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date: 09 December 2019

Alleluia (Latinized form of Heb. halleluyah: ‘praise God’; Gk. allēlouïa)locked

  • James W. McKinnon
  •  and Christian Thodberg

Extract

(Latinized form of Heb. halleluyah: ‘praise God’; Gk. allēlouïa)

Chant of the Mass in the Western Church and of the Divine Liturgy in the Eastern Church.

James W. McKinnon

The alleluia of the Mass is a Proper chant sung during the Fore-Mass after the gradual (see Gradual) except on liturgical occasions associated with penitence and fasting (most notably during Lent), and on ones associated with sorrow (such as the Requiem Mass), when it may be replaced by the Tract. During Paschal Time, beginning with Low Sunday, the gradual is omitted and two alleluias are sung.

The alleluia is performed in a responsorial manner: first the word ‘alleluia’ is sung, concluding with an extended melismatic flourish – the Jubilus; then a verse (rarely, two or three verses) is chanted in a moderately elaborate setting; and finally the alleluia is repeated. Throughout much of the Middle Ages a cantor intoned the alleluia without its jubilus and the chorus answered with the entire alleluia; one or two cantors sang the verse and the chorus entered for the final word or two (usually concluding with a melisma echoing that of the jubilus); the chorus, finally, repeated the alleluia. Early sources fail to indicate such involvement by the chorus, but it might well be that the chorus performed at least the final repetition of the alleluia....

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