Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 02 June 2020

Canticle (from Lat. canticulum, diminutive of canticum: ‘song’)locked

  • Miloš Velimirović,
  • Ruth Steiner,
  • Keith Falconer
  •  and Nicholas Temperley


(from Lat. canticulum, diminutive of canticum: ‘song’)

A designation for hymns in the scriptures apart from the psalms; it is sometimes applied loosely to the Te Deum and other non-scriptural texts as well as to certain psalms, particularly in the Anglican rite.

Miloš Velimirović

Canticles are similar to psalms in form and content and several appear in various Christian rites. Biblical canticles are often referred to as ‘Psalms outside the Psalter’. In the Old Testament there are a number of such hymns, a few of which were used by the Jews both in the Temple and in the Synagogue rites. The most prominent were the Song of Moses (Exodus xv.1–19) and the Hymn of the Three Children in the Fiery Furnace (Daniel iii.57–88 in the Apocrypha). The Greek term in the Septuagint for such songs is ōdē (from adō: ‘to sing’). Of the New Testament canticles, it seems likely that some are new versions, maybe only slightly reworked, of earlier Jewish or Jewish-Christian material, the latter most probably consisting of hymns or psalmic compositions; the original versions, presumably in Hebrew or Aramaic, are lost and cannot now be reconstructed with certainty. Three New Testament canticles are used daily in the Roman rite: ...

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.

St Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Handschriftenabteilung
Journal of the Plainsong and Mediaeval Music Society
Benevento, Biblioteca Capitolare
Seville, Institución Colombina
Rheinfelden, Christkatholisches Pfarramt
Dublin, Chester Beatty Library
London, British Library
Oxford, Bodleian Library