Musical setting

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A musical setting is a musical composition that is written on the basis of a literary work. The literary work is said to be set, or adapted, to music. Musical settings include choral music and other vocal music.[1] A musical setting is made to particular words, such as poems.[2] By contrast, a musical arrangement is a musical reconceptualization of a previously composed work, rather than a brand new piece of music. An arrangement often refers to a change in medium or style and can be instrumental, not necessarily vocal music.[3]

Texts commonly used in choral settings include the mass and the requiem in Western Christianity, and the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and the All-night vigil in Eastern Christianity. Examples include Mozart's Great Mass, and Leontovych's Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

A poem that has been set to music is known as an art song[4] or Lied (German variant). Composers known for their art songs include Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann.

Some notable settings[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Definition Cambridge dictionary
  2. ^ Definition Oxford dictionary
  3. ^ Arrangement, Encyclopædia Britannica online
  4. ^ Randel, Don Michael (2003), The Harvard Dictionary of Music, Harvard University Press, p. 61, ISBN 0-674-01163-5, retrieved 2012-10-22