Music Paper Madness
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,283
    OK... I have been thinking about all this for quite a while now. I AM GOING CRAZY WITH ALL THE PAPER!!!!!

    We have throw away hymnals in the pews. Three HUGE binders hold the entire WLP library of music masters which I have to run off every week for all ensembles. The guitar arrangements are not good (AT ALL). I have to make arrangements for the contemporary group every week. I have three hole punch confetti all over my office. The numbers in the congregational hymnal and the choir hymnal and the master sheets ARE ALL DIFFERENT! Every three months I inherit a brand new hymnal with NEW DIFFERENT NUMBERS and NEW DIFFERENT MUSIC. I now have an online subscription to CCL. More paper management. I am constantly downloading and printing pdf's of choral music. I am composing and arranging music all the time and printing them out.

    I am adrift in a paper nightmare.

    Don't get me wrong! I like the flexibility of the internet and the many musics that are to be had. But how do you all present the music to your ensembles? We have been using three ring binders. IMHO, they are too big and clunky and after a while quite ugly. They get overstuffed with dog ears and there has to be a better way. I am a huge fan of octavo sized music, but that model does not fit into the internet/computer schema anymore.

    Now I am considering a comb bind system with cardboard covers.

    What is YOUR solution to this madness!!
  • yes, it is madness. The only thing worse is having to use only bound volumes! We encourage people to throw stuff out when it is no longer needed, and pretty much try to keep only copies of what we need at the time. Still, we have some schola members who are packrats, and bring in HUGE binders of music every week, 2, 3, and 4 of them. It is crazy.
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 985
    I use 3 ring binders, and just put up with the waste of paper. I also waste CDs, because I make practice recordings for every Mass we do.

    All of this is on our website, but you can't sing from a website during Mass. You can't make little notes on your page without putting it on paper first. And you can't listen to the website on your car stereo.

    I saw a show on TV (the Grammies from last year?) where Wynton Marsalis's group (IIRC) was using electronic screens for all their music. All I wondered about was how they got the licensing rights to do that.

    Someday....
  • gregpgregp
    Posts: 632
    Jeffrey, time to post your clip from A Day at the Races again....
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Thanks for the time with the Marx Brothers. Now I'll think of them every time I snap open my binders, not to mention Choral Praise, Choral Comprehensive, the occasional number from Gather, Worship, We Celebrate, etc., etc. Makes me long for my time with the 1982 Hymnal.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Wait, I forgot how every year OCP and WLP change the numbers in the music issues and how there are different numbers in the choral editions and in the pew editions, ensuring that half the choir is looking at the wrong number, especially the basses.
  • gregpgregp
    Posts: 632
    I used to hand out sheets with three columns for each piece of music: column 1 showing the OCP Music Issue # (for the PIPs), column 2 showing the Choral Praise # (for the choir), and column 3 showing the Accompaniment # (for the Organist).

    Now we just sing a capella from the PBC for the Ordinary parts and sung dialogue. I still have to copy propers for them from 2 or 3 different sources every Sunday, though.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,079
    I gave up on the paper some years ago. It was driving me nuts. Even though I am not always fond of it, I use RitualSong. Other than an anthem, if it's not in RS, I don't use it. However, I am looking forward to the day when the new translations are published so I can get a new hymnal.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,283
    Yes, now Father is balking at getting a hymnal because of translations. I am all for getting the hymnal anyway. I am not after Mass translations in a hymnal. We will see. Meanwhile, I will let you all know how it goes when I get out from under the paper pile.

    JT: That movie is quite apprapo!
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Gregp - How did you ensure that the singers were looking in the right column? (Just kidding, of course.)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,283
    Gregp - wow, that is more aggressive than me! Today I am trying to plan all the liturgies on an iPod touch and then wi-fi email the musicians their next task!
  • Well, churches in my diocese are going to the big PPT screens. That certainly saves paper, but it destroys something else.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,846
    I don't know if it'll help, but projectors in church were forbidden by De musica sacra, 1958, para. 73:

    "The use of any kind of projector, and particularly movie projectors, with or without sound track, is strictly forbidden in church for any reason, even if it be for a pious, religious, or charitable cause."

    This prohibition goes along with a set of regulations on the use of other media equipment: loudspeakers, playback of recordings, etc.

    I don't know whether this rule remains in force.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Oh no, not the "big screen sing-along"! This is the bane of evangelical worship, especially because the slides are always fouled up somehow. Not to mention the sports-bar effect that a giant screen gives. You need to form tactical squads for stealth wire-pulling prior to Masses. The next thing we'll have is super-titles for Father in case he mumbles.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    It must be so they can put up the translation of the Latin, right?
  • Well, MS or no, our cathedral uses them as do some of the better funded churches in town. Guess they didn't bother to check the documents. One music director is convinced that more people are singing now that they don't have to fumble through hymnals (and posits that looking up helps the sound). It's not for me though...
  • It might have these advantages, sure. but i'm still against it for all the reasons stated above.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,283
    Never the projector! Ultimate in tacky! (posted with my new iPod Touch on my new wireless network - this ain't easy!)
  • gregpgregp
    Posts: 632
    I've only experienced the "big screen" thing once, in Clermont, FL (what is it with Florida, MJ?), and I really felt that 'stadium' vibe, as if we would be asked to do the wave, or pretty soon they would zoom in on someone in the crowd (sorry, congregation) and and have them answer a question so they could go meet Shamu up close. And what a setting for Aristotle's Stadium Mass!!!!
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    This is sad. Their minds and eyes are focused on what? How far is this explicity going to rob our minds from our liturgy ?
    Why are catholics so obsessed with their horrible singing, without knowing how, what and why they are singing for?
  • miacoyne, I'm no fan of projectors and screens, but how do you make this leap of logic? I'll bet all those people are quite focused on the liturgy (of course it is suspended for a moment while a hymn replaces a proper, but that has nothing to do with the screen). I understand your dismay, but I think we should all keep in mind the fact that very faithful Catholics are simply doing what they have learned to do and quite obediently. When a few people show up and say "hey, you should be chanting in Latin" out of the blue (to them). What's a good Catholic to think except "Who is this fossil?" I know plenty of people who really do pray "On Eagles Wings" when they sing it. We can't fault THEM.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    "very faithful Catholics are simply doing what they have learned to do and quite obediently."

    That's the sad part. it's not their fault that they are misinformed. It's not their fault someone comes saying we are singing strange language when they hear latin. It's not their fault you have all kinds of stuff, including the clown mass and hollwoeen mass, they think they are praying, even those who do liturgical dance, they claim they pray when they dance with their body. maybe they do. It's not their fault at all. I never blame them. But I do feel sorry.
    In this forum we are here to promote sacred music, both vernacular and latin. When we point out negative things, it 's not to blame people, (some people here seem to mistakenly take that way.) but oftentimes it is a necessary step to improve practices of the liturgy and help the church. I believe that's why we are here. To gether ideas to help each other and help our church with sacred music as best as we can. What I said in the above post I don't see anything wrong. I see a deep connection between the negative consequences and promoting congrregational singing as an end in itself, disregarding 'internal active participation' and MDs being judged by the number of the people and volume of the singing. We've already opened to pop-sacro music and non -catholic texts to our litrugy for that reason, what next? (singing in vernacular or latin is not a issue here. Of course there are lots of beautiful sacred music in vernacular, which are overshadowed by 'other kinds of music'.)
    We need to stop and think why? We are in a position where we can be misleading others in the church very seriously more than others in the pew.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 652
    Ohio State's student parish projected the words up on a screen, back as far as fifteen or twenty years ago. It was horrendous. (For other reasons, too, although not anything as bad as some places.) If I'd been there for more than one Sunday, I would have hopped a bus to a real church.

    Re: binders -- If you really are switching music a lot, you can use plastic sleeves in a folder and just slip the pages in and out of the sleeves. But yeah, there has to be a better way than wasting all this paper!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,846
    That Vatican document wouldn't have forbidden projectors in church unless someone had tried using them already in the '50s.
  • Right after Vatican II, my home parish instituted the use of an overhead projector (flashed up on the wall next to the altar)... felt like that old show... follow the bouncing ball... haven't seen one in years, though (thankfully).

    the ultimate in tacky.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    So people who don't want to pick up their hymnals, wouldn't 'mind' singing, because of the projectors?
    There is a line between 'encouraging' and 'imposing' singing on congregation. I'm sure there are some exceptional cases, you have nothing but using something projectors and screens. And you ask for a permission from the church or bishops to do so. But let's not take that kind of exceptional cases as a norm.

    Singing is for lovers, who are in love with God, not with gagdets and projectors.
    In order for people to experience the love of God, they need to experience the beauty of the liturgy, starting from listening to the truths and receiving the truths as the truths.
    I really don't believe forcing people who don't want to sing will help them at all, just mislead them that singing is the end in itself. Isn't that what happened last 40 years, using pop style music and pretty, poetic, but ambiguous texts to promote the idea of congregational singing? Ok, I think the catholics got the idea about singing, I think it's time to provide real liturgical music, from which people can experience the beauty and grace from God.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Why do I have a problem with jumbo-tron school of congregational singing? Because it's another intrusion of something that is so intrinsically secular into what should be "sacred space and sacred time." Okay, I know they have them in St. Peter's Square and at international papal Masses. Sorry, the 10 o'clock Sunday Mass at St. Francis of the Wounded Sparrow is not the same. This is an evangelical P&W style that derails the distinctiveness and focus of the Roman Catholic Mass. (If your local "celebrations" are already long-gone in this direction, try to imagine the sing-along screen at an Eastern Rite or Orthodox liturgy.)

    There are several good points in this discussion that I'm recapping here:

    Michael is right about the internal disposition of many singers of "On Eagle's Wings" and that you can't just show up and get in their faces.

    Greg is right that most churches in Florida look and feel like stadiums (yes, I know it's "stadia" in the original). Let me know when you're visiting and I'll arrange a wave in your honor.

    Mia is right in questioning the determination to "make everyone sing, no matter what." I used to base my success on how many mouths I could see moving in the congregation/assembly/audience. Then I began to listen to people and learned that many of them just don't like to sing. (For me, singing is like breathing and the music never stops playing in my tiny head.) And it doesn't matter what the music is - they want to think, pray, listen (astonishing thought!), whatever. And it isn't my business to dragoon them into my project.

    Last but not least, I wish I owned stock in Avery. I am the queen of heavy-duty non-glare sheet protectors and I have the binders to prove it.
  • There is a line between 'encouraging' and 'imposing' singing on congregation.

    Agreed, and when we can return in our parishes to a body of music that is uniform and not constantly changing, singing will improve. How frustrating it is now when we cannot memorize the words to a hymn because there are multiple versions of it extant, some claiming to be "up-to-date" based on the "latest findings in hymn scholarship" or whatever!? Put the same hymn as found in Adoremus next to two different disposable missallettes and you might end up with three slightly different versions of the same hymn!

    But we need to get away from hymns at Mass anyhow.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,283
    Sheet protectors-

    Big problem

    How does the choir mark up their music?!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,283
    I am not convinced congregational singing is as critically important as most make it out to be.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I'm sure a genious will come up with a handy, dandy 'electric' choir book, where you can even make notes and 'save' and 'delete' kinds of stuff. Isn't there already 'eletric book,'(which can help high schoolers with heavy backpack, cause of back problem later). Anyway, it might not be too long, we need to be patient.
    In the mean time, maybe sort loose music mostly in your computer and have choir members to do so? and recycling bins?
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    mjb - I'm with you on the sheet protectors if for no other reason than it's easier to turn pages!

    francis - agreed marking the music can be a problem, but I try to get everything marked up in advance and use the protectors when we're ready to go. I have some nice chorus folders that have elastic bands to hold octavos and a hand strap to hang on to the whole thing.

    Congregational singing will happen when the congregation wants to sing.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I can't come up with a theological reason against projectors, and frankly a lot of the attempts sound like twisted logic. On the other hand, I find them horribly ugly - and I think most people agree with me on that. I vote with my feet and wallet on this one - I will not attend or give money to any church with a projector installed. Crazy, maybe, and it may one day consign me to a house church, but that's my prerogative.

    Back to the main point, I have often speculated, ever since I first got one, that these newfangled "e-books" (with the AMAZING "e-ink" technology) could serve a use in church. All that would be needed is some sort of security device to keep them from being stolen and a wireless network to get data onto the screen. One could relay hymns to the books, as well as missal texts, etc. Now, like projectors, this idea strikes me as VERY wrong. But also like with projectors, I can't put my finger on why... At one point, the printing press was the newfangled technology "invading" churches with the PRINTED (GASP!) Graduals! So are us who reject projections (and while I have the Gradual on my e-reader, I refuse to sing from it) just pre-literate technophobes? I don't think so, but it's hard to explain why we aren't...
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    If you don't like E-books in the church use, provided you can afford it, just for practice use, maybe. I use a big easel to practice in the choir room for the children, but I wouldn't use it in the mass.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    I have a harpist colleague who moved all of her music onto an electronic score device, replacing tons of black binders. (She specializes in sing-alongs at senior facilities). I think it's MusicPad Pro. My excitement was quelled when I learned that the device was unreadable (as are many laptops) in sunlight. Could I only do garden weddings when it's overcast?

    I don't use sheet protectors with ensemble music, just with my solo or instrumental materials.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    That's the beauty of e-ink: it's readable just like ink on paper. Incredible technology, if a bit slow in refresh time right now. Definitely the wave of the future.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Although all that eletric stuff is good. I really prefer reading from real paper, even music. I cannot read long articles from a screen, doesn't feel like a real thing, like real paper you touch and hold to read. Feels very different. Maybe people get used to it.
  • I am convinced that congregational singing is critically important no matter what most people believe. Can one not suppose that before breaking the bread and blessing the wine at His last sup, that all present, perhaps even the conflicted betrayer who did so (if for nothing else fear of the Lord) obligingly, took up the singing of the Psalms before the One they professed as Messiah, Son of God, instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice? I speak and sing for myself only. I likewise do not invoke the presumptive beliefs of others, nor inflict mine upon the needs or wants of others. Whether they sing is up to them. God sent us His very best. If others wish to join me in singing my praise and gratitude in returning the blessing in song, I believe they'll be the better for it. That seems exemplative of a covenent relationship, one based upon the touch of senses, not by mailing it in by proxy exclusively.

    So as not to have ignored the thread, MusicPad is, IMO, a grossly, extravagantly priced laptop with a dedicated foot pedal. God bless whichever software genius patents and enables regular laptops to function as they do with USB ported pedals.

    I don't care about 1958 bans, jumbotrons in any RC Church for any reason, particularly for eliminating books, is an abomination. And they don't necessarily work even in Prot/EV megachurches; I've seen plenty of those congregations with half their mouths pursed while the praise team works the crowd with the latest "Shine, Jesus, Shine."

    As far as paper management goes; ask some of your choristers to help out with regular and mundane library tasks. Many will come forward. It's not like wearing a hairshirt or anything.

    Lastly, a pox on OCP and any other house that shifts its whole hymnal program every four years while declaring it's in our best interest to update said resources to include new, worthy product. I don't mind the marketing, I mind the hypocracy.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,283
    I should have been clearer. I meant the hymn sandwich.
  • "Congregational singing will happen when the congregation wants to sing." No truer words have been said. Thomas Day tried to pinpoint the reason that Catholics don't sing (I think his title is off, but catchy) but ascribed a bit too much to a cultural tradition that most younger Catholics don't even know. I'm pretty sure that most people don't sing the stuff that's on the hymn board because they are embarrassed to do so. We all know that congregational singing improves with traditional hymns and the chants that people know (important caveat). There seems to be a disconnect though. My observation has been that people will "fight to the death to preserve music that they won't sing." We are a strange bunch.
  • "I'm pretty sure that most people don't sing the stuff that's on the hymn board because they are embarrassed to do so. We all know that congregational singing improves with traditional hymns and the chants that people know..."

    Mike, I'm really surprised at these two declarations coming from you. You, in the past, have allowed as how such generalities are worthy of much more scrutiny, such as performance practice (in general,) and the worthiness of "the stuff" ought not to be categorized as a whole body, much less decreed as a body of embarrassment. And, could you provide empirical proof of your second statement while considering the first as well?
    And please be reminded, as I ask you of these reasonable requests, that I program deliberately and teach both forms of singing in your second statement.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    CCA - 100% agreement about the jumbotrons. I've visited a mongo-sized protestant church equipped with them and I feel like I'm right back in the office. Nothing has ever hit me as being so secular in my life, including the Budweiser t-shirts some people wear to Mass. At the same time, it is tough to figure how to encourage the folks to provide the singing you (and I) would like to hear. I wonder if anybody has ever equipped a Catholic church with an audio measuring system to really categorize when and what they're singing.

    MO - Very valid point. My grandparents were Irish, but imbued in their eldest son a love of and ability with song which he subsequently passed along as well. So much for the "Irish are quiet" theory. I think you're right that embarrassment stops folks in their tracks. Our "teen Mass" isn't much for participation. People are given a sheet with the words but no clue as to the music. So it's no more vocal than any other.
  • Charles, I will admit that you have cultivated fine congregational singing at your parish, but I offer as exhibit A, the entire state of Florida (well, the parts I know). I thought singing was lukewarm in PA, but that seems rather boisterous compared to what I've heard here. It's essentially a cantor solo on every "congregational" song. I know that I am embarrassed to sing such sappy songs, and I suspect that others are as well. I have noticed that folks who don't seem to be singing the H/H songs will sing the Lord's prayer in chant or maybe even Holy God We Praise Thy Name. Of course there are vast numbers who won't sing anything and just check their watches to know what time Mass should be done.
  • Mike, seriously, it wasn't about my joint...
    I guess it must be Florida-Is-Off-the-Charts Day in CatholicLand, and that held sway over your assessments, just as does a decent Meritage over mine. (Speaking of which, Spain, along with Argentina, is rolling in Wine Spectator kudos.)
    I'm so.....conflicted.....Spain/Chicago.....libraries/singing polyphony with m'wife 'n' CMAA friends.....going to the market daily for vegetables/strolling the Miracle Mile.....I dunno.
    The checking of the watches thing I ascribe, with the righteous voice of James Earl Jones or inheritor Laurence Fishburne, to the tyranny of either A. the Sunday Obligation; B. the Sunday Obligation; C. the Sunday Obligation; D. wet grits warm homiletics; E. All of the above.
    Think about it, you, MJB, and that chubby Keith Emerson guy that used to be in a Naples' parish with the Korg Armada, all in the same state? It does take the mind away from Mahoneyville somewhat, eh?
  • Charles, yes, it is the best of times and it is the worst of times. The good things happening here have had a minor impact on Sunday worship in general. Mostly our efforts here have given a small hope to the few who need it. The rest like it as it is just fine, thank you. I think I may focus on more OF Masses next season, to see what kind of trouble I can create!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,283
    Well, folks, I may be putting together my own hymnal. (Have I gone mad??!!)

    Thinking of something like this:

    1. Ordinary
    2. Chant
    3. Psalms & Canticles
    4. Hymns & Songs
    5. Simple Motets & Polyphony

    These sections would each have their own index. This would allow me to update the hymnal if I really wanted to, section by section. Also, it shows the order of importance for music in the liturgy. For section four, I would put traditional hymns first and then contemporary music at the very back. I might even make a separate contemporary hymnal since we have a yearly license for P&W and then it would not infect the integrity of the main hymnal.

    Initially, I am thinking plastic spiral bound.

    Thoughts? Warnings? Encouragement?
  • A possible solution to the problem:

    image
  • VickiW
    Posts: 36
    Adam, what is that?
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    In a few years. the choir director will be saying,
    instead, 'Please make sure you have all the music with you,'

    s/he will say, 'please make sure the battery is charaged up in your choir book, and practice your part from your choir book, just type tenor/23, (can actually hear it and see it)..and please click on the third salicus and circle it, you can erase it later once you get used to it... ' sounds possible ?!!.
  • I just wrote a little blog on the kindle2... could be a great application for it... http://voxfeminaesacra.blogspot.com/2009/02/cool-new-gadget.html