Folk Mass?


#1

I have seen this term used but not defined.

What is a folk mass?

I assume that folk music is used.

What sort of music is that?


#2

It's like this - youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=323PL6pi1bI#!
(I hope the link works)


#3

That is a VERY good question. And it’s unlikely that you will get a good definition. Because in general when people use the word “folk” to describe music for the Mass they are not using the word the same way they would for secular music.

But as a matter of practicality, I would say that “folk Mass music” is a style that originated in the 1960s and continued through the 1970s. It is a style that lends itself to the guitar and has something of a “sing around the campfire” feel to it.

There are people who use the word “folk music” to describe anything that seems to be designed to be played on the guitar but I personally think that the music of the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s is stylistically different from what came before it.

The phrase “Folk Mass” is often applied to any Mass where the guitar (or perhaps piano) is the primary instrument used. In my opinion the term should only be used for guitars and specifically if the guitar is played in a strummed fashion (as opposed to more of a picked fashion.)


#4

Usually it is used to describe a mass that the music is lead by guitars instead of the organ. The ones I’ve been to have usually 1-2 guitars and a few singers. The music usually is more contemporary but not always.


#5

From my recollection:

Folk Masses seemed to start around 1970.

At the time, the organist was given the day off and a handful of youngsters and their guitars took over the music. They also brought tambourines and bongo drums. Secular songs like "Lean on Me", "Bridge Over Troubled Waters", and "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (non-commercial version)" were introduced into the Mass. Also lots of hand clapping to the music was encouraged.

These same musicians who were maybe 20 in 1970 are now roughly 60 years old. They still show up to Mass in blue jeans and tie-dye shirts. Is there anything sillier looking than an old hippie? The completely secular songs have generally disappeared and have been replaced by some more contemporary Christian tunes that, in my mind, are far too Protestant. Lots of Me-and-Jesus type lyrics. They're still playing the same instruments, although it seems they're added this thing with hanging crystals and occasionally sweep across it like a harp.


#6

[quote="justme, post:1, topic:298836"]
I have seen this term used but not defined.

What is a folk mass?

I assume that folk music is used.

What sort of music is that?

[/quote]

It's a term used to describe a Mass you don't like. :p

In all seriousness, though, I would highly encourage anyone to not use the term as it is offensive to the dignity of the Mass and it is theologically inaccurate.

It would be better to say "Mass with folk music".

I'm sure the term is used in many and varied ways, but I think it basically refers to Mass where the music resembles 70's era folk tunes (i.e. a good portion of the Church music written in the last 40 years and publishes by places like OCP and GIA).


#7

[quote="Richard320, post:5, topic:298836"]
From my recollection:

Folk Masses seemed to start around 1970.

At the time, the organist was given the day off and a handful of youngsters and their guitars took over the music. They also brought tambourines and bongo drums. Secular songs like "Lean on Me", "Bridge Over Troubled Waters", and "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (non-commercial version)" were introduced into the Mass. Also lots of hand clapping to the music was encouraged.

These same musicians who were maybe 20 in 1970 are now roughly 60 years old. They still show up to Mass in blue jeans and tie-dye shirts. Is there anything sillier looking than an old hippie? The completely secular songs have generally disappeared and have been replaced by some more contemporary Christian tunes that, in my mind, are far too Protestant. Lots of Me-and-Jesus type lyrics. They're still playing the same instruments, although it seems they're added this thing with hanging crystals and occasionally sweep across it like a harp.

[/quote]

Sadly, these are just blatant generalizations. I've been to many so call "folk mass" which have been lead by guitars that have been very beautiful and reverent. The singing and playing honors the reverence of the mass and can be very touching and spiritual. The image that folk masses are just loud rock bands is old news. While you think that now the former hippies are those in blue jeans and tie-dye shirts at least they are IN church and still coming.


#8

[quote="robwar, post:7, topic:298836"]
Sadly, these are just blatant generalizations. I've been to many so call "folk mass" which have been lead by guitars that have been very beautiful and reverent. The singing and playing honors the reverence of the mass and can be very touching and spiritual. The image that folk masses are just loud rock bands is old news. While you think that now the former hippies are those in blue jeans and tie-dye shirts at least they are IN church and still coming.

[/quote]

And I've been to many so called Folk Masses that are exactly what I described. Sadly, my brother-in-law is one of those guitar players.


#9

[quote="Joe_5859, post:6, topic:298836"]

It would be better to say "Mass with folk music".

[/quote]

I would agree with this.

[quote="Joe_5859, post:6, topic:298836"]
I'm sure the term is used in many and varied ways, but I think it basically refers to Mass where the music resembles 70's era folk tunes (i.e. a good portion of the Church music written in the last 40 years and publishes by places like OCP and GIA).

[/quote]

I would partially agree with this.

While GIA and OCP hold the copyrights to some of the older folk styles of music, in general, "folk" music had pretty much died out by the time GIA and OCP were incorporated.

When I think of "Catholic folk" I think of Ray Repp, Missa Bossa Nova, the Medical Missionary Sisters, and Sebastian Temple. Those were all 1960s. Those were the songs we sang in Catholic schools and at retreats in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

By the later 1970s the contemporary Masses I attended were more soft rock than folk. The rock style was what I heard at the seminary Masses in the later 1970s.


#10

[quote="Richard320, post:5, topic:298836"]
From my recollection:

Folk Masses seemed to start around 1970.

At the time, the organist was given the day off and a handful of youngsters and their guitars took over the music. They also brought tambourines and bongo drums. Secular songs like "Lean on Me", "Bridge Over Troubled Waters", and "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (non-commercial version)" were introduced into the Mass. Also lots of hand clapping to the music was encouraged.

These same musicians who were maybe 20 in 1970 are now roughly 60 years old. They still show up to Mass in blue jeans and tie-dye shirts. Is there anything sillier looking than an old hippie? The completely secular songs have generally disappeared and have been replaced by some more contemporary Christian tunes that, in my mind, are far too Protestant. Lots of Me-and-Jesus type lyrics. They're still playing the same instruments, although it seems they're added this thing with hanging crystals and occasionally sweep across it like a harp.

[/quote]

:rotfl:

The only thing more silly is an old punk!


#11

[quote="Richard320, post:8, topic:298836"]
And I've been to many so called Folk Masses that are exactly what I described. Sadly, my brother-in-law is one of those guitar players.

[/quote]

Well, he is at least in church and doing something. Maybe his style is not yours but there are other choices in Mass attendance if you dislike this type of music. The most gentle beautiful Christmas carol of all time is Silent Night, written for guitar when the organ was broken. It is unfortunate that the image of guitar music in church is one of loud rock style songs. Guitar, harp, violin and other string instruments can lead in a very beautiful well done Mass. We only limit ourselves by just thinking organ only. Good organists are hard to come by but there are many talented musicians out there that play other instruments that I wish would come forward to lead in worship music at Mass.


#12

[quote="robwar, post:7, topic:298836"]
The image that folk masses are just loud rock bands is old news.

[/quote]

I would go so far as to say that the image that folk masses are just loud rock bands is plain wrong.

Yes, there are "rock bands" that play at Mass. But they aren't playing folk music. In my opinion the style of music that so many people complain about at Mass is NOT "Catholic folk music" (even though people insist on using that terminology). Folk music is not defined by the instruments used to play it.

It is the newer pop styles of Catholic music (mostly mid 1980s and later when interestingly secular pop took over from secular rock) that people complain about.


#13

Our church's folk group simply uses guitars instead of a piano and usually draws more of the younger crowd for their ensemble of singers. It is lead by the youth group leader, and is very reverent, but different than the traditional Mass. The ones that I have been to do tend to use "newer" music, that has more of a praise and worship feel than a traditional sound.


#14

[quote="Richard320, post:5, topic:298836"]
... They also brought tambourines and bongo drums. ...

[/quote]

Shades of a Chautauqua Tent revival a la Elmer Gantry. For all the lengths that parishes go to in order to make everyone feel included, they alienate a lot who are not musically inclined.


#15

[quote="robwar, post:11, topic:298836"]
Well, he is at least in church and doing something. Maybe his style is not yours but there are other choices in Mass attendance if you dislike this type of music..

[/quote]

FWIW: This idea of choosing which "style of Mass" one prefers is very much not part of Catholicism, and is a very Protestant-leaning ideology, closely connected to congregationalism. Contrary to popular belief, Catholicism isn't a religion based on feelings. We do not determine how efficacious something is, or how good it is based on how it makes us feel. We go to Mass for the Mass. That is, the Most Holy Sacrifice. We don't go for the music, the homily, to see our friends, etc. We go to give proper worship and adoration to God. The difference between sacred music such as Gregorian/Byzantine/Coptic Chant, etc and whatever it is that is most common at Masses is the sacred music isn't an "add-on," but rather part of the Mass, which helps us to lift our heart and mind to God in prayer. This is not the same as that "praise Jesus" feeling created by upbeat music. The lifting our heart and mind to God, isn't a feeling, but something which occurs in the the intellect.

And before anyone says it, the choice between EF Mass and the OF Mass is not same as choosing which genre/style of music you prefer at Mass.


#16

[quote="Deo_Gratias42, post:15, topic:298836"]
FWIW: This idea of choosing which "style of Mass" one prefers is very much not part of Catholicism, and is a very Protestant-leaning ideology, closely connected to congregationalism. Contrary to popular belief, Catholicism isn't a religion based on feelings. We do not determine how efficacious something is, or how good it is based on how it makes us feel. We go to Mass for the Mass. That is, the Most Holy Sacrifice. We don't go for the music, the homily, to see our friends, etc. We go to give proper worship and adoration to God. The difference between sacred music such as Gregorian/Byzantine/Coptic Chant, etc and whatever it is that is most common at Masses is the sacred music isn't an "add-on," but rather part of the Mass, which helps us to lift our heart and mind to God in prayer. This is not the same as that "praise Jesus" feeling created by upbeat music. The lifting our heart and mind to God, isn't a feeling, but something which occurs in the the intellect.

And before anyone says it, the choice between EF Mass and the OF Mass is not same as choosing which genre/style of music you prefer at Mass.

[/quote]

I think you missed the point I was trying to make. I don't disagree with anything you said but people do go to Mass whether you like it or not for different reasons. If one Mass is being lead by guitarist and someone does not like that music and it would be a distraction to them in their worship then maybe they should attend another if able and it has nothing to do with them or anyone attending Mass which is lead by a guitarist and that music does lead them to a more worshipful experience. People go to Mass for timing, the priest, the music, the family or friends they have and even the music. These are the reality of why someone would attend a Mass or another. To discuss this in a honest manner does not take away from the Holiness in any Mass no matter what type. This also includes EF or OF Mass.


#17

[quote="robwar, post:16, topic:298836"]
I think you missed the point I was trying to make. I don't disagree with anything you said but people do go to Mass whether you like it or not for different reasons. If one Mass is being lead by guitarist and someone does not like that music and it would be a distraction to them in their worship then maybe they should attend another if able and it has nothing to do with them or anyone attending Mass which is lead by a guitarist and that music does lead them to a more worshipful experience. People go to Mass for timing, the priest, the music, the family or friends they have and even the music. These are the reality of why someone would attend a Mass or another. To discuss this in a honest manner does not take away from the Holiness in any Mass no matter what type. This also includes EF or OF Mass.

[/quote]

And all such reasons (excepting of time, as some people do have to work at necessary civil services), are imperfect reasons for attending Mass and do nothing to help the person to grow in holiness and to develop their interior life, which is what is important. It used to be that you could only attend your territorial parish, unless there was a very good reason for you to attend a different parish. Parish shopping is a very modern thing. People should not be encouraged to parish shop to find a Mass style/priest they like.


#18

[quote="robwar, post:16, topic:298836"]
I think you missed the point I was trying to make. I don't disagree with anything you said but people do go to Mass whether you like it or not for different reasons. If one Mass is being lead by guitarist and someone does not like that music and it would be a distraction to them in their worship then maybe they should attend another if able and it has nothing to do with them or anyone attending Mass which is lead by a guitarist and that music does lead them to a more worshipful experience. People go to Mass for timing, the priest, the music, the family or friends they have and even the music. These are the reality of why someone would attend a Mass or another. To discuss this in a honest manner does not take away from the Holiness in any Mass no matter what type. This also includes EF or OF Mass.

[/quote]

Because these styles are approved by the bishop/papal authority, we are allowed an opinion and choice of which Mass to attend - just like those who love silent adoration or those who like a praise and worhsip adoration. Each is a form of beautiful worship to God - just in different styles.


#19

[quote="Deo_Gratias42, post:17, topic:298836"]
It used to be that you could only attend your territorial parish, unless there was a very good reason for you to attend a different parish. Parish shopping is a very modern thing. People should not be encouraged to parish shop to find a Mass style/priest they like.

[/quote]

While I agree parish shopping is not ideal, if there was ever a requirement that people had to attend their territorial parish then it hasn't been that way in recent history. (Granted, if the pastor of the territorial parish could not vouch for the parishioner's Mass attendance by visible or financial means he might be slow to grant the benefits of parish membership.)

Attendance and membership are not synonymous.


#20

[quote="SMHW, post:9, topic:298836"]

I would partially agree with this.

While GIA and OCP hold the copyrights to some of the older folk styles of music, in general, "folk" music had pretty much died out by the time GIA and OCP were incorporated.

When I think of "Catholic folk" I think of Ray Repp, Missa Bossa Nova, the Medical Missionary Sisters, and Sebastian Temple. Those were all 1960s. Those were the songs we sang in Catholic schools and at retreats in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

By the later 1970s the contemporary Masses I attended were more soft rock than folk. The rock style was what I heard at the seminary Masses in the later 1970s.

[/quote]

Then I, sadly, missed out on experiencing a true "folk Mass". :p


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