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Sometimes inaccurately called Gregorian chant, but plain chant is a modification of the Gregorian, introduced among the Franks in the ninth century. It is unisonous and free-rhythmed and composed on a scale of four lines. The modes or scales of plain chant are limited to the natural intervals of the human voice and the melodies likewise confined to a person's natural range. Features of this chant are that the "leading note" is commonly avoided; also two choirs may be used while alternately singing the same melody. The beauty of plain chant derives from its pure melody, voice quality, and subtle rhythm.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.