Maltese hymnody

It was only in the 20th century, and particularly with the reforms of Vatican Council II (1962-65), that congregational hymns in the Maltese language gained a firm footing in Malta’s churches. Prior to this, hymns were generally sung in Latin by the clergy as part of the Divine Office. The earliest-recorded, non-secular musical activity on the Maltese Islands was that taking place in the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Mdina. Documents show that there was singing of plainchant in 1244, that an organist was regularly employed by 1494, and that salaried maestri di canto were teaching clerics Cantus firmus from 1515, and canto figurato from 1590 (see Fiorini, pp.1-2). Rich choral books were at...

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