HE SEQUENCES of the Roman Rite have been a special interest of mine for several years. Their historical development, poetic composition, and liturgical codification are among the numerous facets of the sequentiarium that one can explore. The sequences are also among the most interesting musical aspects of the Mass, and they are especially notable for their charming piety.
About a year ago, I posted a Mini History of the Sequences that sketches the broad outline of how the sequences first came to be, how they proliferated, and how they were eventually curtailed.
I have written a new article in this month’s Adoremus Bulletin that presents a more detailed account of the sequences’ history and their importance within the Roman Rite. The fundamental assertion of the article is that the sequences are examples of authentic liturgical creativity. Born from within the liturgy, itself, the genre of the sequence came into being organically and was allowed to flourish.
The article takes a close look at the four sequences codified in Missale Romanum 1570 and the one added to the missal in the 18th century:
Victimae paschali — Easter
Veni Sancte Spiritus — Pentecost
Lauda Sion — Corpus Christi
Dies irae — Requiem
Stabat mater — Our Lady of Sorrows (added in 1727)
The full article is freely available on the Adoremus website: Liturgically Creative Writing: Popular Development of the Sequences in the Missale Romanum.