What is the word/adjective that could describe music pieces similar to Allegri's "Miserere" or Henry Ley's "A Prayer of King Henry VI"?

This music appears to be be sung a capella, with a four-voice choir. (The word I am looking for would be a substitute for gregorian in the sentence: "I really like [gregorian] music!")

3 Answers 3


In describing the epoch, you would speak of Renaissance music. Describing the form you would speak of a motet, which implies music sung a capella or just with instruments doubling the human voices.

  • I think that motet is the noun I was looking for. Thank you!
    – ebosi
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 8:00

Renaissance polyphony is a term often used for this, which neatly encompasses both the period and the form.


I'm aware of the terms church music or religious music, since mass seems too specific. No term restricting this to a cappella comes to mind and since your examples span some centuries, an epoch-denoting term like Gregorian is not appropriate.

  • BTW the term is "a cappella" with two p's. (Even though there's only one in "chapel".)
    – Rosie F
    Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 7:02
  • @RosieF: Thank you for the hint, which I considered; in German the Italian term is valid with an explanation like "also, at least historic: capella".
    – guidot
    Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 7:11

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