Cantional [cantionale] (from Lat. cantio: ‘song’; Cz. kancionál; Ger. Cantional, Kantional)
- Jiří Sehnal
- and Werner Braun
[cantionale] (from Lat. cantio: ‘song’; Cz. kancionál; Ger. Cantional, Kantional)
A collection of sacred songs; a hymnbook, especially in central Europe.
The word ‘ kancionál’ (pl. kancionály) arose in Czech in the early 16th century as a name for a book of sacred songs. In the course of time it replaced the older Czech term ‘ písně’ (‘songs’), which was too broad. For those of non-Catholic denominations the kancionál was a liturgical book; for Catholics who used Latin and plainsong during the church service it was a non-liturgical book, which contained liturgical elements only in exceptional cases. Since the kancionál was designed above all for laymen it was made up mainly of Czech strophic songs, and the presence of compositions of any other type (plainsong, or its translation into Czech and polyphonic compositions) was not a decisive factor. It is a characteristic of every kancionál, however, that at least part of its contents was made up of songs designed to be sung by the whole congregation. Several music manuscripts of the 15th century were later referred to as ...