6 Historical Phases of Choir Robes

Although the precise historical introduction of the origin of the choir robes is beyond our investigation capability, a concise chronological interpretation of the history of the choir outfits based on archaeological materials and documents is what the article meant to be. Prior to the formal part of the article, it's of significance to keep the universal concept in mind that the contemporary choir gowns are actually developed from a variety of gowns, robes, as well as vestments and the wearers of the individuals may vary from the staff of religious institutions such as churches and temples to students at school.


Ancient Egypt
Dating back to approximately 2700 B.C., a visual depiction of early choirs has been around. Evidence found in the ancient tombs reveals that the uniform dress code like today's robes or vestments for such incipient choirs doesn't exist.

Ancient Greece and Rome
Images depicted on a portion of Greek pottery dating from 425 B.C. objectively prove the existence of potentially-formal choir robe. The graphic patterns on the Greek pottery show a group of choir members singing and playing musical instruments with long loose-fitting gowns in slightly elaborate design which likely stem from the ancient tunic. Considering the tunic was the inspiration for the evolution of the religious attire, it makes every sense that the ancient tunic and early-stage choir robe shared the similarities.

Medieval Ages
Since this period, those typical small notes marked above words designating the rise or fall of the pitch have been gradually normalized by Pope Gregory I who set music standard for musicians and composers. The choirs of boys were emerging and occupied the mainstream then due to the association between the churches and decent schools. First-rate choirs of boys at that time include "Ratisbonne Choir" from German and the British "Kings College Choir". As time goes by, the majority of churches of that era had their own choristers. Their garb which followed the fashionable tendency of official clerical attire spontaneously underwent the process of formalization and developed a "choir look".

Secular choirs and choral music started to be dominant until a portion of musicians in the Renaissance was funded by a number of wealthy patrons. It is during this era that a batch of renowned chorus music like motets and masses were composed. Though the inclination that the choir apparel became fashion-oriented continued as that was in the Medieval period, the diversity in terms of the color and design of the choir attire was formed.

Inspired by the style of the Doctoral academic regaliachoir attire of the Reformation deviate from the course of following the secular fashion of the day. The current general classification of choir robesclerical gownsjudge robes, and academic regalia was progressively founded as well during this era.

Classical Period and the Romanticism
Owing to the famed choral music including Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem, Beethoven's Missa, and L'Enfance de Christ were written, amateur choruses (also known as singing clubs) with accompanying instruments thrived in this period. The choir apparel for each choir member then was commonly elaborately crafted with exquisite embroidery adorned.

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