This chapter gives an overview on the origin of seventh-century Roman tracts. Laudate dominum could be the earliest of all tracts, sung in conjunction with the alleluia-psalm Confitemini already in the fourth century. Quadragesima Sunday's Qui habitat and Palm Sunday's Deus deus meus may be nearly as ancient, dating perhaps to the time of the establishment of regular Fore-Mass psalmody at Rome, that is, the early to mid-fifth century. The Holy Week chants, Wednesday's Domine exaudi and Friday's Domine audivi, might date to roughly the same period. The ur-tract Laudate dominum was sung in the G-tonality, but the four fifth-century Roman chants were sung in the D-tonality. The latter tonality was not used again for permanently assigned psalms in directum, although a D-2 responsorial psalm, De necessitatibus or Ad te domine, was given the form of a tract in seventh-century Rome. The three psalms in directum to receive permanent assignments are Ad te levavi, Qui confidunt and Saepe expugnaverunt, which are sung on the remaining Sundays of Lent.
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