Antiphon – a chant sung as a refrain to the verses of a psalm; also, a polyphonic setting of an antiphon

Breviary – a book containing the texts, both said and sung, for the daily performance of the hours of the Divine Office required of monks and priests. In Obrecht’s time there were eight such Office hours: matins, lauds, prime, terce, sext, none, vespers, and compline

Cadential formula – a prescribed set of pitches that signals the end of a phrase when a recitation tone is employed

Cantor – a solo singer to whom the choir or congregation responds

Cantus firmus – a Latin term meaning “firm song,” applied to a previously existing melody, usually drawn from the chant or song repertories, used as the basis for a new polyphonic setting

Celebrant – the priest officiating at the Eucharist

Diocese – the territorial jurisdiction of a bishop

Doxology – a liturgical formula of praise to God

Eucharist – the Christian ceremony commemorating the Last Supper, in which bread and wine are consecrated and consumed

Headmotive – a musical theme sometimes used at the beginning of each main component of a fifteenth-century polyphonic Mass Ordinary, in order to create a sense of unity

Homily – a sermon, usually on a Biblical topic and usually of a nondoctrinal nature

Liturgy – the prescribed body of texts to be spoken or sung and ritual actions to be performed in a religious service

Madrigal – (Italian madrigale, “song in the mother tongue”) Setting of secular poetry as a polyphonic vocal work, often featuring elaborate musical depiction of the text, and popular in sixteenth-century Italy and Elizabethan England

Mass – (from Latin missa, “dismissed”) (1) Main service of Roman Catholic worship. (2) Musical setting of the texts of the Ordinary of the Mass, usually the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei

Matins – the longest service of the eight daily Office hours in monastic life required by the Rule of St. Benedict, occurring at night and involving a considerable amount of singing

Melismatic – a style of text setting in which each syllable receives many pitches

Mode – a scale or melody type, identified by the particular intervallic relationships among the pitches; in particular one of the eight (later twelve) scale or melody types recognized by church musicians and theorists beginning in the Middle Ages (and often termed church mode), distinguished from one another by the arrangement of whole and half steps in relation to the final tone.

Monophony – Music or musical texture consisting of unaccompanied melody

Neumatic – a style of text setting in which each syllable receives about three to five pitches

Nicene Creed – a declaration of Christian beliefs first codified in 325 C.E., still recited or sung as the Credo in Roman Catholic worship

Ordinary – the category of plainsong for the Mass whose texts do not vary and are sung almost every day of the liturgical year: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei

Polyphony – Musical texture consisting of two or more independent melodic lines, combined according to the practice of counterpoint

Proper – the category of plainsongs and readings for the Mass whose texts vary according to the focus of the feast day

Recitation tone – a pitch on which singer(s) deliver text with a speech-like rhythm, beginning and ending each phrase with a prescribed musical formula

Subdeacon – a cleric ranking below a deacon

Suffrage antiphon – a short and fairly simple plainsong used in private or votive ceremonies and intended to beseech the intercession of a saint or the Blessed Virgin

Syllabic – a style of text setting in which each syllable usually corresponds to a single pitch

Transubstantiation – the conversion of the substance of the Eucharistic elements into the body and blood of Christ at consecration, only the appearances of bread and wine still remaining