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Plainchant is the oldest substantial body of music that has been preserved in any shape or form. It was first written down in Western Europe in the wake of the. It was first written down in Western Europe in the eighth to ninth centuries. After an exposition of early medieval theoretical writing on plainchant, Hiley. David Hiley’s book Western Plainchant: A Handbook, published in , remains the definitive entry point to chant scholarship and reference.

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To submit news, send e-mail to the contact team. David Hiley’s book Western Plainchant: Hiley’s book replaced Willi Apel’s book Gregorian Chant by virtue of its inclusion of the latest scholarship in the field, but also because its scope is so broad.

Western Plainchant: A Handbook – David Hiley – Google Books

Starting with an insightful look into the basics of liturgical placement and chant genres, it goes on to explore the primary sources vital to scholarship in the field. There is also the discussion of history through the lenses of notation, early music theory, persons and places of import, the influence of other non-Gregorian repertories, and ending with a discussion of the work of Solesmes.


The book, whilst remaining a reference, is also eminently readable. Why bring this book up twenty years after its publication?

Because it is available in a free pdf download from the University of Regensburg, where Hiley works. Caution, the file in the given link is very large! A category search on the University’s publications repository also yields a large amount of English-language scholarship, available for download.

Western Plainchant – David Hiley – Oxford University Press

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Western Plainchant : A Handbook

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