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Hat tip, Open Book

posted by awelborn

Terry Mattingly’s latest column was inspired by a thread on this blog.

Can you find the clue?

Even without the  TMatt Code, the column will interest you, because it’s about liturgical music, and that always inspires mega-comments because we’re all overwhelmed with love of the music we hear in our Catholic churches, and just have to share:

Lucy E. Carroll has never actually attended a Catholic Mass in which a cantor belted out, "He’ll be coming ’round the altar when he comes! He’ll be coming ’round the altar when he comes!" At least, that hasn’t happened yet.

"I know that some people have used Stephen Foster music in a Mass," said the musical director at the Carmelite monastery in Philadelphia. "I’ve heard about people using the melody from the waltz scene in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ for the ‘Gloria.’ And I’ve heard more than one report about people singing the ‘Agnus Dei,’ which means ‘Lamb of God,’ to that old song ‘Send in the Clowns.’ " In many parishes, she said, pop songs and the modern hymnody inspired by them have all but replaced traditional hymns and, heaven forbid, ancient chants and actual Catholic anthems.

This is old news. What many outsiders may not realize is that many Catholic parishes have, in the past decade or two, followed the lead of Protestant megachurches and now feature plugged-in "praise bands" and worship-team singers _ complete with solo microphones _ who sway in the Sunday-morning spotlights.

Legions of Catholics like this music, admitted Carroll. But many do not, including some younger Catholics who are drawn to candles, incense, sacred art and the mysterious melodies of ancient chants. In many parishes, she said, it may be time _ as shocking as this may sound _ to start a choir.



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James Kabala

posted May 5, 2006 at 9:54 am


The Gloria to the tune of “Beauty and the Beast”? The Agnus Dei to the tune of “Send in the Clowns”? Are these, like Clown Masses, phenomena that may have happened somewhere at some time, but so rarely that they may as well be apocryphal?



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Brigid

posted May 5, 2006 at 10:05 am


I really don’t care what the choir is singing (well, I might object to some songs…). What I do care about is when they take over the mass and the mass becomes “all about the choir” as a performance we all need to sit and listen to whether good or bad. THAT’S when I’m unhappy.
BTW, I have this attitude from my dear father who lead the MIT choir when he was in school there in the 40’s. “Music at mass should lead to worship, reflection and prayer. It’s not a time for performance” is what he beat into my head.
There is a right and wrong way to “do” choir at mass and that’s my beef.
Peace.



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Mark Windsor

posted May 5, 2006 at 10:11 am


I wrote a letter to a priest in a nearby parish. I told him that our recent visit had convinced us to stay where were were…because of the music. The Yanni-esque piano man, the out of tune base guitarist, and the kumbaya tamborine player all distracted from what was going on at the alter. It was all about the performance.
I got a very terse note back that made it clear I wasn’t welcome. I can’t imagine how anyone will EVER get chant back into most of the parishes around here…it’s actually beyond imagination at this point.
Don’t count on anyone going back to chant any time soon.



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RP Burke

posted May 5, 2006 at 10:18 am


The key phrase in the article:
“Most people who lead music in our churches today are not trained to be liturgical musicians.”
Indeed, you get no musical background but instead full-fledged liturgist training, especially in authoritarianism — “You can negotiate with a terrorist” — and ignorance — “That’s only YOUR personal taste.”



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BG Gruff

posted May 5, 2006 at 10:28 am


It seems the time is long since past for anyone to be surprised that there is vernacular music at a vernacular Mass. Catholic music will only be restored as part of a larger restoration. It will not happen in a vacuuum.



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Tony A

posted May 5, 2006 at 10:40 am


“Candles, incense, sacred art and the mysterious melodies of ancient chants.” Amen! I find it the generational divide quite interesting. Priests in their 50s and above seem totally allergic to incense, while the younger priests seem addicted! It’s the same for us younger folks (and at 35 I consider myself young!)– most practicing Catholics I know in this group love chant and incense. But we get it so rarely.
But I don’t hate the Marty Haugen stuff as much as many here seem to. There’s a time and a place for this kind of stuff, and it works well in some environments. No, what I dislike aer those awful tuneless bombastic protestant monstrosities that are used so regularly for processionals and recessionals. And they are impossible to sing! [That’s another argument for chant– despite people’s fear of Latin, it is actually far easier for musically-impaired people like me to sing.] Recently, at Barcelona cathedral, I saw that the ministers processed in to the chanted Litany of the Saints, and I thought– what an excellent idea?



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lar

posted May 5, 2006 at 10:44 am


We hold a Catholic Music Festival here full of all the kinds of music some people hate. Except the musicianship is top-notch and the context is decidedly not liturgical. So we have rock, folk, bluegrass, etc. by some outstanding Catholic musicans.
Last year we had a dynamic young Benedictine down for a talk and he ended by leading the crowd of mostly teens and young adults in some Gregorian chant. They loved it.
If you want chant back in churches, feed it where it grows. Find the context where it is being used and enjoyed, take your youth group and hook them up. When people come to appreciate it more outside of Mass, they will want it restored to the liturgy.



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Hunk Hondo

posted May 5, 2006 at 10:57 am


I once observed to my late mother-in-law that the Tantum Ergo fit the tune of “My Darling Clementine”. She frowned and said “Don’t tell Father Campion.” (Amy’s old OSV editor, who was our pastor at the time.)



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Daniel

posted May 5, 2006 at 11:04 am


I wonder with the pressure from Charismatics and the influence of Latin America, whether this will become an Old World v. New World conflict.
Can the Catholic church in the U.S., for instance, ignore the fact that “liturgical” music isn’t really the universal tie that it once was, but instead the musical language of Africa or Latin America is probably the future of the church, not Europeans (and Americans) chanting in silence in empty churches?



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Todd

posted May 5, 2006 at 11:20 am


Lucy Carroll is the in-house contributor on music for Adoremus. She seems like a sound musician, though I think she gives too much credence to apocryphal stories. Earlier this week, I heard about a baseball funeral in Iowa. Even the priest came dressed up in a uniform. But the truth is that Catholic liturgy, on the whole, suffers more from dullness than theatrics.
I’ve always found interesting the notion that conservatory-trained musicians who concertize as part of their formation are somehow less immune to performance than volunteer groups without training. In the days when my guitar knowledge was limited, there’s no way I wanted to stand out, let alone front a church performance. What is needed is people of prayer who understand the liturgy is about human leadership getting transparent so that the experience of the Divine can shine through.
The reality in mainstream parishes is that music ministries attract some of the parish singers and musicians, but not all of them. Weaker programs tend to attract fewer good musicians. Once the leadership is in place and a degree of quality established, good musicians will start emerging from the woodwork. Most folks in that boat are ready to embrace the attitude of prayerfulness needed to lead worship. But the same can be said of less-skilled music folks.
My goal for a parish would be a choir at every Mass. Ms Carroll has some practical advice for getting that going. I’d follow it, if I were giving advice.
But I would take with a grain of salt her stories urging you to get there. We don’t need to run away from horrific experiences to start building for good ones.
Stephen Foster, by the way, was an outstanding writer of tunes. It doesn’t surprise to hear than someone might have thought something of his useful. A priest friend of mine once related a seminary competition in which he and his buddies tried to find tunes to which Eucharistic Prayer II could be sung. A music person once told me that a Middle-Eastern drinking song was adapted for a Kyrie in the Maronite Church. The reality is that secular music has always been adapted for worship. But maybe it can help to forget our roots in such cases.



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CMick

posted May 5, 2006 at 11:22 am


I once heard (as a “Communion Meditation”) Amazing Grace sung to the tune of “House of the Rising Sun.”
Complete with horns and guitar.
Since then, I’ve figured out that Amazing Grace also works with the theme song of “Gilligan’s Island.”



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john

posted May 5, 2006 at 11:30 am


I’ve thought about this quite a bit, and have hesitated to post, but the comments here have made me think more seriously about this.
I too am not convinced that every parish that leans a little more toward modern liturgical music is doomed. However, in my mind there are a few basic principles that these music programs need to take more seriously.
1) MINISTRY IS ABOUT SERVICE, NOT ACCOLADE – If at any point your ministry is about anything other than inspiring deeper worship, you’re off the mark. You should be leading others in song, not HAVING A CONCERT. Even “relfection” pieces (like preludes) must not turn into a show. The choir at my parish sings some pretty contemporary stuff for preludes and whatnot, but its chosen because we think our congregation will actually find it prayerful, and the feedback we get affirms that.
Now, corrolary to that: even very upbeat, modern music can be done humbly, but there is a greater temptation toward pride in those mediums. Its a tough balance, but I’ve seen it done. Its also a little culturally conditioned. I’ve been at predominantly African American churches where the gospel-esque choir is singing in a way that in a more caucasian parish would seem distracting, but there everyone else is honestly singing and worshiping. The key element is not as much WHAT you sing, but how you present it.
2) EMBRACE THE FULL MUSICAL TRADITION – As most of the documents on music say, chant, polyphony and the organ have a “priveleged” place in our liturgy. Any program that ignores this is not respecting the liturgy. Even if your congregation embraces more contemporary genres, if you never turn on the organ, or never sing chant…even more agregious, never sing anything but Haugen and Haas, you’re not doing ministry well. I think Haugen and Haas have some decent stuff, but there’s soooooo much more. Even contemporary composers are doing great, more traditional hymnody. Most of Richard Proulx’s stuff is top notch.
3. LEAD YOUR CONGREGATION IN PRAYER, NOT SOMEONE ELSES – The biggest mistake I see many contemporary-leaning musicians make is that they try to impose their musical passions on the liturgy of their parish, instead of prayerfuly considering what God is calling the community to. For example, someone who loves “praise and worship” goes down to Franciscan University at Steubenville, and sees them doing “praise and worship” music very prayerfully and reverently at mass. They think, “my parish should do this to.” They go home and try inflicting mass amounts of this genre on a community that is used to traditional hymnody. It almost never works.
The musical ministry at a parish should not be a platform for the particular musical taste of that particular minister. There’s nothing wrong with introducing communities to new ways of worship, but attmepting to change the parish is not usually ministry but pride.
4. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS MUSIC WHICH IS COMPLETELY INAPPROPRIATE FOR MASS: As I’m sure you can tell, I actually find many contemporary genres very prayerful, as well as our rich tradition. That said, on both sides of the spectrum I have found parishes that make horrible choices based more on “their style” than on prayerful ministry. There is some “praise and worship” stuff that’s great for prayer meetings, but totally wrong for mass. On the reverse, just because its polyphony with organ, doesn’t mean its appropriate. Its actually possible for a chant choir to take away from a liturgy.
Now, I do fully admit that there is more inherent danger in contemporary music than more traditional modes. But again, I think, depending on the culture and community, there are many musical styles that could be appropriately used if done well and with a servant’s heart.
That said, I think every program has to worry a little less about what kind of music they’re doing and HOW they are doing the music they choose.
5. IF YOUR MINISTRY DOESN’T PRAY, ITS NOT A MINISTRY – I’m not just talking about the obligatory pre-rehearsal “Our Father.” If the ministry at any parish is not coming out of the individual and collective prayer of the members, its going to turn into a show. Its possible to make many musical styles prayerful and reverent, but only if those leading are peple of true prayer.
Just some thoughts. I’m sure many might disagree, but it might inspire some good conversaiton.



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Scherza

posted May 5, 2006 at 11:32 am


I wish that stories like Lucy’s about hearing secular tunes being used as settings for music in Mass, even the ordinary, were apocryphal.
However, I’ve seen and heard plenty of it, including but not limited to:
— a rendition of the “Our Father” in English and Spanish done to the Simon and Garfunkel “Sound of Silence” tune. (At Moreau Seminary, Notre Dame, Indiana, February 2006.)
— performance of “Someone Like You” from the musical Jekyll and Hyde with the lyrics changed to “Someone Like Christ”. (At John Carroll Catholic High School, Birmingham, Alabama, April 1998.)



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john

posted May 5, 2006 at 11:43 am


By the way, I too have some horror stories.
The worst was at a funeral, a setting of “In paradisum” to the tune of “Oh, Danny Boy.”
It was brutal.



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Catholic Mom

posted May 5, 2006 at 11:49 am


Daniel,
I thought my response to your comment was too long for the comment box so I have posted it here.Please know that not all the churches in America are empty.



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Tim Ferguson

posted May 5, 2006 at 11:50 am


I would love to have the rich baroque music that is Latin America’s liturgical heritage at Mass each weekend.



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Keith Strohm

posted May 5, 2006 at 11:57 am


As a Catholic (and someone who engages in music ministry at my parish) I agree that the whole goal of music ministry is to help the congregation enter into the liturgical celebration more deeply. It is NOT about the music or the musicians.
However, I must admit to being puzzled and absolutely frustrated by the point of view that looks upon all non-traditional idioms of music (and the musicians who play them) as selling out the sacredness of the liturgy for mere entertainment value. I hear that constantly…”the Mass isn’t about entertainment” or “we shouldn’t be trying to focus on the musicians.”
I’ve been to plenty of masses with traditional music, and the pieces were so complex, with 4, 6, and 8 part harmonies, that the average catholic in the pew could not even sing the piece because they couldn’t find the melody.
I know I’m in the minority here, but I have to say it’s more about the prayerfulness, formation, and attitude of the musicians in ministry than it is about the music. That is not to say that the music doesn’t matter at all (I too cringe at Ashes), but that how the ministry is executed is more important.
At my former parish, we have an amazing music ministry group that plays mostly contemporary music for one of the masses–and through their gifts, they have helped the entire community enter into the liturgy in an extremely powerful way. Lives are being changed as members of the community are better able to open their hearts to God as they celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. And because of the way God has used this group–and through the graces of the Eucharistic celebration–the community has begun a journey toward catholic orthodoxy that it very much needed.
This music group typically spends 45 minutes of their 1.5 hour practice proclaiming the scriptures for that Sunday to each other and praying together. They absolutely see what they do as a ministr, and they have a discernment process for those who may feel a call to join them in their ministry. They are, without a doubt, the most powerful example of music ministry that I have ever witnessed–and they *gasp* utilize drums and an electric guitar….
Gregorian chant is awesome..traditional hymns and pipe organs are awesome…but they do not represent the ONLY way for effective, proper music ministry. I think the whole knee-jerk reaction that anything not born from traditional hymnody or chants is merely meant for entertainment a little ingenuous and wrongheaded. Are there groups and parishes where the music and music ministers see what they do as performance…absolutely!!! I’ve been to more than my share of those parishes…but I’ve seen the same attitude among traditional choirs and organists as well.



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Nick

posted May 5, 2006 at 12:02 pm


As someone who knows a thing or two about taking secular melodies and baptizing them into a Catholic context… (I’m the Catholic Weird Al)… here are my thoughts:
1) Anybody who uses a secular and/or modern (copyrighted) melody for an ancient text in a non-parody setting, without permission, is stealing. Breaking a Commandment is not a good example to the congregation.
2) There are horror stories in regards to the praise and worship format, but there are also many, many glory stories as well. In many respects, the praise and worship scene is an improvement over the Haugen-Haas scene–the texts are often Biblical, simple, and easy to sing. The melodies often match the sentiments of the texts themselves.
3) It’s a shame that a previous poster didn’t mention the praise song that was hard-to-sing; those are not usually the case. I’ve found certain hymns, more chants and nearly all polyphony to be most hard-to-sing. Which goes to show that it’s not the genre that dictates singability, but the individual songs themselves. There are tests that can be applied to each song, and the best series of tests are from the appendix in Sally Morgenthaler’s “Worship Evangelism”, a must read.
4) I’ve been to (diocesan-approved) Tridentine liturgies where the music, too, was all about “performance”. People who lay the same warnings upon modern musicians are being overly selective in their criticisms.
5) The solution is not one style over another, but a deft blending of all prayer-filled styles. Chant, polyphony, hymns, contemporary folk and praise&worship can all be beneficial to the liturgies, as long as the lyrics reflect the readings and sentiments of that week, the melodies/performances reflect the appropriate tone for both the readings and that moment in the liturgy, and the songs themselves are congregational friendly. I’ve seen it done, with power, beauty and prayerful grace.



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Catholic Mom

posted May 5, 2006 at 12:12 pm


I’ve mentioned this in other venues, but I think it bears repeating. A choir that is heard but not seen, ie put in a choir loft, is much more likely to provide prayerful accompaniment than one that is prominently featured in the sanctuary. Behind the altar is the worst! ugh!



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Daniel

posted May 5, 2006 at 12:16 pm


I’d ask Catholic Mom how many of the Arlington Diocese thousands of Latinos were present at the Latin mass she attended? How about the hudnreds of African immigrants in the Diocese?



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Bender

posted May 5, 2006 at 12:25 pm


There’s a time and a place for this kind of stuff, and it works well in some environments.
Very true. Indeed, I suspect that, if they were present, many of the musical traditionalists would have been singing the loudest at my Alexandria, Virginia parish when, after 9/11, we were singing “Battle Hymn of the Republic” at Mass.



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Liz

posted May 5, 2006 at 12:25 pm


I must say that I’m suprised by Dr. Carrol’s advocacy of traditional music. She worked as the music teacher/choir director/theatre director/liturgist at my Catholic high school for a year (no one ever kept the job more than a year…), and she wanted to know what we all thought about getting the ‘teen hymnal.’ (“No.”)
And if anyone wants to see beautiful, prayerful, liturgical music turned into a show, just turn on the Notre Dame “Hallmark Mass” (Sunday mornings on the Hallmark Channel – “when you care enough to send the very best liturgy…”). They are NOT aiming for the full, conscious, and active participation of ANYBODY in prayer! For as irksome as the folk choir’s (non-televised) African Gloria can be – for the simple fact that no one in in the folk choir actually IS African (maybe a few African-Americans), and it smacks of false multiculturalism – at least I can sing along.
Finally, I too was privy to a Spanish “Our Father” to “The Sound of Silence;” it was incredibly prayerful. (I’ve actually heard it twice – both times at parishes in Ecuador).



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Ken

posted May 5, 2006 at 12:27 pm


The Gloria to the tune of “Beauty and the Beast”? The Agnus Dei to the tune of “Send in the Clowns”?
You can sing “Amazing Grace” to the tune of “House of the Rising Sun” (The Animals, early 60s). I heard it done once (not in a liturgy, the musician was experimenting) and it actually transposes pretty well.



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Tony A

posted May 5, 2006 at 12:29 pm


Hard to sing, easy to sing? OK, I know virtually nothing about music (can’t read it), but I do know that I am unable to sing most of the “traditional” processional and recessionals (the “protestant” style of hymn). On the other hand, I can sing Haugen, and I can sing a lot of the basic chants. Look at the chanted “Our Father”. It’s easy, and it sounds beautiful. Same with the Kyrie de Angelis, Gloria, Credo etc.



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Don Lokken

posted May 5, 2006 at 12:42 pm


The “House of the Rising Sun/Amazing Grace” shows up on a Blind Boys of Alabama CD (Spirit of the Century) and, like most of their stuff, sounds really good. I’m not sure how it would be at Mass, though, since anyone over a certain age would find themselves hearing Eric Burdon instead of the cantor.



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RP Burke

posted May 5, 2006 at 12:54 pm


John writes:
The biggest mistake I see many contemporary-leaning musicians make is that they try to impose their musical passions on the liturgy of their parish, instead of prayerfuly considering what God is calling the community to.
These are also the most likely candidates to blow off comments by claiming that criticism is merely an expression of “personal taste,” when in fact they are imposing their own personal taste.
Todd’s experience — once a musician of limited skills hesitant to “front a church performance” — is exemplary, but hardly representative. There are thousands of similarly limited people who see such fronting as their calling, to the gratitude of a pastor who can get something that resembles music for a pittance or even for nothing.
You get what you pay for, and Marty Haugen for one has raked in the bucks writing trash for the ignorant.



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RP Burke

posted May 5, 2006 at 12:59 pm


You can sing “Amazing Grace” to the tune of “House of the Rising Sun” (The Animals, early 60s).
You can also sing it to the theme of “Gilligan’s Island.”



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Scherza

posted May 5, 2006 at 1:01 pm


The main question regarding music in liturgy, with all due respect, ought not be “is it ‘moving’ or ‘prayerful’?” but “is it appropriate for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?”
Sincerity is never a good measure of orthodoxy or orthopraxis, as people can be Very Sincerely Wrong.
Holy literally means sacred or set apart. Following Paul’s instruction that we are not to be conformed to this world, it stands to reason that the music which is part of the Divine Liturgy should not sound like Top Forty.
Nor should it sound like concert-hall music performed by trained singers.



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Liz

posted May 5, 2006 at 1:03 pm


You can also sing Emily Dickinson’s poetry to the tune of Gilligan’s Island – so what?



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Allan Edwards

posted May 5, 2006 at 1:09 pm


This issue is tossed around constantly, but few have perceived that the primay issue is not so much the style of the music (which can be an issue) as whether or not the music is Christocentric. The main problem we have in our churches is that the music is made to be all about us and that isn’t what worship is about. This is the radical different between good praise and worship and the Haugen/Hass crowd. People know this is an issue, but they are hestitant to admit that it is the main one. Certainly if commitment to discipleship was the common experience we wouldn’t be talking about the lack of polyphony and chant to begin with.



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Catholic Mom

posted May 5, 2006 at 1:20 pm


Daniel,
Because you asked, I refer you to this.
I do think the Arlington Diocese does a pretty good job of trying to reach out to a diverse population.



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Nick

posted May 5, 2006 at 1:37 pm


ITA with Allan… to have “prayerful” music means that the music, by definition, have a people-to-God focus. You’re not praying when you are speaking God’s words to yourself, or speaking to each other… altho you can let such words encourage you to pray above and beyond the actual text.
I’m not entirely against the songs that have a different focus (like the ubiquitous God-to-people songs), so long as these songs are Biblical and rooted in the readings of that week. But if my church incorporates such a song, I am more likely to remain quiet, and allow the words of the song to speak to me.



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Daniel

posted May 5, 2006 at 1:50 pm


I do think the Arlington Diocese does a pretty good job of trying to reach out to a diverse population.

My point was how many of those immigrant parishoners are attracted to the high-mass, liturgical Latin Mass you say 600 people attended.
If we become rigid about what is “good” music and what is “wrong” music–which is usually dictated by white traditionalists–we may have big problems in the worldwide Catholic experience.



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Maureen O'Brien

posted May 5, 2006 at 1:55 pm


Re: singing different words to copyrighted music in a non-parody context
First off, if the parish (or bar, or whatever) is paying ASCAP, they can do whatever they want in terms of performance. It’s not stealing if you’re already paying. And I believe that many parishes do pay ASCAP. This also applies to broadcasters; that’s how morning radio earns its bread.
However, non-public performers of contrafacta can do whatever they please, even in this folk-hostile society busily engaged in fencing off its commons. Anyone throwing accusations of stealing will have to deal with the natural law and God’s law, which are on the side of reuse of tunes.
I point you to the psalms, and recommend that you notice how many of them are sung “to the tune of”.
Moving along — while printing up copies of copyrighted sheet music without paying for it is bad, printing lyrics with the direction “to the tune of” is as legal as the day is long. (I refer you to the case of the Estate of Irving Berlin vs. Mad Magazine.) Parody and political content need not be demonstrated in such a case. So even the law loves a contrafactum.
As for recording different lyrics to a copyrighted tune… well, that’s an interesting question. Technically, all that is required is to pay a mechanical license. In practice, most musicians (parody or not) will ask permission to record such lyrics, mostly because legal threats are not something most folks want to get into. The Supremes did rule that parodies can be recorded without permission (in the 2 Live Crew/”Pretty Woman” case) as long as you pay said mechanical license, but it’s really iffy getting a parody acknowledged.
None of this is to say that I want anyone singing Beauty and the Beast Glorias. However, it is neither fair nor accurate to bind the mouth of the musical kine by calling their browsing “stealing”. It is also destructive to music itself, since most songwriters’ first lyrics consist of writing new words to old songs.
Maureen, who would dearly like to see this poster’s head spin, and proposes reviving Johnny Mercer’s old musical news broadcasts. New words to old songs every week!



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Nick

posted May 5, 2006 at 2:06 pm


Maureen…
ASCAP is for recording purposes, and for airing on a radio.
CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing Inc), and other copyright-based programs are for writing the words out on a songsheet or an overhead projector.
What you meant to say is that you believe most parishes use CCLI, or a similar copyright-based permission program.
And in this case, you would be incorrect.
Most parishes are clueless when it comes to copyright permissions. I’ve been involved with many different parishes, and most of them would point to the music minister and say, oh yeah, ask *her*! But then you ask the music minister, and she would say that no such decision had ever been made.
Parody-writing is considered “Fair Use” because of that Supreme Court case that you cited (Orbison v. 2 Live Crew), and paying the mechanical license is not even required. However, the upshot is that there is a difference between a parody song and stealing a melody. A parody song’s intent is for humor and wry commentary on the original’s merit. Stealing a melody is not.



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john

posted May 5, 2006 at 2:11 pm


Scherza says:
“The main question regarding music in liturgy, with all due respect, ought not be “is it ‘moving’ or ‘prayerful’?” but “is it appropriate for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?”
I think you mistake my characterization of “prayerful” and “worshipful” as mere emotional terms. They are not. In fact, I did not use “moving” as an adjective on purpose.
The terms I used are categorical meant to indicate the effect of the music. Someone may not have any emotional reaction to the music, but still be lead into deeper, more genuine worship.
The point of music in liturgy is to facilitate the act of worship. Music which facilitates worship is appropriate, music which distracts worship is not.
Also, many people like to quote “appropriate for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” as a rubric, but few give any clear indication of what “appropriate” means.
Again, I think I am consistent with the documents when I say that the measuring stick of what is appropriate is what facilitates prayer and worship. Reverent is often an adjective used as well, but I find it quite relative. Everyone has different perceptions of “reverent” and “appropriate”, but most could honestly assess whether the music is actually helping them to pray.
My key point is that music should be judged as appropriate if it facilitates worship, and we should spend less time judging music based on categories such as:
–What the music director happens to like
–What’s trendy
–What’s old, because anything ancient is good
–limited to one style
–What evokes the strongest emotional reaction
–What suits one’s personal cultural taste



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Maureen O'Brien

posted May 5, 2006 at 2:13 pm


Re: not sounding like a concert hall
I’m thinking this is a hard standard to match. The choir has to be good, but not too good? Are we supposed to introduce mistakes, or tell people with beautiful voices and training that they’re not welcome in the loft? Or are we never supposed to give glory to God with music that’s too ethereal, too much like the angels we’re singing along with?
(And don’t forget, the very words of the Mass tell you that the angels and saints are there, with us, singing and giving praise. I guarantee they’re not stinting on musical difficulty.)
OTOH, I realize that attitude is important. If the choir thinks it’s the most important part of Mass, obviously the choir requires humble pie stat. Also, songs must not “take over” Mass by being too long, or being contrary to the needs of the liturgy and the season and the day. Hopefully, they go along with the readings and such, too.
But the choir is supposed to be singing as all the people would sing if they could. That being so, we are obliged to do our best to praise and petition God as fully and fittingly as we can. We lift up our voices as the tone-deaf and the tired lift up their hearts and souls. That’s what we’re for.
And if we don’t try to do that, and do it with love and worship, then we’re a clanging cymbal, yes. But at least let us try.
Re: contemporary music
People have been burned, badly, and for years, by contemporary music. That’s why they’re shy of it. There’s nothing wrong with it intrinsically, IMHO. But the unfair truth is that the good musicians and liturgists who like contemporary are just going to have to struggle with the mess left by the bad ones. Hercules and the stables are nothing to it, I’m afraid.
But OTOH, there are worse sufferings to be forced to offer up. At least we’re not all church musicians in China. :)



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Nick

posted May 5, 2006 at 2:17 pm


BTW…
When I state that not every parish incorporates a copyright license subscription, that does not mean that every parish should. Most parishes rely upon their hymnals/missallettes, in which the purchase of such a resource has the copyright permission included in the price. It’s only when songsheets and/or overheads are used (something which the Charismatic renewal and Lifeteen movements introduced… and I write this as someone heartily endorsing both) that these copyright permissions are needed.
And most certainly, a song which uses “Beauty and the Beast” as the basis of an established liturgical prayer would have to have its lyrics printed for people to learn it…



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Maureen O'Brien

posted May 5, 2006 at 2:25 pm


I thought you were primarily worried about performance. That or recording is almost always the bugaboo in a secular context, when it comes to new sets of words.
I can’t say that I’ve ever seen anyone singing a modern parody or contrafactum in church (and I’m over thirty). But if somebody did, I can’t imagine they’d actually take the trouble to copy out music for it. I mean, if people don’t know the tune already, why would they want to do a contrafactum of it? If one did want to do a Beauty and the Beast Gloria, surely it would be to spare people the trouble of learning a new tune.
And what is this strange slide projector thing you speak of? :)
The last time my church did huge amounts of contemporary, we didn’t have songsheets with music on them; just lyrics. If they were really forthcoming, they had these mysterious guitar chords on them, too. (Though they were usually not concerned with anyone besides the three guitarists actually knowing any music besides the Mass parts, which were from the Danish Mass, IIRC.)
My parish now uses this exciting interactive technology called hymnals. Comes with musical notation and everything. :)



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Nick

posted May 5, 2006 at 2:32 pm


Maureen…
If you want a congregation to sing “The Lord’s Prayer” to the melody of “The Rainbow Connection” or “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, you’re going to need more than just relying upon the memory of the familiar melody–you have to know how the lyrics are going to be placed in the new context. Which is why lyric sheets would be necessary.
And yes, lyrics-only songsheets are still required by copyright to have permissions granted, unless the songs are in the public domain.
As for music notation, only 5% of the general populace knows how to read it. Most people learn songs by repetition. And a lot of the newer praise songs, AND a lot of the familiar hymn melodies have this, which puts them at an advantage over most other melodies.
If people have a problem with repetition, I wonder if they have similar problems in praying the rosary. If people have a problem with simple songs, I wonder if they have a problem reading St. Therese of Lisieux. If people have a problem with guitars, I wonder how they could sing “Silent Night”, or recite Psalm 150 with a good conscience…



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Old Zhou

posted May 5, 2006 at 2:33 pm


Maureen,
Where I live (San Francisco Area):
– some Catholic parishes use slide projectors to “teleprompt” the pew potatoes, whether it is the words they are supposed to say, pray or sing. In “traditional” architecture, it is usually projected onto the front wall on both sides of the sanctuary. In “in the round” architectures, some churches have multi-sided “projection screen” partial walls coming down from the ceiling above the sanctuary. Projectors usually recessed somewhere at the rear or sides of the nave. Someone has a remote control to advance slides (what would this minister be called in Latin?).
– many “praise” oriented evangelical churches just use an old fashioned folding projector screen to put up the lyrics of the songs with an standard overhead projector.



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mulopwepaul

posted May 5, 2006 at 2:35 pm


“If we become rigid about what is “good” music and what is “wrong” music–which is usually dictated by white traditionalists…”
I thought stereotyping was wrong, but I guess it depends on whose stereo is being typed.
Attempting to inject race into this is an unworthy tactic.
PVO



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Liam

posted May 5, 2006 at 2:45 pm


New Englanders are perhaps more away of the Londonderry Air (Danny Boy) being used to support the Song of Farewell (the vernacular version of In Paradisum), because I think the practice started in Providence when Danny Boy got nixed as funeral music, and caused a HUGE uproar, so that was the solution that got popularized.
Sigh. The Londonderry Air and its ilk should not be heard in church.



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Scherza

posted May 5, 2006 at 2:58 pm


John —
No quibble with you at all; my comment about “moving” and “prayerful” was directed at the person who defended the use of the “Sound of Silence” Our Father as acceptable because it was “prayerful.”
I think that “Sacrosanctum Concilium” does a pretty good job of defining what is and is not appropriate for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The document is very clear that the music is to be sacred music. The texts are sacred texts and the music is to fit the texts. Slapping sacred texts to pop tunes just doesn’t fit, IMHO.
Maureen —
Per the concert hall, I was thinking along the lines of music like Arvo Part and John Tavener, along with the Masses composed for the concert stage by classical composers like Mozart and Brahms. The music is glorious and sublime. However, in the cases of Part and Tavener, the chances that the community is going to be able to sing that music are slim to none. In fact, 99% of the parish choirs out there can’t sing it either — it’s very difficult even if you understand tintinnabuli structure. Mozart and Brahms excise portions of the liturgical texts, unsuiting them for use in Mass. And so forth.
It’s great music, fabulous music, angelic music, but the situations are few and far between that it won’t come off as performance because nobody in the pews can participate. My litmus question for that is “Will anybody be tempted to applaud?” Because if someone is so tempted, then we’re in clear violation of “Sacrosanctum Concilium.”
(I hope we don’t call for the elimination of trained singers from the choir loft, or I’d be ousted myself.)



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CMick

posted May 5, 2006 at 3:00 pm


Have you guys listened to what is played at Catholic weddings these days?
Woah.
I mean, I’ve heard songs played at Nuptial Masses that shouldn’t be allowed at secular weddings.
There’s no accounting for taste.



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Old Zhou

posted May 5, 2006 at 3:03 pm


Dear Scherza,
I have enjoyed the experience of listening to Arvo Part’s instrumental music (played from a CD) during post-communion quiet time.
In regard to the “full and active participation,” listenting to this is really, for the average pew potato, no different than listenting to the equally unintelligable “Tantum Ergo” by Mozart.



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Daniel

posted May 5, 2006 at 3:03 pm


Attempting to inject race into this is an unworthy tactic.

Why???? Catholicism is not longer a “white, European” faith. The largest and fastest growing parts of the church aren’t saying the Latin Mass, but using mariachi bands, speaking in Swahili or Tagolog, and introducing more charismatic elements to the Mass.



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Old Zhou

posted May 5, 2006 at 3:06 pm


Last night my neighbors were playing (loudly, in their care) “Private Dancer” by Tina Turner.
I wondered why I had not heard that in Church yet.
Seems like it would be great while the liturgical dance ladies in flowing gowns bring forward the gifts.



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RP Burke

posted May 5, 2006 at 3:28 pm


Nick wrote:
As for music notation, only 5% of the general populace knows how to read it.
What is the source of that statistic?
If it is true, then music education in our schools has failed, and horribly.
I strongly doubt that only 1 in 20 people can read a single line of music, at least well enough to follow along with a group.



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Christine

posted May 5, 2006 at 3:41 pm


“If we become rigid about what is “good” music and what is “wrong” music–which is usually dictated by white traditionalists–we may have big problems in the worldwide Catholic experience.”
Well, I don’t live in the *worldwide* Catholic Church. I live in the Catholic Church in northeast Ohio, and many of us still appreciate chant, thank you very much. And please don’t trivialize minorities with your ueber multiculturalism. Leontyne Price enjoyed high opera as much as black spirituals.
There’s room for all of it.



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mulopwepaul

posted May 5, 2006 at 3:48 pm


The mariachi mass was invented by a Canadian in 1968 or ’69; it is as authentic to actual Mexican spirituality or religious culture as Speedy Gonzales.
90% of bad taste is ignorance of good art; enshrining ignorance such as the mariachi mass because of some counterfeit multicultural authenticity is heading in exactly the wrong direction, even if a white person says so.
PVO



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Dan Crawford

posted May 5, 2006 at 3:52 pm


Having donned my bulletproof vest and various other forms of body armor, I now enter the fray with the following observation: In 90% of the parishes using Gregorian Chant (there have been many I’ve attended in my 61 years), the chant has been so poorly done it was painful to listen to. Unfortunately, even on the best days, the Chant viewers hear during the Mass on EWTN barely makes it. When I want to listen to chant, I have a number of wonderful recordings from various monastic choirs. If parishes wish to do chant, they should commit themselves to doing it well. As for using popular melodies for hymns, why not? What the hymn writers today are writing suggests they know little of melody – and even less of theology. Let me know when I can remove the body armor.



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mulopwepaul

posted May 5, 2006 at 3:52 pm


http://www.mariachi.org/history.html
gives a little background on this particular bit of multicultural condescension.
PVO



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mulopwepaul

posted May 5, 2006 at 4:01 pm


“If parishes wish to do chant, they should commit themselves to doing it well.”
We could say the same thing about any style of music most parish music groups perform.
The bottom line is that Catholic choirs and parishes generally in the U.S. have an astoundingly low level of musical competence; the style of music those choirs perform is not terribly germane to considering why that is.
Mass media has almost entirely destroyed singing as a general pastime, and musical performance is now the preserve of young people with correspondingly undeveloped musical taste and the tiny fraction of the population which manages to eke out a living teaching or performing.
I submit that the poor chant perfomances stick out in one’s mind for their overall novelty, not the fact that they were technically much worse than the average guitar-rendering of “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”
PVO



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Catholic Mom

posted May 5, 2006 at 4:11 pm


Just to add fuel to the fire: This published today gives the view of the St. Louis Jesuits (Think Dan Shutte) on their contribution to Church music.



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Daniel

posted May 5, 2006 at 4:13 pm


enshrining ignorance such as the mariachi mass because of some counterfeit multicultural authenticity is heading in exactly the wrong direction, even if a white person says so.

Did you miss the part where the Mariachi Mass–in Mexico–became so popular that it draw in new parishoners?????? That’s my point. I love a classical, traditional Mass as much as the next guy, but we need to recognize that the fastest growing segment of the Catholic church is likely inspired by hymns and music with a Latin or African beat than listening to Bruckner or Bach.
It’s not multiculturalism, given that traditional masses with chanting is well in the minority worldwide. Arguably, it’s counterfeit multiculticural authencity that suggests only chanting and singing in Latin is correct and proper.



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Tony A

posted May 5, 2006 at 4:14 pm


Nuptual masses?
At mine, last November, we had Latin chanting (Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, Offertory, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) and incense. And we did the liturgically correct entrance (all process together instead of the groom awaiting the bride).



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Nick

posted May 5, 2006 at 4:26 pm


RP,
The statistic is from my personal experience. Doing a search on the web, I never had a hard factoid, except that there’s a lot less interest in general music education.
You may not agree with that statistic, but remember that music education is most often an elective, not a requirement. People who fund for the arts do not realize that this could filter to music, or painting, or drama. People who learn music may never get to learn how to read music, but instead learn of the different styles of music, from classical to jazz to rock to hip-hop. And not every musician can read music–guitarists and pianists get by learning chords and reading lead sheets. “The Beatles don’t, why should I?”
See the movie “School of Rock”? No standard notation listed in the film, (although there was an awesome chart on the blackboard detailing all the myriad derivations of rock music–beatlesque, new wave, grunge, folk rock, art rock, etc).
The last film I’ve seen that showed the positive aspects of musical notation was “Amadeus”, altho the way that film depicted musical notation it implied you had to be some sort of genius to read it.



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Catholic Mom

posted May 5, 2006 at 4:30 pm


Relax Daniel. No one is trying to say only Gregorian Chant, Latin, Bach, and Bruckner are worthy of the Mass. The point is that much of the modern music has become separate from rather than part of the Mass. No matter what the genre, if the music is a performance it is inappropriate. During Mass our focus must be on the Eucharist. Music should enhance the focus not distract from it.
Just an aside on the issue of multiculturalism: I know of a parish where there was great consternation over the recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. They pray it every day at 3:00 pm in their Perpetual Adoration Chapel. Many in the group were Hispanic and preferred to pray in Spanish. They tried a bilingual version with some prayers in English and some in Spanish but it just kept everyone confused. The solution was to have everyone learn the prayers in Latin and they can now pray in a common language.



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Christine

posted May 5, 2006 at 4:42 pm


Interestingly, the children of many ethnic groups in America learned the grand European tradition of sacred choral singing. Polish, German, whatever. A couple years ago I attended an Advent concert at St. Stephen Church in Cleveland, which still has German-speaking Masses. The choir that sang at the Mass was formed by a group of Germans originating from the Danube area and they have kept up the traditions, even with their American born children. The same was true in my husband’s Polish parish where folks sang enthusiastically at the 10:00 a.m. Polish Mass. Come to think of it, the descendants of European Lutherans and Anglicans did the same.
Singing is not genetically passed on, it is a cultural heritage. Music really is a universal language. Catholics in the U.S. just haven’t caught up yet. And yes, returning to a little more Latin would give the Universal Church a universal language that could be used in at least some parts of the liturgy.



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Christine

posted May 5, 2006 at 4:42 pm


Interestingly, the children of many ethnic groups in America learned the grand European tradition of sacred choral singing. Polish, German, whatever. A couple years ago I attended an Advent concert at St. Stephen Church in Cleveland, which still has German-speaking Masses. The choir that sang at the Mass was formed by a group of Germans originating from the Danube area and they have kept up the traditions, even with their American born children. The same was true in my husband’s Polish parish where folks sang enthusiastically at the 10:00 a.m. Polish Mass. Come to think of it, the descendants of European Lutherans and Anglicans did the same.
Singing is not genetically passed on, it is a cultural heritage. Music really is a universal language. Catholics in the U.S. just haven’t caught up yet. And yes, returning to a little more Latin would give the Universal Church a universal language that could be used in at least some parts of the liturgy.



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mulopwepaul

posted May 5, 2006 at 5:03 pm


The alleged (albeit unquantified) popularity of the mariachi Mass is no more license for its approval than would the triumph of the Polka Mass in Cleveland have indicated its propriety.
Everything about the mariachi is at odds with Sacrosanctum Concilium’s guidelines for Church music. The fact that it triggered a spike in Mass attendance 40 years ago does not make any less of a profanation of the Mass every time it is inflicted.
It is cartoon Mexican nationalism dressed in clerical garb, and no more appropriate for the Mass than the polka. Only fears of being branded racist keeps American clergy from similarly abolishing the mariachi Mass.
PVO



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Liam

posted May 5, 2006 at 5:04 pm


One problem with much (not all) of what passes for contemporary liturgical music today is there is a strong tendency for it to be written by instrumentalists who write primarily for instruments and really use the voice as an accompaniment, except in melodic lines more suited to solo singing than singing by the people at large.
This is not a problem unique to contemporary music — there are millions of traditional hymns from the penny presses of the 19th and early 20th century that also failed to pass muster.
A good test of liturgical music: if it cannot be sung well (and not sound silly) by a congregation without instruments, you should question the worth of the piece.
Genuine “folk” song music is quite different than “contemporary” music, in that it largely succeeds on that ground, and the folk melody is then likely to be used in traditional metrical hymnody, which is a longstanding practice going back many centuries, even to the period of chant. Folk and sacred melodies did interbreed for a long period of time.
Another problem with contemporary music is that the organic tradition of cross-fertilization in traditional music (folk or sacred) is prevented by the modern developments in copyright. No longer can one freely borrow and improve upon (or at least try) the melody of another under copyright. No longer can you freely mix tunes and texts under copyright. That is the historic lifeblood of creativity for liturgical music. Without it, music ossifies.
(Among other things, it’s going to be interesting to see if living composers like Haugen are willing to rewrite their Mass settings (MAss of Creation comes readily to mind, but their are others) under copyright in order have them continue to be published in Catholic hymnals in the US, if the project of the USCCB manages to continue…. One wonders if their publishers are working on that issuer or simply hoping the issue will go away. But the fact that the problem may arise shows the weakness many ignore.)
Which is why public domain music (anything before 1923 and a fair bit afterwards) will outlive and outgrow most of what is under copyright today (and the more traditional music written today that is more connected with that public domain has a better chance of staying alive with it). I see the dynamic increasing every passing year.
And I say this as one who sang and lead and championed contemporary music for many years and does not have the hostility that many here have to it.



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reluctant penitent

posted May 5, 2006 at 6:06 pm


There is no reason why the average parish could not conform itself to the Graduale Simplex, if not the Graduale Romanum by having at least one Graduale Simplex or Graduale Romanum Sunday Mass each week–that can be the ‘traditional’ Mass with incense, bells at the consecration, etc. You don’t need professional musicians to interpret and sing the chants in the Graduale Simplex–they are easier to sing than the Mass settings and hymns in the Gather hymnal–and its propers were designed for congregational participation. The other Masses can be given to the devotees of second-rate imitations of 70’s and 80’s mediocrest hits and the wannabe Pentacostals.
Chant is not just a matter of musical taste–it is essential to the proper setting of a Mass. The Gradual propers are psalms and antiphons selected to give a proper scriptural context to the Mass and something substantial is lost when these propers are ignored. It is for this reason that the GIRM recommends the two graduals so strongly. These Graduals were put together AFTER VATICAN II in accordance with V-II norms for the new order of the Mass. Contrary to common opinion, the parishes that use the Gather hymnal are failing to respect both the ‘spirit’ and letter of V-II.
There is a logistical problem that most chant advocates are going to have to deal with. In my (still continuing) attempts to introduce Gregorian chant to my parish, I have found that the the Gather hymnal and praise and worship crowds do not want to cede any territory–not even one Mass every once in a while. There simply enjoy belting out tunes to a captive audience. The microphone is their crack pipe. Even worse, they have led the parish to spend a great deal of money on a musical director who does his best to make them sound good with loud instrumentation. Thus we spend money on a professional musician even though a number of parishioners are able and willing to instruct parish singers in Gregorian chant free of charge. But the parish singers are not interested.
However, they’re in for an unpleasant surprise. Unlike other local people dissatisfied with our parish who simply go elsewhere on Sundays–a number of them to the famous St. Agnes–I’m here for the long haul and I am finding allies. I’ve already managed to get one Gradual Mass–because the pastor went behind the backs of the singers and musical director, and simply designated one Mass as a trial plainchant Mass. None of the usual crowd were interested in singing at this Mass, so I advertised, found a small group of people and the Mass went reasonably well. However, the pastor has made it clear that he cannot override the various committees in the future, so now I have to begin agitating within the various parish committees for more Masses. Prayers are welcome.



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reluctant penitent

posted May 5, 2006 at 6:10 pm


‘A good test of liturgical music: if it cannot be sung well (and not sound silly) by a congregation without instruments, you should question the worth of the piece.’
Absolutely right! The average parish might not be able to manage Palestrina but they can easily sing simple plainchant. I would even avoid the 19th century hymns.



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mulopwepaul

posted May 5, 2006 at 6:34 pm


Palestrina is a deceptive beauty; he was writing in the context of 1,000 years of liturgical music continuity. For an American parish basically 2 steps up from musical illiteracy, attempting Palestrina anywhere in the first 5 years is probably a recipe for embarassment and loss of credibility.
Baby steps; baby steps.
As soon as the entire choir has Guido d’Arezzo down, then you can start looking downstream towards Palestrina.



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James Kabala

posted May 5, 2006 at 7:43 pm


I will freely confess that I don’t know how to read music. I never understood how professional musiciains could get by without knowing, however. This predates the Beatles; supposedly it was also true of Irving Berlin.



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reluctant penitent

posted May 5, 2006 at 8:04 pm


James,
Here are some easy steps:
Find someone who can play the major scales on a piano. Or, if no such person is available, borrow a book from the library that teaches you the basic major scales.
Find a major scale that you and the people singing with you can sing with comfort, focusing in particular on the highest and lowest note of that scale.
The highest note of that scale will be your high ‘Do’–the line that is marked by the small ‘c’-shaped symbol on the 4-line staff.
Practice singing together every note on your scale, giving it its appropriate name–i.e. ‘do’ ‘re’ ‘mi’ etc.
Read some basic introduction to Gregorian Chant notation, like the one linked by Amy elsewhere on this blog.
You are now ready to begin singing the chants of the Simplex Gradual–the neums are much easier to sing than those of the Roman Gradual.
If you are not exactly sure how to sing some part, make sure to agree as a group how you will sing it–this way, if you are making a mistake, you make it in unison.



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RP Burke

posted May 5, 2006 at 8:55 pm


So then, Nick, you couldn’t find a fact to justify your view, so you just made it up. That is unconscionable.



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Liam

posted May 5, 2006 at 9:12 pm


“unconsionable”
?
a wee bit hyperbolic….
He presented an opinionated observation as a factoid without attribution. Commonplace in the blogetariat, it would seem. Not everyone writes as qualified as us lawyers.
That said, music programs in many public schools are a pale image of their former glory. I rarely see kids carrying instruments to school (even from their parents’ SUVs), whereas it was quite common a few decades ago. I would not be surprised if the erstwhile factoid were closer to the truth among the young.
Much of what passes for popular music today is no longer inviting for people themselves to sing. We are 100 years since the advent of mass marketed grammaphone, and 80 years since the advent of mass media broadcasting (radio), began the displacement of the cultural experience of families making music for themselves. A tremendous loss on many levels.
Church today is one of the very few places where the people themselves can make music. If low church Baptists could sing in 4-part harmony in the pews for generations, why should Catholics not be given the tools to be empowered musically?



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Bernold Feuerstein

posted January 31, 2007 at 7:25 am


I think it makes no sense to distinguish artificially between “traditional” and “contemporary” sacred music – the better criterion should be the quality of the music, i.e. whether it fits into the mysterium of a catholic mass. “Quality” does not mean that the music must be very complex and may be very difficult for the assembly to sing: many of great composers used quite simple tunes. Also the use of popular tunes is not a priori against the dignity of the roman rite. If you look back to “traditional” music you will find the genre of “parody masses” (see e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parody_mass) which used even tunes of secular chansons. Although this practice was banned by the Council of Trient many composers continued writing parody masses – often the origin was hidden and the mass was called “missa sine nomine”.
It was one aim of the “novo ordo missae” to avoid duplicates of the text in the liturgy like it was before the Vaticanum II: The priest had to speak (often silently) the whole text – even if a coir sings e.g. the Gloria he had to dublicate it. The novo ordo removed the dublicates and distributed the text among the priest, cantor, lector, choir and assembly – a principle called “participatio actuosa” which was strongly supported by the Liturgical Movement. However, this principle may overburden the assembly and it requires new songs if not sung by a choir or schola. I am from Germany and here many traditional “mass settings” came up in the 19th century (like the well-known “Deutsche Messe” by Schubert) which did not use the liturgical text, not even a paraphrase. Before the novo ordo this was no problem since the priest spoke the correct words. After the Vaticanum II in a hectic rush a few ordinarium settings in German language were composed but their tunes are – to be honest – in most cases awful. It was some kind of “neo-plainchant” almost atonal, very difficult to sing and mor depressing than inspiring (a prominent composer of this kind was Heinrich Rohr). I like the traditional Latin plainchant very much and I prefer this instead of a low-quality settings as mentioned above but the assembly does not like to hear Latin every week.
In 2002 I got a scholarship at the Kansas State University and I learned about the liturgical practice in the US. I was surprised that it was common to sing the more or less complete ordinarium texts with quite nice contemporary tunes. It seemed to me that the anglo-saxonian musical tradition fortunately lacks that break which happened in particular in Germany and Austria beginning with Schönberg etc. One may be not completely satisfied with music by Haugen, Janco or – to mention a European composer –
Rutter but I would be happy if we had German composers which write mass settings people can sing and like to sing.



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john wunder scam

posted July 20, 2013 at 9:34 pm


Delights right here. I’m quite happy to search this post. Many thanks with this particular looking towards effect people. Do you want to you should fall me a snail mail?



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