MA Ritual Chant and Song – Irish World Academy

MA Ritual Chant and Song – Irish World Academy

September 12, 2019 0 By Kody Olson


The MA in Ritual Chant and Song is a one-year master’s program in which students study chant, primarily Western Plain Chant, and they look at it both from an academic side, the liturgical, historical and ritual perspectives to chant and in addition they learn to perform the repertory and both of these sides, academic and performance, complement one another. One of the things we’re really interested in in this program is how Chant and Singing emerges out of ritual contexts. Why is it that human societies create rituals? What kind of functions do rituals play? We’re looking for students interested in performance practice or those who come from an academic background that want to a gain better understanding of performance practice in relation to their theory and those who want to combine both and be Musicologists and Performers. I was drawn to the program because I wanted to study early music and I discovered this program and that it was a combination of singing Gregorian Chant and Medieval Song and also some study of Sean Nós singing and I thought that was the perfect combination. To embrace the academic side of the challenge and explore the chant from its academic roots, and then come home and sing it in its natural place It was a wonderful enriching and broadening experience. I came to do this course actually as a composer because I was interested in gaining a better understanding of my own compositional process and also of incorporating new practices, new sounds, new ideas. I am interested in studying all this notation In order to sing it. Definitely, it is what is my passion. One of the highlights of the year is our annual field trip to Paris where we go and study with Catherine Sergent And also we visit various libraries in which we can see firsthand, and sometimes even sing from first-hand, Medieval manuscripts of Chant We do field trips to different ritual sites. In an area called Lough Gur we have one of the largest stone circles in Ireland We also have a connection with a Benedictine community called Glenstall Abbey where you can hear Latin Chant performed within a living liturgical environment, and I think this is really interesting for our students in terms of trying to understand how and why this chant evolves and why human communities still sing it. Being a student in the Irish world Academy? was a really special experience. It’s been really wonderful to meet so many people from all over the world that are coming here to learn. The MA in Ritual Chant and Song provides a unique opportunity to come and immerse yourself in the study and performance of Ritual Chant repertories.