Traditional Music vs. Modern and Progressive

I’m not sure if this is the right forum, but here goes: My quandary: I sang in a choir that while not 100% traditional, had many aspects or traditional with a few more modern and progressive elements. Things have changed. The music is progressive folk and easy listening rock n’ roll church music with most music sung in unison. I understand that it is to get the congregation more involved but I miss the more complex polyphonic music with all my heart. I miss the music that would bring me nearly to tears. Even a Veni Sancte Spiritus with a descant would make me happy.

There is a parish 20 miles away who has a more traditional choir. I would like to sing with them at a later Mass. Am I putting too much emphasis on the music? I know it’s all about my Lord and the Eucharist, but it’s how I pray. I feel slightly unfaithful. Should I talk to my Parish priest about it or would it just hurt his feelings? I know he likes the new music better. Should I just go and sing for two Masses and say nothing? Is it okay to attend Mass in two different parishes on the same day? I’m really torn up about this.

If your heart is not in it when you sing then I would not continue in the choir. I personally do not feel an up welling of love for Christ when singing certain types of music, just as others feel empty when singing more traditional pieces. Weather you should “change” parishes is up for you to discern, but don’t feel you have to stay and sing things that do not gladden your heart.

Music does matter. The Church has always taught as much. It is precisely because it’s “all about the Lord and eucharist” that music matters. The entire liturgy, including the music, is the Church’s sacrifice of praise United to the sacrifice of Christ. Have you read the Second Vatican Council’s statements on sacred music? The Church teaches that Gregorian chant is to have pride of place in the celebration of the eucharist. The Council Fathers went on to say that other forms of sacred music, especially polyphony, are acceptable and edifying. Provisions were made for local cultural expressions of worship, though pastors were cautioned to avoid music and instruments of a “profane” nature (music that mimics secular music- there must be a distinction between what we enjoy in everyday life and what we reserve for divine worship- God deserves our best). I don’t think there’s anything wrong in changing parishes based on musical preference, but it may be advisable to speak to a priest, even if you’re not comfortable speaking to your own priest.

In regards to getting the people involved, I’m still not convinced it works. There are two “mega parishes” here that come to mind- both have 7 well attended Sunday masses. One has more traditional music with the “solemn mass” (11 am) often featuring Latin polyphony. The other has more contemporary music with Evangelical style “praise and worship”. What is common between the two? Both attract crowds, but as far as I can tell the average person in the pews is closed lip in both cases. When a simple well known traditional hymn is sung, you get widespread participation. Praise and worship music? I look around and it’s only the choir and a few hung ho individuals here and there. So what has it added to our worship that polyphony was lacking?

I am inclined to think that you are over-thinking this.

Our obligation is to attend Mass on Sunday. And if there is not still an obligation to a parish (and I believe there is at least some obligation), by going to Mass at a parish 20 miles away, you are effectively losing ties to your parish.

I don’t want to get into a long discussion of music styles. Some people gravitate to polyphonic music, others don’t. Music should be an assist to us in praying the Mass; if it becomes a major focus on our ability to worship, then perhaps we are putting too much emphasis on it, and too little on the two parts of the Mass - the Liturgy of the Word, and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Being part of a Catholic community (and that is what a parish should be) should involve us to a deeper level than just attending Mass on Sunday. Christ’s command of “Love one another as I have loved you” is a bit hollow if we exit as fast as possible after Mass, and don’t show up in the parish again until a minute before Mass starts next week, with no connection to anyone in the parish other than sitting next to them in the pew.

Someone may post herein insisting that you have to “stay” within the parish boundaries. I would not; but would give the caveat as noted above; you need to be involved both in the Mass (head and heart, and not necessarily including voice), and you need to be involved after Mass lets out.

That has been my experience so far. Somebody saying, “Ready now, EVERYBODY sing!” during Mass is very odd to me.

I’ve gotten some perspective and I am thankful. I know now that I need to talk to a priest about it. I would like to hear from some fellow choir people. I don’t think you can explain something like this to folks who aren’t entirely moved to a new level through music just like I cannot explain the love of different foods to someone who just eats because it’s there and they need to (I do know people like that). I listen to and take in the Word and the homily and the whole liturgy. I wish i could explain it better. Music is how I pray. It’s how I connect.

I am also aware how being part of a parish is more that going to Mass. The music ministry was/is part of that.

I would change parishes in a heart beat. :slight_smile:

No, you are not. If it were the other way around I would say the same thing. You have to sing the music you love - period. You have a gift and that gift must be given to God with all your heart.

As would I. Wouldn’t think twice.

After proof reading, I realize this doesn’t make much sense. To clarify I will change the wording to:

I would change Churches if I were you because: If it were the other way around I would say the same thing. You have to sing the music you love - period. You have a gift and that gift must be given to God with all your heart

As for OP, I suggest that you use your talents where you are most comfortable, even if you have to attend a different Mass.

I think of myself as a stickler when it comes to sacred music.
While I’m not opposed to an acoustic guitar, having a full-fledged band with drums, electric guitars (and the occasional synthesizer) would to me diminish what we come to celebrate at Mass.

Plus, I’ve always had a fascination with choirs and pipe organs :smiley:

Me too!


An interesting piece:

Psalm 150:4-6
Praise Him with timbrel and dancing;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.

Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise he Lord!

They are not talking about pipe organs and violins here!

Sounds like I should use whatever musical ability I possess to praise the lord. I play in my parish contemporary music mass/ministry. We pretty much have the rock band setup many seem to dislike. I cannot sing anything in latin or English for that matter nor can I play a pipe organ nor can I play any sort of fingerpicking folk style guitar. I play punk rock influenced rock and roll style guitar pretty well and it I will use that ability to praise the lord. I do use an acoustic guitar but it is still rock and roll to me!

This was my advice to the OP. “I would change Churches if I were you because: If it were the other way around I would say the same thing. You have to sing the music you love - period. You have a gift and that gift must be given to God with all your heart”

So, I hope that you are in a Church that wants the music that you love and are able to give with your whole heart.

Personally, as a musician myself, I would follow the OP because I love the more traditional music and Latin.

Your personal interpretation of Psalm 150 doesn’t govern what’s appropriate for the holy sacrifice of the mass. Certainly within the context of the temple sacrifices (which the Mass perfects and fulfills), worship would have been more solemn and subdued. I am not in a position to judge the music your parish uses (nor have I heard it)- I am just pointing out that the Church has documents that DO govern the use of music at holy mass. The Church is abundantly clear that “profane” (music that imitates the popular music of the world in that time and place) is to be avoided.

Interesting perhaps, but rather insulting. It’s not just the music. I think the music was the final straw. I love my pastor and I love my brothers and sisters in my home parish, but it seems closer to a Protestant sing along, feel good tent revival than a Catholic Mass. I could sort of ignore the liturgical abuses and homilies that are feel-good, no tie to the readings, liberal theology and sometimes just feel-good stories. The music was just the final straw.

I’m not searching for the latest trend or church hopping because I’m a complainer and ticked off that things don’t suit me. This is not frivolous. It is gut wrenching.

Helen Rose, I got your meaning the first time, but thanks for the clarification.

Start your own little choir group.
Most Director would love to have someone take over one of the Masses needing little direction. They make paltry salaries and could use the help. Be helpful, not disruptive.
Don’t change parishes over something like this.
Perhaps this is why God led you there.
There’s nothing protestant about the Mass, ever. The Mass was first, remember?
Maybe a little charity is in order toward your fellow parishioners and your priest.
At least think about it.

Not in this parish. The director is highly paid. A little charity? Have you read my subsequent posts?

The prior music director was pressured out due to disagreements with the administration over musical style. It was made clear to us that we had no say.

Sure have.
You seem to know better than the pastor. The blog post from Fr. Longernecker was spot on.

Just know, that there’s always going to be something or someone that one doesn’t care for.
But that’s not why we go or don’t go. Christ is always there in the Eucharist.
That’s all you need to concern yourself with.

Why can’t you start your own schola? Be the change you seek.
Never mind, I’m unsubscribing.

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