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date: 09 December 2019

Tonary [tonal] (Lat. tonarius, tonarium, tonale, toni, octo toni, intonarium, intonarius; Ger. Tonar; Fr. tonaire)locked

  • Michel Huglo


[tonal] (Lat. tonarius, tonarium, tonale, toni, octo toni, intonarium, intonarius; Ger. Tonar; Fr. tonaire)

Liturgical book of the Western Christian Church in which the antiphons of the Office and the Mass and, by extension, the responsories and even other chants are classified according to the eight psalm tones of Gregorian chant. Tonaries are theoretically self-contained (e.g. the libellus of F-ME 351, ff.66v–75v), but were often copied in other liturgical books such as antiphoners, graduals, tropers and prosers, and in collections of musical treatises. Their terminology, of Byzantine origin, laid the foundations for the vocabulary of modal theory, in which the standard description of the church modes was developed in the 11th and 12th centuries through the division of the octave into a 4th and a 5th. In the absence of precise melodic notation, the tonary was indispensible to the memorization of the psalmodic endings for each of the eight tones. It was an important adjunct to the antiphoner during the latter's dissemination at the end of the 8th century, and its prolonged use in German-speaking areas until the end of the 13th century may be attributed to the continued need to memorize the chant....

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