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The vocal melody belonging to a liturgical office and forming an integral part of the sacred function. Liturgical chant differs from sacred music in that the latter may adorn a religious service without absolutely belonging to it. Chants are monodic, usually diatonic. Their form ranges from the simple musical recitation of a text to the most elaborate and expressive melodies. (Etym. Latin cantare, to sing.)
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.