Lisa asked last week what an antiphon was. Funny, I knew what an antiphon was, but I wasn't sure how to explain it. So I am going to try, but if anyone has something to add, feel free.
First, the definition of antiphon is
an·ti·phon Pronunciation (nt-fn)
1. A devotional composition sung responsively as part of a liturgy.
a. A short liturgical text chanted or sung responsively preceding or following a psalm, psalm verse, or canticle.
b. Such a text formerly used as a response but now rendered independently.
3. A response; a reply: "It would be truer . . . to see [conservation] as an antiphon to the modernization of the 1950s and 1960s" Raphael Samuel.
[Late Latin antiphna, sung responses; see anthem.]
For example, during vespers, Psalm 4 is one of many Psalms chanted from the congregation. The left side would sing:
"When I cried out, the God of my righteousness heard me
You gave me space in my distress, have mercy on me and listen to my prayer."
Then the right side responds:
"You sons of men, how long will you be hard-hearted?
Why do you love vanities and seek lies?"
Then the left side sings:
"Know that the Lord works wonders for his holy one:
The Lord will hear me when I cry out before Him."
"Be passionate, but do not sin;
repent upon your couches for what you say in your hearts."
"Offer a sacrifice of righteousness
and hope in the Lord."
"Many say :"Who will show us good things?"
The light of your face, O Lord, was a mark upon us."
"You have put gladness in my heart;
they were filled with the blessing of their wheat, wine and oil."
"In peace I will lay me down and sleep:
for You alone , O Lord, have made me dwell in hope."
An example of the second definition would be singing a prayer that reflect the Gospel reading of the day, then responding with a Psalm that is sung after the prayer. For example, this comes from the vespers from Palm Sunday (John 12:1-18) is read:
The Word of God the Father, the Son coeternal with Him
Having heaven for a throne and earth for a footstool,
has humbled Himself today
by riding into Bethany on an ass.
Wherefore the children of Israel praise Him,
Bearing green fronds and shouting out:
"Hosanna in the hightest"
Blessed is He who comes, the King of Israel!"
then part of Psalm 130 is sung in response:
from the watch of dawn until the night, from the watch of dawn let Israel long for the Lord
Come together, all you children of the New Israel
Which is the church of the Gentile:
Let us proclaim with the Prophet Zacharias:
"Rejoice and exult, Daughter of Sion,
shout for joy, Daughter of Jerusalem.
Behold, you King is coming to you meek,
Riding an ass and bringing salvation.
Feast like the children, bearing the green fronds in our hands, And singing to Him a hymn of praise:
"Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is He who come, the King of Israel!
The Psalm sung in response:
For with the Lord there is mercy and with Him abundant redemption, and it is He who will redeem Israel for all his iniquities.
I hope that helps. If you have more questions I'll try to clarify this better.
Labels: The eternal mysteries