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responsory

[ri-spon-suh-ree] /rɪˈspɒn sə ri/
noun, plural responsories. Ecclesiastical
1.
an anthem sung after a lection by a soloist and choir alternately.
Origin
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English < Late Latin respōnsōrium, equivalent to Latin respond(ēre) to respond + -tōrium -tory2, with dt > s
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for responsory

responsory

/rɪˈspɒnsərɪ/
noun (pl) -ries
1.
(Christianity) an anthem or chant consisting of versicles and responses and recited or sung after a lesson in a church service
Word Origin
C15: from Late Latin rēsponsōrium, from Latin rēspondēre to answer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for responsory

respond

plainchant melody and text originally sung responsorially-i.e., by alternating choir and soloist or soloists. Responsorial singing of the psalms was adopted into early Christian worship from Jewish liturgical practice. Most frequently the congregation sang a short refrain, such as Amen or Alleluia, between psalm verses sung by a cantor. As medieval plainchant developed, more elaborate refrains (R) were sung by a choir alternating with soloists singing psalm verses (V), producing a musical form R V1 R V2R. The responsory, or refrain, was frequently abbreviated on its repetition. Its text usually related to the meaning of the feast day or the content of the psalm. Only a few such chants survive in this long form, which is now normally curtailed.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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