The Gregorian Chant as a Therapeutic Approach


Wikipediamonophonic, unaccompanied sacred song of the western Roman Catholic Church (...) developed mainly in western and central Europe during the 9th and 10th centuries.


Excerpts from the book:

Doidge, Norman (2015-01-27). The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity. Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


(Kindle Locations 5740-5751)


Gregorian chant does not only energize; it is also effective in calming the spirit at the same time, which is why Paul often ends his clients’ listening sessions with it. The Gregorian music that he plays is modified to quickly alternate between emphasizing the higher and the lower frequencies, so it also has a training effect on the middle ear system; but the chant still covers the full spectrum of sound, which strengthens the calming, grounding effect. The rhythm of the chant often corresponds to the respiration of a calm, unstressed person, and it has an immediate calming effect— probably by entrainment.


Entrainment is a process in which one rhythmic frequency influences another, until they synchronize, or approach synchronization, or have a strong influence on each other— much as waves of water influence one another when they intersect.* Brain scan studies show that when the brain is stimulated by music, its neurons begin to fire in perfect synchrony with it, entraining with the music it hears. This happens because the brain evolved to reach out into the world, and the ear works as a transducer. Transducers transform energy from one form into another. For instance, a loudspeaker transforms electrical energy into sound. The cochlea inside our ear transforms patterns of sound energy from the external world into patterns of electrical energy that the brain can use internally. Even though the form of the energy changes, the information carried by the wave patterns is often preserved. Since neurons fire in unison to music, music is a way to change the rhythms of the brain.


An expert in the neuroplasticity of sound, Dr. Nina Kraus of Northwestern University, and her lab colleagues recorded the sound waves given off by a Mozart serenade. They also placed an electrical sensor on a person’s scalp to record his brain’s waves as he listened to the Mozart. (Brain waves are the electrical waves produced by millions of neurons working together in time.) Then they played back the patterns of the brain waves firing. Amazingly, they found that the sound waves from the Mozart piece and the brain waves that they triggered looked the same. They even found that the brain waves in the brain stem sounded the same as the music that triggered them!*




Entrainment is so graphic that when people are hooked up to EEGs and asked to listen to a waltz rhythm of 2.4 beats a second, their brain waves’ dominant frequency spikes at 2.4 beats per second. No wonder people move to the beat of a song— much of the brain, including the motor cortex, is entrained to the beat. 


End of excerpts from the book:

Doidge, Norman (2015-01-27). The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity. Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.



A Gregorian chant: "Signum Magnum" ("Great Sign")

(Mass of the Assumption, 15th August)

SUGGESTED LISTENING LINK as found in the above site:

Introit "Signum Magnum"



Signum magnum apparuit in caelo:

mulier amicta sole, 

et luna sub pedibus ejus, 

et in capite ejus corona stellarum duodecim.



A great sign appeared in heaven:

a woman clothed with the sun,

and the moon under her feet,

and on her head a crown of twelve stars.


Comment: The Marian image - Mary becomes the Queen of Heaven

"Signum magnum, it is interesting how the chant mode captures simultaneously the joy felt in seeing Our Lady gloriously exalted as well as the awe in recognizing her God-given power as Queen of Heaven."

The Introit (introductory) "Signum Magnum" is in mode 7 as the author of the above site. Excerpt:

"Mode 7 always strikes me as a “solemn joy” mode. It is bright enough to convey the sense of the jubilant, yet toned down enough to emphasize the great solemnity of the event. Keeping in mind that the Introit is the first thing heard at Mass, it (excuse the pun) sets the tone for the rest of the celebration. The mode is appropriate for Nativity of the Lord as well as the Assumption of the Blessed Mother. Both are joyous events to be sure, yet each in its own unique way is an event to be pondered with a great sense of awe and mystery."



The Entire Chant:


YouTube link included in previous link reference:




Byzantine music: Best known form is the Orthodox tradition liturgical music


Byzantine music: evolution from ancient greek music.

Wikipedia: Byzantine music in a narrow sense, is the music of the Byzantine Empire. Originally it consisted of songs and hymns composed to Greek texts used for courtly ceremonials, during festivals, or as paraliturgical and liturgical music. The ecclesiastical forms of Byzantine music are the best known forms today, because different Orthodox traditions still identify with the heritage of Byzantine music (...)


Wikipedia: The Byzantine Empire, or Eastern Roman Empire, was the predominantly Greek-speaking continuation of the eastern part of the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Its capital city was Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), originally founded as Byzantium.


Assumption apolytikion sung in Orthodox Christian workship servicesYouTube Link



Blessings for Syria and all world conflict crises will be given at the 15th August liturgies 

(traditional home in Damascus in the following picture)

Brendan McDonald ‏@7piliers  2015-07-22

[UN aid worker engaged in humanitarian action, human rights, freedom of expression & use of information to promote democracy & development]

#Syria - #Photo Essay - Despite the conflict, Syria Is still beautiful  via @BuzzFeeders

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