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date: 02 June 2020


  • John Harper
  •  and Peter Le Huray


A term used in the Anglican liturgy to refer to musical settings of the canticles for Matins and Evensong, and to settings of certain parts of the Ordinary of Holy Communion. It is also applied to settings of sentences from the Burial Service. The term apparently derives from earlier Latin usage (‘plenum servitium BMV’ meant ‘the full [as opposed to abbreviated] Office of the BVM’), but is not found in post-Reformation musical sources before the early 17th century.

A service may comprise any or all of the following elements (the texts being in English): for Matins: Venite, Te Deum, Benedicite, Benedictus, Jubilate; for Evensong: Magnificat, Cantate Domino, Nunc dimittis, Deus misereatur; for Communion: Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei; and for the Burial Service: I am the resurrection, I know that my redeemer liveth, We brought nothing, Man that is born of woman, In the midst of life and ...

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Durham, Cathedral Church, Dean and Chapter Library
Music & Letters
Journal of the American Musicological Society
Musical Times
P. Le Huray: Music and the Reformation in England, 1549-1660 (London, 1967, 2/1978)
London, British Library
Oxford, Bodleian Library