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Music or musical texture in which a melody is performed by two or more parts simultaneously in more than one way, for example, one voice performing it simply, and the other with embellishment.

Gregorian chant

The repertory of ecclesiastical chant used in the Roma Catholic Church

Old Roman chant

A repertory of ecclesiastical chant preserved in the 11th and 12th century manuscripts from Rome representing a local tradition; a near relative of Gregorian Chant.


Having to do with intervals. In diastematic motion, the voice moves between sustained pitches separated by discrete intervals; in diastemiatic notation, the approximate intervals are indicated by relative height.


is a mnemonic which was used in medieval music to denote the sequence of tones in the "seculorum Amen" passage of the Lesser Doxology, Gloria Patri, which ends with the phrase In saecula saeculorum, Amen. In plainchant sources, the differentia, that is, the melodic formula to be sung at the end of every line of chanted psalmody, would be written over either the letters EUOUAE, or merely E----E, representing the first and last vowel of "seculorum Amen."

Musica mundane

Together with musica humana and muscia instrumentalis, these three kinds of music were identified by Boethius, standing for the "music" or numerical relationships governing the movement of stars, planets and the season.

Musica humana

the "music" that harmonizes the human body and soul and their parts

Musica instrumentalis

audible music produced by voices or instruments.

Church modes

Modes which are differentiated by the arrangement of whole and half steps in relationship to a final, the main note of the mode and usually the last note in the melody. Authentic and Plagal mode are the two major modes of this kind.


A mode in which the range normally extends from a step below the final to an octave above it.


A mode in a which the range normally extends from a fourth (or fifth) below the final to a fifth or sixth above it.

Reciting tone

The second most important note in a mode (after the final), often emphasized in chant and used for reciting text in a psalm tone.


(from Greek, "six strings") 1) A set of six pitches. 2) In medieval and Renaissance solmization, the six notes represented by the syllables ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la, which could be transposed to three positions: the "natural" hexachord, C-D-E-F-G-A; the "hard" hexachord, G-A-B-C-D-E; and the "soft" hexachord, F-G-A-B flat- C-D.


A method of assigning syllables to steps in a scale, used to make it easier to identify and sing the whole tones and semitones in a melody.

Guidonian hand

A mnemonic device used to assist singers in learning to sight singing. Each joint of the hand stood for one of the twenty notes of the system and other notes were considered "outside the hand."Teachers pointed to the different joints of the finger to teach their students intervals.


The prescribed body of texts to be spoken or sung and ritual actions to be performed in a religious service.


In chant, having about one to weven notes (or one neume) sun to each syllable of text.


Of a melody, having many long melodic passages which sung to single syllable of text.

Psalm tone

A melodic formula for singing psalms in the office. There is one psalm tone for each mode.

Lesser Doxology

Doxology is a formula of praise to the Trinity. Lesser Doxology is one of the two forms used in Gregorian chant. It is used with psalms, introits and other chants.


A liturgical chant that precedes and follows a psalm or canticle in the Office. 2) In the mass, a chant originally associated with antiphonal psalmody; specifically, the communion and the first and final portion of the introit.


The singing of psalms.

Ite, missa est

It is the dismissal of Liturgy of the Eucharist, during which the priest chants the dismissal and the choir responds.The name for the service comes from missa ("Mass" in English).


(from Latin tractus, "drawn out") Item in the mass proper that replaces the Alleluia on certain days in Lent, comprising a series of psalm verses


Addition to an existing chant, consisting of words and melody; a melisma; or words only, set to an existing melisma or other melody.

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