Offertory




Mass/Office: Mass

Ordinary/Proper: Proper

Text Setting: Melismatic

Medieval Form: Respond with several verses
Modern Form: Respond (alone, with no verses)


In the Middle Ages, the Offertory consisted of a respond and several verses of a psalm, sung responsorially by soloists. It was a very long chant that accompanied a procession of offering bread, wine, and other items to the priests. Today the Offertory consists only of a respond, having lost its psalm verses in a reform of chant. Because its psalm verses were sung by soloists and were often very ornate, the Offertory tends to be melismatic, rather than neumatic like the Introit and Communion.

An Offertory can be distinguished from other melismatic chants (Gradual, Alleluia, and Tract) because it lacks a verse; it can be distinguished from a Communion (which also lacks a verse) because it is likely to have several melismas.

NAWM 3g is an example of a Offertory in mode 4.

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A different Offertory in mode 8 appeared in the second edition of NAWM (3i).
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Last updated: 19 August 2006
URL: http://www.music.indiana.edu/som/courses/m401/Offertory.html
This page was created by Patrick Warfield and is maintained by J. Peter Burkholder
Copyright © 1997-2006 by J. Peter Burkholder and Patrick Warfield