The public praise used to be led by an individual called the "precentor," who occupied a box in front of, and a little lower than, the pulpit.
Between the lessons the ass was solemnly fed, and at the conclusion of the service was led by the precentor out into the square before the church (conductus ad ludos); water was poured on the precentor's head, and the ass became the centre of burlesque ceremonies, dancing and buffoonery being carried on far into the night, while the clergy and the serious-minded retired to matins and bed.
The chief authority is the Vita Lanfranci by Milo Crispin, who was precentor at Bec and died in 1149.
Map's career was an active and varied one; he was clerk of the royal household and justice itinerant; in 1179 he was present at the Lateran council at Rome, on his way thither being enter tained by the count of Champagne; at this time he apparentm held a plurality of ecclesiastical benefices, being a prebend of St Paul's, canon and precentor of Lincoln and parson of Westbury, Gloucestershire.
In the English Church in cathedrals of the "Old Foundation" the precentor is a member of the cathedral chapter and officially ranks next to the dean.
In cathedrals of the "New Foundation" the "precentor" is not a member of the chapter, but is one of the minor canons.
One of his uncles was precentor and canon of York.
The responsories are similar in form to the antiphons, but come at the end of the psalm, being originally the reply of the choir or congregation to the precentor who recited the psalm.
He was appointed precentor of St George's Church in 1870, and conductor of the Scottish vocal music association in 1873, at the same time getting through a prodigious amount of teaching.