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Many of the terms listed below overlap one another in meaning a great deal. Not everyone will draw the same line of demarcation between, for example, a hymn and a song, for example; the terms “antiphon, ”"response, ’’and “refrain”are likewise often almost indistinguishable one from the other. The definitions below are intended to provide a basic understanding of the vocabulary currently in use in the United States regarding music ministry in the Catholic Church.
   Please note that obviously there is a tremendous amount of music in print today, and the needs of every parish are different. The list ofsuggested resources below does not include the following:
• hymnals
ANTIPHON: A brief refrain, with or without chanted psalm verses, sung at the Entrance, Offertory, or Communion of the Eucharistic Liturgy. Antiphons also precede and follow each of the psalms and canticles in the Liturgy of the Hours. (Please also see entry for “Response/Antiphon/Refrain”).
• annual subscription resources
ANTIPHONAL FORM: From the Greek antiphonon, (“sounding against” or “singing opposite”), this style of singing usually involves a back-and-forth singing of one group in alternation with another.
• bilingual and multilingual music resources
ASSEMBLY: All those who gather for liturgical worship make up the assembly, the body of Christ, the Church. However, the assembly is ordered hierarchically, arranged by rank and function.
   Each of the major publishers of musicfor Catholic worship carries its own selection of the above, and each has its advantages and disadvantages, many of which come down to personal taste. Serious cantors and liturgical musicians will want, over time, to build up their own library of these resources, as no single hymnal or collection has everything one could ever need.
CANTICLE: Any scriptural song not found in the book of Psalms. These form an integral part of the Liturgy of the Hours and are often found in our Sunday worship as well, taking the place of the Responsorial Psalm. Examples of scriptural canticles found in the Sunday Lectionary are the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) and the Canticle of Daniel or Canticle of the Three Children (Daniel 3:57-88).
Responsorial Psalms and Gospel Acclamations
CANTOR: The minister of the sung or chanted prayers for a worshiping community. In the Roman Catholic Church, the cantor performs three dis-tinct functions: as song leader or animator, he or she leads and assists the assembly in their music; as psalmist, he or she proclaims the sung Responsorial Psalm as part of the Liturgy of the Word; and when there is no leadership necessary, he or she functions simply as a member of the assembly, modeling the participation to which all are invited.
   The following publications contain all the Lectionary Responsorial Psalms and Gospel verses, along with varied Gospel Acclamation responses, needed for all Sundays and solemnities of the liturgical year. For the most part, verses are chanted to psalm tones and refrains are brief and easy to sing.
CHANT (OR PLAINCHANT): Often incorrectly used as synonymous with the term “Gregorian chant,” this more general term refers to any form of vocal music which is sung without specific rhythmic values assigned to indi-vidual notes; its rhythmic impetus is usually driven by the text.1 The term “chant,” as a translation of the Latin cantus, is also used throughout the General Instruction on the Roman Missal to refer to most pieces of music throughout the liturgy.
From GIA Publications:
CHANT NOTATION: The precursor to our contemporary musical nota-tion. Chant notation, also called “neume” or “neumatic” notation, had four staff lines instead of five; the shape of the note-heads (called “neumes”) indi-cated the relative length of the note.
Psalms for the Revised Common Lectionary (Guimont)
COMMUNION ANTIPHON: Please see entry for “Antiphon.”
The Cantor's Book of Gospel Acclamations (Guimont)
CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY (SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM): “In the reform and promotion of the liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else. For it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit . . . ”2 The first constitution promul-gated by the Second Vatican Council, this document forms the basis for all our corporate worship and includes sections on the participation of the assem-bly, liturgical inculturation, the Liturgy of the Hours, the liturgical year, and sacred music and art.
The Gelineau Gradual (Gelineau)
DIVINE OFFICE: Please see entry for “Liturgy of the Hours.”
Respond and Acclaim (OCP)
ENTRANCE ANTIPHON: Please see entry for “Antiphon.”
From OCP Publications:
EUCHARISTIC ACCLAMATIONS: The moments during the eucha- ristic prayer that invite the assembly’s response. These consist of the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy), the Memorial Acclamation, and the Great Amen and the acclamations in Masses with children. The Sanctus and Great Amen always use the same text. Options for the Memorial Acclamation include “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again”; “Dying, you destroyed our death; rising, you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory”; “Lord, by your cross and resurrection you have set us free; you are the savior of the world”; and “When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come again.”3
A Lectionary Psalter (Schiavone)
EUCHARISTIC PRAYER: The prayer that is “the center and summit of the entire [eucharistic] celebration begins”4 immediately following the prepa-ration of the altar with the preface dialogue: “The Lord be with you ...” and continues unbroken through the Great Amen as a single prayer. Its elements usually include thanksgiving, acclamation, anamnesis (making present the memory of Christ’s meal and sacrifice), institution narrative (the retelling of the Last Supper), petition, and the final doxology (“Through him, with him, in him . . . culminating in the Great Amen.
From World Library Publications:
Psalms and Ritual Music, Cycle A Psalms and Ritual Music, Cycle B Psalms and Ritual Music, Cycle C
The document of the Roman Catholic Church dealing specifically with the celebration of the Mass. It contains highly specific instructions regarding almost every area of the eucharistic liturgy, including those parts of the lit-urgy that incorporate music. The primary reference document for discovering almost any aspect of liturgical celebration.
Chant Resources
GLORIA: Hymn of praise sung as part of the Introductory Rites of the Mass at all Sunday celebrations outside of Lent and Advent, and at all solem-nities and feasts.5
By Flowing Waters, Paul Ford, Liturgical Press, 1999.
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION: Normally accompanies the procession with the Book of the Gospels. In this song of praise, the assembly “welcomes and greets the Lord who is about to speak to them in the Gospel.”6 It consists of an assembly response (“Alleluia” for most of the year, which is replaced by a different response during the Lenten season7) and a Gospel verse, usually intoned by the cantor.
   A collection of over 700 unaccompanied chants for use in the lit-urgy, containing psalms, Entrance and Communion antiphons, Mass settings (with both English and Latin versions for many of the chants), and much more. An invaluable and accessible resource for choirs, direc-tors, and assemblies seeking to familiarize themselves with the Church’s tradition of chant singing.
GREGORIAN CHANT: A specific body of music from the Middle Ages, written in chant (or “plainchant”) form. Generally ascribed by legend to Saint Gregory the Great, this body of chant makes up the bulk of the extant music we have from the earlier centuries of the Roman Church. Gregorian chant is “distinctive of the Roman liturgy . . . and should be given pride of place in liturgical services.”8
Psallite (Cycle A, B, and C), Liturgical Press, 2005, 2006,2007
HYMN (STROPHIC HYMN): Musical form in which the melody for a verse is repeated several times with different text for each verse, or “strophe” (for example, “Joy to the World”).
   A comprehensive collection of psalms and antiphons for the litur-gical calendar, in English, including the proper Entrance and Communion Antiphons for all Sundays of all three liturgical cycles. An excellent resource that is providing many parishes with the opportunity to reintroduce chant singing into their parish repertoire.
LEADER OF SONG: A function of the cantor. The Leader of Song is pri-marily responsible for fostering musical participation from the assembly through strong musical leadership, proper gesture, facial expression, and invitation.
The Roman Gradual/Graduate Romanum (Solesmnes)
LITANIC FORM: In the form of a litany. (Please also see “Responsorial Form.”)
   Available through many different publishers, this is the primary collection of Latin chant, containing the propers for the entire liturgical year, the ritual and votive Masses, sanctoral cycle, and the complete “Kyriale,” the collection of all the chants for 17 different Mass settings as well as additional music. The volume is entirely in Latin, and the chants are in “neume” (4-line) notation.
A Gregorian Chant Handbook, William Tortolano, GIA Publications, 2005 A clear and concise guide to learning to read chant (square-note, or neumatic) notation for the person with no prior experience.
LITANY: A call-and-response petitionary prayer—such as the Prayer of the Faithful; Litany of the Saints; or Lord, Have Mercy—in which petitions sung or recited by a cantor or leader alternate with a brief fixed response by the assembly.
Music Development Resources
LITURGICAL MUSIC TODAY (LMT): The 1983 document from the United States Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy that elaborates on some of the specific issues and concerns not covered in Music in Catholic Worship.
Sight-Sing a New Song, Jennifer Kerr Breedlove, World Library Publications, 2004
LITURGY: From the Greek “leitourgia,” originally meaning a public act (the “work of the people”) performed for the good of the community. In the Roman Catholic Church, the word is used in reference to any of the official rites of the Church as found in the Roman ritual books. This would include, for example, the Liturgy of the Hours, word services, and celebrations of sac-raments (Baptism, Marriage) within and outside of Mass, as well as the eucharistic Liturgy of the Mass.9
   Designed both for classroom use and for self-study with a keyboard, this method gives a basic introduction to the skills of sight-reading and musical notation, specifically geared to the needs of the volunteer singer.
LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST: Begins with the Preparation of the Gifts and includes the eucharistic prayer with its acclamations, Rite of Communion, and Prayer after Communion.
The Care and Feeding of Singers: A Handbook of Choral Vocalises, William Ferris, World Library Publications, 1993.
LITURGY OF THE HOURS: Also known as the “Divine Office,” this is the cycle of prayers, psalms, and canticles specified for the specific hours of the day. Originally consisting of eight different daily prayer times (Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline). Morning Prayer (Lauds) and Evening Prayer (Vespers) are the “chief hours,” the “two hinges on which the daily office turns.”10 Each office contains hymns, psalms, canti-cles, petitions, and other prayers.
   A collection of vocal exercises aimed at developing healthy vocal techniques for singers as well as honing listening and intonation skills within a larger group.
LITURGY OF THE WORD: The first of the two main parts of the Mass, which encompasses the readings from scripture, the singing of the psalm, the proclamation of the Gospel, the homily, the Profession of Faith, and the Prayer of the Faithful.
Winning Warm-ups for the Voice, Kathleen van de Graaf, Domenico Productions, Inc., 1999.
MUSIC IN CATHOLIC WORSHIP (MCW): The 1972 document from the United States Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy addressing issues of music ministry following the Second Vatican Council.
   A 60-minute CD of vocal warm-ups for singers enabling the singer to vocalize systematically through all parts of their registers with-out use of a piano. Available in versions for female high voice, female low voice, male high voice, and male low voice. A second CD, More Winning Warm-ups for the Voice, is also available, as is a 92-page book titled A Systematic Approach to Voice Exercises (also by Kathleen van de Graaf).
NEUME: Note-head used in Chant Notation (please see Chant Notation).
What Every Musician Needs to Know about the Body, Barbara H. Conable and Bnjamin J. Conable, GIA Publications, Inc., 1998, 2000.
OFFERTORY SONG: The song sung as the gifts are brought forward and the altar prepared for the celebration of the Eucharist.
   Based on a six-hour course of the same name, this book explains an approach to healthy and efficient use of the human skeletal and mus-culature systems, known as “body mapping.” This book relies on illus-trations, diagrams, and charts to give a very clear and understandable explanation of the workings of the entire body.
ORDINARY: The liturgical texts that remain unchanged from Sunday to Sunday. These include the Kyrie Eleison (Lord, Have Mercy), the Gloria, the Profession of Faith or Creed (or Credo), the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy), and the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God).
Liturgical Resources
PRAYER OF THE FAITHFUL: Litanic prayer of petition offered by the gathered assembly, offered for the Church and the world as well as the local community. The final element that closes the Liturgy of the Word at a eucha-ristic liturgy.
General Instruction of the Roman Missal, USCCB Publishing, 2002.
PRELUDE: A piece of music played or sung prior to the Entrance Song of a liturgy. It is not a formal part of any liturgical rites.
   The basic “handbook” for how to do liturgy in the Roman Catholic Church, with a great deal of information regarding sacred music. Basic reading for any Roman Catholic, especially one involved in ministry of any kind. Available in LTP’s The Liturgy Documents, Fourth Edition, Volume 1.
PROPER: Texts in the liturgy that change week to week based on the litur-gical calendar. These include the readings from scripture; the Responsorial Psalm; the Entrance, Offertory, and Communion antiphons; and many of the presidential prayers.
Music in Catholic Worship: The NPM Commentary, ed. Virgil Funk, NPM, 1983.
PSALM: Any of the 150 poem-songs from the book of Psalms in the Old Testament of scripture.
   Another collection of previously published articles, this book takes each of the five sections of the U.S. Bishops’ document Music in Catholic Worship one at a time. Each section is printed in its entirety and then followed by four or five articles addressing the issues presented by each section.
PSALM TONE: A simple melodic formula used for chanting the verses of psalms.
Singing Our Worship, J. Michael McMahon, a pastoral musician’s guide to the General Instruction on the Roman Missal 2000, NPM, 2002.
PSALMIST: The role taken by the cantor during the proclamation of the Responsorial Psalm. This moment is distinct from other parts of the cantor’s ministry. Here, the cantor is a minister of the word, proclaiming scripture in song.
   Only 32 pages long, this booklet addresses very specifically those aspects of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal that pertain to music ministry. Its uncluttered and readable clarity makes this an excel-lent resource for musicians curious about the GIRM and its impact on music.
REFRAIN: Please see entry for “Response/Antiphon/Refrain.”
Sourcebook for Sundays and Seasons, LTP.
RESPONSE/ANTIPHON/REFRAIN: These three terms tend to be used almost interchangeably in the contemporary Church, although each has a slightly different connotation. “Refrain” is a musical term (referring to struc-ture), “Response” is a functional term, and “Antiphon” is a liturgical term. Normally, “Antiphon” is reserved for specific moments in the liturgy (please see entry for “antiphon”) and for the psalms in the Divine Office. In the Responsorial Psalm, the terms “refrain” and “response” are often used synony-mously by different publishers and musicians, although the term “response” may be preferable in that it connotes the dialogic nature of the psalm in a way that “refrain” does not. For the same reason, the people’s part in a litany is usually referred to as a “response.” When speaking about a song in verse- refrain form, obviously, the term “refrain” would be used.
   An annual resource that provides information about the seasons and daily liturgical observances. Helpfid for familiarization with Roman Catholic liturgy.
RESPONSORIAL FORM: A dialogic form of singing alternating between cantor and assembly. Most easily identified in the singing of the Responsorial Psalm, in which the cantor proclaims the psalm verses and the people respond with their fixed refrain, this form can also be used at other points in the liturgy. (Litanic form is a subcategory of responsorial form, in which the cantor’s part forms a petitionary prayer and the people’s response is usually quite brief.)
The Way We Worship: Pastoral Reflections on the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, ed. Gordon E. Truitt, NPM, 2003.
RITUAL MUSIC/SACRED MUSIC: Any music that forms an integral part of the Roman Catholic Liturgy. “The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art ... . Therefore sacred music will be the more holy the more it is joined to the liturgical rite.”11
   A collection of articles from “A General Instruction Primer” to items on liturgical catechesis, music, liturgical law, and pastoral theol-ogy designed to give ministers a clear, readable, easily grasped view of the GIRM.
ROMAN GRADUAL: Contains the chants for the ordinary and proper of the Mass.
Prayer Resources
ROMAN MISSAL: The complete texts and rubrics used for the celebration of the Mass in the Roman rite.
At Home with the Word, LTR
SACRED MUSIC: Please see “Ritual Music.”
   An annual resource providing insights regarding the scriptures for Sundays.
SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM: Please see Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.
A Music Sourcebook, compiled by Alan J. Hommerding and Diana Kodner, LTR 1997.
SEASONAL RESPONSORIAL PSALM: The Lectionary makes provi-sion for certain psalms to replace the weekly “proper” psalms for those parishes for whom learning the entire cycle of psalmody would be too difficult. Several psalms are specified for use during different seasons of the liturgical year.
   One of LTP’s “sourcebook” series, this volume contains quotes from prayers, scripture, songs, writings of famous musicians, and count-less other sources.
SEQUENCE: A liturgical hymn sung immediately following the second reading. The sequence appears in the eucharistic liturgy on the solemnities of Easter Sunday (and throughout the octave), Pentecost, Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, and the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. Please note that it is only required on Easter Sunday and Pentecost.12
Blessed Are the Music-Makers, Alan J. Hommerding, World Library Publications, 2004.
SIMPLE GRADUAL: Contains alternate antiphons for the Entrance, Offertory, and Communion Chants. They are simpler melodies than those in the Roman Gradual.
   Unlike most other collections of prayers for music ministers, this book is specifically intended to provide immediately accessible, season-ally relevant, brief, and musically rewarding prayer services suitable for beginning or ending rehearsals or meetings. An invaluable resource!
SONG FORM: Also known as “verse-refrain” form. Musical form in which verses (with identical melody but different texts) of music alternate with a consistent refrain (identical melody and text). Examples include “Blest Are They” and “On Eagle’s Wings.”
A Pastoral Musicians Book of Days, compiled by Gordon E. Truitt, NPM, 2000.
STROPHE: One verse, or stanza, of a strophic hymn. (Please see “hymn.”)
   Generally following the Roman calendar for feasts and memorials, this book includes reflections not only for those saints we would nor-mally expect but also marks the birthdates of composers such as Praetorius and Verdi, as well as key people such as Charles Wesley and Martin Luther King Jr.
THROUGH-COMPOSED FORM: Term commonly given to pieces of music with no set repetitions or refrains. In the liturgy, this form is the Eucharistic Acclamation, and sometimes the Gloria.13
Prayers for Those Who Make Music, compiled by David Philippart, LTP, 1996.
1. Please note that the term “chant” will find other usage, especially in world music and the songs of Taize, where this definition might not apply.
   A prayer book for cantors, choir members, instrumentalists, choir directors.
2. SC, #14.
With Every Note I Sing. David Haas. GIA Publications, 1995.
3. As of the date of publication, the acclamation “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again” is still in use in English-speaking countries. This may change with the promulgation of the revised English translation of the Roman Missal.
   A prayer book for cantors and vocalists.
4. G1RM, #78.
In Shining Splendor. Richard Fragomeni, World Library Publications, 2006.
5. The Gloria should not be sung during Advent and Lent with the exception of the solemnities of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, and the Annunciation as well as the feasts of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Chair of Saint Peter.
   Reflections and meditations on the Exultet.
6. GIRM, #62.
For Further Reading
7. Many Lenten acclamations are provided in the Lectionary, #223.
Cantor Basics, Revised Edition. Jim Hanson, Melanie Coddington, Joe Simmons, OCP, 2003.
8. SC, #116.
   This revised classic provides liturgical information, recruitment strategies, technical skills, and spiritual tips for cantors.
Psalmist and Cantor: A Pastoral Music Resource, ed. Gorton Truitt, NPM, 2005.
9. It should be noted that in the Eastern churches, the term “liturgy” or “Divine Liturgy” refers only to the celebration of the Eucharist. The word “Mass” is not a part of their tradition.
   A slim volume containing seven brief articles about aspects of the ministry of the cantor such as being psalmist, preserving vocal health, animating assembly song, recruitment of young cantors, and so on.
10. SC, #89.a.
Handbook for Cantors, Diana Kodner, LTP, 1997.
11. SC, #112.
   A must for anyone in the cantor ministry; this book pursues some more specific issues which the smaller Guides cannot address, including more information regarding psalm tones, gesturing, weddings and funerals, how to teach music to an assembly, and much more.
The Musicians Soul, James Jordan, GIA Publications, Inc., 1999.
12. See GIRM, #64.
The Musicians Spirit: Connecting to Others through Story, James Jordan, GIA Publications, Inc., 2002.
13. At the time of this printing, responsorial settings of the Gloria are appropriate for liturgical use in the dioceses of the United States.
The Musician’s Walk: An Ethical Labyrinth, James Jordan, GIA Publications, Inc., 2006.
   Each book in this trilogy by renowned conductor James Jordan is like a retreat on paper, deserving of being read and reread, with quotes from musicians and others are interspersed with Dr. Jordan’s own reflec-tions on music and music-making.
Let All Things Now Living
The Parish Cantor: Helping Catholics Pray in Song. GIA Music, 1991.
1. Let all things now living A song of thanksgiving
   A basic, pastoral book regarding the liturgical role of the cantor. The Singer’s Ego: Finding Balance Between Music and Life, Lynn Eustis, GIA Publications, Inc., 2005.
To God our Creator triumphantly raise;
   An acclaimed singer and voice teacher, in this very personal mem- oir-like account of her own experiences, addresses many of the concerns unique to vocal musicians.
Who fashioned and made us,
Video Resources
Protected and stayed us,
I Will Call God’s Name. GIA Music, 1995.
By guiding us onto the end of our days.
   This two-volume VHS features David Hass and Bonnie Faber presenting a workshop on cantor skills.
God's banners are o'er us,
Teach Us to Pray: Praying the Psalms, St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2000.
Pure light goes before us,
This video from the Catholic Update series presents catechesis, sto-ries, and witness about the psalms in Roman Catholic liturgy. Features composer David Haas.
A pillar of fire shining forth in the night: Till shadows have vanished And darkness is banished,
As forward we travelfrom light into Light.
National Association of Pastoral Musicians NPM
2. His law he enforces,
962 Wayne Avenue, Suite 210 Silver Spring MD 20910-4461
The stars in their courses,
American Guild of Organists 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1260 New York NY 10115
The sun in its orbit obediently shine,
Music Publishers
The hills and the mountains,
GIA Music, Inc.
The rivers andfountains,
7404 South Mason Avenue Chicago IL 60638
The depths of the ocean proclaim God divine. We, too, should be voicing Our love and rejoicing With glad adoration, a song let us raise:
Till all things now living Unite in thanksgiving,
The Liturgical Press Saint John’s Abbey PO Box 7500
To God in the highest, hosanna and praise.
Collegeville MN 56321-7500
Oregon Catholic Press 5536 NE Hassalo Portland OR 97213-3638
World Library Publications J. S. Paluch Company, Inc. 3708 River Rd. Suite 400 Franklin Park IL 60131