Liturgical Drama

   Chanted monophony that tropes a liturgical chant into a dialogue form. The earliest surviving (Winchester Tropers, c. 996 and St. Martial of Limoges, 11th century) and most widespread are Quem queritis tropes of the Introit for Easter and Christmas masses. Such tropes might be transplanted to other liturgical positions, however, such as after the third responsory of matins of Easter, Dum transisset sabbatum. The dramas might also be augmented by other antiphons, sequences, hymns and even extra-liturgical chants such as laments (planctus). Such elaborations for Easter, called Vistatio sepulchri account for over 400 of the surviving dramas.
   Even when elaboration distances the dramas from their original liturgical contexts, their music retains their liturgical character. This repertory has nothing to do with the invention of opera at the end of the 16th century, nor with the passion.

Historical dictionary of sacred music. . 2006.

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