Music at Mass


#1

Do you have to sing music that is in the missal or can the people doing the music during the Mass sing songs that they wrote themselves?


#2

That would depend. When you say ‘sing music that is in the missal’ are you talking about hymns or about the music for the parts of the Mass? If it’s ‘hymns’ they can have their own songs approved by the bishop to make sure there are no doctrinal or theological errors.

If they are composers I guess they could write their own settings for the parts of the Mass but I haven’t met too many people in regular choirs who are qualified to do that.


#3

I could; I’m a trained musician and a composer. But I haven’t been asked to join the church’s music program, and I haven’t tried to push my way in, choosing rather to sit in the pew and de-compose.


#4

Bringing this to mind.

So, as a composers are you sometimes tempted to bang your head against the pew in frustration? I’m not a musician or a composer and I’m tempted to do that every time I hear the Canadian settings for the new translation. I can’t imagine what it must be like for someone who KNOWS music.


#5

Music during the liturgy has to be approved by the bishop, so they usually approve a particular hymnal that parishes use.


#6

I play piano at our church (in Canada :o ) and I had to learn the new Mass responses. It was simple, but I really don’t like them all that much. I wish we could ditch the piano and get some chant going…:slight_smile:


#7

:smiley:

Tempted to bang my head? Not really. The bad melodies/harmonies are something I offer up, like the hard pews, or the two-year-old screaming his head off five rows back.


#8

While your behavior is admirable, I just can’t tolerate bad music. Not out of the aesthetics but out of the seeming apathy many have towards improving the music; if one loves their Father they should work to best perfect the offering they’d like to present.


#9

A parish music program isn’t “invitation only”. How in the world are they supposed to know that you even exist? Simply volunteering, or seeking out the music director to say you are interested in joining the choir, or playing isn’t “pushing your way in”.


#10

I wasn’t clear; mea culpa. I have volunteered, to no avail.


#11

All of these answers are conditionally circumstantial:
*All worship aides/books, whether by an acknowledge RC publishing entity like OCP/GIA/WLP/Adoremus, must have local approbation by the local See or his agents.
*The same would apply for privately published materials, such as the SIMPLE ENGLISH PROPERS/LUMEN CHRISTI MISSAL or the VATICAN II HYMNAL, or even a locally sourced parish or diocesan hymnal/missal.
This approbation doesn’t necessarily mean either an imprimatur (approval to print) or a nihil obstat (*no objectionable content) from a bishop is granted any of the above.
*Prior to the promulgation of the Third Edition of the RM in English, it would be correct to assume that composers of Mass Ordinary settings rarely sought such approval in advance of submitting them to the publishers (not the bishops) or even self-publishing. The vast majority of commonly sung Mass settings were originally “test-driven” in local parishes before going “commercial or viral.”
*Since MR3, there was more attention paid to this requirement, but it will be difficult to see or assess compliance on the part of either composers and bishops.
*The USCCB cannot even agree on the process by which to accumulate a so-called White List of approved hymntexts, some of which are copyrighted by a myriad of “owners.” So, compliance with hymns, songs, psalms (The Grail rights are held by only one US publisher, for example) and other types of music being formally submitted for review will likely be nill. That is not necessarily a good or bad thing. But if a mediocre or bad composer is in a position of foisting his/her own work upon a parish, if it is obviously a detriment to worship, a parishioner could inquire to whether that work was approved by the bishop for use. That might serve as notice to a pastor that someone needs to be aware of what is literally being sung as worship on behalf of all souls there.
*It is also often the case that a bishop may appoint people to staff an Office of Worship (that’s actually required by canon law for every diocese.) However, don’t make the assumption that those folk, clerical or lay, are either music experts, compositional experts or even liturgical experts.
*Composers must know the three post-conciliar documents like the back of their hand before attempting to put any text into a musical setting to be sung by all. Mass is not amateur hour in the Ted Mack or America’s Got Talent mode. It’s serious. So, sweet-nothing little tunes in three chords proclaiming undying love between “Jesus n me” don’t cut the mustard in this new century.


#12

I especially liked your last sentence :thumbsup:

(Right now my composer chops, such as they are, are being concentrated on euphonium solo and ensemble works.)


#13

In theory, it is possible. Each bishop is in charge of the liturgy in his diocese and different bishops have different levels of control. Ask the priest this question, as the answer will vary from place to place. In my diocese, it would be allowed. I do not compose any songs myself, except for the Psalms, though.


#14

Here's the wonderful thing about music at Mass. There exists something called the "propers":

The proper (Latin proprium) is a part of the Christian liturgy that varies according to the date, either representing an observance within the liturgical year, or of a particular saint or significant event. The term is used in contrast to the ordinary, which is that part of the liturgy that is reasonably constant, or at least selected without regard to date, or to the common, which contains those parts of the liturgy that are common to an entire category of saints, such as apostles or martyrs.
Propers may include hymns and prayers in the canonical hours and in the Eucharist.

Did you have any idea that in the Latin rite there are certain chants that we are supposed to be singing? We're all deprived of them - instead we get the usual old 1970s stuff (for the most part). Also, did you know the priest is supposed to be chanting his portion? Check out chantcafe.com if you want to hear what we are missing....Ask your music director!


#15

I know what you mean. I’ve been in some parishes where the music program was closed off to anyone outside of the “click”. It’s especially true for the cantors and instrumentalists. The politics were such, if one really wanted to be a part of it, you had to try to somehow become friendly with the director or go to the pastor and ask about joining, which the music director would then be forced to let you in. The latter was never good, no matter how innocently you got in through the pastor’s efforts, because it just would make that person an outcast in the music program. For some places, I’ve had colleagues who’d find out that the music director would do things like tell wedding couples or family of the decease that the cantor was not available for their mass even when they were requested. These people would find it out when the couples and family members would approach them either before of after the mass saying they were sorry the person wasn’t available. And by that point, the musician didn’t want to push out another person who took their place. Church musician politics can be really awful sometimes. I just try to stay away from places like that. Not worth it. I want to be there to pray through the music, not deal with navigating through the politics so that I won’t get burned.


#16

[quote="TCCOV, post:11, topic:338599"]
All of these answers are conditionally circumstantial:
All worship aides/books, whether by an acknowledge RC publishing entity like OCP/GIA/WLP/Adoremus, must have local approbation by the local See or his agents.
*The same would apply for privately published materials, such as the SIMPLE ENGLISH PROPERS/LUMEN CHRISTI MISSAL or the VATICAN II HYMNAL, or even a locally sourced parish or diocesan hymnal/missal.
*This approbation doesn't necessarily mean either an *imprimatur
(approval to print) or a* nihil obstat (*no objectionable content) from a bishop is granted any of the above.
*Prior to the promulgation of the Third Edition of the RM in English, it would be correct to assume that composers of Mass Ordinary settings rarely sought such approval in advance of submitting them to the publishers (not the bishops) or even self-publishing. The vast majority of commonly sung Mass settings were originally "test-driven" in local parishes before going "commercial or viral."
*Since MR3, there was more attention paid to this requirement, but it will be difficult to see or assess compliance on the part of either composers and bishops.
*The USCCB cannot even agree on the process by which to accumulate a so-called White List of approved hymntexts, some of which are copyrighted by a myriad of "owners." So, compliance with hymns, songs, psalms (The Grail rights are held by only one US publisher, for example) and other types of music being formally submitted for review will likely be nill. That is not necessarily a good or bad thing. But if a mediocre or bad composer is in a position of foisting his/her own work upon a parish, if it is obviously a detriment to worship, a parishioner could inquire to whether that work was approved by the bishop for use. That might serve as notice to a pastor that someone needs to be aware of what is literally being sung as worship on behalf of all souls there.
*It is also often the case that a bishop may appoint people to staff an Office of Worship (that's actually required by canon law for every diocese.) However, don't make the assumption that those folk, clerical or lay, are either music experts, compositional experts or even liturgical experts.
*Composers must know the three post-conciliar documents like the back of their hand before attempting to put any text into a musical setting to be sung by all. Mass is not amateur hour in the Ted Mack or America's Got Talent mode. It's serious. So, sweet-nothing little tunes in three chords proclaiming undying love between "Jesus n me" don't cut the mustard in this new century.

[/quote]

Great response, and I agree with DaveBj about the last point. Composers need to really know how to compose music AND understand everything you posted above.


#17

On the other hand, my cousins’ Baptist congregations are happy to listen to my euphonium solos :smiley:


#18

Sarabande the word you’re searching for is “clique” pronounced “cleek” and Americanized as “click.” It rhymes with chic not chick…


#19

You are right and I actually thought I did spell it out as “clique”. But as someone who doesn’t have much time to post thoughts because of what I do, and as a mother of very young ones under the age of 3, I usually only have the time to do “drive-by” posts and don’t always have the luxury to proofread. :p.

In all seriousness, my apologies to all for the confusion this may have caused in comprehending what I meant. And thank for informing everyone on the pronunciation. Although I have studied French and am well-regarded for my pronunciation in French song and arias, it was right of you to assume my ignorance on the subject matter, because you just never know. If I wasn’t knowledgeable on this, I actually would have appreciated learning something new. And who knows? There might have been others out there who did need the lesson, especially if they were confused by what I meant. That was very charitable of you and I’m sure appreciated by all. Thank you for doing that for me.


#20

[quote="DaveBj, post:17, topic:338599"]
On the other hand, my cousins' Baptist congregations are happy to listen to my euphonium solos :D

[/quote]

Heck, I'd like to listen to your euphonium solos and I mean that. It's not every day one has the chance to hear that instrument live.


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