Gregory I, St.

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Gregory I, St.

Gregory I, St., “the Great,” Italian father of the church and Pope; b. Rome, c.540; d. there, March 12, 604. He became Pope in 590. According to a tradition dating back to about the 8th century, he was the principal figure in bringing about the codification of the plainsong or liturgical chant of the Roman Catholic Church, hence Gregorian chant. Gregory’s actual role in the matter and the origin of Gregorian chant as it has come down to us remains a matter of much speculation among modern scholars.


G. Morin, Les veritables origines du chant gregorien (Maredsous, 1890; 2nd ed., 1904); A. Gastoue, Les origines du chant romain (Paris, 1907); A. Mocquereau, Le nombre musical gregorien (2 vols., Tournai, 1908, 1927; Eng. tr., 1932, 1951); P. Ferretti, Estetica gregoriano (2 vols.; Vol. I, Rome, 1834; Vol. II ed. by P. Ernetti, 1964); E. Jammers, Der gregorianische Rhythmus (Leipzig, 1937); W. Apel, Gregorian Chant (Bloomington, Ind., 1958); G. Murray, Gregorian Chant According to the Manuscripts (London, 1963); J. Rayburn, Gregorian Chant: A History of the Controversy Concerning Its Rhythm (N.Y., 1964); J. Deshusses, Le sacramentaire gregorien (Fribourg, 1971).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire