Should the Gloria and Sanctus always be sung rather than recited?


#1

Our parish always sings it, and I personally think that’s as it should be. After all, wouldn’t the angels in Heaven be singing it rather than speaking it?

However, I’ve been to Mass at other parishes where it was recited (spoken) and not sung. Somehow, it didn’t seem “right”, and it felt like everyone was just parroting off a bunch of words with no real meaning or feeling. Singing the Gloria seems to add more “Glory” than simply speaking it! After all, aren’t we giving ALL glory to God? Speaking the words just doesn’t seem to have the same impact-- not to me, anyway. It sounds like an emotionless “blah-blah” rather than a joyful rendering of glory to God!

How about the Sanctus (Hosanna)? Again, it seems more “proper and fitting” to always sing the Sanctus rather than rambling it off as spoken words. This is the ANGELS’ song, and at this moment we join the angels when we proclaim God’s Holiness! Yet, I’ve heard it spoken many times, rather than being sung. I’d rather hear the Agnus Dei being spoken than either of these two… though I rather that the Agnus be sung, as well, rather than spoken. I’m just a sucker for liturgical music!

Thoughts?


#2

I have no real preference, but I would much prefer them recited that hearing the same bad musical arrangement every week. Not sure what is being used in most of the parishes I have been to, but it is awful! :(


#3

We sing it in our parish and it's absolutely beautiful. I've visited others when traveling and it's spoken. It sorta doesn't have the same feeling at all. Always nice to come home where everyone is fully focused on the mass and you just don't want it to end.


#4

The Gloria and the Sanctus can be sung or recited.


#5

They may indeed be legitimately spoken, especially if the Mass is just for a weekday with no particular celebration. Even on Sundays, one may have Masses with no sung parts, but the principal Mass on Sundays ought to have singing of all the Mass parts with incense.

In the Extraordinary Form, if a Low Mass was celebrated, it was not even permitted for any Mass parts to be sung at all, including the Sanctus and Gloria, even on Sundays or Class I feasts.


#6

True, the GIRM makes it clear either sing it or recite it. There is no distinction over which is preferred.

Though, as a matter of liturgical practice, acclamations should be sung, unless unable to be done well. If a parish or congregation doesn’t know a good setting, or perform it well, then definitely recited.


#7

[quote="O_Moriah, post:6, topic:309135"]
True, the GIRM makes it clear either sing it or recite it. There is no distinction over which is preferred.

Though, as a matter of liturgical practice, acclamations should be sung, unless unable to be done well. If a parish or congregation doesn't know a good setting, or perform it well, then definitely recited.

[/quote]

The GIRM also says that it should be sung straight through with out refrains, but there are exceptions granted for this in at least North America. The reasoning for the difference is that in Europe people were not used to join in the singing and often left it to the choir etc. This is different in areas where singing has a strong practice of participation thus the exception of having refrains in the song form.

Some more conservative pastors would rather have the congregation say it together rather than exercise this exception, because the words were intended to be said straight through.

My preference would be to do both. Sing it and without refrains, but also in Gregorian Chant. Though I understand that this is the most difficult choice for people to get used to doing. So, I'm learning to be content in any legal form practiced.

Merry Christmas!


#8

I prefer them sung, but not with campy settings! If you're going to use bad music, you're better off just reciting it. Do it solemnly or don't do it at all.


#9

I cannot find anything in the GIRM which says this. Could you quote it with a paragraph number please?


#10

I have been churches that are not particularly musical and it was much nicer to hear it said than sung.

The same reason one of the priests at our church sings parts of the mass and the other speaks through the soft organ accompaniment.


#11

Without stepping into the debate about sing-through (aka through-composed) or refrain-based Glorias, I just want to point out that many of the new settings of the Gloria made for the new translation are through-composed, or, if they have a refrain, work very well skipping the refrain and singing it through-composed (or, repeating the refrain again just at the end).


#12

I prefer having them both sung, IF they are sung well. If not, the lack of notes is less than disturbing.


#13

From the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, about the Gloria:

“53. … The text of this hymn may not be replaced by any other. It is intoned by the Priest or, if appropriate, by a cantor or by the choir; but it is sung either by everyone together, or by the people alternately with the choir, or by the choir alone. If not sung, it is to be recited either by everybody together or by two choirs responding one to the other.
It is sung or said on Sundays outside Advent and Lent, and also on Solemnities and Feasts, and at particular celebrations of a more solemn character.”

(From: Roman Missal, English translation according to the third typical edition, approved for use in the dioceses of Australia, England and Wales, and Scotland, published by Catholic Truth Society, in 2010, ISBN 9781860827303, page 42.)

From the Ceremonial of Bishops, Chapter 1 “Stational Mass of the Diocesan Bishop”:

“120 The form of the stational Mass should be retained especially on the greater solemnities of the liturgical year, on Holy Thursday for the blessing of the chrism and the Mass of the Lords Supper, at the celebration honoring the founder of the local Church or the patron of the diocese, on the anniversary of the bishop’s episcopal ordination, at large gatherings of the Christian people, and during pastoral visitations.
121 The stational Mass should be a sung Mass, in accord with the provisions of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
[footnote 4: See GIRM, nos. 12, 18, 19, 77, 313: DOL 208, nos. 1402, 1408, 1409, 1467, 1703. Where applicable, the Ordo cantus Missae should be followed. See Missale Romanum, Ordo cantus Missae (Vatican Polyglot Press, 1972), Introduction: DOL 535, nos. 4276-4302. See MS, nos. 7, 16, 29-31: AAS 59 (1967), pp. 302, 305, 308-309; DOL 508, nos. 4128, 4137, 4150, 4151.”

(From: Ceremonial of Bishops, Liturgical Press, 1989, ISBN 0-8146-1818-9, page 49.)
To explain the abbreviations: “DOL” is the book Documents on the Liturgy 1963-1979, Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1982, ISBN 0-8146-1281-4.
“MS” is the Instruction Musicam sacram, 5 March 1967, of the Sacred Congregation of Rites.

From the 1967 Instruction *Musicam sacram, (from DOL):
“7. The amount of singing determines the gradations between the most solemn form of liturgical celebrations, in which all the parts calling for singing are sung, and the most simple form, in which nothing is sung. For the choice of parts to be sung, those should be first that of their nature are more important and particularly those sung by the priest and congregation together. Later other parts, for the congregation alone or the choir alone, may be added gradually.”

“16. A liturgical celebration can have no more solemn or pleasing feature than the whole assembly’s expressing it faith and devotion in song. Thus an active participation that is manifested by singing should be carefully fostered along these lines:
a. It should include especially the acclamations, responses to the greetings of the priest and the ministers and responses in litanies, the antiphons and psalms, the verses of the responsorial psalm, and other similar verses, hymns, and canticles.
b. Pertinent catechesis as well as actual practice should lead the people gradually to a more extensive and indeed complete participation in all the parts proper to them.
c. Some of the congregational parts may be assigned to the choir alone, however, especially when the people are not yet sufficiently trained or melodies for part singing are used. But the people are not to be excluded from the other parts proper to them. The practice of assigning the singing of the entire Proper and Ordinary of the Mass to the choir alone without the rest of the congregation is not to be permitted.”

"III SINGING DURING MASS
27. As far as possible, eucharistic celebrations with the people, especially on Sundays, should by preference take the form of a Mass with singing, even more than once in the same day.

  1. The distinction between the solemn, the high, and the low Mass, sanctioned by the 1958 Instruction (no. 3) remains in force, according to tradition and current law. But for pastoral reasons degrees of solemnity for the sung Mass are proposed here in order that it will become easier, in accord with each congregation’s capability, to make the celebration of Mass more solemn through the use of singing.
    These degrees must be so employed, however, that the first may always be used without the others, but the second and third never without the first. Thus in all cases the faithful are to be brought to take part fully in the singing.

  2. To the first degree belong:
    a. in the entrance rites
    – the priest’s greeting and the congregation’s response;
    – the opening prayer
    b. in the liturgy of the word
    – the gospel acclamations.
    c. in the liturgy of the eucharist
    – the prayer over the gifts;
    – the preface, with the opening dialogue and the Sanctus;
    – the Lord’s Prayer, with the invitation and embolism;
    – the greeting May the peace of the Lord;
    – the prayer after communion;
    – the final dismissal.

  3. To the second degree belong:
    a. Kryrie, Gloria, Agnus Dei;
    b. profession of faith;
    c. general intercessions.

  4. To the third degree belong:
    a. songs for the entrance procession and for communion;
    b. chants after a lesson or epistle;
    c. Alleluia before the gospel;
    d. songs for the presentation of the gifts;
    e. the Scripture readings, except when it seems better not to have them sung."


#14

From the GIRM (Roman Missal, English translation according to the third typical edition, approved for use in the dioceses of Australia, England and Wales, and Scotland, published by Catholic Truth Society, in 2010, ISBN 9781860827303, page 36.)
“The Importance of Singing
39. …
40. Great importance should therefore be attached to the use of singing in the celebration of the Mass, with due consideration for the culture of peoples and abilities of each liturgical assembly. Although it is not always necessary (e.g., in weekday Masses) to sing all the texts that are in principle meant to be sung, every care should be taken that singing by the ministers and the people not be absent in celebrations that occur on Sundays and on Holydays of Obligation.
However, in the choosing of the parts actually to be sung, preference is to be given to those that are of greater importance and especially to those which are to be sung by the Priest or the Deacon or a reader, with the people replying, or by the Priest and the people together. footnote 49: Cf. Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instruction, Musicam sacram, 5 March 1967, nos. 7, 16: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 59 (1967), pp. 302, 305.”


#15

There is actually an order of preference, and John has helpfully provided quotes of what that order is.

Many liturgies get this order of preference wrong, usually because the priest or deacon won’t/can’t sing well enough to sustain parts of the first degree.


#16

They are both part of the beautiful prayer that is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Either way is fine. I prefer it spoken or chanted personally. The Sanctus with the bells rung thrice is particularly heavenly IMHO. Sometimes I think people can get caught up in the singing and may not fully realize or appreciate what exactly it is that they are saying. People should be able to recite the Gloria and the Sanctus w/o music in any case, no?

mda


#17

I went through this list and bolded what it typically sung in my parish. Funny how most of them are in the group that is deemed least necessary to be sung.


#18

[quote="Elizium23, post:15, topic:309135"]
Many liturgies get this order of preference wrong, usually because the priest or deacon won't/can't sing well enough to sustain parts of the first degree.

[/quote]

And I don't understand why. Chanting is not difficult when you get to decide what the notes are and are singing on your own.


#19

I hate singing, would rather recite it.


#20

Our thanks to John Milburne for noting the subtle differences of how the three (plus) formal liturgical documents of VII are all different lenses through which these questions must be viewed as a whole. As I scrolled through, GIRM this GIRM that, I was thinking in my mind "Folks, go to MUSICAM SACRAM and to the three “orders.” Besides the responsories and (of all things ignored!) the PATER NOSTER, the SANCTUS is primarily the people’s responsibility to sing. This I believe in no small part is thanks to S. Piux X’s TLS motu of 1903, if nothing else.


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