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Precentor

Broadly, the official responsible for the singing of a church choir or congregation. In most English cathedrals of the “Old Foundation” (and many on the Continent), he ranks in the chapter after the dean. He has the oversight of the choral service and the choristers, but in practice customarily delegates his duties to a deputy (the succentor). In “New Foundation” cathedrals, however, the precentor is merely a minor canon or chaplain. In Scottish Presbyterian churches the precentor was a layman who literally led the singing, his function made necessary by the absence of any musical instrument. The office survives in some Highland and island congregations, and at the annual general assembly of the Church of Scotland a precentor leads the worship services.