As Ambrosian chant is a arisen in the 4th century AD form of the liturgy and church music called, which has been preserved in the region around Milan and in the valleys of the canton of Ticino today.
In the fourth century it came into Italy to liturgical and musical reforms. They went out from Rome and Milan. The Milan reforms were named after Bishop Ambrose of Milan ( 374-397 ), although they were recorded only later. The origin of the Ambrosian chant is located in the Eastern Church, Milan had several Greek bishops.
Ambrose ordered the celebration of the Vigil ( " vigils " ) new, to make them more attractive to the people and introduced hymns and antiphons. According to his biographer, he is said to have sung this new song for the first time when he was besieged with his followers in Milan's Basilica of the Empress Justina.
The replacement of the Ambrosian by the Gregorian church music was not peaceful. In an effort to unify the church music and liturgy, Charlemagne himself came to Milan to eliminate the Ambrosian tradition. However, Bishop Eugenius saved the Milanese heritage. In the 11th century, Nicholas II, Peter Damian and Gregory VII attempted to exterminate the remains of the Ambrosian chant. Another 500 years later, in the wake of the Council of Trent, the Roman liturgy in almost the whole area of the Latin Church was normative, succeeded to the Saint Charles Borromeo and his cousin, Cardinal Federico Borromeo, to preserve the Milanese tradition.
Thus, the Ambrosian chant in Milan got themselves in some churches of the Swiss canton of Ticino, especially in Bleniotal, the Leventina and the Riviera ( Diocese of Lugano) until today.
The oldest well-preserved Scripture is the Antiphonarium Ambrosianum from the 12th century, now in the British Museum ( London). Besides that, there fragments from the 10th century and a very unreadable palimpsest from the 7th century. 1475 Missal Ambrosianum was printed for the first time. Charles Borromeo gave out 1582 and 1588, a new breviary, striving to be the origin of this music to approach again.
Dom Guerrino Amelli (1848-1933) began in 1881 a new reform of the Ambrosian chant and published in 1883 the Directory Chori and a collection of measurement chants. Dom Gregory Sunol devoted his entire life to the study and publication of Ambrosian music. He worked out the importance of this music for the emergence of the Latin church music.