American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A cleric who directs the choral services of a church or cathedral.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A leader or director of a church choir or congregation in singing. Specifically, the leader or manager of the choir or musical services in a cathedral, or in a monastic or collegiate church; in the Church of England, an official, often ranking next to the dean, who has charge of the choir, of the musical service, and often of other matters; a musical director. The precentor's place in the choir-stalls is on the left of the altar; hence that side is called
cantoris, ‘the precentor's.’
- n. The person who is the song and/or prayer leader in a cathedral, church, monastery, or synagogue and generally facilitates worship.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The leader of the choir in a cathedral; -- called also the
chanteror masterof the choir.
- n. The leader of the congregational singing in Scottish and other churches.
- n. the musical director of a choir
- Latin praecentor, from praecentus, past participle of praecinere, to sing before : prae-, pre- + canere, to sing; see kan- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Russian prince to that of a simple singer, a considerable drop; but the precentor was a musician, and he asserted that the voice was of the finest quality, and trained to perfection.”
“The precentor was a cobbler, though he never knew it, shoemaker being the name in those parts, and his dwelling-room was also his workshop.”
“The official in charge of such a schola is usually called the "precentor".”
“a psalm from the dear old Scottish paraphrase, with its primitive inversion of the simple perfect Bible words; and a kind of precentor stood up, and, having sounded the note on a pitch-pipe, sang a couple of lines by way of indicating the tune; then all the congregation stood up, and sang aloud, Mr Bradshaw's great bass voice being half”
“Keen to echo J F Bentley's vision, Thomas Wilson, the Cathedral precentor, sought Byzantium with a twist.”
“The unworldly Septimus Harding, precentor at the great cathedral, is drawn into a furious dispute about church corruption, his only solace being the sublime sound of the cathedral choir as its songs ascend to heaven.”
“And Brother Anselm the precentor, who acknowledged few disruptions other than a note offkey, or a sore throat among his best voices, accepted all other events with utter serenity, assumed the best, wished all men well, and gave over worrying.”
“So, at any rate, Brother Cadfael hoped, as he trotted away through the garden to go and spend a pleasant half, hour with Brother Anselm, the precentor, in his carrel in the cloister, where he would certainly be compiling the sequence of music for the burial of Gilbert Prestcote.”
“The family was liberal and religious: at home her mother had a kosher kitchen and the Jewish holidays were observed without any taint of fanaticism; her father was a carpenter and a shul yid (a Jew who went to the synagogue) whose fine voice led to his being a “baaltfile” (precentor).”
“This was probably performed by precentor and choir.”
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