Singing schools were established for the instruction of the order of singers as early as the 6th century, and became common in various parts of Europe, particularly in France and Germany. These schools were very much patronized by Gregory the Great, under whom they gained great celebrity. From them originated the famous Gregorian Chant (q.v.), a plain system of Church music. The prior, or principal, of these schools was a man of great consideration and influence. The name of this officer at Rome was archicantor ecclesioe Romanoe, and, like that of prelatus cantor in their chapters and collegiate churches, it was a highly respectable and lucrative office. See Coleman, Christian Antiquities.