Local classical genre on Church music setting?

What are your thoughts on local classical forms of music used and incorporated in composition of Church hymns? Also, how would you percieve it’s execution? Is it fitting or inappropriate?

Hmmm. What are “local” classical forms? Could you explain a bit more what you mean?


I have adressed it in general view. Though I know that many cultures had developed their own music genre used for the liturgy. (such as celtic and roman chants) but is it still apt to use an originally secularized genre for composing church music?

I personally believe it is a bad idea to use secular-style music for Catholic liturgical music.


My own thoughts is that preoccupation with the appropriate form of music (as opposed to lyrics) at the Mass is a form of scrupulosity.


Not only is it bad, I don’t believe it is supposed to be done.

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I don’t think it is. Do you have any musical education? An instrument – music history? Form and analysis?
If you do, the poor quality music at Mass is irritating at best. And one has to hear it every week, at what is supposed to be the highlight of one’s week. It really makes it hard to concentrate on the higher things, when it’s accompanied by not very good music.


I’m absolutely not a music historian, nor musician, but I think secular melodies have been used for church music/hymns. That said, I tend to like traditional music for Mass.

I think you may want to clarify the term “local classical”. Is it an academic term?

Maybe he means what we might call the traditional music of the local culture? Sitar music in India, that sort of thing?

Not only that, but better music is available yet is (in places) consistently rejected for the poor music.

Often, the better music is both easier to play and sing - and sometimes much easier.


Could be. The first thing that came to my mind for “local classical” was European Classical music for Mass settings, ie. Hayden, Mozart etc… I personally find it problematic when the music of the Mass becomes a classical concert performance, however worthy it might be on its own.


It depends on if it is permitted by the Vatican and the local bishop. I leave such matters to their discretion.

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I think one of the problems with using secular music, especially classical, is that many of us associate certain pieces with secular activities, ad campaigns, etc.

An example is Copland’s “Hoedown” --it’s also the “Beef Music”! I think a lot of people older than 40 think of beef whenever they hear that music. (Also, I can’t imagine why Copland’s “Hoedown” would ever be used in the Mass!)

Much of Mozart’s music has been used in movies. Actually, a lot of classical music has been used in movies. I believe many of the Beethoven pieces were used in Clockwork Orange, a very disturbing movie done that I saw when I was in college–and it still bothers me.

My husband finds any Baroque music “frantic” and “nervous.” He hates it when I practice Bach or play it at church (organ). Just goes to show that even though many people consider Bach the epitome of sacred music, there are those people who can’t handle it in sacred settings.

I’m not really sure if this is what the OP means by “local classical” music. My first thought was “O God Beyond all Praising,” set to that gorgeous Holst music–I LOVE IT! But I have talked to others who don’t like it at all, and find it just as uncomfortable as hearing the Beatles’ "Let It Be’ sung in church.

I have come to the conclusion that there is no music that is the Definitive Music for Mass, and that we need to keep an open mind and be tolerant of the tastes of the local parishes around the world. Hopefully their bishops are approving whatever is played.

One way out, if you can find it, is Mass celebrated without any music at all.


The vast majority of daily Masses I attend have zero music.

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No definitive music? What do you make of the documents from the popes about liturgical music?

The documents state that "the Church recognizes Gregorian chant as especially native to the Roman liurgy. Therefore other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services. Other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations…In some places…there are people who have their own musical tradition, and this plays an important part in their religious and social life. For this reason their music should be held in due esteem and should be given a suitable role, not only in forming their religious sense but also in adapting worship to their native genius…the Pipe organ is to be held in high estreem in the Latin church…other instruments may also be used in divine worship at the discretion and with the consent of the competent territorial authority, provided they are suitable, or can be made suitable, for sacred us, that they accord with the dignity of the sacred building, and that they truly contribute to the edification of the faithful.

As I said, there is no "definitive music"for Mass. There is music that should receive “pride of place,” whatever that means. And considering the current state of music in the United States, we will not see much of it in most of our parishes–Gregorian chant and polyphony are not easy to learn, and I can’t imagine it being taught in most schools, even Catholic schools. I’m just being realistic. It does no one any good to pine for something that simply won’t happen. Those who want it to happen need to start doing it themselves and doing it well so that their fellow parishioners will find it edifying, not grating. Or if they are not able to do it themselves, they need to PAY people to learn and do it, and they especially need to pay musicians/teachers to teach it. Musical skill is not cheap, and never free, to acquire.

Yeah, it’s strange how no bishops (that I know of) have instituted a choir school for men and boys as is specified in Vatican II. Shrug

“Classical” is a nebulous term. You could make a very good case that bluegrass, Southern Appalachian gospel, and Black gospel are “classical” forms.

I love love Georgian chant

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