Music scholars have devoted significant attention to the vast repertoire of chant, the cults from which it is said to have sprung, semiology, or its place in Western Christian worship, but a limited number of studies address the chanter and how chant renders affective and cognitive processes. The monks of Christ in the Desert Monastery are engaged four hours a day, every day, in the antiphonal rhythm of psalmody, constructing its expressivity and sculpting, from forty members, one voice. Here, the Divine Office, as prescribed by St. Benedict, is strictly followed. The monks repetitive and synchronized practice, suffused with chanting, cultivates deeper levels of personal awareness and authenticity. I explore introspective and inspirational aspects of the desert soundscape and its ability to cultivate acute awareness and sharpened attention. Drawing upon ethnographic research with the community, I argue that the brothers' singing is a transformative pathway that leads to strong group cohesiveness and well-being.
Level of Degree
Department of Music
First Committee Member (Chair)
Jacobsen, Kristina M. Dr.
Second Committee Member
Bashwiner, David M. Dr.
Gregorian chant, psalmody, cohesiveness, ethnography, well-being, soundscape, desert attentiveness, Divine Office, transformation
Gillespie, Amy Suzanne. "Chant and Transformation: The Benedictine Monks of Christ in the Desert Monastery." (2016). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/mus_etds/12