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date: 02 June 2020

Lining outlocked


A method of performing a (metrical) psalm or hymn within Protestant nonconformist churches, in which the minister, elder or precentor reads or chants each line, or pair of lines, and the congregation responds by singing the same words. The congregational melody is not necessarily identical with that sung by the leader. The custom began in England about 1645 as an aid for the illiterate (see Psalms, metrical, §III, 1, (iv)) and was first laid down in the Directory for the Publique Worship of God, prepared by the Westminster Assembly of Divines in 1644 (which came into force the following January). Lining out had disappeared in England by 1800 but it is practised today by Gaelic-speaking congregations in the Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland, by urban congregations of Gaels in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and in some Baptist churches in the rural south-eastern USA. See Old Way of Singing...

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Journal of the American Musicological Society