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  #1  
Old Aug 9, '07, 12:12 pm
pprimeau1976 pprimeau1976 is offline
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Default Music-Vatican II

Vatican II said the following in chapter 6 of Sancrosanctum Concilium on Sacred Music and here are two questions that I came up with.

Quote:
116. 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.
But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action, as laid down in Art. 30.
What does "pride of place" mean? If the priest chants the Eucharistic Prayer, but the rest of the music in the Liturgy is more modern styles, is this giving Gregorian Chant it's pride of place?

Quote:
121. Composers, filled with the Christian spirit, should feel that their vocation is to cultivate sacred music and increase its store of treasures.
Let them produce compositions which have the qualities proper to genuine sacred music, not confining themselves to works which can be sung only by large choirs, but providing also for the needs of small choirs and for the active participation of the entire assembly of the faithful.
The texts intended to be sung must always be in conformity with Catholic doctrine; indeed they should be drawn chiefly from Holy Scripture and from liturgical sources.
So what are the qualities that "genuine sacred music" that the Council had in mind? Since they named gregorian chant and polyphany explicitly, are we to assume that composers are to follow only these norms?

I guess I am a little frustrated because people rightly stress that a Parish should follow the letter of Vatican II and not the spirit. But how can you follow the letter of any document when it is full of words like "but" (44 times in SC)
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  #2  
Old Aug 9, '07, 12:25 pm
ncjohn ncjohn is offline
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Default Re: Vatican II

Musicam Sacram, the actual implementation document, goes further in defining what was arrived at. It defines sacred music and details where certain types of music should be used, based on the such things as the abilities of those doing the music, etc. The definition of "sacred music" includes "...sacred popular music, be it liturgical or simply religious." (paragraph 4b)

In that document http://www.adoremus.org/MusicamSacram.html Gregorian Chant is given pride of place in Latin liturgies, whereas incorporation of the earlier musical heritage is encouraged where it is feasible to do so in vernacular settings (see paragraphs 50 and 51).

I believe it was also left to the territorial jurisdiction to determine the appropriateness of different music forms.
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  #3  
Old Aug 9, '07, 12:36 pm
pprimeau1976 pprimeau1976 is offline
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Default Re: Vatican II

Thanks for the link...but how do we know when Gregorian is or isn't given the pride and place. How much is not enough? In my parish, it's easy, we don't use ANY Gregorian chant.
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  #4  
Old Aug 9, '07, 12:48 pm
ncjohn ncjohn is offline
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Default Re: Music - Vatican II

Quote:
Originally Posted by pprimeau1976 View Post
Thanks for the link...but how do we know when Gregorian is or isn't given the pride and place. How much is not enough? In my parish, it's easy, we don't use ANY Gregorian chant.
If it's a Pauline Mass in the vernacular, that requirement does not exist according to Musicam Sacram.

How it gets defined in the Latin liturgy I'm not sure. Even there the abilities of the choir and the type of occasion are variables that would go into the decision. I don't know how the bishops define it, or if they define it, though it is their jurisdiction.

I woud think though that if one is in a Cathedral parish, or one of substantial resources with a reasonably adept choir, and a Latin liturgy is being celebrated, that there should be some Chant present in the Sunday liturgies.

To be honest, in all my years attending the TLM pre-Vatican II, I don't recall ever hearing Chant used at Mass and I grew up in one of the biggest parishes in Milwaukee (at least at the time).
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Last edited by Marian Carroll; Aug 10, '07 at 3:00 am. Reason: THREAD TITLE AMENDED
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  #5  
Old Aug 10, '07, 4:48 pm
Joysong Joysong is offline
 
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Default Re: Music-Vatican II

Quote:
Originally Posted by ncjohn
To be honest, in all my years attending the TLM pre-Vatican II, I don't recall ever hearing Chant used at Mass and I grew up in one of the biggest parishes in Milwaukee (at least at the time).
Several of us +50 folks will confirm your words, John. I grew up in Detroit, both in the east and west side in several parishes, none of which ever used chant. If we look at the age of the proponents of chant, mostly traditionists, I think they are simply reading documents without any real life experience to draw upon.

In fairness to some of these posters, I linked to the sites they posted as samples of suitable sacred music. While it is perfectly fine for a huge choir, this is not adaptable for worship and congregational singing. The range of voice over high C is not even attainable other than by a trained voice; it was also very difficult to pick up the basic melody due to the many voices of harmony, more suitable for listening than singing.

It seems to me that if we were to command that all congregations adopt this exclusively, the desired goal of the Council for full participation would be lost, for there would be next to none singing. The hymns in use today, as were those when you and I grew up, are easily sung. Even if the verse is little known, the refrain can be quickly learned by most people.
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  #6  
Old Aug 10, '07, 5:12 pm
brotherhrolf brotherhrolf is offline
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Default Re: Music-Vatican II

Howdy, John! And I grew up in a suburb of New Orleans in the 50s. I sang plainsong in the children's choir (e.g. Jesu Dulcis Memoria). I learned and heard Salve Regina, Ave Verum Corpus, Ave Maria, O Salutaris Hostia, Parce Domine ......I could go on and on.

If, however, you mean selections from the Liber Usualis , no. I see absolutely no reason why we can't re-introduce plainsong. Gregorian chant is itself a form of plainsong.

I can't believe that either of you (John or Joy) did not hear plainsong when you were kids. We're not talking 16 part harmony here. We're talking monophonic chant which can be learned by kids. (Visions of the entire student body in the school cafeteria being drilled by the Religious Sisters of Mary on how to pronounce and sing Salve Regina!) (Visions of serving at Our Lady of Perpetual Help novenas on Tuesday nights with Benediction and everyone singing O Salutaris Hostia and Tantum Ergo - and somewhere along the line I learned the Tantum Ergo which is a part of the Pange Lingua used on Holy Thursday).

I joined my cathedral choir in 1983. How and when did I learn to sing all of those old chants and plainsong? I could sing them from memory y'all. Asperges Me. I learned them as a kid.

So, let's leave the Liber Usualis argument out of this. Why can't we have that body of known plainsong which was traditional before V II reintroduced? Not hard. And it doesn't require a cathedral choir.
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  #7  
Old Aug 10, '07, 5:41 pm
Joysong Joysong is offline
 
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Default Re: Music-Vatican II

Brotherhrolf,

Why do people assume that we no longer sing these hymns? Is it because they have fled the new mass and are not aware of it since their only current experience is the TLM?

Our parish sings the Tantum Ergo or O Salutaris Hostia every First Friday immediately after mass, together with other devotions that follow it, in front of the Blessed Sacrament to begin Adoration.

I don't need to print a list to convince you, I hope -- suffice to say, we use both old and new to accomodate every age group, every spiritual taste, every liturgical mass setting. Doesn't that seem like the best of all worlds?
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  #8  
Old Aug 11, '07, 8:20 am
brotherhrolf brotherhrolf is offline
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Default Re: Music-Vatican II

Joysong, you are fortunate indeed that your parish meets the needs of all of its members. If I had to rely upon the two parishes in which my residence was/is located, I would be reduced to attending the earliest Mass on Sunday in which there was no music.

The only point I was trying to make is that Latin plainsong, Latin hymns, and sacred motets are not beyond the abilities of most parishes. One heard all of this up until about 1970 when the organs were put away and the guitars came out.

And, btw, my parish does not have a TLM nor does it appear that we will be getting one. The last TLM I attended was in 1982.
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  #9  
Old Aug 11, '07, 8:44 am
Joysong Joysong is offline
 
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Default Re: Music-Vatican II

Yes, Brother, I am very fortunate ... no complaints at all!

I think at the root of it is our Music Director is very spiritual and makes the selections according to the readings, the season, and the different temperments in the congregation. She also sings in the diocesan choir which recently went to Rome to sing for the Pope, so she has a good background in what's available, hymn-wise.

Putting an organ or guitar or whatever in someone's hands liturgically, who just knows music but has little or no sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit, results in just that - playing the organ. Even the use of a musical instrument requires sensitivity to the congregation and the priest/celebrant. Too loud, too fast, too slow, too much pedal, eh?

Many years ago our parish had a liturgical committee which I was a part of, and we simply picked songs. EEK! How young I was then, but it demonstrated to me how inefficiently well-meaning people can mess up a liturgy.

We need to pray that God will send artists into the liturgy who are capable of leading true worship.

Amen!

Carole
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  #10  
Old Aug 11, '07, 9:31 am
brotherhrolf brotherhrolf is offline
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Default Re: Music-Vatican II

Quote:
I think at the root of it is our Music Director is very spiritual and makes the selections according to the readings, the season, and the different temperments in the congregation.
This is so very true.Our Music Director puts an awful amount of thought into the process and is open to suggestions from choir members as well. And, he seeks ways to teach and to engage the congregation. During Lent of each year we chant the Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei in Latin and we have taught the congregation to chant both Parce Domine and Attende Domine as the entrance antiphon. My children, now both in their early 20s, at least grew up being exposed to many elements of their Latin Rite heritage. So many young adults and children have had no exposure.

There is a disconnect between the statement that chant and sacred motets have pride of place and the realities of most parishes today. It gives me great pleasure on Pentecost Sunday when the bishop confirms all the adults who have not been confirmed in the diocese. We chant the Veni Creator and we use the Taize Veni Sancte Spiritus (which I love because of its macaronic text) during confirmation. I can't tell you how many people have come up to us after Mass to ask questions and to tell us that they had never heard anything like that before but that it moved them. This is our collective heritage and I don't want to see it lost forever.
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  #11  
Old Aug 12, '07, 5:37 pm
ncjohn ncjohn is offline
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Default Re: Music-Vatican II

Ok, we have two different discussions going here.

The first is the requirement for Chant, and its "pride of place". I was making no argument against it based on my personally not having heard it used, though I truly never did in my growing up years even in large parishes with accomplished choirs. My comments had to do with the fact that it is not given the pride of place in vernacular Masses according to the implementation documents. In Latin Masses however, it was noted to be given pride of place, however that is defined.

The other discussion kind of got off from Chant into Latin hymns in general. Yes, I very well remember Tantum Ergo, O Salutaris Hostia, Panis Angelicus, and many others. I did discover over the weekend though that I do not recall ever hearing Pange Lingua, which we did in our Eucharistic Procession to the Adoration chapel during our SFO regional gathering. Many of our parishes around here use Tantum Ergo and O Salutaris Hostia for Adoration, and we do see at least sprinklings of some of the other older Latin hymns during liturgies. I've not seen many choirs in our rural area though that I would trust with Chant, nor, quite frankly, that I would even want to see touch Salve Regina (hearing Ave Maria butchered is plenty bad for me ). If one goes into Charlotte, where there are large parishes and some with professional music directors, I would be disappointed if I did not see some of that.

Peace,
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  #12  
Old Aug 15, '07, 12:45 pm
brotherhrolf brotherhrolf is offline
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Default Re: Music-Vatican II

Quote:
Yes, I very well remember Tantum Ergo, O Salutaris Hostia, Panis Angelicus, and many others. I did discover over the weekend though that I do not recall ever hearing Pange Lingua, which we did in our Eucharistic Procession to the Adoration chapel during our SFO regional gathering. Many of our parishes around here use Tantum Ergo and O Salutaris Hostia for Adoration, and we do see at least sprinklings of some of the other older Latin hymns during liturgies. I've not seen many choirs in our rural area though that I would trust with Chant, nor, quite frankly, that I would even want to see touch Salve Regina (hearing Ave Maria butchered is plenty bad for me ).
John, the hymns you mentioned are plainsong (and Gregorian is a form of plainsong) which I tried to point out that you and I did hear as kids. Only time I ever heard classic Gregorian Chant is when I went to St. Joseph's Abbey for the annual altar boy's picnic and we went to Mass with the monks.

We routinely sing the plainsong chant version of the Ave Maria as a choral introit with congregation (straight out of Worship III our hymnal) The Ave Maria you and I hear butchered so often is the Bach-Gounod version. However, at the end of this year's ordination Mass, everyone - priests and people sang the traditional version of the Salve Regina in Latin and lifted the roof off of the cathedral. I could not believe my ears and even more important, people were smiling. My point is that those old plainsong chants were easily learned and well within the capabilities of most, if not all, parishes. More importantly, they are part of our heritage and they can be used with great success in Mass in the vernacular. The problem is introducing them into parishes which have not heard anything but "Glory and Praise" type music since the 70s. And that's the real problem, isn't it?

I am passionate about our musical heritage. At one point a few years back, it was suggested that the cathedral choir travel to other parishes throughout the diocese maybe once a month to sing at that parish's principal Sunday Mass - and with the exception of the Baton Rouge metropolitan area, we have scores of parishes in rural areas ranging from profoundly Cajun to profoundly redneck. Shot down at the deanery level and idea shelved. We were never told the reason why but it's not too hard to speculate.

I simply just do not understand this almost abject fear of our sacred traditions. And I do not believe that Mass in the vernacular and Latin are exclusive.
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Old Aug 15, '07, 1:50 pm
Conciliar Conciliar is offline
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Default Re: Music-Vatican II

Joysong wrote:
Quote:
It seems to me that if we were to command that all congregations adopt this exclusively, the desired goal of the Council for full participation would be lost, for there would be next to none singing. The hymns in use today, as were those when you and I grew up, are easily sung.
There are a couple of serious, albeit common, misconceptions evident in Joysong's reasoning.

Firstly, "active participation" has come be understood as meaning "doing something;" reading, moving, singing, etc... This has led to any number of problems. The truth is, active participation more properly means entering into the liturgy, above all interiorly, which obviously at times can be best acheived through silence. Musicam Sacram touches on this:

Quote:
15. The faithful fulfil their liturgical role by making that full, conscious and active participation which is demanded by the nature of the Liturgy itself and which is, by reason of baptism, the right and duty of the Christian people.13 This participation

(a) Should be above all internal, in the sense that by it the faithful join their mind to what they pronounce or hear, and cooperate with heavenly grace,14

(b) Must be, on the other hand, external also, that is, such as to show the internal participation by gestures and bodily attitudes, by the acclamations, responses and singing.15
The other misconception in Joysong's post seems to be the notion that in order to allow for the people to participate in singing, the music itself needs to be brought down to meet the people. What is lost in this erroneous thinking is the real goal, that the people be trained so that they may be able to raise up both their minds and their voices to participate in the sacred; it isn't necessarily something to be acheived over night simply by choosing rudimentary hymns. Viewed more correctly, singing in the liturgy is not so much a right of participation as it is a priviledge to which one should aspire. Once again, Musicam Sacram touches on this, in article 16:

Quote:
(b) Through suitable instruction and practices, the people should be gradually led to a fuller -- indeed, to a complete -- participation in those parts of the singing which pertain to them.
Joysong's misunderstandings are unfortunately not uncommon. In the name of "active participation," songs that have all of the appeal of nursery rhyme jingles have become commonplace. For example, just today at Mass we sang "Glory and Praise to Our God." While the words themselves aren't offensive, the song is insipid to the point of being out of place with sacredness of the liturgy.
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Old Aug 15, '07, 2:03 pm
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Sarabande Sarabande is offline
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Default Re: Music-Vatican II

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joysong View Post
I think at the root of it is our Music Director is very spiritual and makes the selections according to the readings, the season, and the different temperments in the congregation.
I think you are right about this for any good music director - someone who is spiritual, has a reverence for the mass and respect for the sacred music, as well as has the ability to play an instrument, sing and/or conduct.

I've been employed in Catholic and Protestant churches. One Protestant church where I was employed as their "soloist" had me fill out a questionnaire pertaining to my spiritual life. They also interviewed me and then auditioned my musical abilities and talent ability as a trained singer. When I was hired, I was told that they weighed my answers on my spiritual/prayer life equally to my music abililties and talent. Meaning - if it didn't appear that I had an understanding of my own spiritual/faith life even though I was of a different denomination, they may not have hired me even though my talent and skills as a musician met all the criteria. Some churches do not ask about a person's spiritual life, so you sometimes don't know what you are getting as a music director.

When I got a two-year job as a music teacher/children's choir/handbell choir director at a Catholic church, I was recommended by a respected music director in the city. So, I had an interview with the pastor and was offered the job on the spot. Even though I was VERY green, I was extremely optimistic on teaching our young generation of Catholics not just music from Vatican II, but our long history of sacred music. And I was very interested in the spirituality fostered by music for our children. Don't get me wrong, it was very daunting at times, but I was determined and even taught the children's choir simple monophonic chants like the Sanctus, Agnus Dei etc. Along with that I had an after school music club which was a place for those kids who liked music and wanted to have some fun learning about music history of the Church. I focused all on sacred music of the Catholic church starting with Gregorian Chant to modern day and used games and contests to get them involved. I found by engaging children in that way, they learn more and grow to appreciate and even to love that part of our rich sacred music history. Those kids loved chanting and at my wedding our guests could apparently hear them chanting their hearts out in Latin. So, although it took me two years to learn and get to that point, it isn't so difficult that it can't be done. It's the approach.

In regards to the OP's original post, the "buts" is what has confused all of us who are keenly interested in sacred music for the Church. I agree, it truly was difficult to figure out what is really acceptable and what was not. That's probably one of the reasons why during the 70s and 80s we had so much poorly written text and music for the Church and an almost complete abandonment of music composed prior to Vatican II in many of the parishes at least in my area.
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Old Aug 16, '07, 6:02 am
Conciliar Conciliar is offline
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Default Re: Vatican II

Quote:
Originally Posted by ncjohn View Post
Gregorian Chant is given pride of place in Latin liturgies, whereas incorporation of the earlier musical heritage is encouraged where it is feasible to do so in vernacular settings (see paragraphs 50 and 51).

I believe it was also left to the territorial jurisdiction to determine the appropriateness of different music forms.
Hi John,

It sounds as though you're saying that Gregorian Chant's pride of place is exclusive to the Mass in Latin, whereas in the vernacular this doesn't apply. SC doesn't say this at all. It simply says that Gregorian Chant is specially suited to the Roman Liturgy. Am I understadning you correctly?
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