Music 2115

Study Guide for Chapter 4

"The Roman Liturgy"


(This material is taken from several different parts of the text. Some of it does not appear in the text at all, but will appear on quizzes.)


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The Liturgical Year
The Mass
The Services
Structure of the Mass
The Offices
Tropes & Troping


The Liturgical Year or Traditional Church Calendar

(This is important. Memorize it. Read the textbook to help get it straight in your mind.)

Two overlapping calendars

The Seasons of the Church Year represent the major events in Jesus' life
The beginning and end of each season are related to two important dates, Christmas (always on the same date) and Easter (a variable date)

A seplarate calendar of Saints' days and Feasts is overlaid

For any specific day, the importance of the date on each of the two calendars determines which liturgy (meaning which texts) is used

The Seasons of the Church Year

Advent begins on the 4th Sunday before Christmas (a variable date between November 27 and December 3)

Christmas begins on Christmas day (a fixed date--December 25)

Epiphany begins on the Feast of Epiphany (a fixed date--January 6 ("12th Night")

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, 6 1/2 weeks before Easter (a variable date betwen February 4 and March 10)

Easter begins on Easter Sunday (a variable date between March 22 and April 25)

Pentacost begins on Pentacost (a variable date between May 10 and June 13--the 7th Sunday after Easter--and lasts until the first day of Advent)

The religious services of the early church

Two types of service, each with its own special music--know this
The Mass: a combination of a teaching service and the re-creation of the Last Supper, called Communion or Eucharist

The Offices: prayer services held eight times every day

Unlike some modern churches--especially evangelical protestant--the Catholic Church uses a prayerbook and other books which specify not only when and how prayers are to be used, but gives the approved texts of the prayers and other elements of the liturgy. Those protestant churches that retained parts of this liturgical approach include the Anglican (Episcopalian) and Lutheran Churches.

The Daily Offices or Canonical Hours--Memorize this

A routine of daily prayer services
Established by St. Benedict in the 6th century

Observed strictly in monasteries, less strictly outside them

The schedule has tended to become simplified over the centuries

The schedule--Memorize this

Matins: just after midnight

Lauds: before dawn (3 am)

Prime: 6 am (the first hour)

Terce: 9 am (the third hour)

Sext: noon (the 6th hour)

None: 3 pm (the 9th hour)

Vespers: sunset

Compline: before bed (9 pm)

The services--Define the emphasized terms

All include:
Chanting of scripture lessons with responses

Singing of hymns

Chanting of Psalms or Psalm verses framed by Antiphons

Some include special music:--Learn these

Matins: Old Testament Canticle with Antiphon

Lauds: "Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel" (Luke1:68-79) with Antiphon

Vespers: "Magnificat anima mea Dominum" (Luke 1:46-55) with Antiphon

Compline: "Nunc dimittis" (Luke 2:29-32) with Antiphon

The Catholic Mass (c. 1014-1963)--Learn these terms

Three general ways of performing Mass
Low Mass: the entire liturgy is spoken

High Mass: certain parts of the liturgy are spoken, others are chanted or (later in history) sung in polyphony

Solemn High Mass: the entire liturgy is sung and the music is very elaborate

Two halves of the Mass

The Foremass or Liturgy of Instruction includes readings from the Old Testament (later dropped), the Gospels, and the rest of the New Testament, and ends with the "Credo"--the confession of faith
In the early church, those not yet baptized had to leave at this point

The Liturgy of Communion (or Eucharist) centers on the reenactment of the Last Supper with the sharing of bread and wine

Two kinds of texts in the Mass

The Ordinary of the Mass includes the texts "ordinarily" included in every Mass

The Proper of the Mass includes texts which changed according to the specific date or feast in order to be "proper" for the occasion

The Requiem Mass (or Mass for the Dead) omitted some of the joyful texts of the Ordinary and always included the same Proper

The Structure of the Catholic Mass--Memorize this
(The texts usually set to music are shown in red)
The Ordinary
The Proper

Liturgy of Instruction


Kyrie eleison

Gloria in excelsis Deo

Collect (prayer)

Epistle (reading from Pauline writings)

Gradual (from the steps)

Alleluia (or Tract at penitential times)

Sequence (for some feasts & requiem)

Gospel (reading from the Gospels)

Homily (sermon)


Liturgy of the Eucharist


Secret (prayer)

Preface (prayer)

Sanctus & Benedictus

Canon (prayers, end with Pater noster)

Agnus Dei

Communion (Last Supper & prayers)

Postcommunion (prayers)

Ite, missa est (or Benedicamus Domino with Response)

Tropes and troping--Learn the terms and meanings

Something added to existing chant
1. Words added to an existing chant melisma

2. Music added to create or extend a melisma

3. New music with text added before, within, or after an existing chant

Practice began in the 9th century Carolingian Empire

Monasteries of St. Gall (in modern Switzerland) and St. Martial (at Limoges) were centers of troping

One of the first names associated with troping is Notker Balbulus (Notker the Stammerer), who wrote the Liber Ymnorum (Book of Hymns)

Other forms based on existing chant (tropes?)

Based on existing melismas at the end of the Alleluia (the "Jubilus")

Then new music added, with new words

Later became independent pieces with original words and music

Liturgical drama

Began as introductory tropes to specific chants

Dialogue tropes to the Introit became the first liturgical dramas

Centers included Winchester Cathedral in England and the Abbeys of St. Gall and St. Martial in the 10th century

The most numerous were more than 400, simple to elaborate, for the Introits of the Masses for Easter and Christmas, beginning "Quem quaeritis in sepulcro" (Who comes to the tomb?) or "Quem quaeritis in praesepio" (Who comes to the manger?)


Began with the improvization of a second melody, sung along with an existing chant (treated in Chapter 5)

First described in two mid-9th century treatises, not as a theoretical idea but as a description of something that was already being done

Those treatises used a bizarre early notation that shows exactly what the notes were

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