Teaching chant

October 6, 2008

I’m teaching species counterpoint again, but this time, in addition to teaching chant, that is Gregorian (Christian) Chant, I’m exploring all the different kinds of chanting that exists in other sacred traditions. For that matter, I’m playing whale songs and wolf howls as examples of animals’ uncontrollable urge to sing. Here is a baby wolf: she can’t help but howl, even though she doesn’t know exactly what she’s doing. I know the feeling.

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Brad Wood October 6, 2008 at 7:17 am

I smiled when I read about the wolf howls.

Do you recall the story about Daniel Kessner’s final oral exam? Of course he was well-versed in various late-twentieth-century compositional practices, and had a comprehensive knowledge of the key pieces from Penderecki and his ilk.

Someone played a recording and asked him to see if he could identify it. He was a bit puzzled, but in a bit the light went on:

“Isn’t that…a recording of wolves??”

After that there wasn’t much that anyone on the committee could do—the doctorate was assured.

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