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Masses and the Office

Propers and Ordinaries

 By their texts
 Biblical or non-Biblical
 Prose or poetry
 By their manner of performance
 Antiphonal (alternating choirs
 Responsorial (choir answers soloist)
 Direct (one choir)
 By their musical style
 Syllabic (one note per syllable)
 Melismatic (several notes per syllable)
 Text setting
 Musical contours generally reflect the way Latin words
were pronounced, prominent syllables set to higher
notes or a melisma
 Florid chants often throw this out the window

 Melodic Structure
 Melodies are divided into phrases and period
corresponding to the text
 Often are arch-shaped, starting low and going higher
towards the mid-point, then returning lower
C. Chant Forms
–Two balanced phrases (typical of psalm tones,
corresponds to two haves of a typical psalm verse)

–Same melody set to several stanzas of text (strophic, ex.


–Free form (original or incorporating formulas in an

original composition
The Ordinary The Propers
2. Kyrie “…eleison.. Christe 1. Introit
eleison… Kyrie eleison” 4. Gradual
3. Gloria “.. in excelsis Deo” 5. Alleluia
6. Credo “… in unum Deo” 7. Offertory
8. Sanctus “Sanctus…” 10. Communion
- “Benedictus qui venit…”
9. Agnus Dei “…qui tollis
peccata mundi”
 A series of eight services celebrated daily
 Matins (Te Deum)
 Lauds (Benedictus Dominus)
 Prime
 Terce
 Sext
 None
 Vespers (Magnificat)
 Compline (Nunc dimittis)
 Members of monasteries and convents observe both
the Office and the Mass.
 The Rule of St. Benedict (ca. 530) codified practices for
monastic life.
D. The musical elements of the Office
 Several psalms
 A chant (antiphon) would be sung before and after the
 Over the course of a normal week, all 150 psalms would be
sung at least once.
2. Bible readings with musical responses called
3. Hymns
4. Canticles (poems from the Bible, but not part of the
Book of Psalms)
 Books were copied by hand in the Middle Ages.
 Books for the Mass
 Texts are in the Missal
 Chants are in the Gradual
 Books for the Office
 Texts are in the Breviary
 Chants are in the Antiphoner

B.Modern books
 The Liber Usualis (Book of Common Use)
B. Psalm tones (NAWM 4a)
 formulas for singing psalms in the Office designed to fit
any psalm

 One formula for each of the eight church modes plus

one extra formula (Tonus peregrinus, which has two
reciting tones)
B. Structure of the psalm tone
 Psalms have two-part verses.
b.Intonation: a rising motive for the beginning of the first verse
of the psalm
c. Tenor: reciting pitch, used for the majority of the syllables
d.Mediant: cadence formula for the mid-point of a psalm verse
e. Termination: final cadence formula for the end of each psalm
verse (variable)
C. After all the verses of the psalm have been
chanted the choir sings the Lesser Doxology (Gloria
 Added to psalms to reflect the church
 Texts
 Biblical
 Original
 Refer to the event or person being commemorated that day
 Relationship to psalm (NAWM 4a)
 The mode of the antiphon determined which psalm tone
would be used for the psalm.
b. The opening motive of the antiphon determined which of the
several possible terminations would be used (designated by
the letters EUOUAE).
4. Performance
 As in the Intriot except two half-choirs alternate singing the
psalm verses or half-verses.
 The choir sings a hymn in every Office.
 Strophic text-setting: all stanzas sung to the same music
 Melodies
 Move by seconds and thirds
 Arch-shaped contour, with a peak toward the middle
 Musicians continued to add to the repertoire even after
standardization in the eighth and ninth centuries.
 Three additions
 Tropes
 Sequences
 Liturgical dramas
 Expansion on an existing chant in order to increase its
 3 types of tropes
1. Adding new words and music before the chant and often
between phrases (most common)
a. found often with Introits and Glorias
b.The new words often explained or expanded on the original
text (e.g., NAWM 3a and NAWM 6).
2. Adding melody by extending a melisma or creating new
ones (NAWM 6)
3. Adding text (called prosula or “prose”) to existing
Sung by soloists

Usually neumatic

Fl. 10-11th centuries, declined 12th, banned in the 16th

century by the Council of Trent
 Popular 9-12th century.
 Sung after Alleluia in the mass
 Melodies may have originated as melismas that replaced the
jubilus of the Alleluia
 Newly written texts
 Notker Balbulus (“The Stammerer,” ca. 840–914) is the most
famous early writer of sequence texts (see HWM Source
Reading, page 67).
 Syllabic settings
 Mostly in paired verses
 A BB CC DD…….X
 Mode usually clear (most phrases end on the final)
 Although not part of the liturgy, plays that were linked
to the liturgy are called liturgical dramas.
 Ex. NAWM 6 (which is also a trope)
Hildegard von Bingen

Lived 1098 – 1179-

One of the first known composers, first for whom we

have a large body of work, and first WOMAN
composer whose name we know.

-Abbess of a large monastery in South Germany

-- author, counselor, linguist, naturalist, scientist,

philosopher, physician, herbalist, poet, channeller,
visionary, composer, and polymath

-Claimed that her music was a gift from God, she was
merely a “feather on the breathe of God.”

-Wrote primarily antiphons and responsories for the

Office, and sequences for Masses, usually dedicated
to locally-important saints.

-Her Ordo Virtutum earliest surviving music drama