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The Monks use a variety of musical notation, adapted to the Cistercian way, and selected for their relevance to the day. This is an example of the music and words from Salve Regina, the primary chant sung during Compline, the last office of the day.

Salve Regina
Salve Regina, Mater misericordiae,
Vita dulcedo et spes nostra salve.
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevae.
Ad te suspiramus gementes et flentes,
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eja ergo advocata nostra,
illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte.
Et Jesum benedictum fructum ventris tui
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo Maria.

English
Hail holy queen, mother of mercy,
Hail our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To you do we cry poor banished children of Eve,
To you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping
in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate
your eyes of mercy toward us.
And after this, our exile,
Show us the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

History





The style of music commonly known as Gregorian
Chant was named after Pope Gregory the Great
(590-604) who established a school for singing,
"Schola Cantorium". Pope Gregory promoted chant like
today's government and organizations fund arts, music,
education etc.

A later evolution known as the Cistercian revision (c.
1147) by St-Bernard and colleagues was in keeping
with the overall reform which was happening in the
order. The chants were simplified for the average
singer. In keeping with a belief in a more austere and
less ornate expression, musical liberties were
discouraged and the chanting follow more strictly the
rules of composition.

The restoration, study and interpretation of the old
manuscripts began (c.1833) at St-Peter Abbey in
Solesmes, France.

In 1973, Gregorian Chant was popularized by the
recording of "Canto Gregoriano", by the monks of Santo
Domingo de Silos, Spain. The album is a hit and sells
1000's of copies. It even gets onto some pop charts
and starts a recording craze with many other abbeys
following.

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