CELEBRATING MORE THAN 20 YEARS OF SERVICE
TO K-12 STUDENTS IN THE GREATER SPOKANE, WA AREA

Cantabile Week By Week

/känˈtäbəˌlā/
Origin: Italian, literally, singable.

Online Playlist


Learning to sing our musical alphabet

Music, grouped with the mathematical arts, was long-ago judged a study of proportionality in sound. How might its ratios be captured by a symbolic notation, or alphabet, which could be taught to students so they could sing together? Centuries of invention and refinement have bequeathed a reliable notation to us all.

Notation makes a vocal fellowship possible, but singability or (/känˈtäbəˌlā/) denotes a specific style for communicating musical phrases in a pleasing harmony. From kindergarten forward, Oaks students, staff and parents, open school on Monday and close on Friday by practicing (singing) a carefully-chosen (/känˈtäbəˌlā/) of psalms and hymns.

boethius

“Just as erudite scholars are not satisfied by merely seeing colors and forms..., so musicians should not be satisfied by merely finding pleasure in music without knowing by what musical proportions these sounds are put together. . .” — Boethius, De institutione musica, Book 1

Boethius, inspired by his meditations on the quadrivium, invented one of the musical notations in the 6th century A.D.

neumes-two

For comparison, we display, below, what some believe to be the first formal musical notation, developed by Aurelian of Reome.

aurelian-notation
js-bach
glenn-gould-invention-one
andras-schiff-invention-one

Compare the singability of Glenn Gould, (left above) to Andras Schiff, (left below), when performing Bach's first Invention.


Psalm 100

All people that on earth do dwell, sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
Him serve with mirth, His praise forth tell; Come ye before Him and rejoice.

Know that the Lord is God indeed; without our aid He did us make;
We are His folk, He doth us feed, And for His sheep He doth us take.

O enter then His gates with praise; Approach with joy His courts unto;
Praise, laud, and bless His Name always, For it is seemly so to do.

For why! the Lord our God is good; His mercy is forever sure;
His truth at all times firmly stood, And shall from age to age endure.

(Louis Bourgeois 1510-61, William Kethe 1561, Genevan Psalter)

This psalm belongs to the regular Oaks repertoire.