A cantor or chanter (Gk. ψάλτης) is the chief singer (and ofttimes instructor) employed in a church with responsibilities for the ecclesiastical choir; also called the precentor. For the musical composition see Chorale. A choir, chorale, or chorus is a Musical ensemble of Singers The cantor's duties and qualifications have varied considerably according to time and place; but generally he must be competent to conduct the vocals for the choir, to start any chant on demand, and to be able to identify and correct the missteps of singers placed under him. He may be held accountable for the immediate rendering of the music, showing the course of the melody by movements of the hand(s), similar to a conductor. In Music, a melody (from Greek μελῳδία - melōidía, "singing chanting" also tune, voice, or Conducting is the act of directing a Musical performance by way of visible gestures
In the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, the position of chanter (psaltis) is one of the minor clerical orders, though it is not unusual for an unordained singer to fill the role of chanter for an indefinite period. The Eastern Orthodox Church is the second largest single Christian Communion in the world Oriental Orthodoxy is the communion of Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three Ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the This article refers to Eastern Churches in full communion with the Holy See The minor orders are the lowest ranks in the Christian clergy. The chief chanter is called the protopsaltis (Gk. προτοψάλτης). The cantor or chanters sing the many hymns called for during the Divine Services. Canonical hours are divisions of time developed by the Christian Church, serving as increments between the prescribed Prayers of the daily round A chanter must be knowledgeable about the ecclesiastical modes as well as the complex structure of the services. In Music, a scale is an ordered series of Musical intervals which along with the key or tonic, define the pitches However mode A chanter must be Orthodox and must have the blessing of the pastor to serve in the kliros. The kliros (Greek κλήρος "klēros" plural κλήροι "klēroi" Slavonic клиросъ "kliros" or sometimes крилосъ "krilos"
In the Greek tradition, a psaltis will often wear the exorason, a black outer cassock with angel-wing sleeves. The cassock, an item of Clerical clothing, is a long close-fitting ankle-length Robe worn by clerics of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox The Slavic tradition—which tends more commonly to use a choir rather than a cantor—assigns no specific vestment to the chanters, unless an individual has been ordained a Reader, in which case he would wear only the inner cassock (podryasnik) and put on the sticharion when he receives Holy Communion. For the musical composition see Chorale. A choir, chorale, or chorus is a Musical ensemble of Singers In some Christian churches the Reader is responsible for reading aloud excerpts of the Scripture at a Liturgy. The cassock, an item of Clerical clothing, is a long close-fitting ankle-length Robe worn by clerics of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox The sticharion (also stikharion or stichar; Greek στιχάριον Slavonic стихарь is a liturgical Vestment of the Eastern The Eucharist, also called Holy Communion or Lord's Supper and other names is a Christian Sacrament by which in a common interpretation those
In the Roman Catholic Church a cantor is the lead singer of the choir, a bona fide clerical role. The chief singer of the Gregorian Schola cantorum was called Prior scholae or Primicerius. This article is about the Parisian musical institute For other organizations called Schola Cantorum see Schola Cantorum (disambiguation. The term primicerius was applied in the Later Roman Empire to the head of any administration -- thus primicerius notariorum, primicerius protectorum etc
In medieval cathedrals, the cantor was principal of music and chant, but also commonly one of the dignitaries of the chapter. During the 14th century in many churches, the cantor began to delegate his instruction of the singers to a master of music. After the introduction of harmonized music, some duties naturally fell to the conductor or choir-master.
The cantor's locality in the church is most generally to the right of the choir, and directly to his left is his assistant, formerly called the "Succentor". A common custom for cantors was the bearing of the staff, which was the mark of his dignity and a visual representative of his sacred role inside the church. This custom still survives in some places.
In Protestant Churches the role of the cantor can be lay or pastoral. Protestantism refers to the forms of Christian faith and practice that originated in the 16th century Protestant Reformation.
This article incorporates text from the public-domain Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913.