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cantillate

[kan-tl-eyt] /ˈkæn tlˌeɪt/
verb (used with object), cantillated, cantillating.
1.
to chant; intone.
Origin
1860-1865
1860-65; < Late Latin cantillātus sung low, hummed (past participle of cantillāre), equivalent to cant- sing (see cant1) + -ill- diminutive suffix + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
cantillation, noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for cantillation

cantillation

/ˌkæntɪˈleɪʃən/
noun
1.
the traditional notation representing the various traditional Jewish melodies to which scriptural passages are chanted
2.
chanting or intonation

cantillate

/ˈkæntɪˌleɪt/
verb
1.
to chant (passages of the Hebrew Scriptures) according to the traditional Jewish melody
2.
to intone or chant
Word Origin
C19: from Late Latin cantillāre to sing softly, from Latin cantāre to sing
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Encyclopedia Article for cantillation

in music, intoned liturgical recitation of scriptural texts, guided by signs originally devised as textual accents, punctuations, and indications of emphasis. Such signs, termed ecphonetic signs, appear in manuscripts of the 7th-9th century, both Jewish and Christian (Syrian, Byzantine, Armenian, Coptic). Although first intended to clarify the reading of the texts, they were apparently adopted as mnemonic devices to help the singer recall various melodic formulas. Their musical interpretation is thus dependent on a knowledge of the oral tradition through which the melodic formulas are transmitted. Today cantillation refers almost exclusively to the Jewish service

Learn more about cantillation with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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14
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