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Background of this discography

The compiler’s analysis of chant recordings began in 1972. This involved listening to each recorded chant, identifying it in a modern edition, timing it, and verifying such details as the number of verses in a hymn. In 1982 the publication of a discography became the goal, and the process of analysis was expanded to newly accessible recordings. This project followed from experience gained in publishing 19 monographs in the Discography Series from 1970 to 1979 and writing critical reviews of many published discographies of all types. The analysis of the first ten years was redone except for a few recordings that were no longer accessible.

In 1987 a database was created and data entry was begun. In 1990 A Gregorian Chant Discography was published in two volumes. Volume 1 is the Record List, effectively consisting of the data as originally entered, accessible by the issue number on the record. Volume 2 is the Chant List, accessible by the book and page in various modern editions; this had the advantage of keeping sets of Ordinaries and Propers together. This volume also contained a performer index and a title index, all produced by manipulation of the database.

This publication led to my participation in nine meetings of Cantus Planus, the study group of the International Musicological Society, the collected papers of which were all published. Pre-publication advertisements for the discography led Lance Brunner of the University of Kentucky to inquire about its imminent publication. For a paper on the Nonantolan sequence, he wanted to know how many sequences had been recorded. I offered to send him a file produced by printing out "SEQU" from my database. In turn, he obtained an invitation to the meeting for me. Unfortunately, he was unable to submit his paper for the 1992 publication, but in the end he wrote the notes for the Schola Hungarica recording of "Sequences from Nonantola" (Quint QUI 903084), which due to the vagaries of record publishing (Harmonia Mundi's Quintana label being sold to EMI) was distributed only in Hungary.

In 1992 Cambridge University Press began publication of Plainsong and Medieval Music, to which the compiler contributed an annual record list of chant recordings not included in the book. This list, though titled discography, is not a discography in the same sense as the book, for there is no detailed description of contents. In 2000 The New Grove Dictionary of Music, Second Edition was published with an entry on Discography written by the compiler. The articles in Plainsong and Medieval Music for 2004 and 2005 announced the projected Second Edition of A Gregorian Chant Discography, but that project has been replaced by this website.

In 2010 this website and database were created, and the process of analyzing chant recordings and entering them into the database began with records issued since 1990. The entry of the contents of the 1990 book followed. The analysis and timing were rechecked for each entry. Thereafter the analysis and data entry of new recordings and newly discovered recordings continues. The preferred date cited is the date of recording (“rec.”), obtained from any reliable source. Otherwise, the date of publication or other earliest identifiable date is cited. Timings of each chant are determined from the CD readout or stopwatch.

A longer version of this account was published in Fanfare 34:5 (May/June 2011), 183-84, as "A Chant Discography on the Web."

Finally, to mark the new millennium, Fanfare asked each staff member to identify special recordings in their life. The article this compiler contributed under the general heading Fanfare for the Millennium can be found in the January/February 2000 issue and in the Fanfare Archive online. Search:

For further background, the following interview was available for several years on the University of Notre Dame website and on Facebook. It is probably still available in the UND Music Library:

The compiler asserts his intellectual property rights to all original data.