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introit

introit †entrance; (eccl.) antiphon and psalm recited as the celebrant approaches the altar. XV. — (O)F. introït — L. introitus entrance, f. introīre enter, f. intrō INTRO- + Ire go.

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Introit

Introit (Lat. introire, ‘go in’). The opening act in the mass. It consists of a psalm or part of a psalm with antiphon and gloria Patri, sung as the celebrant enters the church.

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Introit

Introit. Part of the Proper of the Mass. Initial chant, usually comprising antiphon with one verse and the Gloria patri. Also org. piece which replaces all or part of the sung Introit.

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introit

introitadroit, dacoit, Detroit, doit, droit, exploit, maladroit, quoit •introit • Bayreuth

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Introit

INTROIT

The word "Introit," which comes from introitus, "entrance," designates the antiphon, with Psalm or Psalm verse, and (usually) the doxology, "Glory be to the Father ," that was historically sung at the beginning of the Roman Rite of the Mass.

Extant evidence from the writings of the Church Fathers suggests the absence of an entrance chant at the beginning of the Eucharist in the first 500 years. References by both St John Chrysostom (In epistolam ad Colossos, Homily 3:4) and St. Augustine (De civitate Dei, 20:8) point to a Eucharist that began immediately with the readings after a brief salutation from the celebrant. Indeed, Augustine described a crowded Easter Sunday morning Eucharist as follows: "I greeted the throng, and when all had become silent there was solemn reading from the Holy Scriptures." It is not possible to date precisely when the Introit chant was first used in the Church of Rome. An earlier hypothesis that a passage in the Liber pontificalis describing the introduction by Pope Celestine I (d. 432) described an antiphonal Introit psalm "Constituit ut psalmi David CL ante sacrificium psalli antiphanatim ex omnibus, quod ante non fiebat, nisi tantum epistula beati Pauli recitabatur et sanctum Evangelium," is untenable. Recently scholarship has established that the phrase "antiphanatim ex omnibus" was inserted in the second quarter of the 6th century to reflect the then practice, and it referred to the responsorial psalm (Gradual) rather than to the Introit.

In all likelihood, the Introit came into use with the rise of stational liturgy, as witnessed in the 7th-century Ordo Romanus I (M. Andrieu, Les "Ordines Romani" du haut moyen-âge [Rome 193841] 2:83). The Introit emerged as a processional chant to accompany the movement of the papal entourage from the sacristy (located near the street entrance) to the altar. The psalmody, performed antiphonally (by alternating choirs), soon came to be introduced by a suitable verse, called Antiphon, which eventually proved to be the most enduring factor. For the psalmody, although originally important (as can be gauged by the richness of the chant and by the choice of a Psalm whose meaning is made clear only when the whole is sung), generally lost its significance due to the shortening of the psalm in monastic circles (where the clergy had already assembled for Terce) or where the procession was discarded (when the sacristy was relocated near the sanctuary). But the Antiphon, in turn, became more prominent. In the medieval period, the entire Mass formulary, and frequently the day itself, received its name from the first word (s) of the Introit antiphon, e.g., Requiem, Rorate, Gaudete, Quasimodo.

The antiphonal nature of the Introit was well suited as a musical accompaniment to the entrance procession making its way to the stational church for the Eucharist. The older manuscripts of the Mass chants indicated the use of an Antiphon, usually an appropriate verse of the Psalm being sung, but sometimes from another part of the Bible (e.g., Populus Sion, from Is), or even a free creation

(e.g., Gaudeamus for St. Agatha; or Sedulius's Salve, sancta parens for Masses of the Blessed Virgin).

In Carolingian times the Antiphon was often repeated after each verse of the Psalm (perhaps a Frankish usage), or a second verse from another Psalm was sung (a phenomenon that has puzzled researchers). Later the psalmody was reduced to one verse, or the chant was lengthened by repeating the antiphon before the Doxology. Already in the 8th century the psalmody was so curtailed that by the medieval period, eventually only one verse (plus the Doxology) remained.

Bibliography: j. a. jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, tr. f. a. brunner, 2 v. (New York 195155) 1:320333. w. apel, Gregorian Chant (Bloomington, Ind. 1958). t. mathews, "An Early Roman Chancel Arrangement and Its Liturgical Significance," Rivista di archeologia cristiana, xxxviii (1962) 7195. a. zwinggi, "Der Wortgottesdienst bei Augustinus," Liturgisches Jahrbuch 20 (1970) 92113, 12940, 25053. t. connolly, "Introits and Archetypes: Some Archaisms of the Old Roman Chant," Journal of the American Musicological Society 25 (1972) 15774. h. van der werf, The Emergence of Gregorian Chant: A Comparative Study of Ambrosian, Roman, and Gregorian Chant (Rochester, NY 1983). a. chavasse, "Cantatorium et antiphonale missarum," Ecclesia orans 1 (1984) 1555. p. jeffery, "The Introduction of Psalmody into the Roman Mass by Pope Celestine I, 42232," Archiv für Liturgiewissenschaft 26 (1984) 14765. j. baldovin, The Urban Character of Christian Worship: The Origins, Development, and Meaning of Stational Liturgy (Rome 1987). d. hiley, Western Plainchant: A Handbook (Oxford, 1993). j. w. mckinnon, "Antoine Chavasse and the Dating of Early Chant," Plainsong and Medieval Music 1 (1992) 12347.

[f. a. brunner/eds.]

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