How much should the congregation sing?
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 162
    Arising from the discussion about Anglican chants, and whether the congregation should join in, just how much should the congregation be expected to sing in the NO?
    In our parish Introits and Communion antiphons from Simple English Propers used to be sung by the choir alone. Now the directive is to sing these to a simple psalm tone so that the congregation can join in.
    Which they do. But should they?
    Should not these parts of the Proper be the preserve of the choir? (I might add we also sing an entrance hymn, before the introit which is then sung as the clergy enter the sanctuary, and a Communion hymn is sung after the Communion antiphon.) Does the congregation have to sing absolutely everything?? Are there directives on this?
    Advice would be appreciated, thankyou.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 554
    Expecting the congregation to sing everything will be severely limiting. Everything will have to be simplicity itself. You might have to reduce your hymn selections to Holy God, We Praise Thy Name and Alleluia! Sing to Jesus.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,017
    As of Vatican II -
    The congregation, in EF or OF, should sing any hymns that are sung, plus the ordinary and their parts of all dialogue, plus the psalm and alleluya responsories, plus the amens and 'thanks be...' after each of the readings. The propers and any anthems are solely for schola, choir, or cantor.

    (It is permissible for the choir to sing a polyphonic or choral ordinary on occasion, so, when this happens, the congregation would obviously not sing it, but should sing all the other parts mentioned above that pertain to them - which excludes the propers.)

    The situation you describe is eccentric.

  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 470
    It depends, surely, on what musical resources are available at each Mass (and the time taken to move around the church). The GIRM gives a wide range of options for each element, and a different balance depending on the nature of the element. It seems to favour widespread use of alternating choir/cantor and congregation. The Credo is the only element in which congregational participation is required, (it is assumed that all the dialogues with the celebrant are sung by the congregation).
    We should probably take our cue from the Graduals, Roman and Simple, if you have the trained choir follow GR, if you can only get a cantor then GS - cantor and people alternatim as detailed in the instructions. In English we should use these as a guide. If you can, do both congregational hymn and choir introit, as you were doing ... etc.
    THIS> "The situation you describe is eccentric."
    PS. The instruction Musicam Sacram still represents the mind of the church, as it is part of the VII reform, but does need to be adapted to the subsequent liturgical revisions.
    Thanked by 1Viola
  • Liam
    Posts: 2,998
    "The Credo is the only element in which congregational participation is required,"

    Also the Sanctus - it's normative in the OF.
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,440
    hahaha
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 162
    Thankyou for the advice. This forum is immensely helpful.
    We are speaking about a cathedral, and just the main solemn Sunday Mass. There is a praise band who do their own thing at the evening Mass and limited music provided by cantors at the other two Masses.
    We have a choir of about 15 or so, trying to build it up, and also to get some of the sense of gravitas expected (surely?) of a cathedral.
    I like the suggestion of a choral introit/Communion, so will try introducing that on an occasional basis at first. Any recommendations for suitable material?
    Meanwhile we will study Musicam Sacram so as to have some ammunition for the next liturgy meeting.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,805
    Does the congregation have to sing absolutely everything?? Are there directives on this?


    No, they don’t have to sing absolutely everything, and as much as some priests want you to think that the Church requires it, she does not. No, there aren’t really any directives on it, which is why you will find drastically different situations depending on who the priest is. There are, as others have already mentioned, documents pertaining to music in the Mass, but they are largely ignored in practice.

    In our parish Introits and Communion antiphons from Simple English Propers used to be sung by the choir alone. Now the directive is to sing these to a simple psalm tone so that the congregation can join in.


    It always vexed me when priests wanted to usurp the role of the choir and give it to the congregation. Then, naturally, they complain about dwindling numbers in the choir. This is another example of clergy dumbing the music down so that “the people” (who are “the people” anyway?) can “participate.” I don’t know why vocal participation from the congregation in absolutely everything, especially the music, is so important to the clergy. My main theory on it is that if the congregation is participating vocally, with an observable behavior, then the bishop will be impressed and the priest will get to keep his job. There was an article written by an army veteran that was about the fallacy of “looking good to higher up.” I tried to find it again, but I saw it on FB once, and it was a good read, but now I can’t seem to locate it again. If I find it in the future, I will put a link in this post. That’s exactly what I think this is: impressing higher up. Anecdote: when I was a DM, the priest would always crack down on everything and start micromanaging even more than he normally did when he knew the bishop was going to be in town.

    Expecting the congregation to sing everything will be severely limiting. Everything will have to be simplicity itself. You might have to reduce your hymn selections to Holy God, We Praise Thy Name and Alleluia! Sing to Jesus.


    Correct. When the congregation is expected to sing everything all the time, it severely limits the music, especially the repertoire. Then, naturally, the priest complains that there’s not enough variety in the hymn selections from week to week. However, when more variety is introduced, the priest naturally complains that the congregation isn’t singing well enough. Then, the priest won’t give time for teaching new hymns. So, you are essentially limited to songs the congregation already knows, which as you mentioned, might very well be only “Holy God We Praise Thy Name,” and “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus,” with some Haas and Haugen thrown in.

    The TLM never required much of its congregation, and certainly did not require them to vocally participate in the Mass. It is now common practice to do so, to the point where children in Catholic schools are learning that they are required to participate vocally, the louder the better, and are punished if they don’t. Anecdote: I knew a priest that would routinely hold the middle school students after Mass to lecture them about the importance of participation and how they are a model for the younger students, making especially sure to mention that he could not hear them singing. This attitude shows the influence of the modernist Joseph Jungmann, vis:

    Besides these short acclamations, the people's share in the Mass since
    earliest times also included a certain ever-increasing number of hymnic
    texts. The most venerable of them is the Sanctus along with the Benedictus,
    which also remained the people's song the longest. Of a similarly
    venerable age was the refrain in the responsorial chants, namely, in the
    Roman liturgy, the chants between the readings .. ; but these, with their
    ever-varying texts, were at an early period turned over to the schola in
    their entirety. Similar in character to the refrain was the Kyrie eleison in
    the introductory litany which came substantially later. After that the
    Agnus Dei was added. The two larger chants, the Gloria and the Credo
    (which appeared quite early in the northern countries), were perhaps
    intended principally for the clergy assembled around the altar. The individual
    fortunes of all these songs will occupy our attention in connection
    with the detailed explanation to come. Taken together-aside from the
    refrains of the interposed chants-they form the chants of the so-called
    Ordinary of the Mass which, along with the ancient acclamation, were
    taken over from the people by the choir of clerics and finally by the church
    choirs.""
    -Jungmann, Missarium Solemnia, Chapter VI, p. 238

    The footnote given here leads to a document called Canones Basilii, which I attempted to research briefly but could not find. Jungmann cites the Riedel text Die Kirchenrechtsquellen des Patriarchats Alexandrien, which appears to be a secondary source for the Canones Basilii. In the footnote, Jungmann, I assume is quoting from the Canones Basilii when he states, “…the express charge: the congregation should answer lustily after all the psalms.”

    The text he cites for this is Wilhelm Riedel’s Die Kirchenrechtsquellen des Patriarchats Alexandrien, which includes the following phrase immediately after the one above: “When a man is sick in his love, so that he answers after them, there is no fault on him; but if he is healthy and silent, stand him alone: he is not worthy of the blessing.”

    It is worth noting that Missarium Solemnia relies heavily on secondary sources, and narrow citations. It is a difficult read, because one is almost required to explore the footnotes and delve into the sources he cites to be able to understand what he’s talking about half the time. Just make sure you can read German. Jungmann also cites himself from another of his works.

    I like the suggestion of a choral introit/Communion, so will try introducing that on an occasional basis at first. Any recommendations for suitable material?


    Try Aristotle Esguerra’s “Choral Graduale Simplex.” Here is the link to another thread on this forum, where he provides the information: http://forum.musicasacra.com/forum/discussion/8894/the-choral-graduale-simplex-english-harmonized-satb-plainsong/p1
    Thanked by 1Viola
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 470
    Cathedrals, according to Vatican II, have a special role to play:
    SC art. 114. The treasure of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with great care. Choirs must be diligently promoted, especially in cathedral churches; but bishops and other pastors of souls must be at pains to ensure that, whenever the sacred action is to be celebrated with song, the whole body of the faithful may be able to contribute that active participation which is rightly theirs, as laid down in Art. 28 and 30.
    This treasure is elsewhere said to be both Gregorian chant and polyphony, which are neccessarily assigned to a well rehearsed choir.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,351
    Choir members are people too.
  • Liam
    Posts: 2,998
    That depends.....
    Thanked by 1melofluent
  • If the antiphon is being repeated several times, surely at least some of the people will join in to some degree?
    I wouldn't consider it necessary for them to do so, but certainly an option for the ones that pick it up.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,202
    the people's share in the Mass since earliest times also included a certain ever-increasing number of hymnic texts.


    Nothing like absolute certainty about things one never saw nor heard, eh?

    I believe in what's in the Credo. Jungmann is not in the Credo.
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,017
    the people's share....

    It is a matter of historical record that the earliest singing in the Church was hymnic, not, as is yet commonly supposed, psalmodic. The New Testament is bulging with hymnic texts, 'Worthy is the Lamb...', from the Revelation, being perhaps the most well known of many. These texts are commonly very Christological and, often, eschatological. Such texts, either biblical or freshly composed, even improvised spontaneously, were the norm for several hundred years. Not until into the third and fourth centuries did the bishops, due to the proliferation of texts of dubious theological merit, banish such hymnody from the mass and permitted only scriptural texts. It was at this point the the psalter became 'the Church's hymnbook' and the repertory of propers began slowly to develop.

    Too bad, isn't it, that our bishops of today lack the theological perspicacity and zeal for orthodoxy of their third century ancestors when it comes to music for the mass!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 946
    the people's share in the Mass since earliest times also included a certain ever-increasing number of hymnic texts.


    He is quite clear that the texts he is speaking of are not what we call Hymns (songs) but the Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Gloria and Credo etc. Interestingly many other scholars of the Liturgy have also pointed out the same thing, the number of parts the 'people' sang increased, The Missale extant back this up, the Gloria and Credo did become more common at first they were only sung at the greatest Feasts... until the recent and most unfortunate changes the Gloria was sung (said) at most Masses (not Advent / Lent and a few vigils etc.) and the Credo almost sung (said) a many times as the Gloria.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,805
    It is a matter of historical record that the earliest singing in the Church was hymnic, not, as is yet commonly supposed, psalmodic.


    Please cite your source for this, and whether or not that singing was restricted to the priests/clergy, or if it was expected that the congregation sang them.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 470
    Some quotations from St Augustine. Ending "At the other intervals not thus occupied, I do not see what could be a more excellent, useful, and holy exercise for a Christian congregation. " And appealing to the ultimate tradition " we ought by all means to adopt it, especially if it be something in defense of which Scripture can be alleged: as in the singing of hymns and psalms, for which we have on record both the example and the precepts of the Lord and of His apostles."
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,805
    I went and read the entire quotation you mention. It seems like St. Augustine is supporting the kind of situation one would find in the average parish in the United States:

    At the other intervals not thus occupied, I do not see what could be a more excellent, useful, and holy exercise for a Christian congregation.


    He seems to be stating that whenever something else isn't happening, the congregation should be singing something.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,805
    Also, from the website Hawkins provided:

    At this time it was instituted that, after the manner of the Eastern Church, hymns and psalms should be sung, lest the people should pine away in the tediousness of sorrow; which custom, retained from then till now, is imitated by many, yea, by almost all of Thy congregations throughout the rest of the world.
    -St. Augustine, Confessions, Book IX, Chapters 6 and 7.

    According to the website, it is describing part of something that happened with the Empress Justina.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,210
    Philippians 2, as well MJO.
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 162
    Oh dear. I shall keep this to myself.
    This could be grist to the mill of those who want the congregation to sing incessantly. Perhaps one could get round it by having more choir-only material? or organ voluntaries?
    Personally I appreciate a bit of sacred silence, which seems rather threatened by what St Augustine has to say.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 3,902
    Personally I appreciate a bit of sacred silence, which seems rather threatened by what St Augustine has to say.

    Should the singer (s) "sing well," as the condition of S. Augustine's maxim oft not cited states, no one need feel threatened. Of course, that requires all the exegetes herein to flay out the definition of "well." Heh, heh.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 470
    It's all a matter of balance. We MUST NOT let the music distract us from the worship of God. Augustine again here.
    "I find it difficult to assign it to its proper place" and "Without committing myself to an irrevocable opinion, I am inclined to approve of the custom of singing in church, in order that by indulging the ears weaker spirits may be inspired with feelings of devotion."
    Viola - Sacred Silence is demanded by GIRM (#45 [cross ref MS #17]and several specific references).
    Thanked by 2Viola CHGiffen
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,202
    This could be grist to the mill of those who want the congregation to sing incessantly.


    Yes.

    Personally I appreciate a bit of sacred silence, which seems rather threatened by what St Augustine has to say.


    Emphatically, yes.

    Let's use what used to be "common" sense. St Augie is a good guy. His testimony about his PERSONAL journey is valuable, but is it meant to be some sort of Liturgical Commandment? Guideline? Rubric? Nope. It has the force of being testimonial to the customs of that time, and gets extra juice because Augie is a Saint/Doctor.

    But shall we slavishly imitate?

    Let us remember that "antiquarianism" drew a warning flag from Pope Paul VI, who was not exactly a liturgical Conservative. And let us also remember that millions of Catholics were silent during Mass since the beginning; it is silly--or worse--to infer that they were less Catholic than Belt-Em-Out psalm- and hymn-singers.

    Do what you can to save souls. Music is nice, too.
    Thanked by 2Viola ClergetKubisz
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,805
    This could be grist to the mill of those who want the congregation to sing incessantly.


    In that case, I believe it's called confirmation bias.

    @dad29, good point.

    It has the force of being testimonial to the customs of that time, and gets extra juice because Augie is a Saint/Doctor.


    I suppose I'd be interested in discovering how the musical practices of the TLM began or developed. It might be one of those aspects that was handed down through Apostolic Tradition, and not contained anywhere in any document that can be researched and scrutinized.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 8,287
    Amazing, all the bitching and moaning about congregational singing. Many musicians I have known were more concerned about their congregations not being willing to sing anything.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,805
    When I was a DM, we had a congregation that sang very well, yet the priest still went nuts if the choir ever sang anything on their own, saying "you're killing participation in this parish!"
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 8,287
    We have both choir and congregational singing. It works well for us.
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,202
    all the bitching and moaning about congregational singing


    Nah. I don't care one way or the other.

    What DOES twist my undies is the New Commandment: "Love God with all your mind and heart, and sing everything during the Mass. For this is what your Fathers did, yea, even David, (but, OK, it wasn't Mass). Employ musicians, verily I say unto you, for they are among the least of your brethren, too, and need food."

    Thus sayeth the Lord. Sh'ma, Yisroel!!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 8,287
    Employ musicians, verily I say unto you, for they are among the least of your brethren, too, and need food."


    Yep. Should be in scripture somewhere.

    FWIW, we do have some periods of silence, too. I'm fine with singing but it isn't musical cover for empty slots in the mass. I have seen some masses that were more like silent movies with constant accompaniment of one kind or another.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,017
    ...those who want the congregations to sing incessantly...

    ...As if this were a negative imposition!
    It ought to be a gladsome norm for them to sing all that isn't set aside for choirs, cantors, lectors, deacons, and priests -

    TIBI CHERUBIM ET SERAPHIM INCESSABILI VOCE PROCLAMANT...

    Some would be happy if their congregation sang anything at all.
    Some (many) congregations refuse even to mumble sing.

    At Walsingham the congregation sing
    Processional hymn
    Kyrie
    Gloria
    Psalm in directum
    Alleluya
    Creed
    Sanctus
    Memorial Acclamation
    Our Father
    Agnus Dei
    Communion hymn
    Hymn at the dismissal
    Plus lectionary thanks be to Gods
    All amens and and with thy spirits

    The priest and deacons sing all their parts except the canon
    The cathedral choir sing the propers, and anthems at the offertory and communion

    This, it seems to me. should be normative for a Catholic mass.
    Anyone, EF or OF, who doesn't follow this paradigm rather closely doesn't get Vatican II.

    Some above talk as if singing the mass were an 'add on', as if it were pleasant adiaphora - this is the teaching neither of history nor of Vatican II - not by a long shot!

    Others, who really, actually, so it would seem, take a dim view of congregational singing at all, nor want it to interfere with their interior participation, would ferret out any tad of obscure or dated legislation that might prevent them from doing so.
    If Vatican II 'did away' with anything at all, it was the preposterous notion that the people's role at mass (EF or OF!) was passive and that any participation on their part was to be silent, observing, adoring, but, thank you - interior.

    Do we need to say this yet again!?: singing the mass is not adding something to it - saying the mass is subtracting something from it. So says the voice of history, the voice of Vatican II, the voice of the Ordinariate, the voice of the Eastern rites, and the voice of our Orthodox brethren.
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 67
    Is there someone here who thinks their congregation is singing too much?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,440
    it's not a matter of too much... it's a matter of balance... artistic discretion... perfect drama... God made artists and musicians for a reason with a role to know intuitively how it all fits together... some popes can be tuned in, some Cardinals can be tuned in, some bishops can be tuned in, some priests can be tuned in, but it is the function of a good artist and musician sensitive to the liturgy to help steer in this regard... popes, Cardinals, Bishops, and priests, have often caused liturgical disasters... left to clericalism this is what happens. if musicians who are truly anointed and appointed by God to serve the liturgy purely, it then can become what God intends
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,017
    Hear, hear!
    The above are some of Francis' more wise and intuitive verba.

    It seems to be the nature of too many of our brethren in holy orders that they think that their ordination confers on them expertise in all matters (indeed, some of them even act as though they were infallible as the pope in their little kingdoms), needing no advice from those who have been endowed by our Creator with exceptional gifts. Why, some of them even imagine in the vanity of their hearts that they have the authority to forbid and obstruct, or just simply ignore the express wishes of an oecumenical council!

    Others, it must be said, glory in the flowering of the gifts bestowed upon all their flock and delight in liturgy and music that is resplendent in God's own graciously engendered artistic endowments. Many of them are gifted themselves. Many others know a good thing when they see (or hear) it.
    Thanked by 2Elmar CHGiffen
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,202
    ....and others are happy to hoover a bunch of money...
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 213
    The priest and deacons sing all their parts except the canon


    Just out of curiosity, do you use the Prayer for the Whole State of Christ's Church or some other form of the prayer of the faithful? In either case, is it sung as well? (And, while we're at it, do you use the Summary of the Law and if so is that sung?)
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 162
    Is there someone here who thinks their congregation is singing too much?

    Well, er, yes, me actually. That's why I started this thread (see opening post).
    At the moment our congregation is expected to sing:
    An entrance hymn
    The Introit (to a psalm tone)
    Kyrie
    Gloria
    Psalm response
    Gospel Acclamation
    The Creed is currently under discussion as to whether it should be sung or not
    Offertory hymn
    Offertory antiphon, if there is one
    Sanctus
    Memorial acclamation
    Amen
    Our Father (to Mozarabic tone)
    Agnus Dei
    Communion antiphon
    Communion hymn
    *
    Marian antiphon according to the season
    Recessional hymn.
    plus all the various responses

    * refers to the latest suggestion that after the Communion hymn, to avoid a silence, there should be a Taize chant, prolonged as necessary.
    The only thing that the choir do on their own is a Communion motet.
    When I started here about 2 years ago, there was no Communion motet, just an extra hymn. But the choir did sing Simple English Propers, which have now been replaced by the congregation singing a psalm-tone Introit etc.
    I do think this is too much, and I also think the singing (which is rather lack-lustre) would improve if they didn't have to sing quite so much.
    More periods of silence would be good.
    Also, I was horrified to hear recently some people actually joining in with the Doxology after the Consecration..... that has been discouraged fortunately, but I guess you can't blame the perpetrators, they just expect to sing all the time.
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,017
    To Deacon Fritz -
    Just out of curiosity...

    Good questions.

    About the Universal Prayers - we use serial petitions such as are commonly sung in most (all?) Catholic churches and always sing them to Byzantine chant. These are sung by the deacon from the altar (ad orientem) and are answered by the people. On some penitential seasons we have used the spoken Prayer for the Whole State of Christ's Church, said by the deacon from the altar.

    About the Summary of the Law - yes, this is in the Ordinariate Use. The opening rites are thus: Trinitarian invocation, the Collect for Purity (sung or said), the Summary of the Law (spoken), Kyrie, etc.

    (Incidentally - all Ordinariate liturgy is ad orientem)

  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,805
    Part 1 of 5

    ...As if this were a negative imposition!


    You betray your bias here, MJO. You have already clearly decided that it is a wonderful, and venerable practice for the congregation to sing everything they possibly can. I, for one, would like some more objective viewpoints. The question of the importance of congregational singing has not been answered: why should they do it? Instead, we have had the burden of proof reversal of “why shouldn’t they do it?” as a retort. There has also not been any discussion of what, specifically, should be sung by the people. The problem here is that many priests believe that if the congregation sings anything, it’s good, and therefore, giving them 4 hymns to sing, plus the Ordinary and RP is plenty, with no regard to how bad the music is or whether or not it actually serves the Mass. It has been repeated on this forum many times, and I will repeat it here again: singing 3 hymns in place of the Proper* is not participation in the Mass, since those hymns are not part of it. Because of that, it is reasonable to say that congregational participation in the 3 hymns in place of the Proper, and the recessional hymn does not count as participation in the Mass.

    *Proper here refers to the processional Propers: the Introit, the Offertory, and the Communion, as well as the Graduale and the Gregorian chant Alleluia.

    It ought to be a gladsome norm for them to sing all that isn't set aside for choirs, cantors, lectors, deacons, and priests.


    Duly noted. I understand that you think the congregation should sing everything not sung by anyone else. However, let’s examine those roles. This is what is set aside for the priest in the Novus Ordo:

    1. Signum Cruce at the start of Mass.

    2. Dominus vobiscum at the start of Mass.

    3. Gloria in excelsis Deo when the Gloria in excelsis is said, and when using Gregorian chant.

    4. Oremus and the Collect, with its terminating formula per Dominum nostrum…, etc. depending on the specific Collect.

    5. Dominus vobiscum, Lectio sancti Evangelii secundum…, and verbum Domini at the Gospel, as well as the entire Gospel itself.

    6. The Super Oblata as printed in the Missal, with finishing formula per Dominum nostrum….

    7. The Preface, including Dominus vobiscum, sursum corda, and Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.

    8. The entire Eucharistic Prayer, including Mysterium fidei.

    9. Praeceptis salutaris moniti, et divina institutione formati, audemus dicere leading to the Pater Noster.

    10. After the Pater Noster, the Libera nos, quaesumus, Domine…salvatoris nostri Iesu Christi.

    11. Domine Iesu Christe, qui dixisti Apostolis tuis… before the sign of peace.

    12. Pax domini sit semper vobiscum at the sign of peace.

    13. Offerte vobis pacem at the sign of peace.

    14. Ecce agnus Dei before distribution of Communion.

    15. Oremus at the Post Communion.

    16. The entire Post Communion Collect, with concluding formula Per Dominum nostrum… depending on the specific Collect.

    17. Dominus vobiscum at the dismissal.

    18. The Signum Cruce at the end of Mass.

    19. The Ite Missa Est at the end of Mass.
    Thanked by 1dad29
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,805
    Part 2 of 5

    There is confusion as to what is set aside for the choir, in light of V2’s desire for an expanded role for the congregation. Much of what the choir used to do on behalf of the congregation is now done by the congregation itself, and the role of the choir has been reduced because of it. There are only a few items that remain solely in the role of the choir:

    1. The Introit at the beginning of Mass.

    2. The verses of the Responsorial Psalm, in some places sung by the cantor alone.

    3. The verse of the Alleluia, in some places sung by the cantor alone.

    4. The Offertory Proper and possibly a motet.

    5. The Communion Proper and possibly a motet.

    6. Possibly a motet after Communion, during the ablutions.

    From my experience, the majority of the parishes in the United States use the cantor/congregation/accompanist model, while substituting the Propers for hymns. This reduces and/or precludes the role of the choir completely. If the Proper of the Mass is not sung, but instead replaced by congregational hymns, which again are NOT part of the Mass, you have the following left for the choir:

    1. Possibly a motet at the Offertory.

    2. Possibly a motet at the Communion.

    3. Possibly a motet after Communion, during the ablutions.

    With the current common practice, the role of the choir is reduced to a possibility at best.

    Some will make the argument that the role of the choir or cantor is to support congregational singing, for example by leading it and providing a good example for them to follow. However, if the cantor is filling the role of “song leader,” as has been my experience in many parishes in the United States, then this person is doing all of the work of leading the congregational singing and supporting it, thereby removing the necessity of the choir for that purpose. If the song leader and choir are both trying to lead congregational singing at the same time, they will compete for musical space. The song leader having a microphone will tip the balance towards him. It is also worth noting that in many parishes, the “cantor” is doing all of the work, and the congregation is just simply listening, and enjoying the performance.
    Thanked by 1dad29
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,805
    Part 3 of 5

    So, what exactly is “set aside” for the congregation in the Novus Ordo? Let’s see what the Missal says:

    1. Amen in response to Signum Cruce at the beginning of Mass.

    2. Et cum spiritu tuo in response to Dominus vobiscum at the beginning of Mass.

    3. The Kyrie eleison in whatever form it takes.

    4. Amen in response to the Miseratur….

    5. In practice, the Gloria in excelsis, when prescribed. However, in the Missal, it does not specify who is to sing or recite it.

    6. Amen in response to the Collect.

    7. Deo gratias in response to verbum Domini at the first reading.

    8. The response for the RP.

    9. Deo gratias in response to verbum Domini at the second reading.

    10. et cum spiritu tuo in respone to Dominus vobiscum at the Gospel.

    11. Gloria tibi Domine in response to Lectio sancti Evangelii… at the Gospel.

    12. Laus tibi, Christe in response to verbum Domini at the Gospel.

    13. In practice, the credo, although the Missal does not specify who is to sing or recite it.

    14. In practice, there could be a sung response during the Universal Prayer, however this is not given in the Missal.

    15. Suscipiat Dominus… in response to Orate, fratres.

    16. Amen in response to the Super Oblata.

    17. Et cum spiritu tuo in response to Dominus vobiscum at the beginning of the Preface.

    18. Habemus ad Dominum in response to Sursum corda.

    19. Dignum et justum est in response to gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.

    20. In practice, the Sanctus and Benedictus, although the Missal does not indicate who is to sing or recite it.

    21. Mortem tuam in response to Mysterium fidei.

    22. Amen at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer.

    23. The Pater Noster.

    24. Quia tuum est regnum… in response to Libera nos quaesumus….

    25. Amen in response to Domine Iesu Christe, qui dixisti Apostolis tuis… before the sign of peace.

    26. et cum spiritu tuo in response to Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum at the sign of peace.

    27. In practice, the Agnus Dei, although the Missal does not specify who is to sing or recite it.

    28. Domine non sum dignus in response to the Ecce Agnus Dei after the Fraction Rite.

    29. Amen in response to the Post Communion Collect.

    30. et cum spiritu tuo in response to Dominus Vobiscum at the dismissal.

    31. Amen in response to the final Signum Cruce at the dismissal.

    32. Deo gratias in response to Ite missa est at the dismissal.

    The Missal prescribes that the congregation sings responses in dialogue with the priest. So, if the priest is singing everything that is reserved for him, the congregation has much to sing in response to him
    Thanked by 1dad29
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,805
    Part 4 of 5

    Some will at this point make the argument that some priests and deacons do not have good singing voices, and “can’t carry a tune,” so they should not be required to sing those parts of the Mass reserved to them. However, this ignores the legitimate practice of singing recto tono.

    Some may also make the observation that some priests and deacons are embarrassed to sing, especially by themselves in front of their congregations. If the priest is not obliged to sing, then why should the congregation feel obliged to do so? It has been my experience, in the limited number of times I have witnessed a fully sung Novus Ordo, that congregations are very forgiving of a priest that has difficulty singing, or perhaps does not possess a beautiful voice, and will respond as they should, sometimes with increased fervor, in spite of any limitations the priest may exhibit.

    It is now time for me to bring up what I believe is the main contention regarding congregational singing, and a salient point about congregational singing: 1. that the main contention is the content of the congregational singing, and 2. that clergy demand it of them, and place responsibility for the singing or non-singing of the congregation on the musicians. Jeffrey Tucker has a poignant article on this exact subject in Crisis Magazine:

    http://www.crisismagazine.com/2012/catholic-music-its-time-to-stop-making-stuff-up

    In relation to this, here are five factors that influence whether or not a person will choose to sing:

    1. Intrinsic desire to sing.

    If a person does not have any desire to sing whatsoever, they will not. This is beyond the control of clergy and musicians. It is not, as some may have you believe, simply about finding something they like so as to motivate them. If they don’t like singing, they won’t sing.

    2. Confidence in one’s ability to sing.

    A person may very well enjoy singing, but they might not think they’re very good at it, so they remain silent when asked to do so in public. I was this way for a very long time, until I realized my own misconceptions about my voice. This is a personal journey for every individual, and is beyond the control of clergy and musicians.

    3. Knowledge of the song.

    If a person does not know the song, no matter their confidence in their abilities or their desire to sing, they cannot sing it. This is within the control of clergy and musicians in the form of education and teaching.

    4. Opinion of the style/genre.

    If a person simply does not like the style of the music, they may choose not to sing. This is beyond the control of clergy and musicians.

    5. Opinion of the individual song.

    A person may have the desire to sing, confidence that they can do it, know the song very well, have a favorable opinion of the musical style/genre, but just not like an individual song, in which case they will not sing it. This is beyond the control of clergy and musicians.

    Points 4 and 5 open up the question of whether the music of the Mass should reflect what the congregation likes. In practice, doing so has removed us from the vision of the Second Vatican Council that the people should learn to sing or say their parts in Latin, the desire of the same for the primacy of Gregorian chant in the liturgy, and the desire of St. Pius X to have the congregation singing Gregorian chant, vis (emphasis mine):

    3. These qualities are to be found, in the highest degree, in Gregorian Chant, which is, consequently the Chant proper to the Roman Church, the only chant she has inherited from the ancient fathers, which she has jealously guarded for centuries in her liturgical codices, which she directly proposes to the faithful as her own, which she prescribes exclusively for some parts of the liturgy, and which the most recent studies have so happily restored to their integrity and purity.
    On these grounds Gregorian Chant has always been regarded as the supreme model for sacred music, so that it is fully legitimate to lay down the following rule: the more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savor the Gregorian form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple.
    The ancient traditional Gregorian Chant must, therefore, in a large measure be restored to the functions of public worship, and the fact must be accepted by all that an ecclesiastical function loses none of its solemnity when accompanied by this music alone.
    Special efforts are to be made to restore the use of the Gregorian Chant by the people, so that the faithful may again take a more active part in the ecclesiastical offices, as was the case in ancient times.
    -St. Pius X, Inter Sollicitudines, Chapter II, #3.
    Thanked by 2dad29 CCooze
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,805
    Part 5 of 5

    The contention over the content of the congregational singing is essentially between these viewpoints:

    1. that the congregation can and should sing Gregorian chant as much as possible, which includes the Ordinary, but excludes the Proper

    2. that the congregation may be able to sing Gregorian chant, but probably shouldn’t because some people may have difficulty with it, including the simple Ordinaries

    3. that the congregation may be able to sing Gregorian chant, but probably shouldn’t because Gregorian chant is largely in Latin, and some people may have difficulty with or objection to it

    4. that the congregation may be able to sing Gregorian chant, but probably shouldn’t because Gregorian chant is old and should be thrown out because it is no longer relevant in the minds of some people

    The result is that the entire style/genre of liturgical chant is thrown out and replaced by a simple, common hymn or song style.

    In conclusion, if the priest is singing the parts reserved to him, then the congregation has a lot to sing in response. In common practice, when the Ordinary is sung, the congregation also sings it. In common practice, the Proper of the Mass is replaced by hymns, which the congregation also sings. However, in doing so, the role of the choir is reduced, as it removes from practice parts of the Mass reserved to it. The traditional role of the choir has been further reduced by transferring many of its previous responsibilities to the congregation, such as singing the responses to the priest. Also, the entire genre/style of liturgical chant has been neglected because of objections, however grounded in reason they may be, and it has been replaced by a common, simple song style. Even without the hymns, the congregation has a lot of singing to do if the priest is singing the parts reserved to him. Priests should be encouraged, if not, mandated, to sing the parts of the Mass reserved to them. The traditional role of the choir should be restored, and the congregation encouraged to join them in the responses to the priest. The choir should sing the Proper of the Mass without the congregation, so that the congregation may listen and have the opportunity to fulfill the wish of the Second Vatican Council that inward participation should be fostered first and foremost.

    It seems to be the nature of too many of our brethren in holy orders that they think that their ordination confers on them expertise in all matters (indeed, some of them even act as though they were infallible as the pope in their little kingdoms), needing no advice from those who have been endowed by our Creator with exceptional gifts. Why, some of them even imagine in the vanity of their hearts that they have the authority to forbid and obstruct, or just simply ignore the express wishes of an oecumenical council!


    See Auctorem Fidei #6-11.
    Thanked by 3Viola dad29 CCooze
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,017
    Viola -

    It seems to me that your people are singing everything that a normative congregation should, EXCEPT the propers. These should be sung only by the choir, schola, or cantor. They are NOT congregational music - not even if the version sung is easy enough for them. The propers are for choir only. I think that singing the creed (which you say is under discussion) is laudable - highly commendatory - and should be done. (There really shouldn't be any question about it at all - it's part of the mass: we sing the mass, all of it.) The Taize chant is a bad idea. Some people, it seems, have a paranoid discomforture over silence. Silence really is golden and should be treasured.

    What so many people just don't seem to understand (and some just refuse to 'get') is that the mass itself is a song, a continuous song from beginning to end. It isn't 'now we do this and now we do that', 'we sing this, but we don't sing that'. There is no this and that in the mass. It is a kaleidoscopic continuum of thought and song from the Trinitarian invocation to the Dismissal. The only question is who sings what, not whether it is sung. Some is sung only by choir or cantor, some is sung by people, some is sung by priests or deacons, but all is sung in a continuum unpunctuated by a single non ritual utterance or interjection by anyone.
    ______________________________________

    Without prejudice to singing and the fact that The Mass (all of it) should be sung, there is the question of silence, which Viola brings up. Too often there is little space for silence in the mass as priests and others go from one item to the next without a seemly pause or a moment for reflection as might be appropriate after each reading, after the homily, or at other moments which shouldn't see a hurried going from one thing to the next. Especially after communion a generous space for silent meditation would be of great value and spiritual profit for all. Perhaps some catechesis about silence, the 'still small voice', meditation and mindfulness would benefit all who attend mass. When teaching youth about the mass, the role of silence should be integral... as should an appreciation of the crucial matter of the absolutely unhurried performance of each aspect of the mass. Further, singing, too, should be thoughtful and unhurried regardless of the appropriate tempo (even 'fast' music can be 'unhurried'). All should be deliberate and thoughtful and performed in a meditative state of mind - meditative even as one reads, listens, or sings.
    Thanked by 2ClergetKubisz Viola
  • CharlesSA
    Posts: 21
    Clerget has some good points.

    I don't see a problem with asserting that it would be ideal if everyone sang what they were supposed to - that is, with regards to the congregation, if they sang all of the responses to the priest (the dialogues) and the Mass Ordinary. Clerget pointed out the various scenarios in which someone will or will not sing. The fact of the matter is, some people simply won't sing - whether they're 'anti-traditional' with regard to music and won't sing the chants, or whether they're all for Gregorian chant, but just don't feel comfortable singing.

    In my mind, the solution (aside, of course, from solid liturgical and doctrinal catechesis in whatever way is possible, in its various manifestations within the family and the church) lies in teaching people to sing. Every Catholic ought to be taught to sing from the earliest stages in his life. If a child is attending a diocesan school, he ought to learn to sing, especially chant, because diocesan schools ought to make music, particularly liturgical music, a priority. If a child does not attend a diocesan school, for whatever reason (so whether he is homeschooled or attending a public school), then he ought to learn within the family (though admittedly, if the parents don't know how to sing, much less to sing the Mass, then a problem arises). With regards to older people who are no longer in a position to truly learn to sing well - so, let's say, college age or older who have their duties to fulfill - then if they haven't learned to sing, and they won't be convinced to sing, then it seems perfectly fine to me that they not be pressured into singing, provided they are still participating interiorly by listening to it instead of actually singing. Not that I'm saying that is the ideal, but for those who haven't learned otherwise, it seems to me perfectly fine to say that if wherever they are spiritually and temporally (their duties/circumstances in life) makes it so that they interiorly unite themselves to the sacrifice of praise without the exterior singing, then that is great!

    As long as liturgical music - i.e. learning how to sing the Mass, and even before that, learning how to sing beautifully, in general - is not made a priority in diocesan schools, there really is a limit to how much things are going to change in the near future. Though I don't particularly mean to denigrate any efforts expended toward teaching a parish to sing (though the idea of "teaching" a chant or something in the minutes before Mass kind of irks me, personally, because to me, those are sacred moments of silence interiorly preparing to offer myself to Christ in union with the priest), or to undermine efforts at teaching adults to sing - because I know it can happen, though in my (admittedly quite limited) experience it is very difficult when the congregation is not on board, and will not take time outside of Mass to learn - nonetheless, it just seems to me that the children are our future.

    We sure have our work cut out, between giving our young people the education they need with regard to liturgical music from the beginning of their lives, and in the meantime trying to get parishes going, setting groundwork for the future. God bless all those who have the patience and perseverance to do it through all of the obstacles!
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 470
    Liturgy is not an entertainment like television or radio, but too often is influenced by attitudes that come from them. The avoidance of silence may be appropriate in a news broadcast, but deliberate pauses are essential for liturgy, as GIRM lays down.
    For in the Penitential Act and again after the invitation to pray, individuals recollect themselves; whereas after a reading or after the Homily, all meditate briefly on what they have heard; then after Communion, they praise God in their hearts and pray to him.
    When the priest says 'Let us call to mind our sins' he really should give us (and himself) a chance to do so, otherwise he can hardly be supposed to mean what he says. And so on ...
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,210
    I mean, what does that even look like? The same goes for the silence after “Oremus.” It’s artificial.

    At the collect, I much prefer the dialogue, the “Oremus“ with the bow to the cross, and then the collect, with the slightest pauses between the bow and the actual “Oremus“ and for the opening, closing, and opening of the hands before beginning to sing.

    In the TLM, the confession follows the psalm, and the confession of the ministers follows that of the priest. The only true pause for recollection is the Pater Noster at Compline prayed silently before the confession, which is part of the rubrics. But it doesn’t mean that you’re not confessing in a less worthty manner. Frankly, good preparation for Mass involves calling to mind our sins. I also think that while Mass isn’t about how short it can be while jamming all the parts in, it does deserve to be done without unnecessary or prolonged pauses.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,017
    .
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 470
    In the EF the celebrant does not invite the congregation to reflect on their sins, in the OF he does. In my view treating any of the words of the Mass as an empty formula invites treating the whole Mass as an empty formula.
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 162
    Recently, at a lecture, I heard the speaker suggest that today people are afraid of silence. We are surrounded by noise, muzak everywhere we go. I value periods of silence in the Mass. Also, if we are told 'Let us pray/Oremus' then we need time to do that. The length of the silence should be carefully judged.
    A silence after Communion is welcome too and can be intensely prayerful. Even organ music can be intrusive and distracting at this point.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 5,017
    A priest I have known for decades, one of my best friends, used always to say 'the greatest bond between friends is silence'. He was right. Silence signifies the emotional, spiritual repose of an intimate encounter. It is the crucible from which emerges profound relationships and knowledge. Its occurrence at mass is a must for sealing the bond between those present, each and all, and God. Without it, God, the still small voice, cannot be heard.