Thoughts on drums in mass?

What does everyone think about drums in mass? I think a drum set can add a very nice background to the music if done appropriately and not rocking out. A song like Gather Us In seems most fitting for this. Below I have linked a version of it being played in a Catholic mass as well as the Hillsong What A Beautiful Name with drums as well.

Gather Us In - With Drums

What a Beautiful Name - With Drums

If you are instantly going to just say “Oh course not!” then I suggest listening/watching these two short videos first and actually hear what it sounds like so you can make an informed decision. What do you think?

I’m not a fan of drum kits in mass precisely because I do not like the music that they might be most suited to. The two pieces you link include one of my number one most disliked composers, Marty Haugen. The second is fine for a performance, but that isn’t the purpose of music at mass.

One of the greatest gifts from the pandemic, in my opinion, is we have gone back to only having a cantor and simple pslams at mass. Personally I don’t miss masses with 2 or 3 singers backed by a 5 piece instrumental ensembles.


Why don’t you like Marty Haugen is I might ask?

Do you like David Haas?

Listening to the videos, I don’t think I would like it. I would accept it though. I prefer repetitive sedative music for worship, even when it is in a joyful tone.

I’ve heard some beautiful drum talents during Mass. I don’t particularly put that near the top of my music preferences, but when it’s done well, it does make for some good music.

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Nope. Leaving aside the recent allegations of ‘sexual battery’ and ‘spiritual manipulation’ leveled aginst Mr. Haas, I simply do not like contemporary praise and worship style of music used during mass. If people want to listen to praise and worship music do it as a precursor to mass or after mass has concluded. Regardless, don’t invite me or ask me sit in the sanctuary cringing when the first struming starts.

Haugen, Haas, Schutte, Sydney Carter, the Saint Louis Jesuits? I look forward to the day the Church relegates them to the trash bin of history.


A couple of churches I’ve attended use a drum kit/ electric band at some Masses. As long as the musicians are skilled, I have no problem with the music. The main issue with a drum kit or electric band is that it is loud, and many churches do not have a great place to put loud instruments where they won’t be disturbing to a whole section of pews. This is probably less of a concern during social distancing/ Mass obligation suspended time, because there’s fewer people in church needing a seat, so no one is forced to sit close to the band, but in normal more crowded times, it’s more of a problem.

Smaller drums like bongos that aren’t so loud can be used more easily in a church without hurting anyone’s eardrums.

(I refuse to participate in the umpteenth discussion of whether people like or dislike Haugen/ Haas/ St Louis Jesuits etc. )

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I suppose if you are going to have praise and worship music at Mass, the drums might be ok if done well - they are part of the whole “band” ensemble I guess.

But since you ask, I don’t like it, no. It doesn’t raise my soul and heart to God like music at Mass should. Some praise and worship songs are good, and I have a whole playlist to listen to in the car, but Mass music should be different.


You mean for a Latin Mass like this?

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What music do you like then? What is left?

I don’t like drums at Mass. I don’t think it’s evil. I just think to me, it’s obnoxious and silly.


Drums, guitars and electric instruments do not belong in the Holy Mass. The Mass is sacred and thus it needs to be treated as so. I think it´s as simple as that.


You could ask what we think about hammers…

It’s not the hammer that is the problem with poorly designed and constructed things…

Drums, in and of themselves, are neither good nor bad…the question is, is the music that calls for the drums well written, appropriate and well performed. Unfortunately, in my experience, way too often music that call for drums is terrible (from silly to treacly to happy-clappy-crappy), inappropriate and poorly played at Mass. But, it’s not the drum’s fault.


I am OK with drums and guitars. I personally love Marty Haugen/David Haas music. There is also a place for the organ and more traditional music.


This is truly not meant to be snarky, but are you serious about “what is left”?

We literally have 1500 years of liturgical music that predate the 1960s. There are hymns by St Francis of Assisi, St Thomas Aquinas, Palestrina, Thomas Tallis, scores upon scores of plain chant and Gregorian chant. Those would just scratch the surface of the deep, rich treasure trove of Catholic liturgical music.

Personally? I prefer hymns written or translated in the 16th - 18th centuries. I have a preference for things like “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent”, “Hail Holy Queen Enthroned Above”, Te Deum Laudamus (“Holy God We Praise Thy Name”), Veni Creator Spiritus (“Come, Creator Spirit”).

I would really like to see every parish use the booklet, Jubilate Deo , that Pope Saint Paul VI urged be published and containing songs he believed every Roman Catholic should know and sing. But… given that all the songs are in Latin and are chants I doubt most Catholics today would willingly sing. :cry:


Today’s winner for best analogy. :clap:

I think that you’re always going to have two points of view: those who are adamant about the traditionalism of a high organ and chant mass, as well as those who favor the Haas era of musicality. While I consider myself more traditional in choice, I have a respect for more modern musical selection as I received the sacraments from a suburban church.

As for drums, I don’t disagree that when done properly, it can add to the modern sounds of the OCP hymnals or even praise and worship . I have been to a church where the selections were common radio songs, but the execution of the liturgy was so spot on that the music actually added a lot of meaning to the liturgy. And isn’t that the purpose of hymns in the first place?

Also, defining drums is a broad assumption. Look to the use of Timpani in many solemn masses. They are definitely drums, but are so powerful. For instance, the start of O Come All Ye Faithful with Timpani is just glorious!

Overall, if done correctly, any religious musical selections can be influential to a liturgy. I think that looking at individual aspects of a liturgical celebration is a disservice to the liturgy as a whole. A high organ doesn’t make a mass more spiritual or holy if the priest is lackluster with the presidential prayers or the ep’s. The same is true with the modern music. A good priest with uplifting music will be successful at delivering a moving, spiritual liturgy that represents the mission of the priest: to offer up our needs and desires and sacrifices to God.


I’m a drummer. Drums DO NOT BELONG IN MASS. Any music that is played at mass that “could use drums” is a horrible song.


Drums aren’t really melodic so I don’t understand the point of them.

But what makes guitars or drums not sacred?

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