THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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GRADUAL (Med. Lat. gradualis, of or belonging to steps or degrees; gradus, step), advancing or taking place by degrees or step by step; hence used of a slow progress or a gentle declivity or slope, opposed to steep or precipitous. As a substantive, “gradual” (Med. Lat. graduale or gradale) is used of a service book or antiphonal of the Roman Catholic Church containing certain antiphons, called “graduals,” sung at the service of the Mass after the reading or singing of the Epistle. This antiphon received the name either because it was sung on the steps of the altar or while the deacon was mounting the steps of the ambo for the reading or singing of the Gospel. For the so-called Gradual Psalms, cxx.-cxxxiv., the “songs of degrees,” LXX. ᾠδὴ ἀνὰ βαθμῶν, see Psalms, Book of.
Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

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