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Chanting

Seven times each day, Trappist Monks gather in the chapel for small services of communal prayer called Offices or Hours. Music plays a great role in the Offices as the monks consider chanting as "sung prayer".

The chant differs from most music because of its free rhythm and simple form. Different types of chants are chosen to suit the office and the different parts of the mass. For most of the chanting the cantor leads and the rest of the choir responds. Traditionally chanting was just the monks’ voices. Certain orders like the Trappistes, have an organ which accompanies some of the chanting with simple chordal background.

In the monastic chapel, the Monks sit in two sets of stalls facing each other. At the back of the chapel is a section for visitors who are offered copies of the chant books and welcomed to join their voices with the monks. Raising our voices in song gives life to the spoken word.

A more experienced musical historian will point to examples of categories of chant: antiphon, response, hymn. Equally, different forms of prayers are chanted daily: psalms, Salve Regina, Pater Noster. The mass itself is also divided into musical parts such as Kyrie, Agnus Dei.

Notes

1. "...and let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way
that our minds are in harmonie with our voices."
Rule of St. Benedict #19

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