This chapter presents the preconditions for a sung Mass Proper. There are chiefly two preconditions: the existence of a stable order of worship with set places for singing, and the existence of an annual cycle of festivals. The typical western Fore-Mass of the later fourth century consists of three items before the homily—the epistle, the psalm, and the gospel—all of which are referred to as “readings.” A gradual psalm (occasionally sung without refrains) and a communion psalm were established items in the western Mass by the end of the fourth century. The second precondition also started taking shape in the later fourth century. The emerging liturgical year is rather one of two foci, centering upon the feasts of Christmas and Easter. The quinquagesima of Easter and Pentecost is virtually apostolic in origin, owing much to the quinquagesimal framework of the three great Jewish pilgrimage festivals—Passover, Weeks, and Tabernacles—each separated by fifty days.
Keywords: Mass Proper; festivals; western Fore-Mass; gospel; Passover; Tabernacles
Chapter. 8675 words.
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