Generations of Chant – notes and links

Thank you, to all who joined in on our Generations of Chant class on April 7th.

Here are some notes and listening links, so you can hear more of the little snippets we heard in our session.


Unlike a chant bath, this session’s approach was like a wine-tasting class:  to learn about it, taste it, but not just get drunk on it.

We started by looking at the roots of chant, in group vocalizations and spoken chants. We examined the WHO and the WHY, as well as notable techniques and characteristics.  And we related what we saw in other realms, to how we do similar things in our Unity practices.

Wolves howling together   

Sports chants 

Pledges of allegiance

Spells and affirmations

Then we moved on to INTONED  and sung chants.

Aramaic lullaby

Hurrian Hymn – 1400 bce

Hindu 72 names of God

Calls to Prayer

In-group chant, difficult:   Gregorian, Chinese Dong, Lakota

Social chants, easier: Yawanawa, Sufi, Jai Bagawan

We looked at the chanting for cultural escape, and the musical cues around “exotic” sounds, including easy 2-chord tunes, open 5ths, minor and modal scales and harmonies.    Listen Listen Listen, We All Come from the Goddess, Earth Air Fire Water, Gospel in One Word is Love

Chanting for Calm:  Ise Oluwa, God is So Good

Chanting for Affirmation:  I Am That I Am, I Am As God Created Me, I Will Be Gentle With Myself

We found that chants have infinite variety.  They may be spoken or sung, in groups or solo voices, with lots of repetition or none. They may use call/response techniques or not, may be a cappella or with instrumental accompaniment, may be fast or slow, loud or soft, may use a steady pulsing beat or be free-flowing with no steady beat. They might be carefully notated or learned by ear, may be difficult to learn or easy, strictly memorized or improvised in the moment. They may employ a plateau effect, or a building up effect, and may be considered sacred or not.

But chant is a heightened (non-ordinary) form of vocalization, and an intentional effort to alter one’s mental state.

Like wine, chant makes a moment special.


See you at the next Worship Arts  experience!