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date: 21 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the history of the English Kyrie, an important prayer of Christian liturgy. More specifically, it examines both the suppression of the English Kyries on the Continent and the attempt, particularly in the later fifteenth century, to recover some of these Kyries in a different guise. It first provides an overview of the connection between the Eastern Kyrie litany and the Kyrie of the mass before discussing five “manners” of singing the Kyrie eleison in the early eleventh century. It then explores how the early Kyrie repertory of post-conquest England became almost entirely northern French in character and how a large repertory of English mass music was copied in northern Italy and southern Germany. It also considers the efforts of some scribes to salvage the English Kyries by transforming them into motets. Finally, it analyzes the surviving English fragments of the Kyrie as well as the manner in which English masses were transmitted in continental sources.

Keywords: English Kyrie, prayer, liturgy, litany, mass, Kyrie eleison, repertory, England, mass music, motets

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