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Michel Huglo

revised by David Hiley

(from Lat. missale, liber cantus missae)

A liturgical book of the Western Church containing all the material necessary for the celebration of Mass.

The missal is composite, a collection of material from various liturgical books in which all the pieces necessary for the solemn celebration of Mass are brought together: the prayers and Preface chanted by the priest; lessons read by the deacon and sub-deacon; and the chants of the Proper and Ordinary performed by the choir or soloists. The missal unites in a single book elements formerly dispersed in several books: the sacramentary (for the priest); the lectionary or the epistolary and the evangeliary (for the deacon and sub-deacon); the gradual and troper-proser (for the singers); and the ordinal, which gave directory rubrics for the manner of performance of the liturgical rites.

Surviving documents indicate that the various attempts to bring together the different books that resulted in the missal were usually carried out on the basis of the sacramentary, more rarely the lectionary, and followed very different courses. This survey of the evolution of the books leading to the noted missal will be pursued through groupings which illustrate the progressive inclusion of sung pieces with the other elements of the Mass....


Nola Reed Knouse

The Moravians are members of a Protestant denomination founded in Germany in the 18th century but with roots in 15th-century Bohemia and Moravia. Missionary activity during the 18th century led to the establishment of communities in a number of countries around the world, but most notably in North America, where there continues to be a strong Moravian presence. From the earliest days the Moravian Church kept meticulous records of its ecclesiastical, community and commercial life, and has ensured that active communication and sharing of information has been maintained among the various Moravian centres worldwide. The 10,000 music manuscripts and printed works that survive in American Moravian archives and the substantial collections preserved at Zeist in the Netherlands and at Herrnhut in Germany testify to a highly developed musical culture. These sources include orders of service (from the 1700s onwards); instruction books; an extensive manuscript corpus of 18th- and early 19th-century sacred works in an early Classical style, written mostly by Moravians, for chorus and chamber orchestra; instrumental works, ranging from solo sonatas to symphonies (some of them the sole surviving copies), by European composers; and bound collections of sheet music dating from the mid-19th century onwards. After a discussion of the Moravian Church’s origins and its worship services, this article focusses particularly on the musical tradition of the American Moravians....


Don M. Randel and Nils Nadeau

One of the principal branches of Christian liturgical chant in the West during the Middle Ages. It was sung on the Iberian peninsula, but its influence extended beyond Spain to touch other chant repertories such as the Gregorian, Ambrosian and Gallican. The relationship between the Mozarabic and Gallican rites is now of particular interest to scholars.

The repertory of Mozarabic chant belongs to the rite observed by Spanish Christians until its suppression in favour of the Roman rite in 1085. The term ‘Mozarabic’ refers to Christians living under Muslim domination. It is generally applied to the rite because its principal surviving documents date from the period after the Muslim invasion of the Iberian peninsula in 711. The term, however, is not strictly appropriate in some respects, for the formation of the rite clearly antedates the Muslim invasion. And many of the surviving manuscripts, though copied in the Mozarabic period, were copied in lands already reconquered from the Muslims by Christian rulers. Alternatives such as ‘Visigothic’ and ‘Hispanic’ are, however, equally inappropriate in some respects. Scholars have come to favour the term ‘Old Hispanic’ for this repertory....


David Hiley

Chant composed for the neo-Gallican liturgical movement in France from the second half of the 17th century to the first half of the 19th. For non-metrical texts a pseudo-Gregorian style was usually adopted; for metrical texts (hymns, sequences etc.) tonal melodies were composed.

The bull of Pope Pius V, Quod a nobis (9 July 1568), gave to all churches whose liturgical use was demonstrably more than 200 years old the right to retain their liturgies. The Roman Breviarum Pianum (1568, rev. 1602 and 1632) and the Graduale … Medicaea (1614–15) were not universally adopted. Most French chapters stood firmly for their customs, and only prelates such as the unscrupulous François de Harlay (Bishop of Rouen, 1614–51), ambitious for a cardinalate, were able to impose a Romanized liturgy on their dioceses. However, the idea, borrowed from Rome itself (witness the controversial breviary of Cardinal Quiñonez of ...


Mary Berry

(Lat. nocturni, nocturnae orationes)

The Night Hours of the Divine Office . Before the 1971 simplification of the Roman Breviary, the night Office of Matins (or Vigils) was composed of three nocturns for double or semi-double feasts, and one nocturn for simple feasts or ferias. In an Office of three nocturns, each nocturn has three psalms with antiphons and three lessons with responsories. An Office of one nocturn normally has nine psalms and three lessons. At Easter and Pentecost the traditional night Office consists of a single nocturn with three psalms and three lessons. The monastic Office differs from the Roman Office in the arrangement and composition of the nocturns. Double feasts have an Office of three nocturns, but the first two of these have six psalms and four lessons each; the third has three Old Testament canticles and four lessons. The monastic ferial (or weekday) Office is composed of two nocturns, each of six psalms; after the psalms of the first nocturn three lessons are recited in winter and one in summer. (...


John A. Emerson

revised by David Hiley

Site of the former Benedictine monastery of S Silvestro in the Lombard kingdom outside Modena. With Monte Cassino, it was one of the most important monastic centres of medieval Italy.

Nonantola was founded about 752 by St Anselm of Nonantola, formerly Duke of Friuli, and endowed by Aistulf, King of the Lombards (reigned 749–56). In 753 the oratory and altar were consecrated to SS Peter and Paul by Sergius, Archbishop of Ravenna, and shortly afterwards Anselm was appointed the first abbot by Pope Stephen II. In 756 the relics of Pope Sylvester I (reigned 314–35) were transferred from Rome to Nonantola, and the abbey received its present dedication.

Anselm spent the period from 760/61 to 773, during the reign of Desiderius, Aistulf’s successor, in exile at Monte Cassino. In 774 he returned with a number of manuscripts which formed the nucleus of the important medieval library at Nonantola. Anselm died in 803 and was buried in the church; he was succeeded by a number of Lombard abbots with Germanic names. In 885 the body of Pope Adrian III (reigned 884–5) was buried at the abbey. After a major fire, a reconstruction of the church of S Silvestro was begun in ...


Richard Sherr

[Great Antiphons]

In present-day liturgy a set of seven antiphons to the Magnificat, each text beginning with the exclamation ‘O’: ‘O sapientia’, ‘O adonai’, ‘O radix Jesse’, ‘O clavis David’, ‘O oriens’, ‘O Rex gentium’, ‘O Emmanuel’. One of these is sung on each of the seven days preceding Christmas Eve (see AM, 208–11). In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the number of antiphons was sometimes as many as 12, with added texts such as ‘O virgo virginum’ (the most popular), ‘O Gabriel’, ‘O Thomas Didyme’, ‘O Rex pacifice’ and ‘O Hierusalem’ (for example, a sequence of 11 antiphons beginning on 13 December is found in the 11th-century manuscript GB-Lbl Harl.2961). It would appear, however, that the first seven were conceived as a separate entity. For one thing, the texts of all seven follow the same basic pattern, first addressing Christ by different titles (‘Wisdom’, ‘Key of David’ etc.), then begging him to come to us (‘Veni’). Perhaps more striking is the acrostic that results when the first letters of the antiphons are read in reverse order: ‘ero cras’ (‘tomorrow I will be with you’), appropriate to the Advent season....


Joseph Dyer

[offertorium, offerenda]

A chant of the Western Mass rites sung while bread and wine are prepared for eucharistic consecration. It is also the post-medieval name for the complex of priestly prayers and ritual actions (mixing of wine and water, incensation, washing of the hands) that took place during this part of the Mass. In its full medieval form the offertory chant consisted of a choral refrain in richly neumatic style with two or three neumatic–melismatic verses sung by a soloist. The latter part of the refrain (known as the repetendum) was repeated after each verse. Related to the offertory of the Roman Mass are the Ambrosian offerenda, the Mozarabic sacrificium and the Gallican sonus.

The earliest descriptions of the Mass (Justin Martyr, Hippolytus) do not single out the placing of bread and wine on the altar as an important ritual event surrounded by prayers and singing. Although nothing is known about the origins of the offertory, it was presumably introduced into the Mass after the gradual, communion and introit chants. The widespread view that Augustine’s allusion (...


Peter Jeffery

(Gk.: ‘eightfold sound’)

The system of the eight ‘church modes’ (the ‘musical’ oktōēchos) in the medieval Latin, Byzantine, Slavonic, Syrian, Armenian and Georgian repertories of Christian liturgical chant. Also, by association, the practice of grouping chants by mode (the ‘calendric’ oktōēchos) so that they can be sung in numerical order over a period of time, usually one mode per week, proceeding to the next higher number each Sunday and beginning with the 1st mode again when the 8th is completed. And a book (the ‘liturgical’ oktōēchos) in which the chant texts are grouped by mode in numerical order to facilitate performance according to the calendric oktōēchos (see Liturgy and liturgical books, §IV, 3, (viii)); books also exist in which chants are arranged according to mode but without regard to a calendar, notably the Western Tonary and the Byzantine Heirmologion).

Although many theories regarding the origins of the eight-mode system have been proposed, the earliest genuine evidence of the musical ...


Helmut Hucke

revised by Joseph Dyer

Old Roman chant is a liturgical repertory of melodies that survives in certain manuscripts dating from between the 11th and 13th centuries, but it must have existed in some form or other centuries before. Because of the nature of the source material, musical and historical, most scholarly discussions of Old Roman chant have related the repertory to the better-known Gregorian chant. Recognising that both are ‘dialects’ of the same textual and liturgical tradition, it has been proposed to call the chant sung in Rome up until the 13th century simply ‘Roman’ and coin a term like ‘romano-frankish’ for the music of the Gregorian tradition.

Three graduals and two antiphoners survive: one gradual from the church of S Cecilia in Trastevere in Rome written in 1071 ( CH-CObodmer C 74); one gradual perhaps from S Giovanni in Laterano, Rome, from the 11th or 12th century ( I-Rvat lat.5319); one gradual from S Pietro in Rome from the 13th century (...


(from Lat. Ordinarium [missae et officii])

Chants whose texts remain constant from day to day in the services of the Western Church, as distinct from those whose texts vary (Proper chants). Strictly the term applies to chants from both Mass and Office, but it is chiefly used to refer to the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei, the parts of the Mass Ordinary most frequently set polyphonically by composers from the second half of the 14th century onwards. The Ite missa est at the close of Mass, with choral response ‘Deo gratias’, has also been included in a few such settings (e.g. by Machaut). Although the texts of the chants do not vary, they have been influenced by the principle of variation for reasons of liturgical propriety, in that they are recommended, though not prescribed, to be sung to a small corpus of different melodies, each one for use on different occasions (double feasts, single feasts, feasts of the BVM etc.). In the Middle Ages, Ordinary chants for important feasts had trope texts which rendered them Proper in the liturgical sense....


Mary Berry

The Latin chants appointed to be sung with the Roman Missal of 1970. The foundations for a general revision of the Roman Missal of 1570 were laid by the Second Vatican Council in its Constitution De sacra liturgia (22 November 1963). Paul VI promulgated the new missal in an Apostolic Constitution, Missale romanum, of 3 April 1969; three days later the new order of Mass was published by the Sacred Congregation Pro cultu divino, together with a first draft of the introduction to the new missal, the Institutio generalis missalis romani. The new missal itself was published in 1970 and necessitated some considerable revision of the gradual: the Ordo cantus missae (1972) was the result. The Ordo was followed in 1974 by a new edition of the Graduale romanum. All this work was achieved under the Consilium, a body made up of several hundred specialists divided into 30 study groups. The group chiefly responsible for the ...



Christian Troelsgård

(Gk.: ‘daybreak’)

A morning Office in the Greek Orthodox Church, equivalent to Matins and Lauds of the Roman rite. Together with Hesperinos, the evening Office, it is one of the principal hours in both the urban and monastic rites.

The origins of the morning Office lie in the all-night vigils of the early Christians, particularly in respect of the recitation of canticles and psalms. The singing of some of the fixed psalms, for example, Psalms l and cxlviii–cl and the ‘hexapsalmos’ (see below), is attested as early as the 5th century. In the 6th century differences began to emerge in the chanting of the Byzantine Offices in monasteries and urban churches: Orthros as celebrated in the urban rite of Hagia Sophia at Constantinople was restricted to prayers, canticles and psalms with a variety of refrains; the monastic rite, influenced by the Palestine tradition, came to be characterized by the addition of stichēra...


Dimitri Conomos

A term used by the 15th-century composer Manuel Chrysaphes to describe a particular style of singing Byzantine chant. In his treatise On the Theory of the Art of Chanting (ed. D.E. Conomos, MMB, Corpus scriptorum, ii, 1985), Chrysaphes reproached singers who were content to read the neumes drily and ignore the vocal flourishes (...


John Boe

[Lord’s Prayer]

The prayer that Christ taught his disciples (Matthew vi.9–13; Luke xi.2–4). Variants of the biblical texts reflect early Aramaic-Syriac and Greek oral traditions as well as liturgical and semi-liturgical accretions. The liturgical Latin text was established within the Roman rite by the early 7th century; Pope Gregory I moved it from its place after the Fraction in the Mass to its present position after the Eucharistic Prayer, as in the Eastern rites. In Gregory’s reform it was recited only by the celebrant. The exordium introducing the prayer and a simple form of the concluding embolism (beginning ‘Libera nos quesumus domine ab omnibus malis’) may also date from Gregory’s time; but similar accretions are found in Eastern and in other Latin rites (see Boe, 1998). The prayer also originally concluded each service of the Divine Office, where it was prayed silently, the officiant raising his voice only at the phrase ‘Et ne nos inducas in temptationem’ so that all might answer ‘Sed libera nos a malo’; but according to the Rule of St Benedict the prayer was to be sung aloud at the end of Lauds and Vespers by the senior monk present....



David Fuller

revised by Robert Gallagher


The newly composed chant of the 17th to 19th centuries in France, similar to the Italian canto fratto. The decisive impetus came in the early 1630s from the Oratorians of the rue St Honoré, whose church was designated the royal chapel of the Louvre by Louis XIII, and whose superior conceived the idea of attracting the courtiers by introducing a new kind of chant combining features of the ecclesiastical and modern styles. This initiative resulted in the first collection of such chants – the Brevis psalmodiae ratio (Paris, 1634) by François Bourgoing, a member of the Oratory congregation. It was published with an approbation by Mersenne and contains new chants and simplified versions of known melodies; with rare exceptions, all the chants are syllabic. Resembling this work in its simplicity is Nivers’ Graduale romanum juxta missale, the most extensive collection of plain-chant musical, published by Ballard in 1658. Originally intended for use by Benedictine nuns, it was subsequently reprinted several times for Benedictine and Augustinian nuns. Both the gradual and the alleluia for any given liturgical day are composed in the same mode, probably to ease the transition between these two consecutive chants and to impose a general sense of modal and tonal order on the Mass Propers. In ...


Kenneth Levy, John A. Emerson, Jane Bellingham, David Hiley and Bennett Mitchell Zon

[plainsong] (from Lat. cantus planus; Fr. plainchant; Ger. Choral; It. canto plano)

The official monophonic unison chant (originally unaccompanied) of the Christian liturgies. The term, though general, is used to refer particularly to the chant repertories with Latin texts – that is, those of the five major Western Christian liturgies – or in a more restricted sense to the repertory of Franco-Roman chant (Gregorian chant). A third meaning refers to a style of measured ecclesiastical music, often accompanied by a bassoon, serpent or organ, cultivated in Roman Catholic France during the 17th to 19th centuries (see Plain-chant musical). This article is concerned with the chant of the Roman and derived rites considered historically, including its place within Christian chant as a whole and its relationship to the liturgy that it serves.

Kenneth Levy

The roots of the liturgical chant of the Christian Churches lie partly in established Jewish Synagogue practice of the apostolic period, partly in new developments within early Christianity itself and partly in pagan music at the diverse centres where the first churches were established (...