Oh no....the guitarist is back! ;-)
  • Ken_WhislerKen_Whisler
    Posts: 36
    Tongue firmly planted in cheek, of course.

    I wanted to give you all an update on what I have been doing in the last year.

    The urban parish I wrote about this time last year did not pan out, hence my absence here. So I went back into my fly on the wall mode at the Redemptorist cathedral that I'm a member of. I normally went to the 7:30AM Sunday mass, which is the one of 5 masses that the staff musical liturgist does not lead. At this particular mass at this parish, the congregants like things laid back. A lone cantor was leading the opening and closing hymn A capella and most of the propers were spoken. One day, the cantor simply stopped showing up, leaving us without any music. When it became apparent that he was not coming back, I spoke with the staff musical liturgist and then the head pastor, explaining to them my background and telling them that even though my background is instrumental and not vocal, I was willing to give it a try. I've been doing it since last October and the feedback is mostly positive. On the opening and closing hymn, I'm obliged to stick with the OCP hymnal and their guitar supplement I personally do not care for. So I usually write out my own harmonic structures. I do a good 8-12 measure intro of the hymns I choose; approaching like a classical guitar arrangement where I learn the melody and then apply a figured bass of sorts to it. I try to stick to that approach when accompanying the singing, but the cathedral is soooo reverberant (a good 4-5 second tail on the natural reverb!) that I am often forced to switch to strumming simply to keep everyone in time. The offertory, I always play an instrumental, usually an appropriate hymn arranged fingerstyle/classical guitar but I often do a classical piece if I can come up with one under 2 minutes in duration. Communion I arrange a eucharistic hymn or chant; sometimes I keep it instrumental, often I'll play a verse, sing a verse and refrain, if I hear any of the congregants singing along, I'll sing another verse and refrain, and just loop it instrumentally and/or vocally as the Spirit leads for as short or as long as I need to. That is the rewarding part of this, for me.

    I've known jazz players that can simultaneously play melody, harmonies, and chords on the fly just by looking at a lead sheet. I was always amazed at their ability to do so, and I'm starting to gain that ability with the hymns that I choose. It was difficult at first, but with each passing Sunday it gets easier and comes more naturally. I really loved pulling this one out this last Lenten season:

    https://soundcloud.com/ken-whisler/o-sacred-head-now-wounded
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,382
    nice recording
    Thanked by 1Ken_Whisler
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,276
    With your excellent abilities, it would be very easy to get a MIDI guitar, plug it into an organ module and play your realizations of the music on organ for the singing. Very affordable organ modules are sure to appear soon.

    I can imagine your rich harmonizations playing this way and sounding wonderful. Thank you for posting. Possibly you were a church lutenist in a past life.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 3,886
    Oh, Noel, don't get francis and Jackson started with your vision. As a two decades' long MIDI guitar enthusiast, your scenario is certainly possible and, doubtless, has been tried in some dark corner. However, the vagaries of MIDI tracking in live application are myriad and quite problematic, no matter how accomplished the finger stylist. I can hear Jackson decrying both the novelty and the simulacra of such a move.
  • Ken_WhislerKen_Whisler
    Posts: 36
    Midi.....not my thing in any application. Even on electric when jamming with buds, I'm a just pick it up and play kind of guy.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,132
    What's a "Redemptorist cathedral"?
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 924
    What's a "Redemptorist cathedral"?


    Redemptorist, I usually think of my friends on Papa Stromsay and Christchurch NZ. Sadly their is another type of Redemptorist.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,648
    I would imagine it's a cathedral staffed by Redemptorist priests. Just guessing, obviously.
  • Ken_WhislerKen_Whisler
    Posts: 36
    Kathy is correct.
  • Reval
    Posts: 148
    My 2 cents...

    Your playing is lovely. It has a lute-like quality to it. However, it doesn't sound like liturgical sacred music to me, especially if you are strumming some of the time. Is it possible for you to just sing without the guitar?
  • Ken_WhislerKen_Whisler
    Posts: 36
    The very word "liturgy" means work of the people. My motives are to enhance the beauty of the liturgy in an understated way that blends in with the understated dynamic of this particular crowd while yet motivating them to participate in the liturgy. Most of what you may hear in my recordings is usually relegated to offertory, and I've heard plenty of talented and "proper" organists push the harmonic envelope quite a bit more than I do. So with all due respect, I don't think the decision is yours as to whether or not what I do "sounds like liturgical sacred music".
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 6,736
    There is some misunderstanding about the ancient meaning of "liturgy".

    The Catechism defines it as a work done on behalf of the people:

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2.htm


  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 427
    I understand that the ancient greeks would have described the Getty Museum as a liturgy. And some church fathers applied this word to the worship of God, specificly as the work of members of the congregation. You might not be able to fund a public library or museum, but you could turn out every Sunday to support the community.
    [added] This is a distinguishing mark of Christian worship, it is not done in some inner sanctum exclusively by priests, but in public with the priest leading the whole congregation. Orate fratres ...
  • Reval
    Posts: 148
    My motives are to enhance the beauty of the liturgy in an understated way that blends in with the understated dynamic of this particular crowd while yet motivating them to participate in the liturgy.

    Communion I arrange a eucharistic hymn or chant; sometimes I keep it instrumental, often I'll play a verse, sing a verse and refrain, if I hear any of the congregants singing along

    Do you feel that what you are doing is successfully motivating them? Just wondering if you have ever tried solo singing, if they sing along better with that?
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 3,886
    I attended the NOLA chant symposium at which the closing Mass was attended by Benediction accompanied solely by a formal organ composition (French, can't recall composer.) Who's to say whether my "attention" was successfully motivated? Conceivably, a solo guitar work COULD HAVE equitably sufficed, n'est pas?
    Thanked by 1Ken_Whisler
  • Reval
    Posts: 148
    Well, yes, but the guitarist in this post is there week in and week out. Presumably he can tell if his motivation is working? I just wonder whether the people would sing more with just cantor leading, without the strummy guitar (as he himself says he plays, due to the very reverberant sound in the cathedral).
  • Ken_WhislerKen_Whisler
    Posts: 36
    Reval, I saw a need, I offered to fill that need with the talent -I- have. In the course of my volunteer work, I've set aside a lot of my own personal preferences and have learned and even owned some of the post vat2 stuff I used to consider "drivel". If I wanted to be a liturgical snob, I'd have stayed with the Orthodox. I do draw the line at "Sing Unto the Lord a New Song"....I'm not doing it, no how, no way, not ever, and I LOVED Brubeck! ;-)
  • Ken_WhislerKen_Whisler
    Posts: 36
    What does the word liturgy mean?

    1069 The word "liturgy" originally meant a "public work" or a "service in the name of/on behalf of the people." In Christian tradition it means the participation of the People of God in "the work of God."5 Through the liturgy Christ, our redeemer and high priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through his Church.
    Thanked by 1JonathanKK
  • musiclover88
    Posts: 154
    Thanks for sharing your recording, Ken. I really enjoyed the variations in the verses, how it builds and then ends in a very simple way. Nice work. Your church is blessed to have you.
    Thanked by 1Ken_Whisler
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,276
    A cantor singing alone is really not ideal to lead singing of hymns in a church, especially a large church.

    Chant yes, but not hymns, since they are based upon predictable harmonic patterns that are not always implied by the melody alone - and especially when the melody is surperior to teh word rhythms.

    That's why organs exist. And the harpsichord and the lute and other accompanying instruments.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 4,908
    Um, just what is a 'liturgical snob'?
    Could it be someone who innocently likes what I prefer to dismiss as uppity and elitist????
    __________________________________

    And, following on Noel's train of thought - a cantor, properly understood, is one who chants chants, chants incipits for others to chime in on, leads others in chant. He is not a singer of latter day hymnody or other vocal music, nor is he a 'song leader' in any way, shape, or form. In the Lutheran tradition a cantor (Kantor) is the rough equivalent of an Anglican choirmaster and organist.
    ___________________________________

    I very much like your guitar playing. It is lovely.
  • Ken_WhislerKen_Whisler
    Posts: 36
    I understand what you're saying, M. The liturgical snob reference is just me being facetious. It stems back to when I was making the transition from East to West; I was still steeped in the a cappella Liturgy of St. John of Chrysostom, and that one Sunday afternoon mass, I heard the Take Five piano hook and I literally looked up and asked God if He was kidding me? ;-)

    It's just in this particular situation, it has taken this long just to get help singing the opening, the Alleluia, and the closing. Progress is happening, but it's slow.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 8,195
    It stems back to when I was making the transition from East to West; I was still steeped in the a cappella Liturgy of St. John of Chrysostom, ...


    Left the true faith for the Latins? Is both heresy and outrage!
  • Ken_WhislerKen_Whisler
    Posts: 36
    Which "true faith", Charles? The Russians cannot even agree amongst themselves, let alone with the rest of the EO community. Not to mention the ecclesiastical train wreck in the overall structure of (lack of) authority.....I could go on for hours.....
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 771
    CharlesW is a Byzantine Catholic who works for a Latin Rite (Novus Ordo) parish in the American South. I believe he was talking about Eastern Catholic vs. Western Catholic with his purple "true faith" comment. :-)
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 8,195
    LOL. Exactly. Given current conditions, that lack of authority might not be such a bad thing. ;-)
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 756
    Um, just what is a 'liturgical snob'?


    I know for a fact that I, myself, am NOT one. I revel in my enjoyment of schmaltz and trite sentimentalism.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 4,908
    I revel in... schmaltz...

    Could one be said to be a 'schmaltz snob'?

    It has always seemed to me that those who call others snobs about this and that are rather snobby themselves - about their own preferences.

    Secondly: is being a snob a sin? Is it by any logic a necessarily negative category?
    Does the snob label really have any realistic relationship to the objective worth of the particular snob item or person?
    It would be extremely difficult successfully to argue that it is or that it does.

    (So, is Stimson a schmaltz snob?)
  • Liam
    Posts: 2,947
    Snobbery is of course sinful when it is a derivative of sinful pride or other vice.

    That is to be distinguished from attachment to virtue and good.

    The problem is, given fallen human nature, it can be rather easy to slide from the latter into the former while rationalizing it as the latter. (One red flag of this is the presence of egoism and/or its frequent fellow traveller, grandiosity.)

    To paraphrase CS Lewis: the evil one sends errors in pairs so that we can flee from one to embrace the other.
  • Ken_WhislerKen_Whisler
    Posts: 36
    Could one be said to be a 'schmaltz snob'?


    And here after 9 months months, I find myself leading and even embracing many of the hymns I used to regard as "post vat2 drivel". But not all of them, though....LOL! Surprisingly (or not) the older congregants gravitate towards classic Wesleyan hymns. No problem here, since I was raised protestant.

  • TCJ
    Posts: 553
    Classic Wesleyan hymns are quite often more Catholic than the "Catholic" stuff that comes from publishers these days.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 4,908
    ...quite often more Catholic than...

    One unfortunate but oft presumed assumption is that anything that issues from the Protestant camp ipso facto equals heretical, and that anything that issues from the Catholic camp ipso facto equals orthodox. If we with an informed mind abosrbed the literary content of given hymns and other musics we would become wise to the fact that this is not so.

    Not only does much from the Protestant camp express Catholic truth, it very likely does so (these days) with far greater literary grace and merit.
    ____________________________________

    On the other hand, when it comes to mawkish and tawdry drivel, neither camp is Scot free - as Charles illustrates just below here.....
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 3,886
    "And He walks with me, and He talks with me....

    It only takes a spark to get a fire going....

    Our God is an awesome God!....."


  • Liam
    Posts: 2,947
    Awesome, perhaps, but cannot compare to the Sacred Cod:

    https://parkmangenealogy.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/cod1.jpg

    Our Cod is a Sacred Cod, he swims
    in oceanic waters with cunning, power and greed
    Our Cod is a Sacred Cod

    There's also a less ancient brass fish in the chandelier in the Senate Chamber, which was the original House Chamber (and therefore where the Sacred Cod was originally placed when the New State House opened in 1798 after being removed from the Old State House dating from 1713), known humorously as the Holy Mackerel:

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/7e/93/76/7e9376aea44c4721020640f8831d3b70.jpg

  • CharlesW
    Posts: 8,195

    Our God is an awesome God!....."


    I prefer the dyslexic version, "our dog is an awesome dog." Some of the teenagers here have adopted the saying, "praise dog" when something goes well.

    Then there's the yooohooo song - you who dwell in the....

    Am I correct that Wesley had a devotion to Mary, the Mother of God? I have heard that.
  • Ken_WhislerKen_Whisler
    Posts: 36
    I thought the song went, "Andy walks with me...."
  • Ken_WhislerKen_Whisler
    Posts: 36
    I know that the anti Catholic site I occasionally troll in considers Wesley and his branches "Catholic Lite"
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 756
    (So, is Stimson a schmaltz snob?)


    No, I know I have a problem. And I go to meetings about it. (Like Colloquium - when I can afford it.) But sometimes - that Ravanello sounds so goooooood to me . . .
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 4,908
    Have you, um, considered joining SA (Schmaltzists Anonymous)???
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 756
    I already did. We have a chapter in our local SSPX choir.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn