Responsorial psalm: fully congregational, in directum?
  • Has anyone out there tried something like the following?

    1) Sing the response.
    2) Sing *all* verses from the Lectionary, straight through.
    3) Sing the response a second time.

    … and all of the above done by the entire congregation?

    I’d really like to introduce this in my parish. My “problem” with it is that I need to find ways that an untrained singer could reasonably expect to walk in and, unrehearsed, sing the psalm (i.e., in the congregation). Toward this end I’ve written a very simple tone that “should” work.

    Does anyone out there have experience doing this kind of thing? Has anyone used the actual Gregorian modes for it? (All things equal, that is my preference, but I don’t know that that’s the right approach where I am just yet.)
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,659
    "Hence the psalmist, or cantor of the Psalm, sings the Psalm verses at the ambo or another suitable place, while the whole congregation sits and listens, normally taking part by means of the response, except when the Psalm is sung straight through, that is, without a response." - GIRM
  • SkirpRSkirpR
    Posts: 854
    I have not had the entire congregation do this, but for nearly a year now, I have with near complete consistency replaced whichever "open-white-note" setting of the verses accompanied whichever metrical psalm-response I'd chosen with one of the Gregorian psalmtones - whichever mode seemed to fit best. (Using a modal collection like the ones found with Worship makes that easier, but occasionally I draw from other sources, and that can also work, but the compatible modes are usually slimmer pickings.)

    The effect of doing this - I believe - has been to get the psalmtones and/or modes in the congregation's ear and mind. Even if a resource like the Parish Book of Psalms might be too daunting for your congregation - I will again take the opportunity to say it strikes me as odd that many of us are perfectly content to be exclusively using newly-composed psalmtones (Guimont, Alstott, etc., but I would also include in this Gelineau, Weber, etc.) before our congregations have even heard the traditional ones - let alone gotten to know them. (Perhaps if we've used the Gregorian ones for years and wanted to introduce some variety, introducing others make sense to me....)

    In any event, I think my congregation might be ready to do something like you suggest, but only now that they've heard them so much as to feel that they know them.
    Thanked by 1BruceL
  • I think that, academically speaking, in singing psalms in directum there is neither respond (responsory), nor antiphon. There is responsorial psalmody, antiphonal psalmody, and in directum psalmody. Each is distinct in form from the others. The above quote from the GIRM would seem to bear this out. Felipe knows well that in the Ordinariate we sing the psalm in directum to Anglican chant. There is nothing prohibiting a purely Roman rite parish from doing the same, whether to Gregorian Tones, St Meinrad Tones, or Anglican chant.

    Responsorial psalmody, though, is inherently meditative, featuring the congregation contemplating verses sung by a cantor while they interject a responsory at certain intervals. If all were to sing the psalm in directum, one has automatically made the entire psalm a not-so-contemplative act by all; which is consistent with the GIRM but probably not the first choice of the Vatican II reformers (unless, of course, one is Anglican Use!). The problem, of course, with responsorial psalmody as many of us normally experience it, is not the responsorial mode per se, but the awful musical settings and treatments which are commonplace in this country (and probably everywhere else).

    In defence of Felipe's idea, though, is the fact that if one were to get an entire congregation of Catholics singing a psalm to either ancient or modern psalm tones it would be a marvelous achievement and one most beautiful to hear. I know of a prominent Episcopal school in Houston at which the entire student body of seven-hundred sings the appointed canticles and several daily psalms to Gregorian tones every day at chapel, and the tones are different for each psalm every day. They all (grades 1-12) read the pointing from a pointed psalter. There is not a reason that Catholics couldn't do the same (except that certain poisonous persons seem to enjoy saying that they can't).
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,178
    "Hence the psalmist, or cantor of the Psalm, sings the Psalm verses at the ambo or another suitable place, while the whole congregation sits and listens, normally taking part by means of the response, except when the Psalm is sung straight through, that is, without a response." - GIRM, different emphasis added.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,659
    What actually happens in most places, is the cantor does everything possible to attract attention while the congregation thumbs through the bulletin or plays with their phones. Then follows the procession of the noisy while the cantor lopes to another place on noisy shoes, signaling it is time for the faithful to ignore something else.
    Thanked by 1PurpleSquirrel
  • So, the question is regarding this passage:

    except when the Psalm is sung straight through, that is, without a response.


    Does that exception refer to the "normally taking part by means of the response" or the "Psalmist, cantor, etc. sings the Psalm while the congregations sits and listens"?

    (My guess would be the former.)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,387
    The Latin could be read either way too, but I don't think it matters. The passage is describing the general *procedure* for the responsorial psalm, but it's not giving hard-and-fast orders as though there were only one way to do it.

    Looking back in history, the 1958 instruction De musica sacra envisaged that some congregations with enough skill in singing chant could sing parts of the Proper of the Mass. If that permission still applies, then a congregation able to sing on a psalm tone could be invited to sing the verses of the responsorial psalm.
  • Except that, if everyone sings all the verses it is no longer a 'responsorial psalm'. It is The Psalm, sung in directum (which is of course perfectly alright!).
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,387
    It remains 'responsorial' since the whole liturgical act of the psalm is a response to the preceding reading. Thus the sung gradual chant, even with no congregational singing, is characterized in the GIRM as the "gradual responsory".
  • Responsorial psalmody is, by definition psalmody which is sung by a cantor with the people interjecting a 'responsory' at certain intervals. This is what makes it 'responsorial'. The psalm as a whole is not at all a 'response' to a reading or anything else. It has its own integrity and is itself considered a 'reading'. Such singing of psalmody is one of three methods, the other two being 'antiphonal' and in directum. The Alleluya with its verse is also a responsorial form, the responsory being the Alleluya.

    The psalm and the Alleluya are the two meditative responsorial propers of the mass (and all should realise that 'the gradual' itself [a responsorial form historically peculiar to the Roman Church] is what is left of a responsorial psalm). The others, Introit, Offertory, and Communion, are antiphonal and accompany action and processions. (Although certain persons are now beginning to treat all five of the propers as if they were responsorial! This is not proper!)
    Thanked by 1PurpleSquirrel
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,387
    I don't deny that the use of a sung antiphon or refrain is one sense in which a responsorial psalm is responsorial. The historical references are there. Yet there is the other aspect of response. Since the Responsorial Psalm is coordinated with the first reading, it has a relation to it. The connection is plainer in some cases than others. The GIRM says the Responsorial Psalm has great value because it "fosters meditation on the Word of God".

    For what it's worth, Msgr. Pope wrote on this point:
    The title “responsorial psalm” is not given because there is a response or antiphon for the people to sing. The “response” referred to is the reflection of the assembly on the proclamation of the reading which just took place. The psalm is usually related in some direct way to the theme of the Old Testament reading (and by that very fact to the Gospel which is to come). Thus, the people “respond” to the Word of God, make it their own and proclaim it prayerfully.

  • With all due respect, I would have to suggest that Msgr Pope was mistaken. The people's responsory is precisely why the psalm is 'responsorial'. I think that viewing the psalm as a 'response' to a previous reading is something made up after the fact to explain what is not apprehended correctly about psalmody and the literary forms of the propers (of which the psalm is one). The psalm is not a 'response' to the lesson, though it may be related to it thematically (as is the gospel). It is itself a reading from the psalter which happens to be sung responsorially, not antiphonally or in directum. This is about the correct classification of psalm-singing methods, not of imagined liturgical relationships. It does so happen that the psalm will generally amplify the theme of the lesson, just as the gospel will fulfill it. But this is not what makes it 'responsorial', any more than the epistle or the gospel are an imagined 'response'. This is merely a matter of thematic flow.

    Yet again, here are the distinctions -

    Antiphonal psalmody = (1. Introit, 2. Offertory, 3. Communion)
    Groups A & B: Antiphon
    Group A: Verse
    Group B: Verse
    Groups A & B: Antiphon
    etc.

    Responsorial psalmody = (1. Psalm [Gradual], 2. Gospel Acclamation)
    All: Responsory
    Cantor: Verse(s)
    All: Responsory
    etc.

    Psalmody in directum = (Tract)
    All: All verses sung straight through

    (The Tract, incidentally, is the vestige of in directum psalmody - though meant for a skilled cantor. Tractus has roughly the same connotation as in directum. The Tracts are distinguished amongst the propers by being neither antiphonal nor responsorial. They are in a very ancient class by themselves.)
    Thanked by 2Gavin PurpleSquirrel
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,484
    Responsories (ie. Responsorial Psalms or Canticles) are not exclusive to the Mass but are, in fact, an essential ingredient of the Liturgy of the Hours (or Divine Office). The term refers exactly to the manner of singing that includes a Respond (or Refrain) and Verse(s) with perhaps also a (half)-Doxology.

    The Short Responsory In manus tuas, Domine at Compline is an example. So also is the Matins Responsory for the First Sunday of Advent Aspiciens a longe (which we know also as "I look from afar").
  • Hm. On further digging, I find that the introduction to the Order of Readings explicitly prefers the responsorial form of the psalm. (§20) Doh.

    So, next question in the discussion: to what degree is it preferable that the RP be led from the front? “Built of Living Stones” mentions it as an appositive; while this is not normative as legislation, I’m looking more for what is just “good form”, i.e., what makes logical sense notwithstanding rubrics.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    In cases where the choir and organist are in the loft, it seems to make more musical sense for the psalmist to proclaim it from there.
  • I agree with Ben. Even though the GIRM (does it not?) specifies the ambo. But then - we sometimes have the choir sing the verses rather than the cantor. This also, I think, is compatible with the GIRM... but while the GIRM specifies singing from the ambo, surely it doesn't envisage the choir being elsewhere than in choir or in its space. Too, as many no doubt are aware, there is ancient precedent for two or four or more cantors singing in unison on solemnities and major feasts.

    Also, it occured to me as I was reviewing this conversation that we (most laudably) can hardly think of the psalm not being sung, at least at a prinicpal mass with choirs and cantors merely saying it is unthinkable. It should be equally unthinkable to do anything other than sing the OTHER readingS, of which the psalm is only one.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Gavin
  • I think the loft is less of an issue for us than the lack of way to get to the ambo except by going across the communion rail.

    *Sigh* … so our rubrics explicitly “prefer” the “cult of the solo singer” for the psalm. Meh.

    Jackson: AFAIK only BLS prefers the ambo; GIRM says “ambo or other suitable place”, which (to my reading) doesn’t imply a preference for the ambo so much as a “default state”.

    I always find that text clarity suffers when the choir, or even >1 cantor, sings the lines of a psalm. And, too, we lose the pronounced textural contrast between solo/tutti.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,484
    The Respond and Verse of the Psalm need not be so well differentiated by the number of people singing the respective roles (eg. Choir or Congregation for Respond versus Cantor(s) for the Verses), for the very nature of the music itself makes such a differentiation (or it should). Typically the Verse is set to a Psalm Tone, while the Respond is composed differently.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • An interesting observation, Chuck! In fact (Ha! Just imagine this!) our modern responsorial psalm should mirror the (vestigial) responsorial gradual which it has replaced. To wit: the people's responsory should be relatively simple (though not cretinesque), whilst the cantor's verses should represent, if not an elaborate, at least a somewhat more developed melos than a mere psalm tone. The psalm tone is, after all, the repetitive formula to which an entire community sings the psalms. It is hardly worthy of the cantor's art! In fact each of his (or her) verses should have its own chant-like melos.
  • SkirpRSkirpR
    Posts: 854
    I've recently come to think that the model for the Responsorial Psalm as presented by the Lectionary reformers is not quite what was intended by the musicians who proposed the idea. Just look at what the Graduale Simplex proposes for the Psalmus Responsorialis (or whatever they call it) - much more like the Short Responsories of the Divine Office.
  • Skirp, that's how I set them to music, using the formulas from the Graduale Simplex.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    The original question, requiring a fairly direct, simple answer, has now been extenuated in a number of directions. The manner of chanting all the verses between the responses is quite licit and perhaps ideal in specific circumstances.
    That said, some of the replies concerning the locale of the Psalmist and the intent of the solo/all "antiphonal" rendition vis a vis conciliar reforms reveal a sort of selective thinking in certain posts. Whether one nuances the realtionship between the first lesson and the psalm as reflective or otherwise, the responsorial psalm in the OF is still a distinct event with a distinct purpose within the Liturgy of the Word.
    In that context, the ambo (or at least an epistle side pulpit) is the preferred heirarchical location for the Psalmist. The "another suitable place" is a codicil quite like the fourth option in the processionals. If we assert that those options in the GIRM are in intent heirarchical, to argue otherwise regarding the placement of a solo/soli Psalmist(s) is intellectually inconsistent.
    Even at vernacular Masses in the OF at colloquia, the use of the common form of the responsorial psalm has never been utilized in my experiences there, and I believe that colors how we reply to the specifics of the question asked, and its circumstances. We may concur with Prof. Mahrt that the gradual is a fuller expression of the assigned proper psalm, but that shouldn't cross-relate to the practice of the "normative" responsorial psalm. Neither does the competence or lack thereof of the Psalmist mitigate that particular question. If the Psalmist is also the organist wherever the console is, then "another suitable place" is the logical solution, no problem. Lacking that reality, a competent Psalmist should make an effort to cant the verses from the ambo, and let the choir/congregation exercize their role in responding.
    If you're blessed with great Psalmists (who don't don horned helmets and breastplates) and a competent choir that can sing the response in SATB without losing the PIPs, everyone should sing their parts quite successfully. That has been my experience for decades.
    Noble simplicity, liturgical integrity and artful performance cures a myriad of ills.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • I am thoroughly convinced that when the decision was made to go vernacular and can Latin and Chant and choirs...there was a secret meeting that went like this:

    "How do we defuse any complaints and run this right by them without opposition?"

    The lightbulb went on over someone's head.

    "Simple. We give them THE RESPONSORIAL PSALM."

    "What?"

    "It's perfect. We decimate the choir by giving all the people in the choir who want to sing the spotlight, letting them sing solo at a Mass! We wear out the organist who now has to teach and accompany a soloist trying to sing a solo at every Mass on the weekend. These people will stop singing in the choir, leaving the choir high and dry without anyone who can really sing. And the director of music ends up having to do the legwork to figure out what psalm settings to sing and also schedule all these prima donnas.

    "And, the harder they try to make this work, the bigger the arguments - where should they stand? On a step? At the Ambo? In the loft?

    "And then we get them raising their hands to indicate when to sing...that will drive people crazy, too! We can have classes and books about how to raise their hands

    "There's more!"

    "Tell them they can sing the Gospel Alleluia...but if it is not sung it has to be eliminated. We will drive them CRAZY!"

    Hours upon hours upon hours spent trying to get people to sing a changing part of the Mass. And bogging down a music program.



    Psalms were sung at the LOH of the hours for centuries. Go back to that formula, do them in English if you have to and move on...to reestablish chant at the ordinary of the Mass. That's the first goal, the second is to eliminate hymns and sing the propers...then look at the psalm.

    Catholic churches across the US speak the psalm. Are not the Ordinary and the Propers more important than an antiphon from a psalm?
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,484
    Psalms were sung at the LOH of the hours for centuries.

    True. And a Responsorial Psalm followed the first reading at Mass as early as around 400 A.D.
  • Noel,

    I tend to agree that the cultivation of a solo singer as a requirement does more harm than good—which is one reason why I have been loath to introduce it at my new parish. It does indeed task the DoM with coaching and training individuals as solo singers … which requires either sacrificing choral rehearsal time or meeting independently, for which there is seldom time.

    A few parishes ago, I had the cantors prepare the psalm and alleluia on their own. That usually worked well enough, but when it didn’t it was problematic finding time to coach people. The number of cantors, even in a parish of >4,000 households, was fairly small—the end result of which being that I either had to accept the occasoinal “iffy” solo singing (all amplified, of course) or to sing more Masses myself. (There were staff accompanists; I generally only conducted or sang.)

    I do quite a bit of solo singing myself at the Mass now, but only as an expedience until I can find the right “balance” to have the choir singing all of the Propers in full. (Richard Rice’s “Simple Latin Propers” are a huge aid toward this end!)

    I feel this is a topic that merits more discussion: what are the best alternatives to having a solo cantor for the chants between the readings? What are the contexts in which use of such is indicated? All things being equal, would the liturgy be better off if, somehow, the rubrical emphasis on the Lectionary texts at the expense of those from the Graduale were reversed?
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    Even the introit, offertory and communion were originally sung "responsorially" with the antiphon being sung after every few psalm verses.

    Look at the Graduals. They were originally sung as antiphon and psalm verses. Things eventually developed into only one psalm verse, just like the introit and we stopped bothering with the verses for the communio all together.
    Thanked by 1Andrew Motyka
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,484
    and we stopped bothering with the verses for the communio all together.

    We did? Do we now?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,387
    Prior to 1958, the communion antiphon was sung only at the end of the communion rite, so there was no occasion for singing verses.

    Moreover, (if I am informed rightly) in many churches, the communion rite was minimal: Holy Communion was not distributed at some Masses, and in those cases only the priest received the Sacrament during Mass. In some places, It was distributed more often after Mass.

  • I think that by 'originally sung' Hartley may mean 'anciently', not merely before 1958. Anciently, as in before Trent, and maybe before the years 1000 or 500? Still, though, there is a basic problem in his assertion: the Introit, Offertory, and Communion were never responsorial forms: they were and are antiphonal forms; only the Gradual or Psalm, and the Gospel acclamations are historically responsorial forms. Antiphonal and responsorial psalmody are two quite distinct forms. For greater clarification see my comments way up above. There seems to be an awful lot of confusion about these musico-literary forms of the various propers - even amongst those scholars who are composing, centonising, and compiling English propers and simplified Latin ones - not to mention well-intentioned choirmasters.

    Of course, Chonak is correct about the Communion antiphon: from of old it had been shorn of its verses, as had the Offertory antiphon (which is not to say that we can't restore them!).
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,484
    from of old it had been shorn of its verses, as had the Offertory antiphon (which is not to say that we can't restore them!).

    Indeed. Exactly.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,655
    When it comes to the restoration of antient practices, we really ought to proceed with causion: Perhaps there was a reason why the Gradual was shortened to the form of Respond/Verse/Respond - to reign in the solo cantors? - or for the Pax to be relegated to the Sacred Ministers.

    To say "The liturgy was better in the Early Church; X was done in the Early Church: therefore we must restore X" is hogwash. Not to mention that it is the kind of liturgical antiquarianism condemned by Ven. Pius XII.

    Also, Trent was not some Bogey Man destroying the Roman Use, despite what some people may claim about the 'radical revision' of the Mass made by Trent, we need to realize the the Middle Ages were not all peaches and cream, and that there were some very serious liturgical problems that had to be dealt with; e.g. Mass used to curse an enemy by having a Requiem said for a living person and then burying his effigy; superstitious connexions between a number of candles and votive Masses; etc.
  • There is much to commend your observation, Salieri. I don't think, though, that many of us are in favour of patent liturgical antiquariansim. Many liturgical practices of past times would no longer make liturgical sense or be expressive or our faith as revealed in liturgy. Others were omitted in earlier times for such reasons, such as the antiphonal Offertory and Communion psalmody, because they took too much time (sound familiar?) in a rite in which the offertory procession and communion of the faithful had ceased to be features of liturgy. Happily, we have restored the offertory procession and communion of the faithful, and, along with them, should very well restore the psalmody which accompanies them. Too, one might consider that a 'restoration' that might be mere antiquarian oddness in one situation may, with catechesis as to function, meaning, and symbolism, be quite a propos in another. One example: some parishes follow the mediaeval catechetical custom of burying alleluya on Ash Wednesday and resurrecting it on Easter Day. This is very meaningful to children and others, besides being rather a joyous thing. Admittedly, this would not be appreciated everywhere. Clearly, though, we wouldn't want to resurrect practices expressive of 'superstitious connexions'!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,390
    Clearly, though, we wouldn't want to resurrect practices expressive of 'superstitious connexions'!


    You wouldn't want to.
  • What am I to say, Adam? Would you want to?
    Or, is your tongue perhaps in your cheek?
    There is and has been plenty of superstition in popular piety and outright officially sanctioned belief and practice throughout the Church's history. Borrowings from native religion expressive of actual heresy are rife in South America and Africa, and probably here and there in this country as well. Such borrowings from 'the old religion' (paganism) had a robust presence in historical Europe, and still do in out-of-the-way places there.

    I must, though, make an addendum to my comments above to Salieri's salient remarks. There are times and places when and where what some would label antiquarianism is quite en-joying, spiritually beneficial, and profoundly meaningful to quite a few of us who find a certain fulfillment in certain things and practices which a given culture has seen fit to discard. Discovering the meaning, purpose and message in so-called antiquarian liturgical praxis may, in certain company, be not essentially different from reading and being informed by antique spiritual literature. There is no inherent superstition here. Only joy in old treasures.

    (Another addendum: I can think, for instance, that passing the 'pax board' would be far more loving and reverent than the way the pax is passed in large numbers of our churches!)
    Thanked by 2melofluent CHGiffen
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,390
    Or, is your tongue perhaps in your cheek?


  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    There is and has been plenty of superstition in popular piety and outright officially sanctioned belief and practice throughout the Church's history

    Name that tune in two notes: Ash Wednesday.
    Looking forward to this evening's EF Low Mass.
    Thanked by 1PurpleSquirrel
  • My brain hurts after reading through this thread in its entirety. But that's OK. It's a "good hurt".
    Love the conspiracy theory, Noel.
  • davido
    Posts: 383
    Has anyone sung songs through "in directum" in place of the responsorial psalm? and if you do it, what text do you use? just the verses prescribed in the responsorial psalm? or the whole psalm taken from some other source?

    I have been entertaining this idea a lot in this COVID time with the lack of singing congregations, and in funerals in general.
  • At the Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham we customarily sing the psalm In directum to Anglican chant instead of responsorily. We follow the Miles Coverdale translation. I think that we sing the same verses that are appointed for the psalm sung responsorily, without, of course, the responsory, which would be self evidently oxymoronic in what would be in directum psalmody. There are times, however, at which we sing the Gradual (a la Palmer-Burgess) - usually on some solemnities and other times and seasons. Although Anglican chant was historically sung only by the choir, we at Walsingham have the people sing it as well, as is customary with Anglicans in the US, though not so much, if at all, in Britain. Our people sing it quite lustily, so, with patience and persistence you should be able to get your people to sing it if you wish. They will like it. Too they should be encouraged to sing SATB - this is wonderful with an entire congregation.
  • We are doing everything straight through: refrain, verse verse verse, refrain. It’s working just fine. We are cantor or choir only, though.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • With respect, it doesn't seem to me that Serviam's procedure is in directum if a responsory is being sung at regular intervals. It is responsorial without any distinction of music or persons between responsory and verses. This is odd, and certainly neither in directum nor truly responsorial. Indeed, if I were doing what he is doing I would provide a simple chant-like responsory for the people and have the choir sing the verses to Anglican chant. This would be truly responsorial, but not, of course, in directum. I think that this would be very effective.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 262
    We are doing everything straight through: refrain, verse verse verse, refrain. It’s working just fine. We are cantor or choir only, though.
    I've done it several times like this under the present covid-19 restrictions, where 'choir' equals 3 (now 2), no congregational singing allowed.

    Probably to be discontinued; I thought it to be a good idea to program the lectionary psalm, when usually we sing a substitute for which there is a choral arrangement in our repertoire (no more than about ten). But now I heard from the parish council that 'people want' (red flag!) something more familiar... there'll be a meeting tomorrow...
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,209
    The intention of the reformers was, broadly speaking, to add to the Gospel readings an OT text and a psalm which foreshadow some aspect of it -
    61. After the First Reading follows the Responsorial Psalm, which is an integral part of the Liturgy of the Word and which has great liturgical and pastoral importance, since it fosters meditation on the Word of God. ... ...
    The Responsorial Psalm was intended as a 'heightened' reading. That means it is important that the words be comprehensible, sung to be understood, not as a carrier for a beautiful or familiar melody.
    @Elmar - The parish council should be asked to reflect on GIRM§61 and what the Church asks us to do, and weigh "foster meditation" against what people are familiar with. They would probably gallop off after the plethora of options, but need to be dragged back to that opening purpose. Most musicians do too.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 262
    The parish council should be asked to reflect on GIRM§61 and what the Church asks us to do, and weigh "foster meditation" against what people are familiar with.
    This is kind of what I'll try to mention tomorrow, at least if they are willing to listen to arguments. These folks view themselves as progressives, but they heavily resist any changes to what they 'achieved' in the 80s and 90s.
    Especially that it's the parish council that posses the eternal thruths and therefore decides what is good for the people, rather than the pastor or anybody else.
  • Indeed, if I were doing what he is doing I would provide a simple chant-like responsory for the people and have the choir sing the verses to Anglican chant.


    This is borne of necessity, not preference. Our diocese has not permitted any congregational singing since March (February?). At any rate, a lonnnng time. So, this was the only way to still permit a small schola to sing the psalm, properly speaking (as opposed to a florid gradual which is typically beyond them) and yet not tempt the people to constantly interject the refrain. We prefer to sing the psalms rather than recite them which, along with the gloria, is a huge let down when simply recited in a corporate worship sense. (Private devotions are another matter entirely.) So, we sing the refrain (antiphon), [anglican] chant the verses, and then repeat the antiphon one more time. I don't know how this could possibly be avoided if we are to sing, apart from, as I mentioned, singing the gradual.
  • davido
    Posts: 383
    Does anybody use/sing the gradual in the vernacular?
    Thanked by 1BruceL
  • I did (as mentioned in another thread) the Palmer/Burgess graduals for a while when lockdown was first implemented. It was just me and the priest on the live stream, so we took the opportunity to expose the congregation to something new. Chanting the gradual really makes good sense, especially during all the covid weirdness as no response is required.

    This was at the express request of my priest, and he encourages me to still offer the graduals from time to time. Sometimes I sing them at the 7:30am mass when it's just me.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,039
    Does anybody use/sing the gradual in the vernacular?


    @davido you'd have to get approval from the bishop. It's not licit otherwise.
  • Bruce, why is that?
  • ...gradual in the vernacular?
    We do at times in the Ordinariate Use - the P-B versions.

    There is, however, an unfortunate 'catch' relative to the OF, which Bruce has pointed out. The option of the gradual from the GR applies to the actual GR chant, not a vernacular adaptation of it. Only approved ritual texts may be used for the ritual portions of the mass, as distinct from musical 'ornaments' such as hymns and anthems. This makes it all the more sad (and irresponsible) that the bishops have not seen fit to provide approved English texts for the propers - evidently because they don't at all care about or want them. I would, however, gladly be proved mistaken in this and would be delighted for someone convincingly and licitly to demolish this reasoning.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen a_f_hawkins