants to more “modern”, “accessible” and “interesting” forms.
There are times, such as in a traditional Tridentine Mass, when purists must have their way. Purists will use the Solesmes method, and use an a cappella schola, and chant notation, and it will be beautiful.
But at other times, the chant can be just a bit more flexible.
In the both ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Mass, to encourage the congregation to sing, the pipe organ can be used successfully. No one better understood the harmonies inherent in the modal melodies than Achilles Bragers. His treatise on harmonizing chant is still the most accurate. Some modern harmonizations ignore the modal structure of the chant and just vary major and minor chords; this is untrue to the melodic structure of the chants.
To be true to our tradition, in these instances, the Solesmes method is preferred, as it is universal and … traditional!
Latin Chant Is Best in Latin
And what of the question of language? There are, sadly, priests who simply haven’t been permitting Latin. “We don’t do Latin anymore, what is the matter with you?” a visiting priest yelled at our lay sacristan one morning about five years ago. Well, yes we do use Latin. The Council said that Latin remains the official language of the Roman rite. During the very Council itself, Pope John XXIII wrote an instruction stating the importance of retaining Latin and teaching it well in seminaries and schools. This has not changed. One sentence in the recent liturgy document released by Cardinal Arinze seems to be overlooked: “a priest may say the Mass in Latin any time, anywhere.” No permission is needed. Our current Holy Father Benedict XVI has reminded us of this in his recent motu proprio.
Sometimes English does suit. Some chants, like the later hymns (Adoro te, Conditor Alme) have some good translations. And the Gregorian psalm tones can be used for English. But any attempt to put the rest into English is doomed to failure. Now, I studied how to adapt chant to English while at the Pius X School of Liturgical Music, in the waning years of the Council. But it just doesn’t work with the dreadful and ever-changing translations. In the beginning, it wasn’t so difficult:
Gloria in excelsis Deo/et in terra pax/hominibus bonae voluntatis.
Glory to God in the highest/and on earth peace/to men of good will.
Glory to God in the highest/and peace to His people on earth.
That translation just doesn’t fit the music; it is two phrases instead of three.
This highlights how important good (and stable) translations are — for the music as well as well as for the meaning of the original text. In liturgy, the music must serve the text — but if translations are constantly altered or are bad to begin with, this mutilates the music.
In opera, for example, translations from the original language can be done; but the lyrics are often altered in order to fit the melody, which, in opera, takes precedence over the words. There is melody in chant, and this must be respected also. A vernacular version of a Latin text must take the music into account, as well — or it will will fail. Vernacularizing chant can and has been done successfully; but it would better to leave it in Latin than to make a musical mess.
Chant Is Meant to Be Used
And what about other stylistic interpretations of chant? Choirs can experiment: with organum (singing a fourth or fifth lower, consistently), mensuralism (adding more rhythmic feel), with adding hand bells, with ornamentation and whatnot. These should be for special pieces, of course, before or after Mass, at communion, at a concert or special event, but not for the Mass parts themselves. Richard Proulx, writing for GIA publications, has a number of choral chant arrangements in Latin or English, with organ and/or hand bells. These are interesting.
One mustn’t be afraid to use the chant. After all, its purpose is to serve the liturgy. At the monastery I have no qualms extracting an Alleluia from the Liber and using it as a Gospel Acclamation Alleluia. And the Gregorian psalm tones work just as well in English as in Latin. Tone 2 and 8g work best. And how much better to chant the psalm than have the congregation listen to untrained soloists warbling through some dreadful composition where the text is obliterated and the music is less sacred than chant?
What’s in a Name?
Over the centuries, the chants were catalogued and re-catalogued. The names by which we know them in the Liber Usualis are later titles. The Mass of the Angels — Mass VIII — for example, consists of a Kyrie from the 15th or 16th century in mode 5; a Gloria from the 16th century, mode 5; a Sanctus from the 12th century, mode 6; and an Agnus from the 15th century, mode 6. The grouping did not become known as Missa de Angelis until late in its life. It is perhaps best to keep these Masses together as they are in the Liber, for uniformity, and for tradition.
In the wake of the Council, certain chants were culled from the great repertoire and put into a little book called Jubilate Deo. The easiest Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus were put together into a Missa Jubilate Deo. The same Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus, with a different Gloria, became known as the Missa Primitiva.
I must confess to a hearty dislike for these re-names; I continue to call them by their Liber Usualis names. However, I have no qualms about mixing and matching other chant pieces. Our congregation at the monastery can sing the Kyrie from the litany, Kyrie VIII, Kyrie XVI; Kyrie XII Pater Cuncta (a congregational favorite); Kyrie XI Orbis Factor (a choir favorite).
They know Gloria VIII, the Ambrosian Gloria, and one psalm-tone-like Gloria in English.
They can sing Sanctus and Agnus X (Alme Pater); XVI; XVIII, (Deus Genitor Alme); and VIII (de Angelis).
They can also do a simple chanted Creed in English, working to the day when we add a Latin chant Credo as mandated in the GIRM.
The monastery choir and congregation also sing many Latin chant hymns: Jesu Dulcis Memoria, Salve Regina, Regina Caeli, Alma Redemptoris Mater, Veni Emmanuel, Ave Regina Coelorum, Pange Lingua, Stabat Mater, Veni Creator Spiritus. Many Sundays we all chant the Pater Noster, and each Sunday we chant the seasonal Marian anthem. Our choir and congregation have been at this for six years now. On the longer hymns, if we do not do all the verses in Latin, sometimes we do one or two, and one or two in English. Sometimes the choir does the Latin. But with the nuns in front of the congregation and the choir up and behind them, our little congregation has lots of encouragement. For congregational singing, I play the organ.
Restoring Chant, Once Again
What to do in parishes where chant has been abandoned? Well, it was abandoned before. A century ago, Pope Saint Pius X wrote his still-valid motu proprio, Tra le sollecitudini, on sacred music. Reform swept the country, and chant was restored. It can happen again, but it must be done with charity and optimism. Parishes where vox dei hymns and pop-style songs about buzzard wings and “entering into the song” predominate will not quickly return to more sacred forms. It must happen slowly.
It begins first with the priest. The altar chants must be chanted. And they ought not be made up, but come out of the Missale Romanum. And it is forbidden to accompany the priest’s chanting with any instrument. The priest’s chants can be added first in English, then in Latin. We do about half and half on a given Sunday.
Next, the organist — that’s organ, not guitar — can play chant and chant-inspired pieces as preludes, interludes, and at Communion. The choir can do chant pieces before Mass, at the Offertory, at Communion.
It would be beneficial to toss out those tour-de-force solo extravaganzas that pass as responsorial psalms, and restore chanted psalms. I write these for our monastery: the psalm is to a Gregorian tone or a Gregorian-like melody, and the congregation part derives from it, simple and singable.
Those jumpy alleluias must go, too; replace these with chant alleluias, and chant the acclamation to a psalm tone.
Hymns are a good place to start for the congregation: in English, but in a good translation. Then, allow the choir to sing a verse in Latin. Soon the congregation will be able to sing that verse in Latin, also.
With the priest singing altar chants, the cantor using psalm tones and the congregation singing simple chant hymns, the time will be right for adding Ordinaries in chant. Slowly, slowly, slowly! This is why there must be a choir at Mass, the way the Council envisioned, and as our current pope has recently reminded us. Congregations do best when there is a group into which they can join: there is safety in numbers. Soloist cantors should be formed into little choir groups. A parish can begin by having all the cantors sing together as a choir once a month at a particular Mass.
We don’t use a cantor on Sunday morning at all at the monastery. Liturgy sheets for the congregation give the pages and numbers of musical pieces in the hymnal or missalette. In a parish, this can be put up on hymn boards and listed in the parish bulletin.
The choir director or organist or several choir members can visit each of the parish organizations and teach a chant or two. With a little work, chant can be restored to the people.
There is much that can be done so easily to restore dignity to the Mass. Throw out the pianos, electric and folk guitars, drum sets: restore the pipe organ, restore chant. Quiet, dignity, and respect will soon follow. When the music sounds sacred, the folks will respond accordingly. When it sounds like the top forty pop songs, they will chat and tap their feet. The music is supposed to lift us up to God, not mire us in maudlin secular sentiment. No music lifts us out of the mundane and into the sacred more so than Gregorian chant, and the more, the better.
The Chant Mandates
Pope Paul VI mandated that a booklet be prepared with all the Latin chants that Catholics should know, worldwide. Jubilate Deo. (About $1.10 at GIA). It’s all there, with non-singable English translation, just so the folks understand: Mass parts and simple hymns. What parish can’t afford $1.10 per every-other parishioner?
If the folks aren’t interested, or falsely believe that chant is “old church” and thus somehow forbidden, then parish leaders can download the liturgy documents pertaining to music. They are all at the Adoremus website: Pius X’s Tra le sollecitudini, Pius XII’s works, the Council’s Sacrosanctum Concilium, Paul VI’s Musicam Sacram, and John Paul II’s chirograph on music. Download them, over-line the wonderful mandates, bring them to liturgy meetings, print them in the parish bulletins, proclaim them from the pulpit! Put them on signs and banners around the church!
Because chant is prayer.
Lex cantandi, lex credendi! As we sing, so we believe. If we sing about wine of wisdom and bread of healing, we will not understand the Real Presence. But if we sing the Adoro te we repeat the truth of the Eucharist: visus, tactus, gustus, in te fallitur. Sed auditu solo, tuto creditur. (seeing, touching, tasting, are deceived. But only hearing can be fully believed. That is, ignore the outward signs: Christ said this is His Body and Blood, and so it is.) The folks in the pew don’t understand Latin? Put the correct translation of the verses in the parish bulletin. Read it from the pulpit.
And as to John Paul’s Chirograph on the centenary of Tra le sollecitudini, the pope reminded us that we are obliged to “[purify] the cult of insipid styles, informal modes of expression, and uninspired musical texts which have little to do with the greatness of the mystery being celebrated, in order to insure dignity and appropriate forms of liturgical music.”
How much clearer can that be? We must get rid of buzzard wings, “entering the song”, “walking on cobblestones”, “drinking the wine of wisdom”, and the heresy of saying “I am the Blood of Christ”, and bring in true liturgical music in sacred style. Bring in chant.
Pope John Paul also quoted Paul VI, commenting on a decree from the Council of Trent: “not all which is distinguished outside the temple (profanum) is worthy to cross its threshold.” The publishers are sorely misleading us when they tell us that schlocky music in all manner of secular styles is okay for Mass.
Again, our late Holy Father wrote, “With regard to liturgical music compositions, I make my own the ‘general law’ that which Saint Pius X formulated.… ‘The more closely a composition for church approaches the Gregorian form in its movement, inspiration and flavor, the more sacred and liturgical it is, and the more it departs from that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple’”.
Goodbye rock groups, folk groups, mariachi bands, gospel choirs. Hello pipe organ, hello chant!
Because chant evolved only to serve the liturgy, because it disdains secular forms, it is sacred in nature. The Benedictine Dom Gajard, that great mentor, said,
It [chant] goes far beyond music, which becomes merely a means to an end. It is above all a prayer, better still, the prayer of the Catholic Church, which here attains its full expression. It is, therefore, something pertaining to the soul and stands on a higher plane, like the entire liturgy, of which it forms a part and from which it cannot be separated. It is a form of spirituality, a way of reaching up to God and of leading souls to God. It is supremely efficacious as a means of sanctification and of apostolate.
If we can restore the sacred in music, and orthodoxy in translation of texts, this will do much to deepen the understanding of the truths of our faith. Qui cantat, bis orat. (Who sings, twice prays)
Chant Is for the Few and the Many
So, chant is the music of the many, the official sacred music of the Catholic liturgy. It is for the person in the pew.
Some chant is also for the few, for those in trained choirs and scholas. It is for the religious in monasteries, abbeys, and convents. It is also for schoolchildren.
Its mysteries will keep musicologists busy doing research and writing scholarly, conflicting articles forever. It is for the Tridentine rite. It is perfectly at home in the properly done Novus Ordo. It will sell CDs, books, manuscripts, videos. It will continue to be used as soundtracks behind documentaries on Catholic issues. And, it will continue to lead souls to God, wrapping its fluid mellifluous lines around our souls and lifting us up out of the mire of daily life and toward the ineffable wonders of heaven. Let us together proclaim, Non nobis Domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam!
Lucy Carroll, organist and choir director at the Carmelite monastery in Philadelphia, teaches at the Westminster Choir College in Princeton. She frequently contributes essays on Catholic music to AB, and is the creator of the “Churchmouse Squeaks” cartoons regularly featured in these pages.