Pange Lingua (Tell Tongue) - a traditional Gregorian Chant

This melody is an ancient Gregorian Chant or Plainchant dating from the 13th Century. The melody is used to sing a hymn written by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) which describes the changing of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ during the Roman Catholic Mass. The first line of the hymn begins "Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium" in Latin which translates as "Tell, tongue, the mystery of the glorious Body". The hymn and its melody have been used and adapted by several classical composers, in particular Josquin des Prez (approx. 1450–1521) from the Renaissance Period who wrote a complete Mass called the "Missa Pange Lingua" which expands and elaborates on the ideas in the hymn. Later composers who have used the melody or created alternative settings for the hymn include Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Franz Liszt and Bruckner. Although not generally associated with liturgical music (with the exception of his Missa Solemnis and Mass in C), it was recently discovered that Beethoven had written some sketches to harmonise the melody.

Although the melody has been harmonised in a number of different ways, the version we include here is a simple one harking back to the original plainchant which plays both hands in unison (an octave apart) on an organ. Our version plays through twice, although the hymn itself includes many Latin verses. The slurs in the music group together notes which are used for the same syllable of the text. The music is available as PDF Sheet Music, a MIDI file or an MP3 file. Another Gregorian Chant on mfiles is the Dies Irae or "Day of Wrath".

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