Is string music without organ permitted during EF?
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 310
    I'm planning a Missa Cantata for May 11. For communion, I'd like to being with the proper communion chant and then let the choir receive communion while a cellist plays a nice movement from one of Bach's cello suites. Then, when the choir returns, I'd like to do the Mozart Ave Verum Corpus.

    Is there any sort of prohibition against having instrumental music during communion in the EF?
  • It would be secular dance music, which I think might not be appropriate during the liturgy?
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 310
    Much the same could be said of organ music played at Mass. So the question really is this: is organ the only instrument permitted to play instrumental music during mass?
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    It is permitted under the norms as at 1962. The main concern would be the pieces of music intended to be played.

    Plenty of people love my organ interludes and solos until I tell them that the music was originally from an opera or secular dance suites.
  • 65. In sung or said Masses, the organ, or other instrument legitimately admitted, can be used to accompany the singing of the choir and the people; it can also be played solo at the beginning before the priest reaches the altar, at the Offertory, at the Communion, and at the end of Mass.

  • Chrism
    Posts: 706
    Musicam Sacram (1967) doesn't apply to the EF.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 706
    Here is the relative part from De Musica Sacra (1958):

    60. The following principles for the use of musical instruments in the sacred liturgy are to be recalled:

    a) Because of the nature, sanctity, and dignity of the sacred liturgy, the playing of any musical instrument should be as perfect as possible. It would be preferable to omit the use of instruments entirely (whether it be the organ only, or any other instrument), than to play them in a manner unbecoming their purpose. As a general rule it is better to do something well, however modest, than to attempt something more elaborate without the proper means.

    b) The difference between sacred, and secular music must be taken into consideration. Some musical instruments, such as the classic organ, are naturally appropriate for sacred music; others, such as string instruments which are played with a bow, are easily adapted to liturgical use. But there are some instruments which, by common estimation, are so associated with secular music that they are not at all adaptable for sacred use.

    c) Finally, only instruments which are personally played by a performer are to be used in the sacred liturgy, not those which are played mechanically or automatically.

    B. The classic organ and similar instruments.

    61. The principal musical instrument for solemn liturgical ceremonies of the Latin Church has been and remains the classic pipe organ.

    C. Sacred instrumental music.

    68. Other instruments besides the organ, especially the smaller bowed instruments, may be used during the liturgical functions, particularly on days of greater solemnity. These may be used together with the organ or without it, for instrumental numbers of for accompanying the singing. However, the following rules derived from the principles stated above (no.60) are to strictly observed:

    a) the instruments are truly suitable for sacred use;

    b) they are to be played with such seriousness, and religious devotion that every suggestion of raucous secular music is avoided, and the devotion of the faithful is fostered;

    c) the director, organist, and other instrumentalists should be well trained in instrumental techniques, and the laws of sacred music.

    - See more at:
    Thanked by 1Jahaza
  • Musicam Sacram (1967) doesn't apply to the EF.

    I did not know that.

    1157 Song and music fulfill their function as signs in a manner all the more significant when they are "more closely connected . . . with the liturgical action,"22 according to three principal criteria: beauty expressive of prayer, the unanimous participation of the assembly at the designated moments, and the solemn character of the celebration. In this way they participate in the purpose of the liturgical words and actions: the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful:23

    Does it all come down to what movement is being played, and will it be played with a perfectly solemn character?
  • c) The proper time for the chanting of the Communion antiphon is while the priest is receiving the holy Eucharist. But if the faithful are also to go to Communion the antiphon should be sung while they receive. If this antiphon, too, is taken from a psalm, additional verses of this psalm may be sung. In this case, too, the antiphon is repeated after each, or every second verse of the psalm; when distribution of Communion is finished, the psalm is closed with the Gloria Patri, and the antiphon is once again repeated. If the antiphon is not taken from a psalm, any psalm may be used which is suited to the feast, and to this part of the mass.

    After the Communion antiphon is sung, and the distribution of Communion to the faithful still continues, it is also permitted to sing another Latin song in keeping with this part of the Mass.

    It seems to detail what we should do during communion, but doesn't seem to allow non-sacred music? My knowledge of the EF is at the "I've seen that on youtube" level.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,342
    That's a fair summary.
  • We have one EF parish in our diocese, but I've yet to go experience it. I have some Sundays off so I should make the drive on a free weekend.
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 310
    Thanks, this is all quite helpful!
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,653
    I've sung at SSPX parishes in my disreputable past where a string quartet played Albinoni's Adagio for Strings for Communion. Ergo, if a group that considers themselves the "creme de la creme" of liturgical strictness find no problem with this practice, you're probably good to go.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    At our EF Latin Mass, we regularly employ string and flute players (which are a useful addition to my Yamaha keyboard which only has two real settings on it: soft and loud.)

    The only restriction I know of is that no instrument but the organ is permitted during pre-Lent (as per B. Andrew Mills' book Psallite Sapienter) and, of course, during Lent and Advent, only the organ is permitted to accompany the singing and no instrumental music is permitted at all.
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 467
    Chrism has the right citation for the permission to use a cello.

    Once you sing the Communion verse you can play instrumental music afterwards no problem.
  • Gimme a C, a bouncy C...
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,558
    (which are a useful addition to my Yamaha keyboard which only has two real settings on it: soft and loud.)

    This is totally off-topic JulieColle, but I am reminded that I wanted to tell you that there are free versions of Hauptwerk with a small, German continuo organ that you should should be able to play from the yamaha using a midi interface to your computer and audio lines from the computer back to your Yamaha and have a lovely organ sound for...the price of a midi cable interface and audio cables...possibly someone would donate a not-used laptop for this purpose.

    This would dramatically improve what you are able to do.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    Noel, multas gratias for your excellent suggestion! My son actually set up our keyboard/workstation last year with the St. Anne's sample files from Hauptwerk, and we were completely blown away by the quality of the sound. He used my laptop and an amp and what seemed like miles of cables and was even able to install several different stops on the drawbars.

    It was amazing and not too difficult to operate, but the thought of transporting and setting up such a system every Sunday morning was too daunting---but perhaps it's worth a second look.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,349
    I don't know if the EF will eventually be replaced by the OF in Latin (probably not in my lifetime), but it sure would be nice at least to have but one universal calendar for the entirety of the Roman Rite and but one set of liturgical laws/norms/rubrics/guidelines which a few/some/most/many folks would then continue to disregard at will.

    Often there is a common thread which runs through pre-1962 EF and post-1962 OF liturgical law: it's common sense, and it applies to both. Dispense with common sense at either an OF or EF celebration and you can have a field day playing instrumental operatic selections. It has nothing to do with written norms.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    I don't know if the OF will eventually be replaced by the EF in Latin

    It's funny how I read your opening sentence this way the first time I looked at it. Got to get my darn glasses updated. : )
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,628
    IF there were to be one calendar for the Roman Rite it ought to be that with the fullest expression of the liturgical year in the life of the Church and her people: namely, that of the pre-Concilliar era, and possibly even that prior to Pius XII. I see no benefit in the abandonment of Septuagesima, of the removal of the Octaves of Pentecost, Corpus Christi, Epiphany, etc; nor do I see the reason for the re-allocation of the Sanctorale: just why did the Feast of St Pius V need to be pushed ahead from the beginning of May to the end of April?

    I also do not see why the Office had to be mangled the way it was to create the Liturgy of the Hours, particularly in the way the all of the hours now follow the same scheme, whereas there was a structural difference between the major and minor hours.

    The EF is not going away - unless it were officially abrogated by the Church.
  • bkenney27bkenney27
    Posts: 444
    With regard to the genre and whether it is appropriate, I was at a seminar with Msgr. Moroney the other night during which he said "It is not he genre that makes music sacred; it is its connection to the liturgy." Upon request, he clarified a bit further saying he was not saying that all genres are permissible, but that one may not be incorrect in making such a statement. He spoke then of a piece he learned many years ago, well-known (I don't recall what it was), which he later found out originated as a 7th Century drinking song. "So if THAT can find its way into the liturgy, I think almost anything could be baptized into the liturgy. The problem with certain genres, I think, is how closely people perceive them as secular. If we started singing "Mass of Phantom of the Opera" tomorrow, it wouldn't work. But in 200 years when people have forgotten about the Broadway show, maybe some of that music could be adapted." He, of course, was using an extreme to make a point, but in this case, I think the pieces in question would connect well with the liturgy given the amount of time that has passed since we have associated them with secular dance.
  • I just got home from rehearsing with a new cantor pieces marked Habanero and Polka.
    A Sarabande is perhaps more reverent than that type of disco music.
  • I agree with bkenney, and I cannot imagine anyone in this day and age objecting to a secular dance movement unless the composer used it in a way that could still be interpreted as offensive (since the most recent comment brought it to mind, using the Habanera from Bizet's Carmen probably wouldn't go over very well.) Keep in mind, too, that out of the thousands of instrumental works written in the 17th-18th centuries only around 20% specified "sonata da chiesa" or "sonata da camera" (See Sandra Mangsen's New Grove article) leaving the rest up to the tastes and traditions of various places. Biber could use every dance movement known in his Rosary Sonatas because his employer was not only actively promoting Rosary devotion but also loved all kinds of music. Perhaps Biber was allowed more creative freedom here because the secular forms would be familiar to people and thus encourage more of them to participate. (debate on the actual use of the work and where exactly it was performed is ongoing and not gonna get into it here lol) Corelli was in a different place and had to follow stricter rules. Furthermore, Biber uses the dance forms as he thinks they best serve the affect and subject of each Mystery. Bach's stuff is also highly stylized and like Biber he uses dance forms as a canvas for much larger ideas. In other words, I wouldn't worry too much :-)
    Thanked by 1Chrism
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    Again it seems appropriate to quote Annibale Bugnini ...

    EDIT (the apropos fragment) ...
    but it is not difficult to
    perceive that there would have to be a great deal of sacralization before that kind of
    music can legitimately cross the church threshold.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,909
    Pius X' most important phrase on sacred music was that "[It] elevates the minds and hearts of the Faithful to God." Next most important: "[It] glorifies God and sanctifies the Faithful."

    Bugnini carefully avoided those phrases, and BCL's 1967 statement ignores them, too.

    There's a reason for that.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    Sorry dad29, I forgot the apropos Bugnini quote. See above.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,909
    Yah, well, Bugsy's quote doesn't have quite the same ring as does Pp. X's, does it?