A set piece (or set-piece) is, loosely speaking, a choral setting of sacred or secular metrical poetry performed with or without accompaniment, sometimes with the congregation, usually but not necessarily non-strophic—that is, usually but not necessarily through-composed. As it is not practical to formulate a precise definition based directly on musical and textual characteristics, in this article ‘set-piece’ is defined as a piece that has been designated a set piece by a composer, editor, compiler, or musicologist, and published in America during 1761-1874.
‘In use in England from the beginning of the 18th century, the term [set-piece] began to appear in American tune...
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