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tract

tract1 / trakt/ • n. 1. an area of indefinite extent, typically a large one: large tracts of natural forest. ∎ poetic/lit. an indefinitely large extent of something: the vast tracts of time required to account for the deposition of the strata. 2. a major passage in the body, large bundle of nerve fibers, or other continuous elongated anatomical structure or region: the digestive tract. tract2 • n. a short treatise in pamphlet form, typically on a religious subject.

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tract

tract3 act of drawing or something drawn in various uses identical with those of TRACE1 and TRACK (rare before XVI), now chiefly ‘stretch or extent of territory’ (so in L.). — L. tractus, f. pp. stem of trahere draw.

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tract

tract1 tractate, (later) short pamphlet. XV. poss. shortening of L. tractātus TRACTATE.
Hence tractarian writer of tracts (spec. of contributors to the ‘Tracts for the Times’ 1833–41 published at Oxford). XIX.

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tract

tract (trakt) n.
1. a group of nerve fibres passing from one part of the brain or spinal cord to another, forming a distinct pathway.

2. an organ or collection of organs providing for the passage of something, e.g. the digestive tract.

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tract

tract2 (liturg.) item replacing the Alleluia in the Mass from Septuagesima to Easter Eve. XIV. — medL. tractus, spec use of L. tractus (see next).

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tract

tractabreact, abstract, act, attract, bract, compact, contract, counteract, diffract, enact, exact, extract, fact, humpbacked, hunchbacked, impact, interact, matter-of-fact, pact, protract, redact, refract, retroact, subcontract, subtract, tact, tract, transact, unbacked, underact, untracked •play-act • autodidact •artefact (US artifact) • cataract •contact •marked, unremarked •Wehrmacht •affect, bisect, bull-necked, collect, confect, connect, correct, defect, deflect, deject, detect, direct, effect, eject, elect, erect, expect, infect, inflect, inject, inspect, interconnect, interject, intersect, misdirect, neglect, object, perfect, project, prospect, protect, reflect, reject, respect, resurrect, sect, select, subject, suspect, transect, unchecked, Utrecht •prefect • abject • retroject • intellect •genuflect • idiolect • dialect • aspect •circumspect • retrospect • Dordrecht •vivisect • architect • unbaked •sun-baked

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Tract

TRACT

A section of Gregorian chant, ornate in style, that was historically sung during a penitential period in place of the Alleluia before the liturgical reforms of Vatican II. This included: (1) the Sundays and certain privileged ferial days of Lent (the use of the Tract Domine non secundum, repeated on the Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays of each week in Lent, originated in the 11th century), as well as the Easter Triduum until Holy Saturday (on this day, however, as an exception, it was sung with the Alleluia and immediately after it); (2) on the feasts of saints that fell in Lent; (3) on On Ember Saturdays, and (4) at requiem masses. Traditionally, the Tract was sung alternately by the two sides of the choir although it was sometimes sung by a soloist with the full choir, or by a group of singers with the full choir.

Origin of the Term. According to Amalarius (see text below), the difference between the Tract and the Gradual lay in its execution: the Tract was chanted without a response from the choir, whereas the Gradual was sung as a responsory. Performed by a soloist, the Tract was sung in one stretchin Latin tractim somewhat like a recitation [MS Paris, Bibl. Nat. nouv. acq. 1541, fol. 110, that uses tractim for the recitation of the Passion; this same word is studied by L. Kunz in Kirchenmusikalisches Jahrbuch 334 (1950) 8]. It should be noted, however, that certain Tracts of the second mode (see below) in the oldest MSS are designated by the expression Responsorium graduale or more simply, according to Amalarius (Liber officialis, 1.2, ed. Hanssens, Studi e Testi 139) by the word responsorius (see Hesbert). For Holy Saturday Tracts the MS uses the term canticum (see Hesbert LX); indeed, the Tracts for this day were taken not from the Psalms, but from the Canticles of the Old Testament (Ex 15; Is 5; Dt 32). The medieval Tract melody replaced an older one executed in responsorial form of which there remains only one example: the canticle Vinea [Revue Grégorienne 31 (1952) 131; Sacris erudiri 6 (1954) 100].

Medieval Texts Referring to the Tract. Amalarius in his Liber officialis (3.12; loc. cit. p. 299) pointed out the basic difference between Gradual and Tract: Hoc differt inter responsorium cui chorus respondet et tractum cui nemo ("This is the difference between the response [the Gradual] to which the choir answers and the Tract to which there is no reply"). In general, the Ordines Romani (ed. M. Andrieu, Ordo I and ff.) and the Expositiones Missae by known authors (rabanus maurus, florus of lyons, remigius of auxerre) or by anonymous authors (Wilmart's list in "Expositio Missae," Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie. ed. F. Cabrol, H. Leclercq and H. I. Marrou [Paris 190753]5.1:1015) all mentioned the Tract, especially in the description of Good Friday and Holy Saturday. In this respect it should be noted that the Good Friday Tract, Eripe me, was mentioned as nuperrime compilatum ("very recently compiled") by the pseudo-Alcuin (De Divin. officiis 18; Patrologia Latina. ed. J. P. Migne [Paris 187890] 101:1209), who wrote at the beginning of the 10th century. In fact, this Tract does not appear in any of the oldest Graduals. William duranti (The Elder) in his Rationale (4:21) attributes a shade of sadness to the Tract.

Musical Analysis. The Tract, whether it be a question of the second or eighth mode, had its own formula of intonation, at times very beautiful (for example, the Commovisti ), that was not used in the rest of the composition and terminated with another very full concluding formula (cauda ). The verses used formulas that began with an intonation, continued with a recitative part (at times syllabic or slightly ornate, such as by means of an "embroidered pes "), and ended with a melismatic cadence.

There were only two melodic types of Tracts, one of the second mode and one of the eighth. The choice of mode was not contingent upon expression (the eighth mode might express joy; the second, sorrow), but instead depended upon the length of the text (Ferretti, 14243). In fact, the melody of the Tract in the second mode offered a much wider choice of formulas and was consequently better suited to long Tracts and allowed leeway for greater variety. The eighth mode, poorer in formulas, was used for shorter Tracts. Of the 21 Tracts of the "primitive repertory" (Hesbert, 244), 15 belonged to the eighth mode and only six to the second. The Tracts that were composed later (Nunc dimittis, 9th10th Century; Tu es Petrus, Audi Filia, and Gaude Maria, 11th century) likewise follow one of the two modal types mentioned.

Bibliography: p. m. ferretti, Estetica gregoriana (Rome 1934) 1:142165. j. froger, "Les Chants de la messe aux VIIIe et IXe siècles," Revue Grégorienne 26 (1947) 221228. r. j. hesbert, ed., Antiphonale missarum sextuplex (Brussels 1935). e. jammers, Musik in Byzanz, im päpstlichen Rom und im Frankenreich (Heidelberg 1962). j. a. jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, tr. f. a. brunner, 2 v. (New York 195155). w. apel, Gregorian Chant (Bloomington, Ind. 1958). d. hiley, Western Plainchant: A Handbook (Oxford 1993) 7682. j. mckinnon, "The Gregorian Canticle-Tracts of the Old Roman Easter Vigil,"Festschrift Walter Wiora zum 90. Geburtstag, ed. c.-h. mahling and r. seiberts (Tutzing 1997) 25469. t. karp, Aspects of Orality and Formularity in Gregorian Chant (Evanston, IL 1998).

[m. huglo/eds.]

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