[quote="pnewton, post:20, topic:304520"]
I would say the answer is yes and no. If I am being taught chant in the traditional manner, then I find it simple to learn. Unfortunately, this simply is not an option for me. We have no one to teach, and I am the one who currently has to teach new music. It takes greater mastery of a piece to teach it than it does to just sing it. Add to this the dearth of those willing to sing or practice in my parish, chant becomes untenable as a regular staple, as do many other musical options. New music has to been incorporated slowy, for example. This same problem makes chant well suited for the Psalm. Chanting the Psalm does not take any coordination to practice.
On a practical note, that chant is written in an unfamiliar clef, with a whole new set of notations, it is quite a learning curve for those who have been reading music for a long time to switch over. Our hymnal has some chant written in standard notation, and this is much easier to read.
In no case is chant "too hard." That's a silly as a grade school dare. I would hope dealing with adults we could get beyond such things and go to the true issues. Chanting takes time to learn, especially at first. Most of us have lives and jobs outside of singing at Mass. The cost of time learning chant must be factored to our real lives. Against this, we have to factor the time that is spent preparing for Mass and practicing current selections.
I have chosen to take a middle path. I have gone to one seminar and am attempting to learn as time permits chant notation. In Mass, we have learned some, Jubilate Dei in English and Latin, and a few other specialized pieces. A little more, and I think I will be at the balance that works well for us. I will not go strictly to chant for the same reasons Cat outlined. People love the old hymns too much. Others receive spiritual benefit from some of the newer selection, the stuff that always gets blasted here.
This is an excellent, very balanced response. Especially the point that people have other things to do than learn a new form of music. Most people these days don't read music and many grew up without any kind of music education other than just listening to music. If you didn't play an instrument in school, you probably have no real music education (in choral programs - especially at the beginning levels, you can get away without much real knowledge in reading music). And in many elementary schools now there is no general music education.
We are very fortunate in my parish that one of our priests is an extremely good, well-trained musician and that all our priests can sing and read music. In preparation for the new translations last year, our parish hired a new full-time music director and 3 professional singers to act as cantors. Since they were all familiar with chant, they could train the rest of the choir members, and with that support the parish now sings all the propers in chant.
However, we only sing one setting. I would never say that any regular parishioner (or even all the choir members) have learned to read and sing chant - we have simply learned the "tunes" for the setting we use. The same as the child in the video.
If someone from this parish were to attend Mass somewhere else where they used a different setting, they would perhaps be able to follow along if the music was written in standard notation otherwise probably not. If they attended Mass at the other parish regularly, they would eventually learn the other setting just as they have learned the one we use - through simple memorization.
My family (other than me) all has had a strong music education. We love the sound of chant and are very happy to have it as part of our Masses. I know that there are others who like it, some who tolerate it, and others for whom it is nails on a chalkboard. I don't know anyone who would consider not going to Mass because of the music, but I do know folks who attend Mass at other parishes semi-regularly because they don't use as much chant. Who knows, there may be people from those parishes coming to my church becasue we do use chant. :D