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The Requiem is a text used as the Catholic and Anglican Mass for the dead, and like the ordinary mass may be set to music. It was more commonly found in the days of the Latin Mass, but is being revived by modern composers. Composers of the Renaissance and Baroque periods wrote requiem masses as functional pieces of liturgical music, for use in religious ceremonies. In contrast, many composers of more recent times have been using the ancient Latin texts as the basis for an extended concert work, very often too large a scale and too long to be used for an actual requiem mass.


The Requiem is similar to the text of the ordinary mass, but with several significant differences. There is an Introit, or Requiem aeternam which precedes the Kyrie and a few settings begin with an instrumental-only prelude. The text of the Requiem aeternum may be repeated as a gradual and tract. The Requiem omits the Gloria and instead inserts a Sequence consisting of several unique movements, before the Sanctus,Benedictus and Agnus Dei, found in the normal mass. The requiem closes with the communion piece, Lux aterna, and a responsory, the Libera me.

Order of movements

  1. Introit - Requiem Aeternum - Rest eternal
  2. Kyrie eleison - Have mercy
  3. Dies irae
    • Dies irae - Day of wrath
    • Tuba mirum - Hark the trumpet
    • Liber scriptus - Now the record
    • Quid sum miser - What affliction
    • Rex tremendae - King of Glories
    • Recordare - Ah! remember
    • Ingemisco - Sadly groaning
    • Confutatis - From the accursed
    • Lacrimosa - Ah! what weeping
  4. Offertorium, Domine Jesu
    • Domine Jesu
    • Hostias
  5. Sanctus
  6. Benedictus
  7. Agnus Dei
  8. Communion: Lux Aeternae
  9. Pie Jesu
  10. Responsory: Libera me
  11. In paradisum

Some composers have omitted or changed the order of these movements; for example Faure's setting contains only the Introit and Kyrie, Offertory and Hostias (as one movement), Sanctus, Pie Jesu, Libera Me and In paradisum. Mozart's Requiem (completed by Sussmayr) omits the Pie Jesu, Libera me and In Paradisum (although Mozart may have intended to write these movements).


This text is provided with a literal translation from the original Latin to English.


Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.
Et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion,
Et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem
Exaudi orationem meam
Ad te omnis caro veniet.

Requiem aeternam dona defunctis, Domine.
Et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine
Et lux perpetua eis.

Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord
And let perpetual light shine upon them
A hymn, O God, becometh Thee in Zion
And a vow shall be paid to thee in Jerusalem
Hear my prayer
All flesh shall come before you

Eternal rest give unto the dead, O Lord
And let perpetual light shine upon them
Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord
And let perpetual light shine upon them.


Kyrie, eleison!
Christe, eleison!
Kyrie, eleison!

Lord, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!

Dies irae

Dies irae, dies illa
Solvet saeclum in favilla,
Teste David cum Sibylla.

Quantus tremor est futurus,
Quando judex est venturus,
Cuncta stricte discussurus!

Tuba mirum

Tuba mirum spargens sonum
Per sepulcra regionum,
Coget omnes ante thronum.

Mors stupebit et natura,
Cum resurget creatura,
Judicanti responsura.

Liber scriptus

Liber scriptus proferetur,
In quo totum continetur,
Unde mundus judicetur.

Judex ergo cum sedebit,
Quidquid latet apparebit.
Nil inultum remanebit.

Musical Forms
Polyphonic forms CanonCanzonaInventionFugueOrganumRicercarRoundSinfornia
Sectional forms Strophic formChain formBinary formTernary formRondo formArch formRitornello form
Cyclical forms BalletConcertoMassOratorioOperaRequiemSonataSong cycleSuiteSymphony
composed forms
BagatelleFantasiaEtudeImpromptuPreludeRhapsodySymphonic poem
Dance forms AllemandeBalladBoleroContradanceEstampieJigPolkaWaltz

French: CouranteGigueMinuetSarabande

Italian: BarcarolleSaltarelloTarantella

Polish: MazurkaPolonaise