liturgical chant

Encyclopedia

liturgical chant

the Gregorian chant (q.v.) and, by extension, other similar religious chants. The word derives from the 13th-century Latin term cantus planus ("plain song"), referring to the unmeasured rhythm and monophony (single line of melody) of Gregorian chant, as distinguished from the measured rhythm of polyphonic (multipart) music, called cantus mensuratus, or cantus figuratus ("measured," or "figured," song). Its other main application is to ancient Christian music with the same unmeasured rhythm and monophony-in the West, Ambrosian, Gallican, and Mozarabic chants (qq.v.); in the East, Byzantine, Syrian, Coptic, Ethiopian, and Armenian chants (qq.v.). It may also refer to similar non-Christian religious music, such as Jewish and Hindu chants.

Learn more about liturgical chant with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: liturgical
Next Definition: liturgical drama
Words Near: liturgical chant
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for liturgical chant
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing liturgical chant
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature