Regarding bilingualism-Latin/vernaculars
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I know of select Ordinary settings that have over-laid Latin descants to the English translations. I am, as of yet, unfamiliar with any settings that alternate Latin and English (or Spanish, Tagalog, Portuguese etc.) in a very structured manner. What are your opinions of such a hybrid? Opinions, canonical citations/caveats, examples, empirical evidence....all welcomed.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    For some parishes it would be suitable for major feasts. For the Easter Vigil, I attended a church with English, Spanish, and French-speaking communities, and it was disappointing that the Exsultet was sung in only one language while the other two languages were projected on a screen. Since there probably are settings of the chant melody in all three languages, it would have been a good thing to combine them.
    Thanked by 1melofluent
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    My experience of hybrids (the technical term is "macaronic") is that they tend to be very joyful, sometimes even rollicking. In dulci iubilo is an example. I would take into account when considering the Ordinary.
    Thanked by 1melofluent
  • A macaronic ordinary?? What a grotesque idea.

    It should be noted that the examples Kathy quotes above are carols and hymns, extra-liturgical music - not ritual music. In addition to Kathy's examples are the peculiarly German genre of songs called 'leisen', which have a German chorale text followed by the familiar 'kyrieleison', or, often, just 'kyrieleis', or even sandwich the text between the words 'kyrie' and 'eleison' in the style of a troped kyrie, which was, obviously, their inspiration. But again, these are extra-liturgical musics, not intended for ritual use.

    Is there no end to the urges of these people to subject the ritual text of the mass to yet another clever linguistic or musical game. The ritual text is sacred. There exists no reason or (valid) purpose for tinkering with it - unless, I suppose, one were a beady-eyed male or female ghoul working to find yet another sales appeal for people like GIA to sell, as in 'make money from' - or a beady-eyed 'composer' who thinks that he or she has been inspired with yet another liturgical gimmick... to sell, as in 'make money from'.

    So, one has a multi-lingual situation?
    Then sing everything once only - in Latin! (Including the readings!)
    So, you don't like Latin?
    Then choose any one language out of the hundreds spoken on this planet and celebrate mass in it. Just ONE. But don't insult people by thinking they need to be pampered or will have their egos stepped on if there isn't a cameo appearance of their tongue. The mass is not a pastiche. It is a sacred, inviolable, linguistic and aesthetic whole.

    If I am at a Spanish or Viet-Namese mass, why on earth would I be pleased to hear some part of it in English, as if 1) I had no idea what was actually happening, or 2) I would feel left out (which I wouldn't), or as if 3) I was such a cultural narcissist that I would fail to appreciate the unmitigated beauty of a French or Japanese ritual (which I'm not).

    Gracious! It seems, sometimes, that if we don't have divisions and discord amongst us, someone will invent them.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    I've never been to a Mass that was mostly not in English, but had a tiny bit of English thrown in here and there. OTOH, I have been to a lot of Masses in English, with bits of Spanish or Latin thrown in. I've also been to fully-bilingual (English-Spanish) Masses.

    My feelings are:

    - Fully Bilingual (two vernaculars) -- this can work, but is very difficult to pull of in a way that makes much sense. Of the hundreds of such Masses I have attended, probably only a handful were particularly successful.

    - Dominant Vernacular with secondary vernacular -- I always feel weird about this. Since I have always been a part of the dominant vernacular, I can't know how it feels. Does it feels inclusive? Welcoming? Pandering? Pointless? I get the sense that people planning these liturgies are usually dominant-vernacular speakers, and it makes them feel good to include the secondary vernacular. It feels multicultural and exotic and inclusive. I'm not sure if these are good reasons to do something.

    - Vernacular with some ritual Latin (or Greek) thrown in -- This usually manifests in one or two Ordinary movements being done in Latin: Agnus Dei, Sanctus, or Kyrie (Greek). Kyrie makes the most sense... it was in a foreign language in the Latin Mass, why not keep it in a foreign language in the English Mass? I don't know why people like chanting the Latin Agnus Dei so much, but people do. Part of me feels like this is good, as it serves as a reminder that the normative text for the rite is Latin.

    In fact I think this is why MJO is right and sensible, from his POV, to dislike mixed-language liturgy. In Anglicanism, and so therefore in the Anglican Ordinariate, the normative text is English. In the "normal" OF, English is a gloss on the Latin. Letting the Latin show-through makes some sense there. But in an Anglican rite, you are basically smashing two liturgical texts together.

    - Then there are Vernacular Masses with some Latin music -- motets and/or hymns. A Latin motet in a vernacular Mass communicates (to me, anyway) that understanding the text of the motet is not important. It is just sound. Latin hymns that actually get used in English Masses (Adeste Fidelis, Veni Veni Emmanuel, Salve Regina, O Sanctissima, etc) tend to have a certain nostalgia factor. I'm not sure if nostalgia is a good criteria for selecting music.

    - Latin as an ornament. An English Gloria with a Latin descant, etc. This seems like abusing the language a bit, just for the sake of a musical effect.
  • doneill
    Posts: 204
    I would agree with Adam largely, but both agree and disagree with the comment about Latin motets within a vernacular Mass. It is perfectly fine, provided that people are provided a translation in a worship aid. If it's not, he is correct in that it communicates that the text is not important.
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen ryand CCooze
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,139
    The last time I was at Notre Dame de Paris, the lections and spoken ritual parts were in French, the Ordinary was in Latin and the choir sang two English motets. It was great because all the texts were presented in a translation.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen BruceL
  • ...choir sang two...

    Interesting that the French are singing English motes - at mass! yet.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,706
    My unabashed preference is for the traditional liturgy, so with the exception of a motet (since we have Anglican ones, for example, we might as well use them) and hymns (De musica sacra is a later law, and merely law), I prefer every ritual word and chant from the aspersion to the Marian anthem, to be in Latin. I am placated in the new form when the Ordinary and even Propers are in Latin.

    What’s weirder is using a minority vernacular... We have Spanish Mass once a month sponsored by “Latinos for Christ” and a religious congregation from Spain that has its American house in Steubenville. The vernacular approved for the USA is Mexican, even though these sisters are Spanish and the LFC members hail from all over Latin America (there are two missals, correct?). The rest of us speak English, and it is a case where the recent development of Latin being a unifier is a very good thing.

    Adam, your dominant vernacular with a bit of a secondary tongue thrown in makes me cringe... I get that impression too from the powers that be.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    We have Spanish Mass once a month


    This makes no sense to me.
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,139
    A community in Georgia made up literally of Anglos and Hispanics built a church together. They could not compromise on the languages shown in the artwork ( English or Spanish) so the architect suggested Latin in the church. And that is what it is.

    And they said Latin was useless.....
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Ben Yanke
  • Andrew_Malton
    Posts: 1,069
    Some examples, as requested by OP.

    The Alstott "Heritage" Mass is certainly the widely sung setting with Latin descant or decoration for essentially English texts. We sing it with a couple of stronger voices on the Latin bits (rather than going for a full descant sound). It sounds richer then, and noone complains about the Latin (when we sing Latin only, they do).

    For me "Heritage" in that sense is a bit like "heritage tomatoes", a slightly old-looking plant that you make a bit of room in the garden for, for interest's sake. The Beefsteak ones are the one you really want, though.

    At another church we often sing Gregorian Latin propers with the English OF liturgy. When we do that, the psalm verses are in English. And for clarity we always sing an English antiphon, either to a psalm tones or to one of Fr Weber's Englished Gregorian adaptations, before launching the Latin.

    Of course there are two places in the vernacular Missal where bilingualism is explicitly on offer: the Kyrie is in Greek or the vernacular; and the Reproaches are in both, in succession. (This year we did only English, though, from Richard Rice.)
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,706
    Adam, I know!
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Mr. Malton reminds us of the integral role of the Trisagion in the Improperia (not to mention the Kyrie.) The alternation of Latin and Greek may be an "allusion" to the polar roles of Rome and Constantinople, but does that necessarily argue for or against a precedent or rationale for a macaronic Ordinary setting? As has been pointed out, many DM's, myself included, have no qualms about Latin Missa movements being folded into an English OF/NO. In the Roman Rite is that also a grotesquerie? Not arguing, just inquiring. Should a composer otherwise follow all of the philosophical intents specified in MS in terms of genus, is a hybrid Latin/English text more egregious than the Anglophile Propers?
    The Beefsteak ones are the one you really want, though.

    They are indeed the ones WE want. But in terms of the great unwashed we really must change the object from "want" to "need." Some folks really want Velveeta, not Stilton.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen eft94530
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    provided that people are provided a translation in a worship aid. If it's not, he is correct in that it communicates that the text is not important.


    I would never communicate that. However, I might communicate that I think the congregation is so well-informed that it knows the text already.

    Oops: that is a digression. Back to multi-vernacular Masses...
  • ...so well-informed...

    Amen, and amen to this.
    Always have I thought it better to give people too much credit than not enough!
    Thanked by 2CCooze CHGiffen
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    I am pretty well informed. However I would not necessarily understand the text of a Latin motet sung by a choir.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    It depends on the motet, doesn't it? You wouldn't really need a translation for "Panis angelicus", would you?
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    So, I hate announcements during Mass, but our music director tries to solve your problem by saying that the schola is going to sing ___, and then reads the English translation aloud before we begin.
    Thanked by 2eft94530 CHGiffen
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,706
    I would want a translation of the Panis Angelicus, but if people don’t know a relatively straightforward setting of the Ave Maria in English is the “Hail Mary” we have problems.

    CCooze, that means a serious discussion about a printed order of worship is in order.
    Thanked by 2eft94530 CHGiffen
  • doneill
    Posts: 204
    I would never communicate that. However, I might communicate that I think the congregation is so well-informed that it knows the text already.


    Well, I left out the part where I would encourage all the school children to learn Latin, so that a good portion of the community is able to comprehend it without a translation provided. But in the meantime...
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    I've mentioned it to the rector... How many ways do people really need to be told about/invited to sing things? It seems incredibly disruptive to me (and I'm, of course, not the only one who thinks so).

    We have the hymn numbers in our bulletins, on the hymn board, and then it's announced through a microphone anyway.

    (edit* decided to just snapshot the pertinent part of the bulletin, and so removed links to the pdf)
    ex:
    image
    (no translation for Hosanna, Filio David because the English chant had been done back during the blessing/procession of the palms)
    image

    As you can see, they have translations, hymn numbers, missal pages, etc. - but all of these things get announced anyway. The one that really bugged me, and seemed terribly ironic, was the announcement (also listed in the bulletin): "In keeping with our Lenten observance, we will keep prayerful silence as the ministers recess from the sanctuary" ... which was announced immediately prior to said recessing. I don't know why it was a necessary announcement every single weekend Mass (excluding the Latin Mass) - what are people going to do, start singing their own hymns as the priests recess if they aren't told not to? *sigh*
    734 x 745 - 277K
    741 x 681 - 261K
    Thanked by 2eft94530 CHGiffen
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Information overload is a problem there. Putting all that service info in the bulletin, amid a jumble of other distracting material, is not helpful.

    If you can't make the music program a sheet by itself (maybe a half-sheet), then you can devote the whole front page of the bulletin to it.

    As for microphone announcements, they are tacky, and I would rather not do them, but they do wake people up and get them to pick up the hymn book.

    Oops: sorry again, off-topic.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    If I am at a Spanish or Viet-Namese mass, why on earth would I be pleased to hear some part of it in English, as if 1) I had no idea what was actually happening, or 2) I would feel left out (which I wouldn't), or as if 3) I was such a cultural narcissist that I would fail to appreciate the unmitigated beauty of a French or Japanese ritual (which I'm not).


    MJO's sentiments are his, and other people's sentiments are theirs. And people have their sentiments about language whether you or I or MJO find them reasonable or not.

    Within the US, we've found that people's feelings about language in religion are influential. A hundred years ago there was even a schism of Polish-American Catholics who broke away after they felt neglected by the non-Polish-speaking clergy, at a time when the Mass was all in Latin, save the sermon.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,067
    We've started doing all the diocesan programs in a bilingual setup. Some people here (in the diocese, not at our parish) were worried that we were being "elitist", so we were proactive and added translations. It seems to have satisfied the angry voices. This Mass is our most middle-of-the-road all year, with almost no Latin compared to our usual Sunday celebration. It would make most sense to me to do MORE Latin in a bilingual setup, especially as most of the Hispanic Catholics around here know at least Sanctus and Agnus XVIII. Anyhow, see attached.
  • Nice service folder, Bruce!
    Very nice!
    Smartly done!

  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,372
    " beady-eyed male or female ghoul working to find yet another sales appeal for people like GIA to sell"
    Love it!
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,678
    We once had a wedding couple who requested the ICEL Gloria sung alternating with polyphony, so we did the Victoria Mode IV Gloria in Latin alternating with the Missal Gloria. It seemed a bit odd and I've never repeated it.
    Thanked by 1BruceL
  • ...a bit odd...

    Ah! Would that more wedding couples were so 'odd', eh? These are the ones for whose weddings it is a delight to play.
    Thanked by 1melofluent