A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Intoning

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INTONING. The practice of singing the opening phrase of a Psalm, Canticle, or other piece of Ecclesiastical Music, not in full chorus, but, as a solo, or semi-chorus, assigned either to a single Priest, or to one, two, or four leading Choristers. The term is sometimes strangely misapplied. For instance, we are constantly told that the Litany, or even a whole Service, was 'intoned' by some particular person; when the word used should have been, in the one case, 'sung,' and, in the other, 'monotoned.'

[ W. S. R. ]