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Variety In Singing

There were of old four methods of singing
the Psalms:

1. Direct or Choral. 2. Antiphonal. 3. Responsorial. 4. Continuous.

1. The Direct or Choral Singing was done by the whole choir:

2. The Antiphonal by the two halves of the choir alternately:

3. The Responsorial by the Priest and choir alternately:

4. The Continuous by the Priest alone.

A careful study of the Rubrics will show that great liberty is allowed
in the Prayer Book in respect to the singing.

There is a Rubric in the Morning Service which prescribes the manner of
saying or singing Gloria Patri, viz. that it is to be Responsorial.
The order is that after the Morning and Evening Canticles As it was in
the beginning, &c. is to be an answer to Glory be to the Father, &c.
And this order may be found also after the Versicles of Mattins and
Evensong, O Lord, open thou our lips. It might be inferred from this
that the Psalms and Canticles were intended to be sung in the same way.
But it is more likely that it was designed to continue an ancient
freedom of choice which is now represented in our custom of using the
Antiphonal Method when we sing, and the Responsorial when we say them.
The division of Gloria Patri into two verses was, no doubt, intended in
any case. The Prayer Book does not recommend the fourth method; many
rubrics indicate that the congregation should take a substantial share
in the services with voice and heart.

Next: Variations In The Component Parts Of Services

Previous: Variety Of Method

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