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Notation for the chants evolved through the 8th Century as a way to remember the melodies although it still retains the feel of an oral tradition. Begun as "neums" or little marks placed above the words to remember the flow of the melody. In the 11th Century, the neums are placed on lines for better pitch accuracy. Little squares become noteheads and 4 lines evolve into 5 lines. Like most inventions, notation developed out of necessity – to remember melodies.

Notation
Evolving Musical Notation
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Neums

Neums: Early Notation

Pater Noster
Pater Noster

Pater Noster
Pater Noster

Veni Creator
Veni Creator

St. Bernard
St. Bernard

Salve Regina
Salve Regina

Laudes
Laudes

Laudes
Laudes

Vepres
Vêspers

 

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