While two organists sit in the pews and the organ sits silent . . .
  • teachermom24
    Posts: 290
    our pastor opts for canned computer music for Mass on today's Solemnity. This was the scene at today's Mass: my two sons, one who is the current "staff" organist for our parish, and the other, his older brother who was our parish organist for five years before going off to college, were in the pews with me while our pastor played "hymns" from his computer for Mass. Very strange place.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,207
    Beyond strange!
  • Your pastor, Teachermom, knows that no young people play the organ -- because it's a nostalgic instrument for the elderly, and because it's not relevant to the culture of the modern young person -- and that the pews will be filled and the finance committee happy if a computer produces the music and the organist therefore goes unpaid. He also knows that the Council did away with all that "churchy" sound.
  • I had thought that canned music at mass was forbidden. Although in the ecclesiastical culture in which we live it would be astonishing if it were, indeed, actually so.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,838
    I had thought that canned music at mass was forbidden.

    [Crimson, not Purple] Rules, MJO? We are DONE with rules... and traditions. We have finally arrived at freedom for human's sake... not for God's, for God has given US the power to decide the rules.

    My rule is not your rule, nor the reverse. Doctrine and Dogma have finally come to the gate of pastoral sensibility where each person can reason to find his own rules. It is time we respect each other's rights and rules and reasons.[/Crimson]

    Then again, don't you know the NU RULES?

    Recorded Music
    93. Recorded music lacks the authenticity provided by a living liturgical assembly
    gathered for the Sacred Liturgy. While recorded music might be used advantageously outside the
    Liturgy as an aid in the teaching of new music, it should not, as a general norm, be used within
    the Liturgy.
    94. Some exceptions to this principle should be noted. Recorded music may be used to
    accompany the community’s song during a procession outside and, when used carefully, in
    Masses with children. Occasionally, it might be used as an aid to prayer, for example, during
    long periods of silence in a communal celebration of reconciliation. However, recorded music
    should never become a substitute for the community’s singing.

    SttL

    But please remember... recorded music with children is only allowed if 'used carefully'!... and believe me... many of us have a great amount of CARE (no, I take that back... it is CONCERN) about recorded music used at Masses with children!
  • In other words, do as you please, but do it 'carefully' and 'not as a general norm' - however you wish to define 'general norm'. And, of course, however one does whatever one does, he or she will naturally think that it was 'carefully' done.

    We are fortunate that the writers of such legislation as Francis quotes didn't have a hand in Holy Writ - else we might have had commandments such as -

    'Thou shalt not, as a general norm, covet thy neighbour's wife; but if thou deemest it needful to covet thy neighbour's wife, thou ought to do so carefully'.

    'Go, and, as a general norm, sin no more; but if thou must, thou should'st do so carefully'.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 871
    "Mass with children" Altar boys?
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,498
    Go, and, as a general norm, sin no more; but if thou must, thou should'st do so carefully'


    Commanding prophylactics, eh.

  • >> it might be used as an aid to prayer, for example, during
    long periods of silence in a communal celebration of reconciliation


    oh heaven forbid there should be any long periods of silence.
    and don't get me started on 'communion celebration[s] of reconciliation'.
  • >> 'Go, and, as a general norm, sin no more; but if thou must, thou should'st do so carefully'.

    slippery slope from here to "sin boldly"
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,207
    As I have said before, we have had a failure of leadership since Vatican II. The ones in charge don't act like it, and half of them are not properly formed to exercise their authority.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,366
    So did you "drop the dime" to the Bishop?
    It's a liturgical abuse. He needs to hear about it.
    Thanked by 2CCooze teachermom24
  • Ken of Sarum
    Posts: 264
    The way to handle clergy like this one, is to shun him. He seems unappreciative, so, go elsewhere and tell him respectfully, why you are leaving that parish. Additionally, I would let the local AGO know, in a respectful professional way, just what the past musical history has been from your perspective.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,529

    The way to handle clergy like this one, is to shun him. He seems unappreciative, so, go elsewhere and tell him respectfully, why you are leaving that parish. Additionally, I would let the local AGO know, in a respectful professional way, just what the past musical history has been from your perspective.


    If you look through the original poster's posting history, you can see a dozen or more threads like this and that this has been going on for years and they've tried going elsewhere:

    https://forum.musicasacra.com/forum/discussion/9202/fun-while-it-lasted-sort-of

    There's probably nothing that can be done other than moving somewhere else, or taking it as a sacrifice until such a time that a pastoral change happens somewhere nearby.
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • teachermom24
    Posts: 290
    Yes, we have had trouble at this parish ever since this priest arrived six years ago. But he will be leaving soon to become an Air Force chaplain. No guarantees, of course, on what will happen next. There are no reasonable, as in "significantly different", alternatives to this parish for us here in the rural South. Our only "escape" is when we can travel to St. Louis to St. Francis de Sales, every couple of months or so.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • My post wasn't coming through...
  • .
  • .
  • Incard... you ok?
    Never have I heard Jeffrey Tucker invoked with such thundering authority! :-)
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • dboothe
    Posts: 25
    93. Recorded music lacks the authenticity provided by a living liturgical assembly


    This brings up something I've wondered about for years. Taken to its logical conclusion, wouldn't the stricture against recorded music also include electronic organs that use samples of real pipes (M & O, Hauptwerk, etc)?

    You could argue such an instrument is played by a person, with devotion, skill, artistic intent and impeccable timing. I could make the same points about pressing a play button at just the right time, taking into account the delay of the control circuitry and playback buffer, then cueing the next selection.

    Or is it a matter of quantity? 61 keys (per manual) vs. a single play button.

    (I'm not actually making a case one way or the other. Just food for thought.)

    dB
    Thanked by 1hilluminar
  • teachermom24
    Posts: 290
    Thanks, all, for your input. I have sent off a letter to our bishop and a copied it to our pastor.
  • hilluminar
    Posts: 95
    dboothe, recorded music is not allowed (or perhaps not recommended) in Catholic churches because something recorded gives nothing to God. Prerecorded music does not worship God in any way. Only real persons, when they are playing instruments, and especially when they use the supreme instrument, their voices, are capable of glorifying God. One of the primary reasons for going to Mass is to praise God. To give God praise should be uppermost in our minds.

    Using an electronic organ, or a digital computer organ during Mass, is fine as long as an organist is actually playing it, especially to accompany chant (if necessary) or hymns. The organist is thereby glorifying God, with his skill, in the moment. Prerecorded music does not glorify God during Mass.

    I am floored that STTL would be so stupid as to allow recorded music in Masses with children. That is the last place I would ever use prerecorded music. Children tend to be all over the place with their sense of timing and their pitch if not well trained. Real adults with good musical abilities are needed to keep children on track.

    Sometimes I wonder about the American bishops. Are their any bishops who are musically trained, and if so, do they ever make any impact on the Liturgy?

    Which makes me wonder about our seminaries. Future priests (and deacons) should all
    be trained musically. They should study music as a matter of course as long as they are in the seminary. It takes a few years to become musically proficient. They need to devote time to music just as they devote time to other subjects. They all NEED to be able to chant the Mass. They NEED to be encouraged to do this frequently, if not every day, once they are ordained. Is this teaching and encouragement being done anywhere in the country?
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,366
    dboothe, look at it in terms of IP (yes, an unpopular concept here I know.) Live performers add a great deal of content to the music, responding to the act of worship in the moment. Recorded performers have added content, but not with any connection to the worship service. A button-pusher adds no content.
    Thanked by 1dboothe
  • dboothe
    Posts: 25
    Thank you hilluminar and Jeffrey Quick for the explanations. On the one hand, the difference between recorded music and organ pipe samples seemed like only a matter of degree. On the other hand, I knew there must be a distinction, but could not express it objectively.

    Since I deal with IP all the time in my full time career, that explanation makes sense. As for the IP considerations of using prerecorded music in a church ... I don't think we want to go there, at least not in this thread.

    dB
    Thanked by 1Jeffrey Quick
  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 243
    Real adults with good musical abilities are needed to keep children on track.

    Agree - in the ideal world. But if those real adults are not available at the times when children are learning and practising, eg during the school day, then what is a teacher who is not musically skilled to do? Options are basically to omit all music, or to practise with what they do have.



    I'd also disagree that all priests must be musically trained. There are some humans who simply have no music aptitude or interest, just like there are some who are poor public speakers and thus cannot preach. Not all priests can do all aspects of the job well.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,237
    All Christians are called to have courage; indeed, enough courage to face martyrdom for the name of Christ. Asking priests to face a much less fearsome prospect, to sing their part of the liturgy, is not that demanding. Any man able to sing "Happy Birthday To You" has enough musical skill to learn to sing the Mass.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,207
    I'd also disagree that all priests must be musically trained. There are some humans who simply have no music aptitude or interest, just like there are some who are poor public speakers and thus cannot preach. Not all priests can do all aspects of the job well.


    In the eastern churches, if a priest or deacon candidate can not chant the liturgy, he is sent back to the seminary for retraining. Yes, chanting the liturgy is that important. If they can neither preach nor sing, they may want to consider social work, since that is what too many of them do, anyway.

    Any man able to sing "Happy Birthday To You" has enough musical skill to learn to sing the Mass.


    True. Chanting is not the same as singing. If one has a good voice, great. If not, he can still learn to chant. It doesn't take Met quality singers for chanting.
  • It has not been until recent years that I have encountered growing numbers of people who cannot sing, or who can do so only with excruciatingly patient coaching. While not being able to sing should be nothing to brag about, nor, indeed, anything that one admits to without embarrassment, it does seem that we are breeding a culture of people who have not developed their natural ability to sing. Singing is a capacity without which only the very rarest of persons is born.

    I think that if our seminarians, like their orthodox brethren, were told that 'no sing, no ordination', they would suddenly find that they could, after all, sing. Exclusive of the Exultet and the Christmas prophecy, a priest can sing anything he needs to with a mere three pitches. And if three are a burdensome taxation, then one will do. One would think that every priest would have a great and loving desire to be able to sing the mass. For those who don't, it doesn't speak well of them - not at all. It's downright shabby.

    Another contributing factor to the failure of many priests to sing the mass is that they don't grow up hearing it. If people, especially young 'want-to-be priests', heard it all their lives and at seminary, they wouldn't think it eccentric, and by far most would have learnt it by osmosis ere they were confirmed. Here, as in so much else in the Church, we see a vicious pattern devised by those, especially in but not limited to seminaries, who deliberately saw to it that the sung mass never happened and was thought of as eccentric, and perpetuated the bald lie that the council 'did away' with it.

    It has long been a mark of our culture that boys don't sing, at least not after they reach puberty, and that 'real men' don't sing. That their ancestors did, all but the rarest of them, is evident. They sang at church, they sang at social gatherings and dances, they sang in the fields, they sang at camp, they sang at music halls and theatres, they sang military marching songs - singing in our culture was what people were born doing because singing was all around them. They picked it up by osmosis from their singing grown ups. Families gathered 'round the piano to entertain themselves with an evening of singing were a commonplce. Now, for most, any music in their lives is heard from entertainers via some electronic device or other. More evidence of the cultural suicide of the western world.

    Do you know that our souls are made with harmony? - Leonardo da Vinci
  • Ken of Sarum
    Posts: 264
    Might I suggest that it would be extremely informative, enlightening and educational for EVERY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH MUSICIAN to watch, observe and study the youtube postings of Eastern Orthodox Liturgies; especially noticing all the clergy that are singing / chanting. Also, noticing the ages of some! MANY of these clergy could surprisingly walk in to a professional vocal career. It is extremely rare for a human being to not be able to sing. For those that supposedly can't sing, it is that they wont sing for whatever various reasons conscious or subconscious. Their inability is therefore rather emotional or psychological and not physical.
  • as I understand it, having a deep knowledge of music, a good singing voice - or an outstanding ability to preach, for that matter - are not what determine whether a man has a vocation to become a Catholic priest.
    these qualities may determine whether someone gets hired by some particular protestant church - but the criteria for an alter Christus are altogether different.

    I have encountered priests who couldn't sing a lick (we called it singing in an ancient tone) - but oh, the fire that burned inside them!! One can warm his hands on that !! and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 683
    (*sorry, side convo*
    Is anyone here proficient in Eastern Orthodox chant? I'd love to see some blog some guidance, because it is both beautiful and fascinating.)
  • Ken of Sarum
    Posts: 264
    Of course a calling by the Holy Spirit to a clerical ministry is different from the developed skills and deep appreciation of subjects that makeup and are intimately pertained to the mass, other rites and events of the Church. There are many things a cleric MUST work at doing well to have a solid understanding thereof to function and lead. Sacred music IS one of these things / skills.

    As a former teacher and professor, I am horrifically stunned at the ignorance of a vast major of people on many subjects including music. Many things are dumbed down for populations these days for many reasons, like sheer laziness and apathy. Ancient scholars and philosophers unanimously considered music a critically important subject to learn for the well being of society and the improvement of the individual. A Shepard of souls in his cure, MUST strive to improve themselves in order to lead. A life called by the Holy Spirit is to be called to "be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." To love your neighbor as yourself carries a great responsibility; especially the clergy.

    The Holy Spirit filled cleric whose heart is on fire, WILL by nature burn to sing out and sing out well; to be inspired and to inspire. Not having this intense yearning and desire for sacred music, is a sure sign to me, to question a seminarian's calling and a cleric's validity. Hence, I am suspect of many clergy these days!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,207
    Is anyone here proficient in Eastern Orthodox chant? I'd love to see some blog some guidance, because it is both beautiful and fascinating.)


    Each church has its own chant traditions. Greek, Russian, Ukrainian and other chants are different. I don't know of a central place to study eastern chant.
    Thanked by 1CCooze
  • Charles -
    Most if not all Orthodox chant that I have heard has roots barely deeper than the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries. When most people think of orthodox chant they think of the choral renderings of the likes of Rachmaninoff and his XIXth century colleagues. While I find this music inspiring at times, I do not share the near universal euphoria over it. For me, a little of this liturgical schmaltz goes a very long way - even when buoyed by those phenomenal Russian basses and that characteristically rich tonal aesthetic.

    On the positive side, one has nothing but tearful admiration for the manner in which Orthodox liturgies are a seamless garment of song. Whether the song at a given moment is by cantor, choir, priest, deacon, or people, all know their parts and sing them in spontaneous succession without prompting of any sort imagineable. Only the rarest of churches in the Roman world rise to such wondrous heights of truly communal worship. And, the Orthodox don't even use Service Folders to accomplish this. Their people just KNOW their liturgy and their part in it; and, thank you, no pirouettists, announcers, and arm flailers are necessary. These are needed only by Roman Catholics, who are treated by imbeciles as though they were cretins.

    All of this is to get around to asking where one can look in the Orthodox world for genuine Byzantine chant, if indeed, any such chant from very historic times continues to be taught and sung - that is, actual Byzantine chant of the same era as Franco-Roman chant or earlier. Where is it extant - if, indeed, it is?
    Thanked by 1hilluminar
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,545
    Actually Znamenny chant was mostly standardized by the mid17c; CPDL has a single example, by coincidence rather apt for this week.

    The Wikipedia article on Byzantine music is actually pretty good (bibliography excepted), but Wellesz's book, amazingly available online is one I've been meaning to get to for a long time.
  • Thanks for the links.
    I have the Wellesz.
    If you can find a copy get it.*
    It is quite a rich soil.
    The internet and Wikipoedia are nice - but, ahhh, a book is a book is a book.

    *Try www.skoob.com - quite an erudite listing of music books -
    I ran across them just tonight
    while browsing through the ads section of The London Review of Books at B&N's.
    (Of course, Abe may have it.)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,207
    Many people hear "cathedral" chant from one of the Russian cathedrals and think it is representative of all eastern chant. It is beautiful, but simpler chant can be found in the ancient monasteries.
  • Ken of Sarum
    Posts: 264
    Aren't the early Slavic and Byzantine chants a development from the Greek modes? Does anyone know of a tree chart or flow chart of chant from differing Judeo-Christian cultures blooming from Jewish Temple chant? I know I'm getting away from the topic of this thread, please forgive - I'm on teeth pain killers and not quite clear headed.
  • Conclusion: Our bishop did not reply to my letter, but our pastor (to whom I had just sent a copy of the letter) did, informing me that he is very aware I don't like recorded music and that the parish doesn't have the money to pay an organist for extra Masses. I hadn't asked for a response, hadn't asked any questions in my letter, and only sent it as an FYI to the bishop. So now he knows. Case closed.
  • ...doesn't have money...

    One doesn't suppose that this priest could sing his parts and the people respond in kind.
    Since when can we not sing just because we can't afford an organist.
    There is a non sequitur at work here.
    It seems that this priest's notion of music at mass is the silly idea that it has to be played by someone paid to play it, that he and the people cannot otherwise sing it.
    How sad.

    We don't go to mass to hear music.
    We go to mass to make music - to offer to God that which we make.

    How cheap and thougtless - that a priest should turn on canned music - as if it were to keep the people entertained, to obliterate sacred silence.
  • We don't go to mass to hear music. We go to mass to make music - to offer to God that which we make.


    Yesterday, my two teens "made music" for the folks at our local nursing home: my daughter with viola and voice, my son (our parish organist--when they can "afford" him) with piano and voice (he's got an incredible baritone voice and specializes in Scottish and Irish folk music). One lady (daughter of two residents), who was herself a vocalist, commented afterward on my son's fine instrument, referring to his voice.

    Isn't the voice to be the primary instrument employed for making music at Mass? Isn't this why the organ is the preferred secondary instrument, because it most closely resembles the human voice? That's what I've heard anyway (probably here).
  • ...most closely resembles...

    Well, admittedly, this can be highly subjective. First of all, there is the matter of what voice in what culture one is referencing. In many parts of the world a musical aesthetic very different from that which we cultivate in the west is prized.

    But, back to 'us'. There are stops on the organ that resemble the human voice. One, actually, is called the voix humaine. It produces a rather plaintive sound. Some other combinations of stops can resemble certain kinds of human voices. In fact, the French baroque organist, Gaspard Corrette, stipulates that solo lines in certain of his pieces should 'imitate the human voice as far as possible'. This imitation was consciously sought by French organists of this period in their organ pieces labelled recit, which represent not only a certain kind of vocalisation, but the phraseology and diction of the French language.

    It must be admitted, though, that these sounds really are not those of a human voice, except in some rather unnatural vocalisations. It is the basic 'breathingness' of the organ that makes it a 'cousin' of human singing. The wind which flows over pipe languids to produce sound very surely is a sibling of that wind which activates our own vocal chords. And, the sound of the organ compliments that of human song such as no other instrument can - for the very simple reason that it does 'breathe'. Only the organ, and some wind instruments can lay claim to this kinship with the human singing voice.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,207
    ...the parish doesn't have the money to pay an organist for extra Masses.


    In nearly every instance when I have heard that the parish can't afford, whatever it is, the money is always found for any craziness the parish leaders want.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 896
    Echoing @CharlesW -- if the pastor cares about something, he'll find the money for it. If he doesn't care, then "the parish can't afford it."
  • if the pastor cares about something, he'll find the money for it. If he doesn't care, then "the parish can't afford it."
    Certainly true. Pew cushions and new carpet are important, music is not. This is nothing new. My small hope with my letter was that we would hear our bishop might be interested in the importance of real music at Mass. Haven't heard from him on the subject, so don't know.
  • cmbearer
    Posts: 63
    It seems that this priest's notion of music at mass is the silly idea that it has to be played by someone paid to play it, that he and the people cannot otherwise sing it.


    This is an insightful observation, and unfortunately is more prevalent than one might hope. At my parish, we recently began providing music for daily Mass, and you guessed it, that means I accompany hymns, while the Ordinary of the Mass is still recited.
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 99
    Sing to the Lord from the USCCB at paragraph 93: "93. Recorded music lacks the authenticity provided by a living liturgical assembly gathered for the Sacred Liturgy. While recorded music might be used advantageously outside the Liturgy as an aid in the teaching of new music, it should not, as a general norm, be used within the Liturgy."

    Consistent with the norm, the parish should not be using recorded music as part of the liturgy.
    Thanked by 2teachermom24 CCooze
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,207
    Second question first. We do not allow outside organists except...
    I hate weddings and refuse to do them. I have 4 organists who are approved to play.
    Funerals: I play for all the funerals.

    Policies: There are written policies in the office covering all the above. When anyone calls for a wedding, the secretary reads the policy covering weddings. They are told what they can do and given the names of 4 organists to choose from. Those organists set their own fees.

    Funerals: I usually hear from the pastor, not the families. He handles the "go between" and then calls me.

    Question one: I was told no recorded music, ever, for any reason.

    Get some written procedures in place with the approval of the pastor. Have him direct everyone to follow them.
    Thanked by 1teachermom24
  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 243
    1) If a parish cannot afford an a hired musician, and there are no suitable (howsoever defined) volunteers, then the choice is no music or canned music. Legals are well and fine, but sometimes pragmatics win out. (I think it is telling that you use the phrase "depriving him of work" rather than "depriving him of playing experience").

    2) It depends on parish policy, which is likely to depend on the parish organist's employment contract. If it is allowed, the family may be required to pay a bench fee.

    3) When the parish is unwilling to discuss them questions with you.
    Thanked by 1teachermom24
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 109
    The entire point of regulations like the one you described is to prevent individuals such as your son from occupying a role that deserves pay for free, and therefore shrinking the (already small) pool of jobs in that occupation.

    Here, there obviously is no job to start with; and one could even argue that the pre-recorded music is in violation of that regulation (as it's taking the position away from someone who might otherwise be paid), to say nothing of the clear position against recorded music stated above.