- James W. McKinnon
A term conventionally applied to the central branch of Western Plainchant. Though not entirely appropriate, it has for practical reasons continued in use. Gregorian chant originated as a reworking of Roman ecclesiastical song by Frankish cantors during the Carolingian period; it came to be sung almost universally in medieval western and central Europe, with the diocese of Milan the sole significant exception. The pivotal event in its history was the visit of Pope Stephen II (752–7) to King Pippin III (751–68) in 754. Pope Stephen, together with a considerable retinue of Roman clergy, including, presumably, the Schola Cantorum, remained for several months at St Denis and other Carolingian centres. King Pippin is reported to have ordered the imposition of the ...