Rockin’ The Gregorian Chant

In a writers’ group on Facebook, an author commented that any piece of music can be covered in any style of music because that’s the way music is.  While I don’t disagree that many pieces of music can be arranged in any number of genres, I also disagree that any piece of music can be covered in any style of music.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a way to take a rap song and re-arrange it to be a piece in the style of Rimsky-Korsakov or Claude Debussy — not because rap is bad or because classical music is superior.  It’s because the styles don’t mesh with each other on any level (not even tenuously).

Likewise you’d be hard-pressed to find a way to take Gregorian chant and have it covered well by a punk rock band — not because Gregorian chant is religious or because punk rock is anti-establishment.  It’s because, once again, the styles don’t mesh with each other on any level (not even tenuously).  That’s right, you’re probably not going to find Grunge Gregorian out there.  This is about as close you’ll get to that mash-up.

And there’s no way that spoken word can be re-arranged to fit a melodic musical style because spoken word, although a musical genre, is spoken word.  How about Decibal (yes, that’s how it’s spelled) Drag Racing which, believe it or not, is considered a sub-genre under Avant Garde music?  Is it possible to turn Decibal (still not a spelling mistake) Drag Racing music into any other style and have people say, “Oh yes, that’s Decibal Drag Racing music in the style of the Beatles?”

In the discussion, the characters were members of a punk band as a sub-plot to the sci-fi story synopsis.  Realistically speaking, they were actually a pop-punk band which isn’t the same thing as being a punk rock band.

The Ramones, Sid Vicious, The Clash … that’s who people think of when they read punk rock band.  They think of kids of blue-collar parents who are anti-establishment.  And we all know that true punk rock is what led to grunge music in the 90s.

But no matter what genre or genres of music you enjoy, it’s a given that not every genre can be reframed into every style of music available.

In the meantime, enjoy R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” done in the style of Gregorian Chant.

And to clear the palate, here’s the original video of that same song.

Until next Sunday, dear readers, Happy Canada’s Day (to my Canadian friends) and Happy 4th of July (to my American friends).

Elyse Bruce

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2 Responses to “Rockin’ The Gregorian Chant”

  1. cairennhouse Says:

    The artist who has the discernment to know when not to attempt such experiments is akin to the cook who knows that some flavors just don’t go together…at least not in a way that people will want to consume. Good points, Elyse. And good examples. Glad you posted this. Oh, and happy Fourth of July to you and yours.


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