Common steps and sub-activities
Perhaps the best known form of chant in Europe is the Gregorian chant and more particularly the liturgical recitative. Recitative melodies are dominated by a single pitch, called the reciting tone. These chants are primarily syllabic.
There are occasional changes in pitch, for example, the Collect for Easter consists of 127 syllables sung to 131 pitches, but 108 of these pitches are the reciting note A.
So key is the pitch and the mechanism of chanting used to invoke resonance that at one time a special notation was developed to describe the approach.
The earliest notated sources of Gregorian chant (written ca. 950) used symbols called neumes (Gr. sign of the hand) to indicate tone-movements and relative duration within each syllable.
A musical stenography exists that focussed on gestures and tone-movements but not the specific pitches of individual notes, nor the relative starting pitches of each neume. According to Wikipedia “The neumatic manuscripts display great sophistication and precision in notation and a wealth of graphic signs to indicate the musical gesture and proper pronunciation of the text. Scholars postulate that this practice may have been derived from cheironomic hand-gestures, and the ekphonetic notation of Byzantine chant”.
The word neume is a Middle English corruption of the ultimately Ancient Greek word for Breath (pneuma). So in effect we have annotation system for recording ‘the Breath’. ‘Breath’ and ‘Pneuma’ are words used to describe the software of the spiritual world - Spirit. As such neuma were at one time a notational device for recording ‘Spells’. Thus one can conclude that at one time this form of chanting was actually used in Singing spells and not as it is now for Suppression of Learning
Example of neumes