The marian antiphon that was traditionally sung at Compline beginning from Trinity Sunday through Friday before the first Sunday of Advent. The text of the antiphon (the familiar prayer "Hail, Holy Queen") has been attributed to several writers, such as St. bernard of clairvaux, Adhemar of Puy, Bishop Peter of Compostela (c. 952–1002), and Hermanus Contractus of Reichenau. Stylistic features of the text, and the fact that it was troped as early as the late 11th century, point to Hermanus as probable author.
Liturgical History. One of the earliest liturgical uses of the Salve Regina was as processional chant at Cluny, c. 1135, but it may have been in use elsewhere in the preceding century, since it seems to have inspired a Benedicamus Domino trope in the 11th-century Karlsruhe MS Aug. LV. That it was used also in the 12th century as the Magnificat antiphon for the feast of the Annunciation is clear from its insertion at that time into earlier MSS, such as St. Gall 390. The Cistercian Order sang it as a daily processional chant from 1218 and after daily Compline from 1251. The Dominicans had the same practice from 1230, including it also as a prayer for the dying; the Franciscans added it to daily Compline no later than 1249; and in the Carmelite rite at one time it replaced the Last Gospel of the Mass. Pope Gregory IX (1227–41) ordered its chanting after Compline on all Fridays, and from the 14th century on it was generally sung after Compline in all Latin rites until the Breviary of Pius V (1568) extended its use to the other hours. From 1884 to 1964 it was one of the prayers prescribed by Leo XIII for recitation after every public and private recited Mass of the Roman rite.
Musical Settings. Current liturgical chant books give two different monophonic settings. The first, in mode I, assigned to more solemn feasts, is essentially the melody originally associated with the text and was probably composed by the author of the text. (For three late medieval versions of this melody, see Wagner.) The simpler melody, in mode V, was probably composed by Henri du Mont (d. 1684). A large number of polyphonic versions were composed during the Renaissance and baroque periods. These were usually intended, not for the Office, but for the various paraliturgical services held daily or weekly in Marian chapels or at the Marian altar found in all principal churches. The Salve Regina was also the source for several German lieder of the 16th century, and one of them, Bist grüsst maget reine, a translation of Heinrich von Laufenberg (c. 1390–1460) set to a new melody, found its way into almost all German Catholic songbooks of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Bibliography: j. maier, Studien zur Geschichte der Marienantiphon "Salve Regina" (Regensburg 1939). k. s. meister and w. bÄumker, Das katholische deutsche Kirchenlied, 2 v. (Freiburg 1958) v.2. j. m. canal, Salve Regina misericordiae (Rome 1963). p. wagner, "Das Salve Regina," Gregorianische Rundschau 2 (1903) 87–90. h. leclercq, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie, ed. f. cabrol, h. leclercq, and h. i. marrou (Paris 1907–53) 15.1:714–724. w. irtenkauf, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 1957–65) 9:281–282. f. l. harrison, Music in Medieval Britain (New York 1958). g. reese, Music in the Middle Ages (New York 1940); Music in the Renaissance (New York 1959). w. apel, Gregorian Chant (Bloomington IN 1958).
[r. j. snow]