antiphon

antiphon

[an-tuh-fon]
noun
1.
a verse or song to be chanted or sung in response.
2.
Ecclesiastical.
a.
a psalm, hymn, or prayer sung in alternate parts.
b.
a verse or a series of verses sung as a prelude or conclusion to some part of the service.

Origin:
1490–1500; < Medieval Latin antiphōna responsive singing < Greek () antíphōna, neuter plural of antíphōnos sounding in answer, equivalent to anti- anti- + phōn() sound + -os adj. suffix. Cf. anthem

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World English Dictionary
antiphon (ˈæntɪfən)
 
n
1.  a short passage, usually from the Bible, recited or sung as a response after certain parts of a liturgical service
2.  a psalm, hymn, etc, chanted or sung in alternate parts
3.  any response or answer
 
[C15: from Late Latin antiphōna sung responses, from Late Greek, plural of antiphōnon (something) responsive, from antiphōnos, from anti- + phōnē sound]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

antiphon
c.1500, "a versicle sung responsively," from Fr. antiphone, from M.L. antiphona, from Gk. antiphona, from anti- "over against" + phone "voice" (see fame). A re-adoption of the word which had become anthem in Eng. and lost its original meaning. Related: Antiphonal (1719); antiphony (1590s).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

antiphon

in Roman Catholic liturgical music, chant melody and text sung before and after a psalm verse, originally by alternating choirs (antiphonal singing). The antiphonal singing of psalms was adopted from Hebrew worship by the early Christian churches, notably that of Syria, and was introduced into the West in the 4th century by St. Ambrose. The two choirs both sang the psalm text or, alternatively, one choir sang a short refrain between the psalm verses (V) sung by the other choir. The refrain was called an antiphon (A). The resulting musical form was A V1 A V2 A. Actually, most of the presentations of the antiphon were in abbreviated form. The antiphon text normally referred to the meaning of the feast day or the psalm. Canticles from the New or Old Testament might also be sung in this way

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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