The major cathedrals in the Anglican Communion have traditionally maintained a style of worship that can differ considerably from that in local parish churches. The ritual and ceremonial of cathedral worship tends to be more formal, and choral music often plays a significant part. Cathedrals may have foundations or other funding to provide a quality and style of music beyond the scope of most church communities. In this type of worship the congregation is encouraged to ‘worship by listening’, and the emphasis is on the music leading people to an experience of the transcendence (or otherness) of God.
Choral services are at the heart of a cathedral's worship. The services of Mattins and Evening Prayer are observed regularly in the Cathedral with Choral Evensong every Sunday and once during the week; Mattins is observed on the first Sunday each month. Matins and Evensong typically have sung responses by cantor and choir; additionally, the choir sing the psalm(s), canticles and an anthem. There is generally at least one hymn in which the congregation participates.
A Choral Eucharist is celebrated nearly every Sunday and in the Cathedral tradition some parts of the service may be sung by the choir, often in the language in which they were composed, generally Greek / Latin. This means that the huge library of musical compositions by composers dating back hundreds of years can still be heard in its intended context, that of enriching divine worship and leading the faithful to ever greater experiences of God’s glory.