Alternation in the Latin liturgical hymn is intrinsic to the genre. Processional hymns frequently take a responsorial form: the refrain is announced by the cantor (or rulers of the choir), and is repeated immediately and after each stanza by the whole choir. No doubt this was originally a popular hymnic form, but many such hymns are adaptations to the responsorial form for processional purposes: a good example is ‘Gloria, laus et honor’*, for Palm Sunday, still familiar in the translation ‘All glory, laud and honour’*. ‘Hail thee, Festival Day’* is a translation of another processional hymn, ‘Salve, festa dies’*. Modern hymns and carols often dispense with the initial refrain, and are not...
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