Singing hymns at Mass


#1

When I attend Mass I find that I am unable to join in with the singing of hymns.I mean no disrespect or irreverence and I always turn to the appropriate hymn and pray the words, but I am rather self-conscious about singing in public as I have a terrible singing voice.

I always seem to be near to people who sing really well and with great devotion and I sometimes feel that others think that I am not being sufficiently reverent.
Does anyone have an opinion on this or feel as I do?


#2

This is a funny topic to me since NO one in my family can sing. And yet I wonder how we have NOT been kicked out of Mass whenever we "sing". Im only joking...half joking. Im probably one of the best singers in the family that extends to immediate, parents, aunts/uncles , cousins and grandparents. Some of the children of my cousins have nice voices. Thank God for no intermarriage!

Having said all that, I think its great my family attempts to sing because they want to participate, and as loud as they are not inappropriately loud, I think its great! When there are songs I like I do blurt it out if the song moves me and no one has hit me yet! But there are songs that are difficult for me to pick up or they just dont move me musically. In that case, I do exactly as you mentioned. I enjoy the music of I just cant sing it, and if I dont enjoy the music i pray the words in either case. And as long as I am clearly participating in the worship and prayer, I dont think its disrespectful to anyone and I certainly dont have that view about anyone who isnt singing unless of course theyre playing fantasy football on their phone or talking about Justin Bieber with the person next to them.

So Ive concluded that as long as I am singing to praise God I will sing. If I cant really sing the song that well and its too distracting to participate in the worship aspect of the song, I dont. But if I think I can sing the song and I am prayerful in my singing, I do sing, those around me in the pews be damned!

What do you think??


#3

[quote="dividus, post:1, topic:337852"]
When I attend Mass I find that I am unable to join in with the singing of hymns.I mean no disrespect or irreverence and I always turn to the appropriate hymn and pray the words, but I am rather self-conscious about singing in public as I have a terrible singing voice.

I always seem to be near to people who sing really well and with great devotion and I sometimes feel that others think that I am not being sufficiently reverent.
Does anyone have an opinion on this or feel as I do?

[/quote]

When it's time to break out the hymnal, I often feel like Sister Mary Robert from 'Sister Act'. I keep my face buried in the pages and sing very softly so I'm at least moving my lips. :blush:

I'm usually near someone who sings with a powerful voice like Sister Mary Patrick, so I just sort of blend in.


#4

And here I thought we exhausted the topic.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=818779


#5

[quote="dividus, post:1, topic:337852"]
When I attend Mass I find that I am unable to join in with the singing of hymns.I mean no disrespect or irreverence and I always turn to the appropriate hymn and pray the words, but I am rather self-conscious about singing in public as I have a terrible singing voice.

I always seem to be near to people who sing really well and with great devotion and I sometimes feel that others think that I am not being sufficiently reverent.

Does anyone have an opinion on this or feel as I do?

[/quote]

I wouldn't worry either about not having a good singing voice if you want to sing (my own experiences at Mass suggest that this doesn't stop most people so afflicted), or what others may think if you choose not to.

I prefer not to sing, but make myself do so occasionally anyway. My older brothers both like to sing at Mass, and used to get annoyed at me and my younger brother for not singing as much as they thought we should, but they got over it as soon as we all got to the age where we could talk and think about things and realize that different people are different.

Which is really the crux - different people are different. I prefer to reflect in silence on what is going on, others prefer to join in the singing. And if the singers are annoyed by that, well they can just get over it.


#6

[quote="ProVobis, post:4, topic:337852"]
And here I thought we exhausted the topic.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=818779

[/quote]

Eh, this is the internet. No horse is ever so dead that it can't take a few more beatings.


#7

Most of us in our family sing pretty well. I attribute that to a Grandmother who played the piano "by ear", and Sunday gatherings that usually wound up in a song fest of some sort. Nice memory, and also trained voices when the grandkids were really young.

On the other hand, Dad was tone deaf. Yet, one of my favorite Christmas carols is O Tannenbaum, which he would sing in his off-key way off and on through the Christmas season. - yep, another nice memory.

Then again, Dad might have done well with chant.


#8

This is my thought on the matter.

God gave you that voice. What better place is there to give it back? :D

Seriously, I take no offense to anybody raising their voice in song no matter HOW horrendous the voice may (or may not) be. Singing is praising. It is prayer. Would we ever ask someone with a speech impediment to not utter the prayers out loud because they sounded wrong? Goodness no!!


#9

Sing away! If your neighbors don’t like it, then they can sing louder. :cool:


#10

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Psalm 100: 1-2

Sing away!


#11

Don't worry about what other people think. It is not their place to judge you for either singing or not singing. If you want to sing, don't worry about your voice, just go for it. If you don't want to sing, thats fine too and if anybody judges you for it that is their problem, not yours.


#12

Some thought that’s what we’d be getting after Vatican II’s statement on Gregorian chant, not 3-4 hymns, most of them having nothing to do with the Mass.


#13

Sing out and lustily. Don't worry about what others think. I'm a classical/opera singer by profession and love, so I suppose I have a good voice and can sing in tune. :p I have to say, I absolutely LOVE it when people who don't necessarily have good voices or who can't even sing in tune, sing out fully. You can see how much they love the song and it just loosens them up. All of that love spills out into everyone else. When I cantor at mass, I want to hear all of you sing... not my voice. If that means an entire congregation who can't keep pitch or rhythm, so be it. Although, I'll be helping you guys along, singing into the mic just enough so that you can stay in rhythm and sing the right notes. :)

You know what's funny... when I'm in the congregation or at family functions, I'm the one who doesn't sing out as much. I'm always afraid that people will think I'm showing off. So, maybe I should follow my own advice of not caring what others think. lol!

Oh... and don't worry about what others will think if you don't want to sing. I sometimes don't want to sing, either.


#14

[quote="dividus, post:1, topic:337852"]
When I attend Mass I find that I am unable to join in with the singing of hymns.I mean no disrespect or irreverence and I always turn to the appropriate hymn and pray the words, but I am rather self-conscious about singing in public as I have a terrible singing voice.

I always seem to be near to people who sing really well and with great devotion and I sometimes feel that others think that I am not being sufficiently reverent.

Does anyone have an opinion on this or feel as I do?

[/quote]

I sing well. My Dad sings terribly, and he has known this since he was a boy. (In fact, he doesn't sing as badly as he thinks, but most people don't.) I've always (except for an obligatory period around age 12) admired him for singing anyway. He doesn't sing really loudly, but loudly enough that the people around him can hear it.

I'm not in a position to blame anyone for not singing, because I love it, so how can I know what it is like not to enjoy it? Would I sing if I didn't enjoy it? I certainly don't know.

But I can definitely say that I would rather hear the person next to me sing badly than not sing at all. Singing well may just mean you love singing. Singing badly (at Mass) means you love God, and just can't keep it in. :D (I am NOT saying that not singing means you do not love God, of course.)

--Jen


#15

Thanks for all your replies and I wasn’t aware that there were other threads dealing with the subject. The strange thing with me is that as a boy I must have been a reasonably good singer as I was selected to sing in the church choir, and used to sing on feast days.
I recall on one occasion trying to hide in order to avoid singing, but the teacher in charge of the choir searched me out and demanded to know “who sacked (fired) you?”!
My singing voice these days – to my ear,at any rate - just amounts to a sort of strangled groan and my range is very limited.


#16

[quote="dividus, post:1, topic:337852"]
When I attend Mass I find that I am unable to join in with the singing of hymns.I mean no disrespect or irreverence and I always turn to the appropriate hymn and pray the words, but I am rather self-conscious about singing in public as I have a terrible singing voice.

I always seem to be near to people who sing really well and with great devotion and I sometimes feel that others think that I am not being sufficiently reverent.
Does anyone have an opinion on this or feel as I do?

[/quote]

I hum. It makes me feel as I am participating and I sing along in my head.


#17

As a trained musician, let me just say that it's not how you carry the tune; it's how you unload it :D

There's an older woman who sometimes sits near us at Mass. She couldn't unload (or carry) a tune if she had a 14-wheel dump truck. Nevertheless, I love to hear her sing.


#18

Way back in college, I went to a Mass where a fellow sang very loudly and very badly, but all these years later, I still remember him fondly b/c he was so into it, so full of faith, he inspired me.

I also remember a bishop who was getting installed at his cathedral, dear me, he really tried the ears -- but I loved it anyway b/c he was really in that moment as he sang!

For myself, my voice isn't bad but it's not so great either, but some of those songs are out of my range, so if I can't sing it, I also hum.

take care!
amsjj :)

+++
Jesus, God and man,
imprisoned by love in Thy most holy Sacrament,
have mercy upon us.
+ Blessed John Henry Newman, December 22, 1851

Tú y yo sabemos por la fe que oculto en las especies sacramentales está Cristo,
ese Cristo con su Cuerpo, con su Sangre, con su Alma, y con su Divinidad,
prisonero de amor.
+ San Josemaría Escrivá, 1 junio 1974

… Our Lord Himself frequently said; and it is recorded as an Apostolic tradition from Him
by St. Justin the Martyr. He says ‘Jesus often said, “They who are near Me are near a
fire”’.
+ Abp. W. B. Ullathorne, August 1st 1886


#19

[quote="dividus, post:15, topic:337852"]
Thanks for all your replies and I wasn’t aware that there were other threads dealing with the subject. The strange thing with me is that as a boy I must have been a reasonably good singer as I was selected to sing in the church choir, and used to sing on feast days.
I recall on one occasion trying to hide in order to avoid singing, but the teacher in charge of the choir searched me out and demanded to know “who sacked (fired) you?”!
My singing voice these days – to my ear,at any rate - just amounts to a sort of strangled groan and my range is very limited.

[/quote]

I play piano for Masses (and I'm trying to learn organ, but after 2 years, I'm still not at a point where I can play hymns on the organ).

Here's what you can do.

First, even if you're not singing, please open the hymnal or missalette and follow along with the words. That says a lot about your reverent attitude. Even if you're not willing to sing the words of the prayers (hymns), at least say them in your mind and think about them.

A lot of people don't do that, and it's so discouraging for me to see this as I sit at the piano and give it my all. I have to wonder why some of these people say "I hate the hymns" when they aren't even reading the words. How do they know that they hate them? And isn't it possible that a hymn that meant nothing to you in the past might speak to your heart and soul now?

Second, try hard to keep your expression either neutral or pleasant. I realize that some people have a natural scowl when they relax their facial muscles. This can appear to be disdain or disapproval. So if you can do so without pain, try to look pleasant. Let your eyes sperkle with love for God and your fellow man.

Third, if you're really sitting next to people who you think sing well, tell them so after Mass. Tell them that you really enjoy hearing them sing the hymns and that it helps you to worship God. That way, even if you aren't singing, others will think kindly of you and recognize your inner reverence.

Hope this helps! I think it's nice that you ask!


#20

[quote="dividus, post:1, topic:337852"]
When I attend Mass I find that I am unable to join in with the singing of hymns.I mean no disrespect or irreverence and I always turn to the appropriate hymn and pray the words, but I am rather self-conscious about singing in public as I have a terrible singing voice.

I always seem to be near to people who sing really well and with great devotion and I sometimes feel that others think that I am not being sufficiently reverent.
Does anyone have an opinion on this or feel as I do?

[/quote]

We don't sing hymns at our Church, nor do we have hymnals.
The choir sings during the entry procession and during Communion but nobody else sings.


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