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Marian antiphons are a group of sacred devotional songs in the Gregorian chant repertory of the Roman Catholic Church, sung in honour of the Virgin Mary. Marian antiphons are not true antiphons in that they are not associated and chanted with a Psalm verse; in an attempt to avoid confusion the terms votive antiphons or brevary anthems [1]are sometimes used instead.

Although there are a number of Marian antiphons, some of great antiquity, the term is most often used to refer to four chants in particular:

There have been exceptions this schedule in different monastic traditions over the years, but in current usage the liturgical year is divided into four periods, with each period associated with one of the four Marian antiphons, which is sung at the end of Compline or Vespers during that period. For example, Alma Redemptoris Mater is sung from the first Sunday in Advent until February 2.

The four Marian antiphons (with occasional variations in the text) are often set to polyphonic music for choir or as solo arias. The Gregorian melodies exist both in elaborate solemn forms and simplified versions.[2]

Notes


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