Does your parish have a 'playlist'?

Thats what I call it. When your parish plays the same 10-20 hymns throughout the year. You can’t even get past 1 month without hearing "One bread, One Body’:p. What ever happened to the more traditional hymns like “Long Live the Pope”, and “Hail Redeemer”, and “God of Mercy and Compassion”, and who can forget “Immaculate Mary”?:ehh: These are just a few of the many hymns my parish either barely plays or doesnt play at all! Gregorian Chant? Forget about it over at my parish! It’s really is getting a little annoying:yawn: I also hate the fact how we just ‘speed through’ the hymn. Hymns need to be sung reverently, and slowly, at least so we can catch up with the organist and the choir. Sometimes I wish we would be better off with the organist brining in a computer and playing hymns off of youtube:rolleyes: Does your parish sometimes suffer from this problem?

I never heard the hymn Long Live the Pope, and I grew up before the changes, so it can’t be too traditional. Why would that be sung at a Mass anyway?

The “playlist” problem has been around as long as I can remember, at a number of churches. It’s more noticeable for the songs one despises. But I haven’t noticed the pattern to be any worse more recently as compared with decades past.

I think it’s a natural thing, for a music leader to have certain “favourites” that they use over and over again, simply because they know these are the ones that the congregation will sing along with.

I know for myself it takes me a while to get used to a new hymn, so if they were playing new hymns every week, I’d be getting lost every week. :rolleyes:

I’ve seen it in St. Gregory’s Catholic Hymnal (I think that’s its title) along with a number of hymns to saints that I wish would be used when appropriate. The copy I found (at the local library, no less, in general circulation!:extrahappy:) was published in the mid-1940’s.

As far as a “playlist” goes…"…as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be…" It’s my understanding that before Vatican II there were set chants for different Masses, so even then you rarely heard anything new. But I fully agree: we need to blow the dust off the old, solidly orthodox hymns!

There’s this one parish in my diocese that I go to when I sleep in too late or just want to walk directly to youth group afterwards :p, the music there is extremely atrocious, played at dirge-like speeds and entirely through the nose of the unskilled cantor/organist. Every single time I go there it’s the Mass of Molasses Creations (Mass of Frustration, erm, Creation, played at a bizarrely slow speed.), the introit is always a pitiful rendition of “All Creatures of Our God and King”, and the communion hymn is always that “I will seek other shores” slop of a song. The psalm is consistent in that it’s never the one written down, which is always annoying to us in the congregation who don’t have the words of that psalm immediately written down.

I hate that parish. :stuck_out_tongue:

These threads that bash on Church music never cease to draw a crowd. I would recommend that all who do not like something (not just music) in a parish to use their energies to improve that thing, or correct the problem.

I actually made a playlist several years back of all the songs that I knew and what key we played them in. I had about 130. Yes, there are probably some that are used more that six times a year and others seldom used. I notice that when we had a musician that changed the music every Sunday the complaint was that no one knew the hymns. Of course few people sang for that reason.

There is a balance between bringing in some new songs and keeping enough familiarity so that the parish can actual sing the songs. My philosophy is that I will take any criticism and consider the validity and anyone that can do better is welcome to it.

Personally, I am glad that Long live the Pope has been consigned to near oblivion at Mass. To be honest I’d rather sing One Bread, One Body.

My church did have a playlist - if not of text then tunes - that it would use all of last year. It became a running joke among some. However, we do have a decent hymnal so it was “traditional” I suppose. This year, along with a new music director, there has been more pleasing variety.

When it comes to tunes, sometimes it’s easier to get the parish to sing a new text to a familiar tune than to the tune to which the text is actually written.

I’ve had that experience myself when suggesting a new hymn for a parish celebration. The text was beautiful and so appropriate but the choir director immediately said “We can’t sing that, we don’t have enough time to learn it.” The metrical index showed that the text could easily be sung to a tune the parish is familiar with and when that was pointed out (why should the parish secretary who doesn’t know music have to be the one to point out the metrical index to the choir director, you ask) the hymn was quickly learned.

Now that can be taken to extremes and “Ode to Joy” does get old if every second hymn is sung to that tune. But I might like “Morning Has Broken” more if it were sung to something other than BUNESSAN, which I detested even when Cat Stevens was singing it.

Once again, thank you for being a voice of experienced, charitable wisdom on these forums.

It is very possible that one reason the OPs parish continues to choose the same hymns is that people complain whenever other hymns are chosen, which leaves the music/liturgy director between a rock and a hard place.

If the OP wants change, then he/she should strive to become the instrument of change in his/her parish. He/she will discover that it is harder than he/she thinks to manage liturgical music. But I hope he/she will give it a try–it would be good for his/her soul.

Many of the German hymns were not written to be sung slowly. Many are marches, written to thrill the soul and make the blood dance and the heart sing as the believer leaves the Mass and enters their dreary, difficult life determined to live for Christ and die for Him if called upon.

“Slow” does NOT equal “reverence.” A song can be lively and have a quick tempo and still be very reverent. Likewise a song can be slow and still be irreverent.

A tempo is determined in part by how the phrasing in the song is written. When I play a song, I make sure that people can actually sing a phrase in one breath. If people have to take multiple breaths to make it through one short phrase, then my tempo is way too slow. The purpose of congregational singing is not to make people hyperventilate, at least, not in Catholic churches.

I have been in this parish going on nine years. I can tell you precisely which songs (we use very few hymns, as none of those you mention qualify for that designation) will be sung at every Mass time by every choir (we use the term loosely here) in English or Spanish, and every season of the year. I don’t think the Spanish choir has varied their repertoire for 20 years, according to what other parishioners tell me and since many of their standards are not in the missalette, being regional favorites, it makes it impossible to join in. Neither have they varied their Mass settings, nor do they by season, except in Lent and Advent when we sing Latin (mercifully a capella). It is only in the last couple of years that we have had a sung Gloria at English Masses. The Spanish uses the same, non-liturgically-correct paraphrase always.

one choir does use “traditional” hymns at times, but something is lost on the guitar. the other team that uses them plays and sings so slowly every Mass sounds like a funeral. 3/4 time is waltz time, not dirge. think “Shall We Dance 1-2-3”

Well said! Maybe the OP’s parish is an exception, but the number one simplest change at most parishes that would vastly improve their music is bumping the tempos up twenty ticks or so! Save the dirges for, well, today (All Souls). Dragging, plodding tempos for Immaculate Mary, or Faith of Our Fathers . . . shudder.

And PS, I agree with the above comments that Long Live the Pope (or maybe it’s God Bless Our Pope?) is really not in any way appropriate for the Mass.

At my parish, the 4:00 vigil Mass on Saturday, I would say, falls victim to a “playlist”. Fortunately, however, the playlist is fairly decent: the organist and cantor actually seem to have pretty good taste in hymns, from my perspective. They tend to be fairly “high church” in tenor: “Lift High the Cross”, “O God Beyond All Praising”, “The Church’s One Foundation” and others do seem to repeat a bit. There’s seldom anything on the modern banal side, and seldom anything on the saccharin nostalgic side, either. Good, solid hymns of quality prevail, mercifully. Once in a while they let out a doozie, but only once in a while.

At the 10:30 “high” mass on Sunday, however, the quality of the music skyrockets, with gorgeous Latin and English polyphonic works, beautiful propers, and other complex organ works and choral pieces.

As far as weddings go, don’t even get me started about playlists, but that’s the fault of unimaginative brides, not of the choir director.

Showoff! :smiley:

Well, don’t be too impressed: couple the good music with bad vestments, slovenly altar boys, casually-dressed Eucharistic Ministers, and glass goblets. The music is the one good thing we’ve got going on. The music and the architecture, I should say.

Amen! Ridiculously slow music is one of my biggest pet peeves.

As for a “playlist,” yes, we generally hear the same songs over and over, some good, some not so much. I do agree with what a few have mentioned, it is a very fine balance to have enough songs that people know while still having enough variety. And being a “monday morning quarterback” is way more “fun” than being the person actual responsible for choosing music and having to listen to all the complaints from both “sides.” :shrug:

There still are set chants for each Mass, in the Graduale Romanum. The proper chants are the first choice for the introit, offertory, and communion. They are too seldom used. Hymns are the last choice.

Actually, my music director tends to mix it up a lot. Although, one that you will hear often is “Rain Down”.

Oh no not that hymn:rolleyes: Thats one of the most played songs at my parish.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit