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The Sounds of Eucharistic Culture

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Chapter Summary

In Catholic regions, music and sound not only aurally decorated the eucharistic ritual itself, but they were also deployed as a means of representing the triumph of eucharistic ideology over its confessional antagonists. This chapter explores the aural dimensions of eucharistic culture in several facets, beginning with the role of music in medieval Masses and developments in eucharistic music in the age of Reformation and Counter-Reformation. The post-Tridentine church placed a marked emphasis on eucharistic culture and music, as the celebrant's physical elevation of the host and chalice increasingly became the moment for significant music. Composers in Catholic lands, especially those in the confessional borderlands north of the Alps, ever more frequently set eucharistic texts for liturgy and devotion. This chapter focuses more intently on eucharistic music in the confessional borderlands of central Europe, where the theological stakes of eucharistic culture were arguably the greatest.

Keywords: eucharistic culture; eucharistic music; Reformation



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