responsory

responsory

[ri-spon-suh-ree]
noun, plural responsories. Ecclesiastical.
an anthem sung after a lection by a soloist and choir alternately.

Origin:
1375–1425; late Middle English < Late Latin respōnsōrium, equivalent to Latin respond(ēre) to respond + -tōrium -tory2, with dt > s

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responsory (rɪˈspɒnsərɪ)
 
n , pl -ries
Christianity an anthem or chant consisting of versicles and responses and recited or sung after a lesson in a church service
 
[C15: from Late Latin rēsponsōrium, from Latin rēspondēre to answer]

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Encyclopedia Britannica
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responsory

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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