From Office to Mass

Anne Walters Robertson

in The Divine Office in the Latin Middle Ages

Published in print August 2000 | ISBN: 9780195124538
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199868421 | DOI:
From Office to Mass

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In at least five churches in northern France (Amiens, Bayeux, Chartres, St.-Corneille, and St.-Denis), an antiphon was sung before the Gospel in the celebration of the Mass. This practice seems to have originated in the 13th century. A few additional churches occasionally used other chants or even polyphonic music at this point in the liturgy. Questions addressed include the origins of this practice, where it was cultivated, and how we might interpret it. This musical custom may have been connected with features of Gothic architecture, including the building of the jubé, or choir screen. The melodies were often borrowed from the office, most notably from the magnificat antiphon for second vespers, and so created a musical interrelationship between the Mass liturgy and the office.

Keywords: canticle and Gospel; cathedral architecture; Chartres; St. Denis; Gothic architecture; vespers; Amiens; jubé; Bayeux; Gospel processions

Chapter.  10438 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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