Gregorian chant


: a monodic and rhythmically free liturgical chant of the Roman Catholic Church

Examples of Gregorian chant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In addition to Gregorian chant, the concert will include music by composers noted for their profoundly mystical works, like Palestrina, Arvo Pärt and Olivier Messiaen. Patrick Neas, Kansas City Star, 24 May 2024 Duruflé was devoted to Gregorian chant, and his Requiem is based on plainchant themes taken from the traditional Catholic Mass of the Dead. Patrick Neas, Kansas City Star, 1 Mar. 2024 Ethel Cain Emerging singer-songwriter Ethel Cain is known for an ethereal sound inspired by Gregorian chants and her experience growing up as a trans woman in a Christian family. Sydney Bucksbaum,, 13 Apr. 2023 The Vespers are a monumental compendium of styles: Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony, operatic laments, courtly dance, intimate vocal games in a madrigal vein. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 22 Dec. 2023 In the 1960s, when the Roman Catholic Church was modernizing and just after Senegal had shaken off French colonial rule, the monks of Keur Moussa embraced the instrument, morphing their Gregorian chants into songlike prayers accompanied by the kora. Guy Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 May 2023 Think of a Gregorian chant, which has no beat and yet is still rhythmic. Sara Harrison, Wired, 21 Dec. 2021 On the title track, Mr. Jaar’s low voice sounds like an incantation, or Gregorian chant. Mark Richardson, WSJ, 19 July 2021 At a 1921 recital on the massive organ in Philadelphia’s Wanamaker department store (now Macy’s) he was given four Gregorian chant melodies for a four-movement improvisation evoking the life of Jesus. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 19 Apr. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Gregorian chant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1728, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Gregorian chant was in 1728

Dictionary Entries Near Gregorian chant

Cite this Entry

“Gregorian chant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

Gregorian chant

: a simple tune with no regular rhythm that is sung in unison and without accompaniment in services of the Roman Catholic Church

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