Why do so many dislike modern music in Mass?

And there are people who find it easier to pray during “pot banging music.” If it’s what they grew up with, that music IS worshipful, reverent, prayerful music to them.

I personally have a very hard time praying or concentrating on God during chant–I find it spooky because I grew up hearing chant only in horror movies, never in church. (I was raised Protestant.)

We can’t claim that one musical style is more conducive to worship than other styles–it’s just a question of how you were raised, what you are accustomed to thinking of as “worshipful” music.

Yes, I realize that Holy Mother Church tells us that Gregorian Chant deserves “pride of place.” So those of us who were raised without chant just have to put on our big girl panties" and get used to it, right? Except–it’s pretty rare in most parishes because chant is not an “easy” musical style to learn–it takes a good teacher (hard to find these days) and some time (also hard to find in many families.

PennyinCanada, a lot of people want “chant” and other traditional musical styles, but they aren’t willing to put their children into piano lessons and wait for them to become proficient enough to train in traditional music styles, or to join a choir themselves, or to volunteer to search and help pay for a layperson who has knowledge and experience with chant to join the staff of the parish and train the choirs and the cantors.

Hopefully you are a person who is willing to jump in and work to replace the pot banging with a more traditional musical style. And I don’t mean this in a “snotty” way–I’m just sayin’–music of any style doesn’t just start happening. It’s a lot of work and a lot of money.

1 Like

Personally I reckon this is closest to the reason (for those who dislike much modern music but don’t have a specific liturgical belief about it).

Hymns stand the test of time when people like them. So old tunes and music seem to have enduring appeal. Not to mention that depending on just what you’re talking about, people can actually remember the lyrics or follow the tune; it’s familiar and easy to join in with, and that makes it comforting.

Whereas some modern tunes… I honestly don’t understand what musical theory the composer was working from, and sometimes wonder if the primary goal was simply to avoid plagiarism. Because the sequence of notes is so random and counter intuitive to (at least my) musical sensibilities. Not to mention the lyrics are sometimes just, well, more boring than lyrics written way back when.

One of the things many people enjoy at Mass is to be together in community: not just community with the humans around them in the moment, but with the angels and saints in heaven, and reminders of the community united across history painted on the walls, and the windows – and in the music. There’s something helpful (to me) about being immersed in reminders of continuity with past generations of Catholics. Depiction of their company in artwork, as well as singing songs they sang, helps psychologically enter that state of feeling in union with one’s community across time. Not just some punctuated random ‘new’ community doing all ‘new’ things in the today, as if we believe our companions of the past did nothing worth keeping company with.

Just my $0.02.

5 Likes

Once or twice I have been privileged to attend Mass in a small chapel where it was celebrated without any music at all, other than the celebrant intoning certain phrases in the liturgy. No choir, no instruments, no congregational singing of any kind. For me, it conveys a sense of true worship that music detracts from. However, I am aware that this view is highly unpopular. An earlier post of mine, saying the same thing on a similar thread, attracted some very angry replies.

9 Likes

There is some good discussion here. One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is the fact that a lot of modern music is very dissonant, and for people who listen mainly to consonant music (where the notes of any given chord are multiples of a common bass / base [both meanings] note), dissonance is hard to listen to. My own personal opinion is that dissonance in music is like red pepper in cooking – a very little goes a very long way. The organist at one of the monasteries here in town uses dissonance like I use chicken broth. I find it quite unpleasant to sit thru.

D

1 Like

I think that’s an interesting perspective. And didn’t there used to be hullabaloo over music in the Mass at all? Or am I misremembering history?

Either way as you say, I don’t see it on the near horizon for most people. I’ve actually never had the experience you’ve had in real life, either.

1 Like

Nah they’ve always had music in the mass (but without instruments other than maybe an organ), but they had low mass with no chanting or music.

They still do low masses with no choir and music.

2 Likes

This is why I find secular pop culture insidiously toxic and destructive. It all seems so innocent, but the extent to which it corrupts our perceptions is immeasurable and the evil one is well aware of it.

I know a non-Catholic that, when she goes to Holy Mass, it makes her think of the satanic ritualism that her perceptions had been molded to associate the ceremony with. Modern entertainment inverts all that is sacred and Holy and leaves us scarred with such perverse and profane associations to the point where they are the first things that come to mind.
The battle is real and most of the time, too subtle for most of us to notice.

5 Likes

Perhaps you haven’t come across the right chants? I mean, some of them are utterly sublime… and difficult to apply to a horror movie😉

Same, but with an Eastern style…

St.Thomas Aquinas would probably argue that it is ok that we dont understand the words. It is enough to understand why they are sung… for the greater glory of God!

7 Likes

Because “folk” rock is terrible anyway, but religious “folk” rock is even worse, and putting it in a Mass, which is supposed to be the summit of Christian worship and an encounter with the divine really sees irreverent and disrespectful.

9 Likes

Interesting thoughts. :popcorn:

Come on now. No one and certainly not the OP is claiming that the majority, most, or everyone dislikes modern music in the Mass. His question said “so many.” Just look at the “so many” posters here who say that they “dislike modern music in the Mass.”

[quote=“Peeps, post:17, topic:630239”]

I would definitely agree with that. Would even go so far as to say that “modern” for some often means “anything I personally dislike” when applied to things today.

Why?

The low mass in my attend has a choir and music, probably since it is the only TLM available.

Because you can get modern music anywhere. There are good hymns in vernacular, but they don’t particularly lift one up to anything higher. There isn’t much of an incentive to study the hymns or go deeper in them. I can tune into at least 4 Christian radio stations on my drive to work. I don’t need to hear more of the same at Mass.

Coupled with the typically saccharine music which accompanies the already lackluster words, the vast majority of hymns selected for Ordinary Form Masses are outdated and uninspiring.

Latin is the language of the Roman Catholic Church. It is not very difficult to learn some Latin prayers and enough Ecclesiastical Latin words to catch on quickly. It forces one to study the prayers by having to learn the language. Folks take plenty of time to learn other things for hobbies or work; investing some time to learn a bit of Latin is very worthwhile and rewarding.

7 Likes

Well put.
I like some modern vernacular hymns myself… at home. For me, they offer entertainment. They can be uplifting. On occasion they even fill me with nostalgia, as I grew up on them. However, they do not unite heaven and earth. Holy Mass is the place to seek just that, and nothing facilitates such union the way traditional music does… IMO.

4 Likes

I would say that many who want modern music in mass really do not fully understand what the holy sacrifice of the mass is. . . . Mass is not about us but 100% for God. The priest is offering the sacrifice of Calvary to God the Father on our behalf. We are keeping the sacrificial covenant.

I do not want to hear any modern music at mass or even in the church when mass is not happening. Only heavenly Gregorian chant should be sung.

3 Likes

^^^ it’s about to get interesting :beer::popcorn:

2 Likes

They accused me, mainly, of being ungrateful. The music directors, the choirs, the organists and other instrumentalists go to a great deal of trouble, they take their work very seriously, and I ought to be more appreciative. If I don’t care for it, I ought at least to keep my views to myself, instead of posting dismissive comments about them in public.

1 Like

Do you live somewhere where the kind of music education offered in your schools equips students to grow up capable of learning/singing Gregorian chant? Are the one of the benefactors of this excellent education; are you musical (sing, play an instrument, conduct)?

Is Gregorian chant sung in most of the Masses in your city/town?

Finally, do YOU sing Gregorian chant in your parish’s Mass, and/or in other parishes in your city/town?

I just wish it was more reverent. Some of the modern songs can be done very well and be very reverent. However, its hard to beat the old timey Latin tunes sung in a “high Gregorian mass style” really makes you feel like your approaching Heaven and more importantly God in the mass…but that’s just my opinion. Drums and guitar kill it for me though…don’t mind piano or even flute or violin…but drums and guitar feels too secular to me, maybe if it was very classical.

3 Likes
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.