: a leader of the singing of a choir or congregation
Did You Know?
The history of "precentor" leads to the Latin verb "praecinere," meaning "to lead in singing," which was formed by adding the "prae-" prefix to the verb "canere" ("to sing"). "Canere" is also an ancestor of the English word "chant," as well as the source of the Latin noun "cantor," which was also borrowed into English and is used both as a synonym of "precentor" and for an individual in a synagogue who sings or chants the liturgical music and leads the congregation in prayer.
He was deeply devoted to our congregation, and served as precentor at the church for the last 20 years of his life.
"Congregations were led in song by a precentor, who would choose a tune to fit a psalm, then sing each phrase for the congregation to repeat after him." -- From Barrymore Laurence Scherer's 2007 book A History of American Classical Music
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