chant

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chant / chant/ • n. 1. a repeated rhythmic phrase, typically one shouted or sung in unison by a crowd. ∎  a monotonous or repetitive song, typically an incantation or part of a ritual. 2. Mus. a short musical passage in two or more phrases used for singing unmetrical words; a psalm or canticle sung to such music. ∎  the style of music consisting of such passages: Gregorian chant. • v. [tr.] say or shout repeatedly in a sing-song tone: protesters were chanting slogans. ∎  sing or intone (a psalm, canticle, or sacred text).

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chant, general name for one-voiced, unaccompanied, liturgical music. Usually it refers to the liturgical melodies of the Byzantine, Russian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Anglican churches and is analogous to cantillation in Jewish liturgical music, Qur'anic chanting in Islam, and single-line chanting in other religions. Roman Catholic chant, commonly called Gregorian chant or plainsong, is diatonic, modally organized (see mode), and has a free rhythm determined by the text. Anglican chant is a harmonized, metrical adaptation to English texts of the Gregorian method of psalm singing, in which a short melody is adjusted to the length of different psalm verses by repeating one tone, the recitation tone, for any number of words in the text. The texts of Anglican chant, used in many Protestant churches, are from the Book of Common Prayer.

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chant Unaccompanied liturgical singing, especially of psalms. Anglican chant developed from the earlier Gregorian tones, which were melody formulas defining pitch relationships only. Later, harmonies were added to the melodies and note values designated to English texts of the psalms. The chant is adjustable in length to fit different verses by repeating one note for any number of words, a process known as pointing.

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chant sing XIV; sing as to a chant XV. — (O)F. chanter :- L. cantāre, frequent. of canere sing.
Hence chant sb. song XVII; tune to which the psalms, etc. are sung XVIII; cf. (O)F. chant (:- L. cantus).