Viderunt Omnes

by abdullayevalfi

Out of all the different styles of music we have looked at so far my favorite has been the Gregorian chant. The thing that appeals to me the most about this style is the lack of instruments. I really enjoyed seeing what the early singers could accomplish with just their voices. So for this post I want to talk a bit more about one of the chants we went over in class, Viderunt Omnes by Perotin. Viderunt Omnes is a traditional Gregorian chant that is based on a Gradual of the same title. Though the composer of the original chant is unknown, several variations of it have been made over the years. Probably the most famous version of the chant is the one by Perotin, a composer from the Notre Dame school of polyphony.  Before Perotin, Leonin, another famous composer of Notre Dame had made his variance of Viderunt Omnes. His version included two voices; one which sang in the familiar style of chant, slow and droning, and another which had a rich polyphony. These two voices symbolized a sense of unity and togetherness but the chant itself was not completely different from its previous versions and in fact, other Gregorian chants. Perotin, however, introduced a very different variation of this chant. He introduced the Organum Quadrupulum or the four-voice polyphony to the chant which had a drastic effect on the sound produced. The melimas in the chant became so drawn out that the lyrics seemed unintelligible to the listeners, an effect which was amplified by the polyphony. However, the chant is not fully polyphonic and instead is a mixture of polyphony and monophony. The drawn out melismas also have the added effect of making the change in the tempo of the chant easily noticeable. The last few words and syllables in the chant are closed quickly and the whole chant ends with the voices singing in unison. I really enjoyed the feeling of harmony that this chant creates and that is why I wanted to share some information about it.