Online Guide To Requiem


Mass History
Musical History
Notes on Requiem


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Welcome to "Online Guide to Requiem", here you can find all the information your want to know about the music and the history for the requiem mass.

Requiem Mass, Totenmesse, Messe Des Mortis, or Missa pro Defunctis is a variant of the Mass, named after the beginning of the Latin of the Introit, "Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine" (Grant them eternal rest, O Lord).

The polyphonic composition for the requiem mass differs from the normal mass in that it not only includes certain items of the ordinary mass, but also contains the Introit and Gradual from the Proper.  A tract, followed by the sequence Dies irae, is substituted for the Alleluia and often is a major dramatic element in the composition.  Sometimes responses and other text are added from the burial service, which follows the mass.

There were numerous different versions of the Mass for the Dead, and it was not until 1570 that Pope Pius V established the form that is still valid today.  Only the Dies irae sequence was abandoned in 1972, since it was felt that its words, which include a graphic account of the terror of the Last Judgement, were no longer appropriate from a theological point of view.

The Requiem Mass is sung on All Souls' Day, November 2, in memory of the faithful departed, but may also be celebrated on other days in memory of a particular individual.

Officium Defunctorum, another commemoration of the dead.  It covers the three Hours of Matins, Lauds and Vespers.  The invitatory Regemcui introduces Matins, which, generally sung some time after midnight , also includes the responsory "Libera me".  Conversely, the antiphon Ego sum resurrectio, like the Benedictus, is part of Lauds, which is celebrated at daybreak.  The responsory Subvenite opens the funeral service and is sung while the coffin is being brought into church from the house in which the person died.  The antiphon In paradisum deducant accompanies the funeral procession as it makes its way from the church to the grave.

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Copyright © 2001~2004 by Steven Chang-Lin Yu. All rights reserved.
Revised: 07/01/05 20:36:34 -0400.