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A setting of the Gloria Patri from the Liber Usualis. Two alternative musical endings of the last two words are indicated with “Euouae” (sense 1) instead of “[…] saeculōrum. Āmēn.”

From the vowels in the last two words of the final phrase of the Gloria Patri doxology in Latin: “[…] in saecula saeculōrum. Āmēn.” (literally “[…] into ages of ages (for ever and ever). Amen.”). In liturgical works used in Gregorian chant, instead of repeating the words, the letters were printed under musical notes to indicate how the syllables of the words should be sung in different melodies.



euouae (plural not attested) (music)

  1. In medieval music, a mnemonic for the Latin words saeculōrum and āmēn (from “ […] in saecula saeculōrum. Āmēn.” from the Gloria Patri doxology), used in liturgical works to indicate how the words should be sung with various cadences.
    • [1630, Peter du Moulin, “An Examination of Our Adversaries Reasons: Especially of Those of Mounsieur the Cardinal du Perron”, in Richard Baylie, transl., The Antibarbarian: Or, A Treatise Concerning an Unknowne Tongue. [], London: [] George Miller, for George Edwards, [], OCLC 1001549261, pages 211–212:
      In the publicke ſervice of the Romiſh Maſſe there are words truly ridiculous, and which never were other then worthleſſe, as Evovae, Miſerere nobis, & Stabat mater doloroſa, and many the like, which nevertheleſſe in the Church of Rome are not ridiculous, becauſe they are authoriſed by the divine ſervice.]
    • 1776, John Hawkins, chapter IX, in A General History of the Science and Practice of Music, [], volume I, London: [] T[homas] Payne and Son, [], OCLC 3363118, book III, page 358:
      The above characters exhibit the eſſential parts of each of the tones, that is to ſay, the beginning, the meditation, and the cloſe, which is generally contained in the Euouae, [] [W]henever it [the word Euouae] occurs, as it does almoſt in every page of the antiphonary, [it] is meant as a direction for ſinging thoſe words [saeculōrum and āmēn] to the notes of the Euouae.
    • 1854, William Farquhar Hook, “GREGORIAN CHANT”, in A Church Dictionary, 7th edition, London: John Murray, [], OCLC 936444983, page 361, column 2:
      In the ancient breviaries and antiphonies, &c., the word EVOVAE frequently occurs, written under certain notes preceding the psalms appropriated to certain offices. [] Now to find the tone of the chant, we must take the first note of the Evovae, which is the dominant, or the prevailing, or reciting note of the chant (not the dominant as now technically understood by musicians): and we must take the last note of the Antiphon which follows the Psalm at length: []
    • 1886 November, W[illiam] H[enry] James Weale, “Liturgical Books. (Without Musical Notation.)”, in Historical Music Loan Exhibition, Albert Hall, London. June–October, 1885: A Descriptive Catalogue of Rare Manuscripts & Printed Books, Chiefly Liturgical, [], London: Bernard Quaritch, [], OCLC 156120874, footnote 3, page 31:
      The first note of the evovae—the prevailing or reciting note of the chant—and the final note of the antiphon give the tone of the chant. This word, or rather this compages of letters, has, of course, no connexion whatever with the Bacchic shout of Io or Evoe. I should not allude here to this silly story were it not that on several occasions I have heard it repeated by persons who noticed the presence of the evovae in one or other of the books exhibited, and who evidently believed in its truth.
    • [1939 May 4, James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, London: Faber and Faber Limited, OCLC 715577589; republished London: Faber & Faber Limited, 1960, OCLC 867955333, part III, page 505:
      [H]er leaves, my darling dearest, sinsinsinning since the night of time and each and all of their branches meeting and shaking twisty hands all over again in their new world through the germination of its germination from Ond's outset till Odd's end. And encircle him circuly. Evovae!
      Either a nonce use of the word as an interjection, or a misconception that it is an exclamation of joy or triumph: compare the 1886 quotation.]
    • 1982, Andrew Hughes, “Office Books”, in Medieval Manuscripts for Mass and Office: A Guide to Their Organization, Toronto, Ont.; Buffalo, N.Y.: University of Toronto Press, published 2004, →ISBN, page 166:
      The place where psalm incipits or evovae words or both should appear is particularly susceptible to confusing format. We have so far assumed the presence of a psalm, either incipit or evovae, for every antiphon; but there may be several psalms 'under' a single antiphon. [] In some sources neither psalm incipit or evovae may appear, and lacking these lesser points of reference the manuscript may employ a simpler scheme of initials.
    • 1987, Dolores Pesce, “Hexachords: Seats of the Modes”, in The Affinities and Medieval Transposition (Music: Scholarship and Performance), Bloomington; Indianapolis, Ind.: Indiana University Press, →ISBN, page 54:
      Under mode four, the incipit to the antiphon "Ex Egypto" and its EVOVAE are given as follows []
    • 2000, Hartmut Möller, “Office Compositions from St. Gall: Saints Gallus and Otmar”, in Margot E. Fassler and Rebecca A. Baltzer, editors, The Divine Office in the Latin Middle Ages: Methodology and Source Studies, Regional Developments, Hagiography [], Oxford, Oxfordshire; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, footnote 8, page 256:
      [T]he notes set to euouae presented in the example are the differentiae, or termination formulas, for that particular rendering of the psalm.
  2. (by extension) A cadence used to sing those words of the Gloria Patri.
    • 1819, Abraham Rees, “ODINGTON, Walter”, in The Cyclopædia; or, Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Literature. [], volume XXV, London: [] Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, & Brown, [] [et al.], OCLC 1857697, column 1:
      The euouae, initials, and finials of all the modes, are given in this kind of notation very amply, and always on five lines, and ſpaces.
    • 1825, J[ohn] F[eltham] Danneley, “EVOVAE, or EUOUAE”, in An Encyclopædia, or Dictionary of Music; [], London: [] [F]or the Editor,  [] by Preston, [], OCLC 982201421:
      The evovae, commences always upon the dominant of the key, and terminates upon the tonic.
    • 1858, Eugene Vetromile, chapter III, in Ahiamihewintuhangan; the Prayer Song, New York, N.Y.: Edward Dunigan & Brother, (James B. Kirker,) [], OCLC 82114239, section II (Further Directions for Finding the Tone to which a Text Belongs), pages 19–20:
      Thus the Antiphonies of the first and second tones terminate in the final Re; if the first note of the evovae is La, the Antiphony is of the first tone; if the first note is Fa, the Antiphony is of the second tone, and so forth.
    • 1875, John Robert Lunn, “EVOVAE”, in William Smith and Samuel Cheetham, editors, A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities. [], volume I, London: John Murray, [], OCLC 1181379648, page 635, column 3:
      [D]ifferent forms of the same mode or tone would arise, and these were called Evovae and sometimes differentiae, finitiones, conclusiones, and species seculorum. [] [T]he Evovae must be regarded as containing the germ of the present accepted views respecting accent, as may be seen by comparing the following forms.
    • 1960, R[obert Murrell] Stevenson, Juan Bermudo[2], The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, OCLC 1088975444:
      Though not every composer so rigorously follows the rule of the euouae as to use all the notes that belong to the euouae of a given mode (nor need he always do so in order to write good music), still composers do tend to begin their head-motives in imitative points with the first note of the euouae.
    • 1994, David Crook, “The Representation of Psalm-Tone Categories in Imitation Magnificats”, in Orlando di Lasso’s Imitation Magnificats for Counter-Reformation Munich, Princeton, N.J.; Chichester West Sussex: Princeton University Press, →ISBN, part II (Compositional Practice), page 101:
      And you will find, in this manner, almost all the moderns, after having explained the nature of the modes, do not have any example at hand better suited to proving their statement than the intonation, mediation, and Euouae of the psalms; showing manifestly thereby that they do not make any distinction between tone and mode, seeing as the one is explained by the other.
      Translation of a 1610 text by Pierre Maillart.
    • 2014, Tim Shephard, “Alfonso and the Eloquence of Bacchus”, in Echoing Helicon: Music, Art and Identity in the Este Studioli, 1440–1530, Oxford, Oxfordshire; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 125:
      [T]hese Musicians do much boast … they affirm that the Heavens themselves to sing, yet with voices never heard of any man, except perhaps they have come to the knowledge of those musicians by means of their Euouae, or through Drunkenness, or Dreaming.
      Translation of a 1520s text by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa.
    • 2020, Nicholas Baragwanath, “Canto Fermo and Canto Figurato”, in The Solfeggio Tradition: A Forgotten Art of Melody in the Long Eighteenth Century, Oxford, Oxfordshire; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, part I (Context: Apprenticeship, Plainchant and the Rudiments), page 70:
      Knowing the syllable of the final allowed choristers to judge where to pitch the formulaic endings (evovae) that were appended to antiphons. Example 5.8 shows [Giacomo] Tritto's guidance for singing those closing formulas at the end of antiphons in modes I/II. The first bar indicates the final, re, of the antiphon; the second bar highlights the first syllable, la, of the evovae.

Alternative forms[edit]



According to Guinness World Records, this is the longest word in the English language which is made up of nothing but vowels.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ euouae” in the Collins English Dictionary
  2. ^ “Longest English Word Consisting Only of Vowels”, in Guinness World Records[1], 2005, archived from the original on 4 October 2005.