This category of chant was first defined by Isidore of Seville (c. 559–636): "Responsories are so called because a chorus responds in consonance to a soloist" (New Grove, 15: 759). Responsories were sung especially at matins, where they take on a particularly luxurious form known as the great responsory, but also at vespers and at mass in the Alleluia. The simplest form is in three parts: the respond sung by the choir, the psalm verse sung by the cantor, and the repetendum, the last segment of the original respond, sung by the choir.
   Reponsories are outnumbered in the repertory of Latin chant only by antiphons. The earliest source, the Hartker Antiphoner (c. 1000), contains 600 of them; the Worcester Antiphoner (13th century) almost 1,000. Responsories hold a proud place in the history of early polyphony, including settings in the Magnus Liber Organi (c. 1170). Some scholars believe that responsories were originally simple, perhaps sung by the congregation, in alternation with an entire psalm. As the trained choir took over the singing, the responds became musically elaborate, and the psalm was reduced to a single verse. In the new Roman Catholic liturgy of 1969, the "responsorial psalm" approximates the supposed ancient practice.

Historical dictionary of sacred music. . 2006.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Responsory — Re*spon so*ry (r?*sp?n s?*r?), a. Containing or making answer; answering. Johnson. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Responsory — Re*spon so*ry, n.; pl. { ries} ( r?z). [LL. responsorium.] 1. (Eccl.) (a) The answer of the people to the priest in alternate speaking, in church service. (b) A versicle sung in answer to the priest, or as a refrain. [1913 Webster] Which, if… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • responsory — [ri spän′sə rē] n. pl. responsories [ME responsorye < ML(Ec) responsorium, response (in worship)] Eccles. a responsive verse or set of verses, esp. from the Psalms, used as in the Divine Office …   English World dictionary

  • Responsory — A responsory or respond is a type of chant in western Christian liturgies. Contents 1 Definition 2 Structure and performance 3 Music 4 Notes …   Wikipedia

  • responsory — /ri spon seuh ree/, n., pl. responsories. Eccles. an anthem sung after a lection by a soloist and choir alternately. [1375 1425; late ME < LL responsorium, equiv. to L respond(ere) to RESPOND + torium TORY2, with dt > s] * * * ▪ vocal music also… …   Universalium

  • responsory — noun (plural ries) Etymology: Middle English, from Medieval Latin responsorium, from Latin respondēre Date: 15th century a set of versicles and responses sung or said after or during a lection …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • responsory — noun A chant or anthem recited after a reading in a church service …   Wiktionary

  • responsory — set of responses sung or said after liturgical reading Ecclesiastical Terms …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • responsory — [rɪ spɒns(ə)ri] noun (plural responsories) (in the Christian Church) an anthem said or sung by a soloist and choir after a lesson …   English new terms dictionary

  • responsory — n. (Mus.) Antiphonary …   New dictionary of synonyms

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