The "I'm fed up with bad church music" thread

I’m going to try not to sound like a music snob here (even though I am pretty sure I am one), but I am fed up with hokey, schmaltzy music used in the place of good hymns or pieces of music for worship. This is in no way an attack on the musical talent of cantors or choirs (I’ve heard some good choirs given really BAD music) or to say that old music is better than new/contemporary. I’ve heard some things that just; they seem to me to detract from the sanctity of the mass rather than to add to it. This past Sunday the entrance hymn/song was “Alle, Alle , Alleluia” which I’m reasonably sure ripped off the melody from “Ten Little Indians” and a further Alleluia before the gospel (Bob Hurd/Ken Canedo). Anything involving a blues scale does not register as sacred and/or elevating to me.

I guess I may be very blessed. We have a wonderful choir and musical team.

Well, believe it or not, others may disagree with you, and complaining about it on CAF does little to solve what you see as a problem. I suggest you take your concerns to the Pastor, but keep in mind, you may be the only one or one of a few who has a problem with the music.

I grew up in a Protestant milieu where the music was written in four-part harmony, and people actually sang the parts. I could say that I miss that, but I do go to those services every now and then to get my gospel-music “fix”. I also improvise a bass part to most of the music that we sing in Mass.

Hi Carolyn,

I have to respectfully disagree with you, I am afraid. By posting things that bother us on CAF, we can often gain insights we could never have otherwise from other members. It could be this member has tried that already. We all come here for many different reasons as well as fellowship.

Shaming other members, even lightly, for anything other than egregious posts, has the effect sometimes I fear, of members being afraid to post concerns, ideas, and yes even the occasional rant, that they may otherwise post. I am sure your intentions were the very best, and I too post things sometime I regret, but, I try not to criticize other members. Just my two cents!


Yeah - I’d rather not listen to “Gather Us In” again. I prefer music with more purpose and focus for worship.

It’s really a part of what’s wrong - the slow erosion of the faith, and an example of the state of things. Most people don’t know the difference any more IMHO.

But we do need to talk to our Churches to start turning it around.

Adoremus Hymnal or bust.

By “bad”, do you meant they were off key? Disorganized? In what way did they sing “bad”?

Do you contribute to the music program your self, or have you offered to help, if you believe help is needed?

I think there is a time and place for all things. Specifically, I think that blues sounding music/blues scale is out of place.

I will agree, except for the rant part, especially if the rant is directed at one’s fellow Catholics who, as the OP suggests, may not be doing anything wrong. If you consider the above post “shaming”, then it should be always noted, that any sort of attack on anything, justified or not, may legitimately illicit a defense.

  • this post is a good reminder.

Now, back to topic…

I’m with you, but depending on the musical tastes of your pastor, nothing much will be done. Actually, I’d bet on nothing being done. I complained for years & finally gave up. I simply don’t sing anything that has objectionable lyrics and weird or unsingable tunes. I’m fortunate to be in a 3-parish cluster. When I happened to go to parish #2, I was pleasantly surprised that I liked most of the songs. Not all, but many. So that’s where I attend now. If I have to go to parish #1, I go to the first mass (which is quite new) & rarely has music.

I agree. The music at the Mass we attended yesterday was so sixties. Such a beautiful solemnity too. Too bad.

Not only that, but they tuned up for thirty minutes prior to Mass while everyone else in the pews chatted away. I couldn’t even hear myself think let alone pray. And they got a round of applause at the end of Mass too.

Never again will we go there.

We must regretfully report mission failure.

That’s very true.

I can’t stand Christian rock. The only two types of gospel music I like are old fashioned Latin chant and on ocassion Southern blues/gospel music.

I am well aware that what speaks to me spiritually may not echo through the entire congregation. I guess one of the issues is no variety. I hear the same tired old 1980’s songs every Sunday. I’ve attended other parishes where they would mix it up (more traditional recessional, contemporary piece for offertory, maybe some chant, etc) or offer different music for different masses (contemporary ensemble at 9, organ at 11, no music at 7:30) and you could choose what best fits to your spirituality. So far I’ve heard “One Bread, One Body” three weeks in a row and none of the selections for Pentecost had anything to do with the Holy Ghost. I stay quiet because I don’t want to be the only one speaking out. I do realize that we are dealing with musicians of different skill levels and issues of taste. I have been in 8 choral groups, both sacred and secular, so maybe I am a bit biased when things seem a little simplistic, although I do think certain styles are just incompatible (blues, polka).

I had a very hard experience when I was younger of having to leave my childhood parish due to the music tastes of the pastor. This is one reason why I am apprehensive about addressing the issue as an individual. He was a musician (with some skill, he wrote his own songs) and insisted on contemporary 24/7 and fired the organist. Often he would bring out his guitar for a homily and sing one of his pieces (they weren’t too bad, but he would sit ON the altar). Well, a large portion of the congregation (myself included) did not like the changes. We were happy with having a contemporary group at one mass and a more traditional organ/choir at another. We were blatantly ignored. He started bringing in these tie-dye wearing folk groups at Mass and I noticed attendance dropping (I was one of them). You couldn’t even access the parish webpage unless you clicked through a giant ad promoting Father’s CD.

That is kind of where I am at, and, when people start clapping in step, it just leaves me cold. It is nice that I live in an area where there are choices. I go to two different churches. I love the music at my church, but I like confessing at another nearby church, where the priests are much less… “modern” is the only word I can think of to characterize it.

The church I go to for confession has an older congregation. The music there is fine, but I don’t enjoy it as much as the newer church I am a member of. It is nice to have both.

Same here, very blessed with a great choir, music director & musicians.

While I appreciate all types of music, I am spoiled by Anglican musical history.

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