The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Music and the new missal: a joyful noise?

posted by jmcgee

People_Singing4.jpgSome of the most dramatic changes in the new Roman Missal won’t just be in what we say, but in what we sing.

Music publishers are already working on that, according to CNS:

The new Roman Missal authorized Aug. 20 for use in the United States beginning in Advent of 2011 will pose significant challenges to both the musicians performing music based on new Mass texts and the congregations expected to learn them.

“The thing that’s on most people’s minds — rank-and-file music directors — is how to adapt to new texts, especially for things like the Glory to God, which is essentially the most heavily changed from the one we’ve been using for many, many years,” said Charles Gardner, who is director for spiritual life and worship and director of liturgical music for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

In an Aug. 18 telephone interview with Catholic News Service, Gardner also expressed concern that “the most commonly used wording of the Memorial Acclamation — ‘Christ has died,’ etc.” might not appear in the missal. The texts made public Aug. 20 for what is now called the Mystery of Faith did not include the phrase Gardner mentioned.

One liturgical music figure said musicians should not be bothered by the changes in Mass texts. The new translation was designed to follow more closely the text in the original Latin.

“It’s unleashing a lot of creative energy” among liturgical music composers, said Michael McMahon, executive director of the National Association for Pastoral Musicians, based in the Washington suburb of Silver Spring, Md.

Publishers are “on the verge of releasing … samples of new and revised Mass settings,” he told CNS.

The publisher OCP, once known as Oregon Catholic Press, is preparing a book for parishes that subscribe to its missal aids and annual “Music Issue” supplements with as many as nine new Mass settings that parishes can choose to sing.

McMahon said, “We’re half-expecting there to be a grace period, at least for sung settings of various Mass parts. They did this again back in 1970 (the year the first edition of the Roman Missal was issued), which will allow people (time to acclimate themselves). There are not that many sung texts that are changing.”

Check out more details about what lies ahead at the CNS link.

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Deacon Chick

posted August 25, 2010 at 8:44 am

A good amount of music is already written and familiar to the community… It is in Latin and has been used for centuries. However that would require that liturgists and musicians acknowledge what the documents of Vatican II actually said (note: the documents and not just what someone interpreted the “spirit” of the council to be.)
From Sacrosanctum Concilium “The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.

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posted August 25, 2010 at 11:50 am

I would be glad to see 90% of today’s most used music used in Church go. A great many pieces sounds like the Brady Bunch theme and is so smug and self congratulatory about the singers own holiness.
Having the folk guitar player and his wife with the tambourine play “On Eagle Wings” has become almost a requirement (and both in their mid fifties to late sixties). It is high time for a change for the better.

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Elizabeth M

posted August 25, 2010 at 1:47 pm

I was encouraged that the latest issue of our diocesan paper (Diocese of Trenton, NJ) had several articles discussing the new translation, making sure parishes knew about the diocesan resources to help in communicating the changes to parishioners, explaining the changes, and also that it detailed a workshop already held for music ministers to learn updated arrangements. The priest in charge of the Office of Worship had a quote along the lines of the next 18 months (or so) being time to learn and adjust. I’m just glad that they are working on it now and are being ahead of the game (so to speak) in teaching about it.
Now, I just have to plan ahead for next year’s First Communion materials to make sure we have resources with the updated responses!

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posted August 25, 2010 at 7:06 pm

I’d just have to enthusiastically second R! Maybe the changes will bring some musical improvement!

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Andre John

posted August 25, 2010 at 9:43 pm

LATIN language for the MASSes
I miss attending the original traditional Latin Mass, i remember watching it and i felt like i was in a good movie and real solemn music:
Laudate Dominum, Pater Noster, Ave Maria, Angelus, Hallelujah, etc…
+AdMajoremDeiGloriam+ Shalom!

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posted August 25, 2010 at 11:58 pm

I’m quite sure that OCP will manage to churn out new music which is both as cheap as and as excruciatingly bad as their current offerings.
(We may be poor and never have enough, but at least we’ve got enough sense to scrape together enough to buy GIA!)

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posted August 26, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I also agree with R and think he is probably refering to songs that use in persona Christi lyrics, where the song writer apparently thinks people are comfortable singing things like “I am great,I am good, I am the Way” etc.
Because whether rightly or wrongly, songs that employ en persona Christi lyrics seem arrogant, most parishioners simply do feel comfortable singing them.
Hopefully the new translation will have a solemnefying effect on music, and push the tired old 1960′s stuff and the newer lame songs (Marty Hogan or some name like that comes to mind) to one side.

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