Traditionalists: would you consider guitar synthesizers as a solution?

I’d like to propose a possible solution for all liturgical guitarists who may be bummed-out about not being able to strum along to the music of the Latin Mass - GUITAR SYNTHESIZERS! Just go into your nearest Guitar Center store and ask to play (or watch someone play) an electric guitar with a special pick-up that is hooked up to a guitar synthesizer. There are pre-sets on there that make the electric guitar sound just like a church organ. If you don’t believe me, watch and listen to this guy play from this video from youtube: youtube.com/watch?v=dJMGfrIiV-k
If you’re good enough, you can do it solo, but better yet, get one or two other of your guitarist friends and learn some Bach polyphonic pieces.

And it would probably be best if the guitarists stayed in the back of the church, as the sight of the electric guitars would contrast too much with that atmosphere of the TLM. But the people listening to the sound won’t know the difference.

So what do you guys think?

I’m thinking words that match this guy’s expression: :eek:

I’m not a “traditionalist,” by a long shot (I might be a conservative, but even this is in doubt), but I’m absolutely certain that a guitar synthesizer is not a musical instrument appropriate for the Mass.

The first criterion for an instrument at Mass is that it be viewed by the culture of the surrounding people as a “serious” musical instrument.

Suitability Test: You could play this instrument at a classical music festival a block away from where the Mass takes place, and win first prize for Most Traditional Piece of Serious Music, Played in the Most Traditional and Serious Possible Way.

I think that’s actually the only criterion for musical instruments at Mass - I’m no expert, though. :shrug:

My reaction to this idea is “No - don’t do this.” Get an actual organ, with an actual trained organist.

Wow! That does sound just like a real church organ. How much does a guitar synth cost, though? Do you have to have a special electric guitar, or will just any one do?

What do you mean by “serious”?

Actually, I have seen electric guitars at classical music concerts on occasion! They’re usually hidden in the back, though. I don’t know if they’re put through a synthesizer or not.

All other things being equal, I tend to agree with you! But what if there’s none available? And instead you have someone who knows how to play the guitar really well?

No, the guitar has to be modified with special hexaphonic pick-ups which provides six distinct outputs, one for each string.

Yes, they are more expensive than a standard electric guitar and set-up, but like everything technological, the quality of them is both improving and becoming cheaper to manufacture.

I think you play with your organ too much.

The most correct and always encouraged form of music within the Mass is Gregorian chant. The Church is clear that it always deserves “primacy of place.” The second choice is polyphonic classical choral music. Both of these require no instruments at all, so a lack of an organ/organist is NOT a reason to use inappropriate instruments within the Mass. They don’t even use amplification.

The entire introduction of the guitars and now the oh-so-painfully-common rock-style bands within the Mass are very inappropriate and not encouraged in any encyclical I can recall. It is easy to follow the increased attempts to bring the secular world into the Mass and the decrease in the overall reverence for the Eucharist.

Lots of things are appropriate outside of the liturgy. Catholics are free to perform, record, and enjoy all the Catholic folk and rock music they like OUTSIDE of the Mass. This stuff had no business being brought into the Church, and it needs to be removed immediately. When was the last time anybody saw Mass broadcasted from the Vatican with rock bands inside St. Peter’s Basilica? :confused:

Yes, but if cost is the determining factor, you can get an excellent professional electronic keyboard that can mimic virtually any sound almost perfectly for less than $2000 (and for even less if you get one that’s just a couple years old). I seem to recall an amazing story about the Sci-Fi TV show “Babylon 5” a few years back told how they did all of the special effects and background music using just a really advanced Mac and a professional grade synthesizer. Just $12,000 of equipment used to make a tv series that lasted for 5 years! This type of keyboard could produce a full orchestra or cathedral pipe organ virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. And honestly, most church organs today are not genuine pipe organs, but electronic console organs. They’re simply electronic keyboards, with the identical electronics, put into an upright wood casing with two keyboards instead of one.

Of course, you’d have to resist the temptation to use the electronic keyboard to mimic the electric guitar… :stuck_out_tongue:

For that matter, why not an organ keyboard that sounds like a guitar?

LOL beat me to the edit… :stuck_out_tongue:

I suppose if you hid the guitarist up in the loft then had someone sit by the organ in case anyone was looking it may not be a distraction? Yet in full view (of a guitarist) it may be a real distraction.

Plus for a sophisticated ear would hear it wasn’t an pipe organ performing.

Guitar midi guitar setups are still better to try and dazzle an audience than truly emulate the instrument they are attempting to.

The only instrument encouraged for use within the Church is the organ.

The Traditional Latin Mass is not and never has been like a Baptist/Pentecostal/Evangelical etc, praise and worship service. Or for that matter the vast majority of Novus Ordo Masses celebrated today.

Its an entirely different mode of worship emphasizing reverence and solemnity and is not open to innovation or much variation, so a guitar synthesizer wouldn’t fit into the environment. Which is by and large an alien concept to contemporary American Christian and Catholic culture…

They need to just get over it!. “NO GUITARS”. It is not a liturgical instrument!. Debate over!!. We do not change tradition!. Go to an Orthodox Church and ask them if you can use a guitar at the Divine Liturgy, and they will laugh at you!. Play your guitars outside of the Church all you want, but not inside!!.

Over 20 years as a cathedral chorister. Have sung with the post Vatican II electronic organ installed in 1965 which blew up (literally in 1988) during a choir member’s marriage. Have sung with a two octave wooden portativ organ - great with medieval music. Have sung with a harpsichord - Awesome! But the sound could not cover the cathedral. Have sung with a baby grand. No arpeggios, played straight. Very nice.

We have also sung with the principal trumpet of the BRSO using a clarinet style electronic instrument. Trumpets should not sound like violins.

My cathedral parish reinstalled both a Reuter’s organ and a choir loft - both of which had been removed as one of the first renovations after Vatican II.

There are far too many chant and polyphonic acapella Mass settings that the use of a synthesizer is a moot point and not necessary to the restoration of the TLM.

No way. Even electronic organs shouldn’t be used. Nothing wrong with them per se, but tracker or electromagnetic pipe organs should be the norm and follow Vatican II guidelines besides.

Why is it that the Protestants have us beat when it comes to reverent liturgical pipe organ music?

And get rid of those pianos too! Belong in a bar or concert hall. :slight_smile:

Agree!!. A classical religious music renewal is also in order. Chant etc…

Guitars have no place in mass. Early Christians refused to use folk instruments because

1.) The pagans used them.
2.) Practical reasons if your having a mass while hiding from Roman authorities your not going to be blaring loud music for everyone to hear.

The Church only allowed the organ later on because they saw that the structure of the organ worked simliarly to how a man’s throat and mouth worked whilst singing. Since man is in the image of God organs were deemed appropriate.

Grand pianos do not have to be played in a Catholic church to sound as though they belong in a Baptist church or in a bar or concert hall. And, I’m not slamming the Baptists or insinuating that they sound like a bar…Catholics just don’t do arpeggios. :smiley: .

We sang for a year with a baby grand before the organ was completed. I liked it. We rehearsed with a grand in our rehearsal room and sang with a grand. It’s all in the way the grand is played.

And then, we could look and listen to Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610. What sounds like a trumpet isn’t a brass instrument at all… fingered…cornet…yet sounds like a trumpet Walter/Wendy Carolos did a synthizer version but the original cannot be reproduced synthetically.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.