Vespers was traditionally celebrated at dusk. As with all of the medieval offices, it included a hymn; unlike those of other offices, Vespers hymns began to be sung polyphonically on important feast days in major liturgical centres in the fifteenth century (see Polyphonic hymns to 1600*). The Divine Office was a focus for musical creativity throughout the middle ages (see Saints’ Offices*), and the other Offices (Matins, Lauds, Compline, Prime, Terce, Sext and None) followed broadly similar patterns to Vespers, described in detail here. Perhaps the most striking characteristic of the medieval office to modern worshippers where it is still used is that the entire office is chanted rather...

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