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Chants

Chant as everyone will remember is the verb To Sing in French (Chanter - Je chant) but has come to have several shades of meaning.

Always concerning words, a chant may be spoken, shouted or sung and may be incredibly simple or subtle and complex.

Chants are often thought of in a religious context (e.g. Gregorian Chant) and feature in many of the world's religions and cultures. They have been linked to mind alteration by the repettive nature and therefore play a part in ceremony and in meditation, cursing and healing.

In popular culture chants are used in mass gatherings - sport (particularly Football - e.g. 'Ooh aah Cantona, say ooh ahh Cantona' or 'Sign on, sign on, With a pen in your hand, 'Cause you'll never get a job'), Rallies, Demonstrations. It the basis for activities such as Cheerleading (along the lines of '2,4,6,8 who do we appeciate') and is often heard in the playground as children's rhymes are chanted during games e.g. Salt, Pepper, Vinegar, Mustard - during skipping

Of course the old method of rote learning relied on the chant - the times table is a good example.

The evolution of the chant leads directly to Rap music with its semi-spoken highly rhythmic content but has not really made an impression on English Folk Music.