Skip to comments.Dramatic Changes in Music Rubrics for New Missal
Posted on 07/11/2011 2:47:29 AM PDT by markomalley
Some of the most advanced thinkers in the world of music and liturgy have long identified the critical problem in Catholic music today. They have pointed out that the Mass itself provides for the texts and the music for the Mass, but in the General Instruction on on the Roman Missal, there appears a loophole. Musicians can sing what is appointed, or (option 4) they can sing something else, and that something else is limited only by what the musicians themselves deem as appropriate. What this has meant, in effect, is: anything goes. This is why it often seems that when it comes to music at Mass that, well, anything goes.
Im happy to report that the legislative ground has just shifted, and dramatically so. The new translation of the General Instruction removes the discretion from the music team to sing pretty much whatever it wants. The new text, which pertains to the new translation of the Missal that comes into effect on Advent this year, makes it clear beyond any doubt: the music of the Mass is the chanted propers of the Mass. There are options but these options all exist within the universe of the primary normative chant. There can be no more making up some random text, setting it to music, and singing it as the entrance, offertory, or communion.
I have no doubt that the practice of singing non-liturgical texts will continue but it will now continue only under a cloud. If Im reading this correctly, any text other than an appointed text for the Mass will now fall outside the boundaries provided for by the authoritative document that regulates the manner in which Mass is to proceed.
We can be sure that gigabytes of digits will be produced with the intention of explaining to me and everyone why what we can clearly read below does not really mean what it seems to be saying, that there has been some mistake in phrasing, that taking this literally is only the penchant of traditionalists, and that the prevailing practice surely has equal normative status. Nonetheless, the text is there, clear as a bell, and will be printed in all editions of the Missal that is now in preparation.
Catholic musicians of the world, the GIRM would like you to meet a new friend: the propers of the Mass.
Let us compare old and new:
47. After the people have gathered, the Entrance chant begins as the priest enters with the deacon and ministers. The purpose of this chant is to open the celebration, foster the unity of those who have been gathered, introduce their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical season or festivity, and accompany the procession of the priest and ministers.
48. The singing at this time is done either alternately by the choir and the people or in a similar way by the cantor and the people, or entirely by the people, or by the choir alone. In the dioceses of the United States of America there are four options for the Entrance Chant: (1) the antiphon from the Roman Missal or the Psalm from the Roman Gradual as set to music there or in another musical setting; (2) the seasonal antiphon and Psalm of the Simple Gradual; (3) a song from another collection of psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) a suitable liturgical song similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.
48. This chant is sung alternately by the choir and the people or similarly by a cantor and the people, or entirely by the people, or by the choir alone. In the Dioceses of the United States of America, there are four options for the Entrance Chant: (1) the antiphon from the Missal or the antiphon with its Psalm from the Gradual Romanum, as set to music there or in another setting; (2) the antiphon and Psalm of the Graduate Simplex for the liturgical time; (3) a chant from another collection of Psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including Psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) another liturgical chant that is suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year, similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.
61(d). [T]he following may also be sung in place of the Psalm assigned in the Lectionary for Mass: either the proper or seasonal antiphon and Psalm from the Lectionary, as found either in the Roman Gradual or Simple Gradual or in another musical setting; or an antiphon and Psalm from another collection of the psalms and antiphons, including psalms arranged in metrical form, providing that they have been approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop. Songs or hymns may not be used in place of the responsorial Psalm.
61(d). [I]nstead of the Psalm assigned in the lectionary, there may be sung either the Responsorial Gradual from the Graduale Romanum, or the Responsorial Psalm or the Alleluia Psalm from the Graduale Simplex, as described in these books, or an antiphon and Psalm from another collection of Psalms and antiphons, including Psalms arranged in metrical fonn, providing that they have been approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop. Songs or hymns may not be used in place of the Responsorial Psalm.
74. The procession bringing the gifts is accompanied by the Offertory chant (cf. above, no. 37b), which continues at least until the gifts have been placed on the altar. The norms on the manner of singing are the same as for the Entrance chant (cf. above, no. 48). Singing may always accompany the rite at the offertory, even when there is no procession with the gifts.
87. In the dioceses of the United States of America there are four options for the Communion chant: (1) the antiphon from the Roman Missal or the Psalm from the Roman Gradual as set to music there or in another musical setting; (2) the seasonal antiphon and Psalm of the Simple Gradual; (3) a song from another collection of psalms and antiphons, approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) a suitable liturgical song chosen in accordance with no. 86 above. This is sung either by the choir alone or by the choir or cantor with the people.
87. In the Dioceses of the United States of America, there are four options for singing at Communion: (1) the antiphon from the Missal or the antiphon with its Psalm from the Graduale Romanum, as set to music there or in another musical setting; (2) the antiphon with Psalm from the Graduale Simplex of the liturgical time; (3) a chant from another collection of Psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including Psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) some other suitable liturgical chant (cf. no. 86) approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.
Now, I know what you are already thinking. You see a way around all this. Any pastor or musician can just decide to call the groovy tune that is chosen a chant. Heres my chant, says Lady Gaga. Its true that you could ignore the whole of English usage and call anything a chant, and I can also call my hat a banana and no one can stop me.
In like manner, you can ignore all the clear import of the mandates here pounce on the slight bit of liberality and say, hey, whos gonna stop this? All of that is true. And so it is when dealing with children when you step out of the house for a bit: you can give the clearest instructions possible, a comprehensive list of dos and do nots, and yet somehow they will find a way to get around the rules. All of this is true.
In other words, it will still not be possible to bring an end to the pop music with random texts at Mass by waving this at your pastors face. It seems to me very clear that vast swaths of existing music used in the English speaking world are soon to be regarded as illicit. I dont think there is any other honest way to read the new GIRM. There is very little if any room for anything now but the propers of the Mass.
Im not naive and neither are you: the other songs will continue. Even so, they are not long for this world. The Church now speaks and sings with a clear voice; we can choose to sing along or sing some other song of our choosing.
Here is a fair-use excerpt scan sent my way.
“which is entrance chant.”
Correct that, the Taize chant invoking the Holy Spirit was done just before the Gospel was read.
Many people in my parish sing all of the Gloria. (In the Spanish service, we have the complete words for the arrangement we're using on the song-sheet handout.)
At English Masses, you can often tell who the visitors are because they turn around to stare at those singing all the Mass parts, or harmonies to the hymns. Phooey, I say.
A longer piece sung before the Gospel is called the Sequence, and there are beautiful ones for the major holidays.
The Sequence, for Pentecost, and the name of the Taize chant is called: “Veni Sancte Spiritus”.
Yes, it was done in my parish in San Antonio.
We sing this...
GLORIA in excelsis Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.
LAUDAMUS te, benedicimus te, adoramus te, glorificamus te, gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam, Domine Deus, Rex caelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.
DOMINE Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe, Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis; qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram. Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis. O Dominus, tu solus Altissimus, Jesu Christe, cum Sancto Spiritu in gloria Dei Patris. Amen
Get a couple of people around you to sing it.
Drown the cantor out. The words sound like they are written and if you need to learn it, they have it on YouTube or I can have my girls record it for you.
This is the time to take back our Liturgy.
You should see the looks on the visitors faces when we do the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Creed and the Sanctus in the respective liturgical languages and no one picks up a guide.
Or when we all break into the Prayer to St. Michael after the final blessing.
I personally would feel uncomfortable singing chants from non-Catholic sources (you do know that the founder of Taizé, Br. Roger, was a Protestant, right?)
So, no Bach, right?
I attended a Roman mass yesterday. The music could qualify as substandard Broadway musical, including the pieces intended as chant. Not one speck of liturgical dignity.
The congregation sang loud. Seems they like it.
I would feel more comfortable with Mozart.
His Requiem is truly great, but Bach wrote the St. Matthew Passion. Trying to decide which is better seems futile to me.
A word on chant - not all chant is made the same. There's the classic chant that we know as Gregorian and some specific chants that really are somewhat hymn-like. There's Anglican, Ambrosian and some from other rites that all have minor differences. Some are easier to sing than others. Learning to sing chant is not as easy as it sounds for people who sing as a hobby. There is a specific technique to it.
That being said, I am glad to see this and am somewhat surprised that the writer of the article missed a line in the Communion discussion 1) the antiphon from the Missal or the antiphon with its Psalm from the Graduale Romanum, as set to music there or in another musical setting; that could quite possibly invite abuse. We'll see.
No bells? Okay, I have a problem with that since the best Pachelbel Canon I’ve ever heard was on the bells. It was a postlude.
My understanding is that this is supposed to go away and the Gloria is to be sung straight through. We do it that way, but not everyone does.
Preludes, postludes and a certain chorale for Palm Sunday and Good Friday are fine.
And neither is suitable for Mass.
After the offertory, the communio and at recessional.
And Matt Maher:
" ... the wor - or- orld ... "
4.) A combination of #1 and #2