How much do the people sing in a typical TLM?

Is it typical in a TLM for the people to sing the Ordinary? Or is it more typical that it is sung only by schola/choir?


I think this varies. I went to a TLM last Sunday, and the people sang everything except the Anthem. They sang all the Ordinary of the Mass, including the Gloria & Creed.

I hear a few singalongs to the Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei. Don’t forget there is generally no cantor at the TLM, so people don’t feel obligated to sing.

how many people sing at a novus ordo mass?

they are probably the same people who didn’t sing in the old days. some people aren’t musically driven. that’s okay :slight_smile: god is praised through contemplation, too.

i don’t remember much singing by the congregation in the old days of the TLM…just by the priest and/or choir/schola.

In the traditional era, most TLMs were low masses and there was no singing of the various parts of the mass by anyone.

The modern TLM is a lot more likely to be a high mass, which is sung.

At my Indult we sing most of the Mass. Some of the older men were once in the schola so they really sing with gusto. I sing.
The Church my mother grew up with had a High Mass every week. It was known for it’s singing and choirs. They sang quite a bit. My grandfather was even in the schola. Both my parents learned chant in school as did I till 4th grade when the nuns gave up and said this new mass is here to stay. When they go to the Indult they sing, it’s like they never stopped. So back in the day some places did sing.

To my understanding, it varies on the parish. The TLM I go has a choir that sings the responses, but the congregation is more than welcome to sing if they would like to.

At the TLM in Pittsburgh the congregation MIGHT sing the opening and recessional hymns. The choir pretty much does the singing. It’s a shame too, because I’m a singer and I would LOVE to sing some of their music.

It really depends upon what was being sung.

In a Low Mass there are no sung parts; however there is an allowance that a Low Mass can have processional and recessional hymns in the vernacular. In pre-concillar days it was common for Low Mass to be said on weekdays and saturdays, and a Sung Mass (whether Missa Cantata of Missa Solemnis) on Sundays.

In a Sung Mass, traditionally only the priest (and deacon and subdeacon if in a Missa Solemnis) and the cantor/choir would sing the Mass. Certain parts of the Ordinary can be sung by the congregation with the choir, though it is certainly not mandatory- the Kyrie, the Gloria and (I think) the Agnus Dei- which is why in some traditional Missals the Kyriale in Gregorian chant notation is included.

Since many Low Masses today are Dialogue Masses (where the congregation gives the responses with the server), allowed by Pius XII, many extend this to Sung Masses and that is why in some places some of the shorter audible responses are chanted by the congregation.

My husband and I have been attending there quite a bit (we go to our local NO parish when we can’t get to Pittsburgh). I noticed that not many people sing. I would love to join in but don’t feel comfortable doing so at this time. Every other aspect of the mass more than makes up for it though! :slight_smile:

Same here. But, LOL, others might not want to hear my joyful song.:blush: For me it is easier to chant.:thumbsup:


It does vary :slight_smile: - almost all the Masses in the pre-conciliar Roman Liturgy I’ve been to have been without singing: except on a few occasions when the Creed has been sung.

I think the question is one of the “how long is a piece of string ?” variety - there is no single right answer

You could always hum. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m 52 and I vaguely remember the TLM we used to attend. I loved the music but I guess we weren’t supposed to sing…so I would hum along. My father found that amusing but my mother didn’t. :rolleyes:

then join the choir!

Back in the days of Pius XII and Edward Cardinal Mooney in the Archdiocese of Detroit(1941 and there abouts) at all the Masses for the Catholic School Kids we sang the ordinary in Latin, we did not respond to prayers at the foot of the altar, We sang other hymns both English and Latin as well but I am not sure if they were for processions etc. or actually part of the Mass. All eight grades were expected to attend a particular Sunday Mass as well as the five weekdays during the school year and to sit with their grade. Each Class had a Sister at the back of it with a clicker that signaled when to stand, sit, etc. These were the relatively new dialogue masses.

Each place that I’ve been to is different. In some, the congregation sings the entirety of the ordinary and hymns and responses, in others the congregation sings none. I think it all depends on where you are.

Singing went on in the old Mass by the people but it was in Latin.

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