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Gradual
(460 words)

In the medieval Roman Mass, the gradual, a structure of psalmodic material usually sung from the ambo, or reading desk, came between the Epistle and Gospel readings. In the early centuries of the church, this chant was a simple psalm sung by a solo voice, with the congregation singing a recurring refrain. In the later development of the Mass, the gradual became one of its most elaborate and melismatic chants.

The Lutheran Reformation replaced the gradual with a congregational hymn. M. Luther’s Formula Missae (1523) first suggested a congregational hymn immediately following the…

Cite this page
Schalk, Carl, “Gradual”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 22 May 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_G214>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512



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