How much should the congregation sing?
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,604
    That, however, is not silence as the absence of sound, but silence as the presence of beholding. It's like the difference between hearing and listening....
  • Exactly, Liam.
    Just as one can see or look at a da Vinci but fail to behold it.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    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.


    Hence it is so important in prayer to remember to stop talking and start listening. The Lord will not speak until you are finished, and He will let you keep going as long as you like. He's just polite that way.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,604
    Though it should be remembered that the Lord doesn't necessarily "speak" in the sense of anything immediately intelligible: failing to remember this (or teach about it) is one reason people become discouraged in prayer and dryness and dark nights.

    In her last TV episode (2012, if memory serves) Sister Wendy Beckett recollected her First Holy Communion: how she expected to hear Our Lord speak to her in her thanksgiving and . . . there was silence. And she realized this silence was a form of presence. And that's a contemplative for you.

    And Our Lord can also "speak" to us in our seeming internal chatter and distractions - if you are open to understanding and beholding that. It took a spiritual director to understand that, for some people, trying to still that chatter and prevent openness to distractions can be a way of closing them of to what Our Lord intends them to behold.

    This is something highly individual.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,691
    I guess my point is that recollection periods are subjective, that priests wind up foisting their ideas of piety onto us, and that there’s no harm in not having that awkward period in the liturgy.
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,341
    In the EF the celebrant does not invite the congregation to reflect on their sins,


    But those attending the EF have the following "that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault," this translation is from the 'Liturgical Year, Gueranger' other translations available!

    This is of course said by the Priest once and by the server / deacon / congregation up to twice in the Mass!

    Those following the prayers in their hand Missals, booklet missalettes etc. will find many mentions of their sins...
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    In my opinion, there's no reason that a congregation shouldn't be able to join in on the remainder of the Gloria Patri/Glory Be (after the incipit) at the end or turn of the Introit. If they somehow need to sing something for the introit, there's no reason that they shouldn't be able to handle this.

    And all of the change for the choir that it may require is to do the simple/straight-forward ending to the "Amen," rather than some of those that lead more directly back to the antiphon.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,053
    Yes, @tomjaw, we still have the Confiteor as an option, but the NO has added
    ... invitation to the faithful by the Priest
    Fratres, agnoscamus ...
    A brief pause for silence follows.

    And GIRM explains: Silence 45 ... For in the Penitential Act ... individuals recollect themselves.
    ¿Does GIRM qualify for the title of rubrics? My problem is that usually the pause is inadequate for anything longer than a single breath, if that, often shorter than the pause some put in the middle of chant verses. Not long enough to recollect any particular aspect of my sinfulness. This was true even with the original ICEL version 'let us call to mind our sins'.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,821
    Let me ask: is there anyone here with a congregation that they think should sing less? If so, I'd love to join you at your parish some Sunday . . .
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    Does GIRM qualify for the title of rubrics?


    Careful, now, some people around here will tell you that the GIRM and SC, among other documents that supposedly carry the force of law don't matter anymore because everything is now in the hands of the conferences of bishops who are more than happy to leave everything in the hands of the parish priests, who have become sole arbiters of liturgy in their parishes, in a Judge Dredd sort of way.
  • Clerget,

    Name even a single highly placed prelate who says what you report.
    Better yet, name one person who comments here who expresses the opinion you identify.

    [Ok., I guess that was easier than it should be, but..... since there are such people, does that make their position correct?]
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Yes, please don't increase the level of confusion, CK.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    [Ok., I guess that was easier than it should be, but..... since there are such people, does that make their position correct?]


    That was my point exactly. You will see the statements to which I refer in my post above, but they are incorrect.
    Thanked by 1chonak
  • Elmar
    Posts: 464
    Clerget,
    Hence it is so important in prayer to remember to stop talking and start listening. The Lord will not speak until you are finished, and He will let you keep going as long as you like. He's just polite that way.

    I really have to remember this one. Sounds so obvious but hits the nail in many situations where praying has become 'odd' someway ... in private prayer maybe even more than in liturgy (my favorite example: eating in a restaurant, or even at home when everyone is in a hurry to get to their evening activities).
  • " My problem is that usually the pause is inadequate for anything longer than a single breath." Inadequate for who and why? In my parish the priest does a long pause of almost 30 seconds before the confiteor. Nobody sees any problem. In a trappist monastery near here they do a pause of almost 30 seconds after each psalm in the divine office and in some moments of the mass (after the readings and the homily) a pause of almost 15 seconds. In the parish and in the monastery after communion there is a pause of almost 1min even if there is a thanksgiving hymn or chant (the priest always do a pause for thanksgiving in silence before the Prayer after Communion).
  • >> In the EF the celebrant does not invite the congregation to reflect on their sins

    well, he has been heard to do so in his sermon ... ;-)
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • about that still, small voice

    Charles Kuralt, you may remember him, wrote that up in a very remote part of Alaska or thereabouts he came across an isolated shack. He found that a diocesan priest had prevailed upon his Bishop to let him take a year off and go up there, to commune with God.
    Kuralt asked the good Father if he had learned anything so far.
    He was told, well, I've learned that although God is a very good listener, He doesn't talk much.

    If the Mass is a continuous flow of events, maybe especially if you the PIP must vocally participate in them, there isn't much chance to hear that still, small Voice.
  • Mme., that's priceless, profound!
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    I agree. The Lord is a great listener, and will listen as long as you wish to speak. However, if you want to hear what He has to say, you must stop speaking, because He won't start until you stop. He's just polite that way.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,930
    what is so important that we need to be telling God all the time? I bet he would like us to settle down for an hour and close our eyes and listen.
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • There is an argument that if we're singing Holy Writ, we must be doing something good for God, worshipping Him, just by virtue of singing a sacred text, but I would argue that Satan himself puts the lie to this by quoting Ps. 90 when he tempts Jesus in the desert.
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    Not to mention it was the Protestants that first replaced liturgical chant with congregational singing. That being said, in my music history textbook, it states that the Ordinary of the Mass was originally sung by the congregation, whether it was intended to be that way or not.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,604
    " it was the Protestants that first replaced liturgical chant with congregational singing"

    Was it? I thought that was not exactly a certain fact, shall we say.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    That's what's in my music history textbook, Liam.
  • That the mass (whatever shape and content it had) was originally, in early times, sung by the congregation and that they were edged out of participation as centuries passed along, and that Luther and the Protestants restored the singing of hymns and liturgy to the people is a very old shibboleth that needs to be laid to rest. It feeds on Catholic vs Protestant antagonism and is given tiresome voice by polemicists on both sides of the fence who with ever more tiresome confidence assert fondly held beliefs for which no evidence exists to support.

    We, none of us, not even any scholars, know exactly what the precise shape and content of the very early mass was; nor do we know but vaguely what was sung and by whom. Hymnody such as the many examples buried in the New Testament (such as the well known one from the Revelation, 'Worthy is the Lamb') seems to have been sung, but by whom we do not know. There is even vague evidence or intimations that some of these hymnic forms arose spontaneously. It wasn't until around the third and fourth centuries that psalmody came to replace the profusion of hymnic texts whose content was not always 'orthodox'. That there was a growing class of highly skilled cantors is clear, as is the certainty that scholae cantorum were, by the fifth and sixth centuries, established to sing a growing repertory of chant. What and how much the people sang cannot possibly be but a matter of speculation and conjecture.

    There is ample testimony that skilled cantors were employed rather soon after the Church emerged from the catacombs, that the propers began to take a shape which matured around the sixth and seventh centuries, and that the ordinary took centuries, even into the mediaeval era, to acquire the content with which we are familiar. Just who sang what, though, and whether and what the people sang is very unclear. There is no evidence, literary or archaeological, that they sang anything like the hymnody typical of Reformation times at mass.

    All this is unfortunate because it would seem to be, on the one hand, exemplary grist for those chic Catholics who insist that 'the people' must sing absolutely everything (as in the early Church); and, on the other hand, rationales for those other Catholics who seem to want 'the people' silenced (as in the early Church). Neither the one nor the other could possibly produce but a pittance of evidence for all their boastful screed - precisely because none exists.

    And, Clerget, I would not put much stock in what a 'history book' says about liturgy, particularly that of early times. Such books are likely highly influenced by the sincerely-but-wrongly held views derived from the Protestant narrative, which is woven of both fact and fiction in generous-but-highly-biased measure. Nor is the Catholic narrative of such matters free of imaginatively constructed bias.

  • From the Lectionary this very Solemnity of the Assumption of the B.V.M.

    As I was to, and did, sing the lesson at Walsingham's high mass this vigil evening, it seemed to me pertinent to this thread. Whilst several times through the week I prepared what words to give emphasis, even which syllables to highlight, and what dynamics to incorporate into each sentence and 'sense unit', what rhythms were best suited to each clause, I was struck by how appropriate to this thread were a certain few lines in the third paragraph of this lesson, taken from Chronicles.

    'David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites
    to appoint their brethren as the singers
    who should play loudly on musical instruments,
    on harps and lyres and cymbals,
    to raise sounds of joy.'


    It is noticeable that there is no balking query about 'how much must we sing', or an insistent preference for 'interior' joy (though such interiority is to be prized - in its place), nor any refusal to participate in the joy of the singers and instrumentalists. They were simply called upon to sing and play instruments, and they apparently did so. The same is true, each in his and her station, whether choir, congregation, or instrumentalist, of each of us today. It is really a cross and fretful mind that keeps track of how much its master or mistress is willing to sing, that will habitually 'sit out' the outward display of joy, or sadness, or contemplation, when it is appropriate to express it so at mass - the mass which we seem to be required to repeat yet again and again, is not a private devotion but a public ritual sacrifice in which each order fulfills its 'bounden duty and service' as it unfolds in all its sublime and splendid glory.

    Methinks that the appropriately disposed soul would ask 'is that all?', 'isn't there more?', rather than 'how much must I sing?'. True, we are not all Levites (gifted and commissioned singers in a choir), we are not all organists and such (uniquely gifted in making a joyful noise unto the Lord), but we all have voices whose highest calling and action is singing the praises of the All Holy as we are quickened before his very altar. Therefore what isn't set aside for Levites (choirs and instrumentalists): the propers and anthems; or for those in orders: prayers and collects; is set aside (yes, I did say 'set aside') for the people: the ordinary, the responsories, hymns, and their half of all dialogue. That really isn't asking too much of a soul that loves God more than life itself. There are, to be sure, occasional reasons not to sing: extreme grief, serious illness, mental conditions, and such - but these are limited to occasions or periods within time, not permanent excuses. Indeed, I have experienced on occasion that there are those who, themselves, not only refuse to sing, but cast aspersions upon others around them who do sing.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    And, Clerget, I would not put much stock in what a 'history book' says about liturgy, particularly that of early times. Such books are likely highly influenced by the sincerely-but-wrongly held views derived from the Protestant narrative, which is woven of both fact and fiction in generous-but-highly-biased measure. Nor is the Catholic narrative of such matters free of imaginatively constructed bias.


    If you would like to dispute Grout and Palisca (who wrote the book), that is your business. Because it's part of my degree-seeking track, I must go with what the book says. If we can't "put stock" in an academic textbook, then we certainly cannot do the same for anecdotal views of forumites, unsupported by any sort of academic research, and colored by their unique biases. It also appears that in the synthesis of your statement here, that you have not, in fact, read nor had any experience with the book to which I am referring, evidenced by the statement, "Such books are likely highly influenced by..." If what you state there is true, then please cite your source and provide evidence for it. The authors of the textbook have done academic research in order to produce it, and can support all of the claims made therein. If we cannot trust the knowledge imparted to us by scholars, then all we have is bickering, arguing, and dispute.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674

    We, none of us, not even any scholars, know exactly what the precise shape and content of the very early mass was; nor do we know but vaguely what was sung and by whom.


    By the time of the 4th-century legalization of Christianity, we know exactly what was being done east and west. It is still being done in the east. Anglican practices came along much later and contain the Latin Rite liturgical changes that had been made up until the time of the English revolt against the Church. In those early centuries there were cantors, there were hymns, and both still exist.
  • MarkS
    Posts: 273
    If you would like to dispute Grout and Palisca (who wrote the book), that is your business.


    With respect, I think some perspective is needed regarding our undergraduate music history texts!

    Grout (et al.) has been around for a long time—it was originally published in 1960 and was my primary history text as an undergraduate in the mid 1970's. It has been re-issued in various editions with various co-authors since then, but it is impossible to know what sections have been updated, and it contains no real bibliography, but rather a "for further reading" section that does not always provide evidence of recent scholarship. Further, it is intended as a 'survey' and presents a broad outline of the history of music. It certainly is not the sort of text one would cite in a dispute over a specific area of study. And, like most broad surveys, it contains questionable assertions of fact, and some dubious judgements regarding it's subject. It would be surprising for a book covering such a vast subject area not to! The authors of such a work cannot possibly have a specialist's knowledge of the entire subject matter.

    That is why, after our undergraduate music history survey courses, we go on to higher level studies with texts written by authors who are truly specialists in their individual fields. And, note: these specialists will occasionally disagree with each other as they evaluate available evidence differently.

    Grout is many things, but a specialist's guide to the development of music in liturgy it isn't!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    Grout, for many of us, was "in the beginning" of our music studies. Much has been written since. How accurate is the "newer" scholarship? Hard to tell. Unfortunately, political and social viewpoints have infiltrated scholarship. No surprise, since some scholars have no real belief in religion, especially Catholic religion, and have their own axes to grind. What to believe? Hard to tell sometimes.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,604
    " Unfortunately, political and social viewpoints have infiltrated scholarship."

    That goes back way farther than you appear to imagine....
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    That goes back way farther than you appear to imagine....


    I imagine it goes back to the earliest days. Unfortunately, we live in an age where EVERYTHING is politicized. I imagine it is worse than ever, especially among those who are/were no friends of Catholicism to begin with.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,604
    It's more a matter of technology enabling it to be more visible, as it were.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    No doubt, technology helps. But I still think it is more prevalent in the post-Vatican II world. There is no penalty for a lack of orthodoxy these days. In fact, you might be hailed as "progressive" if you are not.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,341
    Protestants that first replaced liturgical chant with congregational singing


    What does this statement mean? I suspect being in an academic textbook, that this is based on research, that looks at vernacular hymn books being published by protestants. I am sure there are records of what was sung in the the early Calvinist etc. chapels.

    From this evidence we could write the above statement... but this would assume that the Liturgical chant was sung by a choir and not the Congregation, evidence to confirm this would be rather more difficult to find. We have evidence that the average small parish in England, Sarum Rite, had a choir to sing the chant, but did the Congregation join in? some say the Ordinary?

    If we rewrote the above statement to "Protestants that first replaced liturgical chant (Propers) with congregational singing of vernacular hymns" we might have more agreement with the statement. Anyway it may be a good idea to read what the textbook really says...
  • Clerget didn't say 'Grout', but 'my history book' - there is a great difference, a very great one! I, too, was tutored on Grout and hold him et al. in high esteem. Although it would be difficult to find a better general history of music Grout is just that: a general survey, albeit an outstanding one.

    Too, much of my comment above was in regard to the very earliest centuries, about which even specialist scholars have but the vaguest picture of liturgy in general and of music in particular. We are limited pretty much to Biblical evidence and the odd discovery of things like the Oxyrhynchus fragment. Things get clearer as time passes after the age of the catacombs.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,535
    that you have not, in fact, read nor had any experience with the book to which I am referring,
    Indeed, when you say "my textbook" people may be in doubt over whether to search the catalogue under Clerget, or Kubisz. I imagine your degree track will eventually cover giving verifiable citations as well as reading with a critical eye.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    I imagine your degree track will eventually cover giving verifiable citations as well as reading with a critical eye.


    I find this statement to be sarcastic and unnecessary. Also, if you read many of my other posts on this Forum, you will find that I am quite adept at giving verifiable citations.

    The full title of the book, and relevant chapter citation, is A History of Western Music, 8th edition by Donald Jay Grout and Claude Palisca, from Chapter 10. It states there that, at least in the Lutheran church, most of the musical elements of the Mass were replaced with German hymns. Now, go verify.
  • Clerget Kubisz --

    I don't know for sure that Richard was being confused, but when I read "my textbook", I wondered whether it was one you had written, and I'm clear now that you're discussing Grout. I don't think the later editions are as good, but that's just my take on it, I guess.

    Cheers,
    Chris
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    I can understand the "my textbook" confusion. I should have been specific from the beginning. I just wish people would dispute my arguments instead of my intelligence.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,604
    CK

    One problem may be that you are, it seems, a student with your survey book at hand, whereas many of your interlocutors may have done more study over many years but do not carry their libraries around with them (let alone libraries they are no longer near in time or space). Your expectations may be unrealistic for the nature of the conversation in the medium. This is not a place where we're going to be comparing tertiary sources like survey books to a variety of monographs (whether primary or in secondary collections) et cet.
    Thanked by 1MarkS
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    In reality, though, Liam, I possess a degree in music education already. I am reviewing the music history course to take the placement test for admission to the Master's program.

    One problem may be that you are, it seems, a student with your survey book at hand


    If this can be used to impugn my scholarship or my intelligence, then the following should also be reasonable

    whereas many of your interlocutors may have done more study over many years but do not carry their libraries around with them (let alone libraries they are no longer near in time or space).


    Then how can we be certain that they remember the information correctly?

    Your expectations may be unrealistic for the nature of the conversation in the medium. This is not a place where we're going to be comparing tertiary sources like survey books to a variety of monographs (whether primary or in secondary collections) et cet.


    So then what's the point of asking for citations? Also, as I said above, I wish people would dispute my points, not my intelligence.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674

    So then what's the point of asking for citations? Also, as I said above, I wish people would dispute my points, not my intelligence.


    Ah, block quote is back. A miracle!

    CK, there are two types of folks.
    1.) Souls of class
    2.) Holes of arses.

    We have both types here, at times, with the second group having a genuine gift for snottiness. Ignore them. I do. They are legends in their own minds.
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    BTW, best of luck in that Master's program.
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Is there a button here for reducing snark? If so, please click on it, everyone. Thank you.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen eft94530
  • I, too, was tutored on Grout and hold him et al. in high esteem. One would be hard pressed to find a better general history of music. But it is just that: general, and certainly not authoritative in its broad assertions about very early liturgy, about which even specialised scholars are in the semi-shade and dark. Too, Clerget didn't say 'Grout', but 'my history book'. There is a difference. I stand behind what I said.

    The perspective provided by Charles and others is appreciated. My above remarks, as ought to have been obvious, were in reference to the earliest several centuries, not later ones when the evidence yields a more certain picture.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,535
    I'm sorry if my snark seemed out of proportion to the provocation, but statements along the lines of who are you going to believe: "anecdotal views of forumites" or "my textbook" aren't advancing any argument.

    My first experience with Grout was opening a course textbook for the first time after being made to sit bolt upright by a lecture that began "The French word for suite (!!!) is ordre, and the German word is partita". A much better paraphrase of what the book was getting at would have been "the baroque [keyboard] suite is exemplified by Fr. Couperin's Ordres and Bach's Partitas."

    In chapter 10 ("The Mature Baroque"; I only have the 3rd ed. handy) I can find only this on congregational song:
    The common heritage of all Lutheran composers was the chorale, the congregational hymn which went back to the earliest days of the Reformation...The songs of [Cruger's] Praxis pietas melica and its many successors, including the important Freylinghausen collection of 1704, were not originally designed for congregational singing but rather for use in the home; only gradually did these new melodies make their way into the official hymnbooks in the 18c.
    Whenever I pick up a 17c hymnal facsimile I'm repeatedly struck by how little difference there is between Protestant and Catholic contents. This makes me rather skeptical of Chr. Wolff's entertaining notion that Vienna's audiences would have found the prelude on Ach Gott von Himmel in the Act 2 finale of the Magic Flute no less exotic than the Egyptian hieroglyphs inscribed on the stage set.
  • Interesting, Richard.

    Something not widely appreciated is the role that music, including sacred music and hymnody, played in home life in times past. In fact, it is only in relatively recent times that people did not entertain themselves at eventide and other times by singing, playing instruments, and, especially, singing sacred hymns and songs in the home. This is true equally of Catholic and Protestant communities. It is very likely that it would have been a strange Lutheran service or messe in historic times that included half as much hymnody as a modern Lutheran service in the US. This owing to the fact that much of the repertory of hymnody was used as much for catechesis and pure pleasure in the home as in worship at churches. Too, many hymns freely crossed denominational lines. Johann Franck's Jesu, meine Freude, for instance, became very popular throughout Europe and was translated into numerous languages, including a Russian version by no less than Peter the Great.

    Too, as an aside, we think of chorale preludes and other chorale-based organ literature as having been introductory pieces for congregational singing. What is not often realised is that after the organ prelude the congregation very often spontaneously sang the chorale a capella, without the organ.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,341
    Something not widely appreciated is the role that music, including sacred music and hymnody, played in home life in times past.

    MJO I have always described those compositions as Carols, we love to sing these at home. To avoid confusion these Carols can be found in the Oxford Book of Carols, rather than a modern church hymn book.