In music notation an accidental modifies the note to

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long. In music notation, an accidental modifies the note, to clarify exactly which pitch it is.Now recall that “Puer natus est nobis” is written in the G Mixolydian mode, but it’s sung by the monks in the E Mixolydian mode. That means we have to create the Mixolydian mode, starting on E, if we want to play the chant as the monks sing it. Since this is not a rudiments course, you do not have to know that the key of E major has four sharps—but it does. We have: E F# G# A B C# D# E. And we know that the Mixolydian mode is like the major scale, except that the seventh scale degree is one-half step lower than in major. So, instead of D-sharp, we have D-natural. The E Mixolydian mode, then, is: E F# G# A B C# D E.n this nineteenth-century facsimile edition of Medieval chant, the first mark, which looks like a “C,” is in fact a C. It’s a C-clef, designating the third line of the staff as the note C. The first two square note heads, stacked one on top of another, are sung from thebottom up. These are the notes G and D, and we can count them the same way we count notes on a conventional five-line staff. Counting down from C: C, B, A, G; the first note is G; and then the second note, which is just above the C line, is D. The notes that follow are: D, D, E, D, C, C, D, C, E, D, D.Playing these notes, we can recognize the melody: G, D, D, D, E, D, C, C, D, C, E, D, D.Listen to the monks sing the first phrase, “Puer natus est nobis,” as
we look at the score from the Liber Usualis; that is, the late nineteenth-century facsimile edition of commonly sung Gregorian chants, the chants themselves dating back to the Middle Ages.What the monks have done in this case is “transpose” the chant—that is, to shift all the notes the same distance—from G Mixolydiandown a 3rd to E Mixolydian. On a conventional five-line staff, the chant would look like this, transposed to E Mixolydian. Notice thesmall “8” at the bottom of the treble clef. This treble clef is often used for the tenor voice, and indicates that the notes are to be sung an octave lower than written.And, because I am a student of music, I can sight sing this chant. The notion of “musical form” is something of a paradox, since music is literally invisible; it is sound without substance. We simply hear it. Yet, we as listeners “construct” the form that we perceive in music, through the repetitions we hear in the music, in conjunction with the mysterious and marvelous processing that takes place inside each listener as a result of musical memory. And, of course, the musical score creates a material representation of the musical sound that itself can reveal aspects of this same form.Using capital letters to represent each of the three sections, we can represent the form thus:A B AThis three-part form (A B A) is referred to as ternary form. It’s a very old form with strong historic roots in the medieval church, because of its musical allusion to the Trinity. It’s a form that has endured through the centuries, through many stylistic periods, evento the present. And it’s a form with strong analogous ties to

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