Organ During Lent? Nope!
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,629
    Within the last week or so, the question of using the organ (or piano, kazoo, banjo, guitar, sackbut, bagpipes) during Lenten Masses arose.

    Someone opined that the 1969 Instruction Musica Sacra had been derogated by the 2002 GIRM.

    Wrong.

    Para. 313 of the '02 specifically says that 'the organ shall not be played during Lent except to accompany the congregation if necessary,' except on Laetare Sunday and any solemnities.'

  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,574
    True. Interesting that I follow this faithfully in the NO, but the EF folks make all kinds of excuses for using the instrument. Preludes are before the mass - OK to play. Postludes are after the mass - OK to play. I think that violates the spirit if not the letter of the law. Granted, I may be the only DM/organist in town that does follow the rules.
  • Indeed, Charles.
    People's (both EF and OF) rationales for what is or isn't played as voluntaries before and after mass are predictably self serving casuistry - none of it either cute or smart. That whatever is attached to or is in any way connected to the mass (or any other ritual) should reflect the sanctity of the ritual and be subject to it's rubrics ought to be obvious to any sentient being. Voluntaries (or if you prefer, preludes and postludes) have as their very raison d'etre to set the tone of the day's celebration, and, as such, perform a function related to the liturgy - that of preparing people's minds for the nature of what form of spirituality the Church has in store for that day. As such they are as important as music which is, technically, 'within' the liturgy. GIRM or any other authority which offers directives as to what music will be heard at mass, refers as well to any music that is in any way connected to the mass. Voluntaries certainly fall within this ritual penumbra.

    I might add that at Walsingham (and I assume throughout the Ordinariate) we continue to have organ voluntaries throughout Lent because 'giving them up for Lent' is not universal Anglican custom. There is, after all, no end of repertory of a penitential nature that can be played during this holy season. The only time the organ is totally silent in our cathedral is from after Gloria on Maundy Thursday to the moment it bursts forth in praise at the Easter Vigil. Within that time not so much as a pitch is heard from the organ.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,629
    EF folks make all kinds of excuses for using the instrument. Preludes are before the mass - OK to play. Postludes are after the mass - OK to play.


    I worked for a well-known Order (exclusively EF) which had all sorts of its very own rules and regs--which by and large were not the same as Rome's. Have it from an ex-seminarian of theirs that for them, it was not 'the Missal of 1962' but instead 'the Missal of 1662.'

    We find Jesuiticals all over the place, eh?
  • Isn’t accompanying the congregation the vast majority of what the organ is used for during any liturgy? Maybe I don’t understand the issue?

    Marc
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • I don't play preludes or postludes during Lent. The problem, of course, is that then there's nothing to cover the incessant yappers in the narthex (which isn't doored off because a past pastor had the doors removed because... reasons) -- not a big deal after Mass, more so before.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,574
    I don't do preludes, postludes, or any incidental music during Lent, except for the infamous "pink" Sunday. I used to tease our former associate pastor about all our rose vestments looking pink.

    I don't play preludes or postludes during Advent, either. I will play incidental music in keeping with the season. The penitential aspects of Advent seem lost to most people. It isn't just the pre-Christmas shopping season.
  • Concerning yappers at mass - I'm tempted to bribe the priest at our parish to make this announcement at the beginning of Quadragesima:

    "This Lent, I will be giving up suffering the inane chatter of spiritually naïve men and women immediately after Mass. In its place, I will practice the virtue of removing, by brute force if necessary, said folk to the outside of the sanctuary, where such talk can be tolerated at best. Needless to remind all of you - the practices we take on during Lent should be such that we hope to continue throughout the rest of the year. Thank you, and Happy Lent."
    Thanked by 3CharlesW MarkS tsoapm
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,629
    Marc, two things to consider: 1) "vast majority" means just that--so there's a tiny minority which is, ahhh....wrongly played. 2) Are you absolutely certain that your congregation cannot sing a hymn without the organ? There's a cantor, right? C'mon, now. ABSOLUTELY certain? Maybe you should try it once!
  • Well, to point one, I was just responding to the tone of the initial post which seemed to minimize the point that the majority could be accompanied.

    To point two, I personally love a capellla music in all seasons when it can be rendered effectively. And as much as I’ve used it to great effect, there are absolutely cantors and congregations that need the help. In the parish I attend, no instruments are used until Easter Sunday, so I’m certainly aware that it is possible (though too often painful).

    Marc
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,978
    I suspect what can seem awkward is the lack of "cover" music at different times (incensations, etc).
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,574
    I accompany the choir and congregation. Their pitches would end up somewhere below Patagonia if I didn't. Just my own preference, but I don't play organ trumpets during those penitential seasons. I save those for the celebrations that follow.
    Thanked by 3Carol CHGiffen Mary Ann
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,049
    No organ except for giving pitch. No preludes or postludes except for Laetare. Its all acapella.
    Thanked by 2CCooze CHGiffen
  • No organ at all during Lent for this EF parish, except Laetare and weekday feasts of the 1st class. The silence is beautiful.

    In my experience, one of the keys to preparedness for a cappella seasons like Lent is to minimize instruments/accompaniment during choir rehearsals. Use them as a reinforcement tool only as needed, but don't let your choir lean on accompaniment like a crutch. If you make the effort straight out of the gate to learn the pieces without accompaniment, then you'll be ready to go when the liturgical season calls for it.

    As for voluntaries, preludes, postludes, fills, etc... I can see no valid justification for it.
  • When our organist quit many years ago, we decided to go strictly a cappella. It's been very beneficial and our chant greatly improved because of it. We do now have an organist, but he never accompanies, just plays a prelude and postlude and at the offertory, outside of Advent an Lent. When we're stuck on a piece at a rehearsal, he will play out the tune on the organ for us. But we always rehearse and perform a cappella.

    Ora
  • It's merely a sign of how Roman Catholic you and your pastor are, that's all.

    Unimportant to many, heart-breakingly important to a few.
  • We are, unfortunately, still using the 4 hymn sandwich (though also singing proper antiphons in english). I accompany the hymns but use only select 8' and 4' stops during lent. The 4' stops I gradually take away. We could easily sing everything acappella but the pastor does not want this.

    The propers are done acappella as well as all intonations (all year long)
    Hymns are accompanied with soft organ
    There are no preludes or postludes or any other type instrumental music.

    When I play preludes in other seasons they just talk (scream) over them anyway.
  • ...(scream)...

    I find it eccentric and difficult to believe that Catholics would talk, and talk loudly, over a prelude or postlude - or, actually, talk at all. In my life as an Anglican and now as an Ordinariate Catholic I had thought that it was only Baptists and the like who did such things. That people should enter into the courts of the Lord and jabber and prattle is just beyond belief. Shame! Do they not know where they are, in Whose Presence they stand??!!!

    _____________________________________________________________

    This reminds me of early in my time of service to the Lutherans and having observed the altar guild ladies pouring communion wine back into the bottle after the service. Upon asking the pastor how they could do this since they believed that our Lord was objectively present 'in, with, and under' the species of bread and wine, he answered that indeed he was, but only during the communion service.
    Perhaps these Catholics are not mindful of our Lord's presence on the altar and the sanctity of God's house because they only believe that he is there during communion - so there is no need for reverence. (???)

    (Someone responsible for catechesis is not doing his duty.)
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • Thirty-five years ago, I was visiting a cathedral in New Mexico. There were a number of distressing irregularities... not least was that apparently consecrated wine had been left out in a glass pitcher. Without mentioning what I had seen, I later asked one of the priests attached to the church his understanding of what happens at the consecration. His explanation was NOT transubstantiation. It was something that I later learned to be transignification.

    In the military, I talked with a 'Catholic' who denied the real Presence. He was astonished that I could believe in such "nonsense" that he equated to superstition.

    Sad to say, it is not merely laity who carry on conversations before, after (and truth be told, even during) Mass or the Sacraments. Aren't priests who make a point of being casual in the church (let alone in the sanctuary itself) fostering that attitude?

    What I find pervasive (and something that bothers me a great deal) are the number of Catholics who no longer find it necessary to capitalize "Mass" or the pronouns that refer to God. From my perspective, that illustrates the beginning of the problem.
  • Astonishing.
    Historically, of course, there was much debate about 'transubstantiation' with great men on both sides of the debate. We had thought, though, that the debate was long gone and the matter settled. Apparently, some haven't heard.

    Of course, the objective presence of our Lord in the Sacrament is a 'hard saying' and is difficult to believe. But then, if we really believe that Jesus rose from the dead, all else should seem to be mere child's play.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,552
    "I find it eccentric and difficult to believe that Catholics would talk, and talk loudly, over a prelude or postlude - or, actually, talk at all. In my life as an Anglican and now as an Ordinariate Catholic I had thought that it was only Baptists and the like who did such things. That people should enter into the courts of the Lord and jabber and prattle is just beyond belief. Shame! Do they not know where they are, in Whose Presence they stand??!!!"

    Well, the prelude or postlude part is immaterial to the latter part, right?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,574

    What I find pervasive (and something that bothers me a great deal) are the number of Catholics who no longer find it necessary to capitalize "Mass" or the pronouns that refer to God


    I would blame two things for this.

    1. The stylebooks which presume to be the authority on such things.
    2. The Church, which has become in the world and of the world.
  • Carol
    Posts: 379
    I have noticed some posters here do not capitalize as much as I do. I think I may go overboard, but I believe it is a carryover from my teaching days when I wanted to impress as much reverence and awe as I possibly could. I always appreciated how silent the students could be as they waited for the celebrant to enter for school Masses. The children, age 3 to 13ish, were much better at this than their parents!
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,552
    There's been a strong trend away from capitalization in American style books (getting rid of it where it's not needed to clarify the communication) for several decades, accelerated in the past decade with the advent of smart phones as the primary tool of writing....
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • I follow the capitization in the Missal and Lectionary.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,552
    I only do that if I am writing or excerpting/quoting from a missal or lectionary.
    Thanked by 1CCooze
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,410
    I find it eccentric and difficult to believe that Catholics would talk, and talk loudly, over a prelude or postlude - or, actually, talk at all.


    I remember sitting in church, seeing those in the pew in front of turn their heads towards the choir loft (not something I'm usually fond of, for some odd reason) listening intently to the improvisations of the organist, doing nothing more distracting than slightly conducting with their free hands and smiling contentedly.

    And then I remember that this memory was of St. Andrew's Episcopal . . .
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 643
    I find it eccentric and difficult to believe that Catholics would talk, and talk loudly, over a prelude or postlude - or, actually, talk at all. In my life as an Anglican and now as an Ordinariate Catholic I had thought that it was only Baptists and the like who did such things. That people should enter into the courts of the Lord and jabber and prattle is just beyond belief. Shame! Do they not know where they are, in Whose Presence they stand??!!!


    See, this is why I sit near the back and keep shutting the inner doors. People spend all the time before Mass talking to each other in rather loud voices (plus it bounces off the ceramic tile). Then, after Mass, people stand around in the pews talking and visiting. All age groups. There is no respect any more.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,574
    I know someone who leaves every mass at the peace greeting. Too much, "fellowship" for him.
  • Personally, when I attend Mass in the OF, I remain kneeling and continue my reflection on the consecration during the exchange of greetings. Usually that works well, but I've had some who, apparently concerned by the fact that I am actually praying, have attempted to force their "fellowship" on me.

    Worship is vertical, not horizontal. I'm available outside the church after Mass if someone wants to shake my hand and inquire about my health.
  • Passing the peace at Walsingham is a very discreet moment. Some people turn to their neighbours (and only to their neighbours!), bow, and say 'peace be with you' or something similar. This is alright, in keeping with what the peace is supposed to be, and is non-disruptive. Others decline to do even this and remain respectfully silent. This, too, is alright.

    In Walsingham's very early days the peace was passed around as I imagined it might have been done originally - it began in the sanctuary, was passed from there to the nave, and then was passed from person to person in the nave until all had 'received' it. In my mind this was very monastic and was what the historic pax was like - sort of like passing the pax without the pax board.

    It would take the irreverent American mind to turn a sacred moment of sharing the Lord's peace with one's neighbour into the mayhem that occurs in countless of our churches, with people running all over the place, conversing, crossing the aisles, and in general turning the peace into a mini social gathering. Too many Americans, and their priests and deacons, are simply uncomfortable with sacrality and reverence. This is why they do all they can to spoil it with deliberately informal demeanor throughout the mass.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,552
    "This is why they do all they can to spoil it with deliberately informal demeanor throughout the mass."

    No, they just do it to annoy you.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,629
    It would take the irreverent American mind to turn a sacred moment of sharing the Lord's peace with one's neighbour into the mayhem that occurs in countless of our churches,


    Actually, DeToqueville warned about 'democracy' having an ill-effect on "forms". by which he meant 'formalities,' (in the best sense.) He was also concerned that the resulting "In-formality" would show itself in hastiness and disregard for higher things (for lack of a better term.)

    Huh.
  • Carol
    Posts: 379
    In flu season we have been very reserved in our Rite of Peace, just nodding to our "neighbors" in the pew. I am fine with a little more of a demonstrative moment, but nothing should get out of hand as it sometimes does.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,410
    I worked for a well-known Order (exclusively EF) which had all sorts of its very own rules and regs


    Dad, would this order happen to follow Wapelhorst for its rubrics instead of Fortescue, by chance?

    In any case, the order I used to associate with (not the formally dissolved one, Lord knows what their thoughts on this subject would be) would allow organ during Votive Masses in Lent - since they technically "weren't Lent". Is this a thing? I'd like to know because the organist of my group is getting rather antsy that he doesn't have anything to play during Lent (this despite the fact that I told him he could always busy himself with practicing for stuff after Lent . . .)
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 643
    I thought that, technically, All Sundays between Ash Wednesday and Good Friday were outside of Lent (since Sunday, by it's very nature, is a Feast Day.)
  • Well, every time I point out that Sundays are IN Lent but not OF it, that Sundays are OF Advent and not IN it, some smart fellow says 'wait a minute - that isn't so because.....'. And the 'becauses' are always based upon how the forty days of Lent aren't actually forty days, or some other clever slight of hand mind reasoning. Nonetheless, while I will continue to promote the historical notion that Lenten Sundays are IN and not OF, I will also urge that it be kept in mind that a Sunday IN Lent is not exactly the same as a Sunday IN Christmastide or Ascensiontide. IN Lent, after all, is IN Lent.
    Thanked by 1bhcordova
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,993
    "IN and OF" itself, this is quite an excelLENT adVENTure.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,629
    The rule in Para. 313 is very clear and does not depend on "counting days". (I smell Jesuitism all the way up here in the frozen North.)
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen Liam Carol
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,552
    "I thought that, technically, All Sundays between Ash Wednesday and Good Friday were outside of Lent (since Sunday, by it's very nature, is a Feast Day.)"

    By that reasoning, Annunciation and St Joseph's Day and any other titular/patronal/dedication solemnity would be "outside" Lent. But the GIRM doesn't use that concept; instead, it stipulates when and how organ may be used during the *season* of Lent and the Triduum, not distinguishing days as somehow elided during that span of time.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • .
  • I was eager to follow all the rules to the T after college with my liturgical music degree. We did use the organ only for pitch one year, and then sang it all a capella. Sadly, no one much sang in that small congregation, so it didn't make too much of a difference. No accompaniment would ever go over at this parish, but the people do sing. I make an effort to make the music more solemn, but there is a blurry line. It is a big move to go to no organ/piano, but it certainly serves a purpose. (Not to mention all the extra time one gets to spend practicing Easter music!)
  • I improvise on the introit before Mass, less during Lent. It helps the choir and the congregation sing the propers. Organ for the Hymns and the the more modern propers (2 from OCP) but not the chanted ordinaries or the propers . Well maybe a diminished chord in Parce Domine, and some soft pedal reeds, and the sad gedekt on "O sacred Head." There's too many good things you can do with the organ in Lent. I will use the organ on Good Friday is support is needed.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 725
    Our parish moved (with an announcement) the (optional) people's sign of peace to immediately before Mass. However, since the flu season caused some school closings weeks ago, we have been having none of that, either - which is very nice for our family, who would normally keep our hands prayerfully clasped and eyes purposely unfocused on the people surrounding us, but would politely nod at people who were trying to be extra forceful in their physical peace-sharing.

    (Sorry, I know that subject was a little while ago, but thought I'd share some of the more-pleasant aspects of flu season. ;-) )
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,629
    Clearly Ralph, you don't give a rip about church regulations. Should we applaud you?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,574
    Let's not jump on Ralph. I am able to follow the regulations NOW. Some years ago, I was told by the pastor to play during certain times. If I wanted to work there, I followed the wishes of the pastor. He was wrong, of course, but still in charge.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,629
    Granted, Charles. But that was not mentioned. I've had pastors order this and order that, too....but they wound up without my services b/c I refused to do it. They are now wrong, but with somebody else doing their bidding.
  • I will use the organ on Good Friday is support is needed.


    I think there is a definite difference between Lent (which is a judgement call as pertains to supporting the singing) vs. the Triduum where the use of the organ is absolutely and entirely forbidden from the Gloria of Holy Thursday to the Gloria of the Easter Vigil.
  • the Triduum where the use of the organ is absolutely and entirely forbidden from the Gloria of Holy Thursday to the Gloria of the Easter Vigil.

    While this is traditional, I believe it is no longer the case, and organ is allowed to support the singing even then (at least in the OF).
  • Thanks for clarifying, Clemens!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,574

    While this is traditional, I believe it is no longer the case, and organ is allowed to support the singing even then (at least in the OF).


    True, it is allowed to support singing in the OF. My EF friends tell me they don't use it.
    Thanked by 1Carol