From gallery singers to chancel choristers: a case study of Halifax Parish Church, 1868–1882

David Baker describes how music at Halifax Parish Church had been in decline until twenty-seven-year-old John Varley Roberts was appointed in late 1868, and transformed the choir at Halifax from a small, mixed group of voices up in the west gallery with an outmoded organ to a choral establishment of some seventy robed male singers in the chancel, accompanied by a four-manual instrument.

Accompanying Plainchant with William Dore

In this practical guide William Dore, Organist at Ampleforth Abbey, explains the characteristics and traditions of plainchant or plainsong.  He discusses notation, and how to create an accompaniment to plainchant, including ideas on rhythm, suitable harmonic progressions, and cadences in keeping with the modality and mood.

Learning during lockdown: 12 resources for organ-only church services

Current guidance from the Church of England allows for the organ to be played for communal church services, which recommenced earlier this month.  However there can be no group singing or chanting while worshippers are present, though a single singer or cantor is permissible.  This month’s Learning during Lockdown explores options for suitable organ music when the staples of the organist’s repertoire—hymns, mass settings, and choral accompaniment— are excluded.