I’m wondering if there are suttas that discuss chanting in the EBTs: ideally, even instructions! I suppose it’s a bit of a meta-question since the EBTs were all chanted, but perhaps there was some effort to standardize or theorize the best way to chant, which itself became part of the canon?
Sorry, I am not quoting exact suttas, but what comes to mind is that chanting can have some tone of ups and downs to help in the rhythm. However, it shouldn’t go to the level of singing.
Different people have different ways of interpreting that. Some people regard another monk’s chanting as akin to singing, whereas that very monk thinks of other’s chanting as singing.
As Pali spoken language have difference between long and short a, i, u, it’s good to be mindful of the exact long or short sound when chanting it.
Anyway, since the Buddha allowed people to learn the Dhamma in their own language, chanting (in pali) is largely just for tradition’s sake instead of liberation’s sake. It’s possible to chant in English all the way.
Thais have their own standardized chanting manner, Myanmar another way of pronouncing it, Sri Lanka style is the closest to proper Pali pronunciation.
In a quick search I found this sutta with a description, that sutta chanting
was learned during the rains retreat:
Book of the Sixes
6.51. Ven. Ananda
They enter the rains retreat in a monastery with senior mendicants who are very learned, knowledgeable in the scriptures, who have memorized the teachings, the texts on monastic training, and the outlines.
From time to time they go up to those mendicants and ask them questions: ‘Why, sir, does it say this? What does that mean?’
Those venerables clarify what is unclear, reveal what is obscure, and dispel doubt regarding the many doubtful matters.
This is how a mendicant gets to hear a teaching they haven’t heard before. It’s how they remember those teachings they have heard. It’s how they keep rehearsing the teachings they’ve already got to know. And it’s how they come to understand what they haven’t understood before.