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date: 06 December 2019

Processional (from Lat. liber processionalis, processionale, processionarium)locked

  • Michel Huglo


(from Lat. liber processionalis, processionale, processionarium)

A small portable liturgical book of the Western Church, containing the chants, rubrics and collects appropriate to liturgical processions. It is of particular musical interest since it contains antiphons, verses, rhymed Preces and even polyphonic chants that do not occur in other liturgical books. Like the pontifical, it was a comparatively late addition to the repertory of official liturgical books, originating in the 10th and 11th centuries; the processional antiphons are much older, and formerly occurred in the gradual.

Processions occur in most ancient religions. Essentially, they consist of a communal progress on foot for the purpose of petition, penitence or even protocol (as in the processions of the Byzantine court), and the singing of chants. The latter may be very diverse in style – syllabic, melismatic or in litany form (i.e. a series of invocations or petitions, to each of which the congregation makes a brief response).

The oldest known processionals (books containing the processional chants) date from the 12th century, although a book of the chants for the Rogationtide procession at Metz Cathedral (...

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