from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A cleric who directs the choral services of a church or cathedral.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The person who is the song and/or prayer leader in a cathedral, church, monastery, or synagogue and generally facilitates worship.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The leader of the choir in a cathedral; -- called also the chanter or master of the choir.
  • n. The leader of the congregational singing in Scottish and other churches.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A leader or director of a church choir or congregation in singing.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the musical director of a choir


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Latin praecentor, from praecentus, past participle of praecinere, to sing before : prae-, pre- + canere, to sing; see kan- in Indo-European roots.


  • 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 Heavenly Twins

  • 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.

    Auld Licht Idylls

  • The official in charge of such a schola is usually called the "precentor".

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 13: Revelation-Stock

  • 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.

    Update on Some Liturgical Details for the Installation of Archbishop Vincent Nichols

  • 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.

    Ten of the best

  • 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.

    A River So Long

  • 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.

    A Caregiver's Homage To The Very Old

  • 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).

    Vele Rabinowitz Zabludowsky.

  • This was probably performed by precentor and choir.

    Archive 2009-07-01


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