Why do some people hate Gregorian chant?
  • Geremia
    Posts: 262
    Why do some people hate Gregorian chant? Is there a theological explanation for this?

    For example, Modernists and Protestants think that faith is a feeling, and Gregorian chant does not evoke a sentimental sappiness like Modernist and modern Protestant music does.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    The Wesleyan Methodists I know express their faith through hymns. The minister will read at least the first verse of each hymn before the congregation sings. I note that many Protestant denominations have an official hymnbook, unlike most English speaking Catholics.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    If we had an official hymnbook, it would be dreadful.

    As for Gregorian chant, maybe it's perceptual. Your joyful chants may be dismal and depressing to someone else. I am a fan of chant and use it, but even I can find interminable melismas irritating. And all chant is not sung well. Add to that, modern ears don't hear quite what folks heard in year 1400.
  • Charles,
    When you say,
    modern ears don't hear quite what folks heard in year 1400.

    Is this a statement of environmental toxins (including "organized noise"), degrading of DNA, or lack of context?
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,219
    And all chant is not sung well.

    Probably the cause of 90% of the dislike. But we are assuming that reason is operative here, not just emotion--and that may be an assumption which is foolish.
  • jcr
    Posts: 132
    This is a good question and the answer may not be simple. I'm convinced that there are a number of factors involved. Possibly the most influential cause is the ignorance of the average person in our culture with regard to music. Twenty one yeas ago I left a professorship at a Catholic University to work for the Church full time. Part of my load every term for twenty-two years was to teach several sections of a "Music Appreciation" class. When I left, I had taught this class over 100 times with class sizes ranging from 30 to over 70 students. The number of students who had ever heard a live orchestra or a legitimate singer was unbelievably small. Most of the students had only heard classical music when they rose on Saturday mornings to get their weekly cartoon dose. Today, even this is no longer available. To make matters worse, I recently came upon mention of a music appreciation assignment given to a college level class. It involved watching a Hollywood movie and commenting on its musical score.

    It seems that the average young adult (not so young any longer) has very little musical understanding and is not likely to be receptive to any informative input under most circumstances. Our schools, churches, parents, etc. have brought us to this, I fear. Even children brought up with more and better input tend to fall prey to those who cater to the lowest common denominator. I fear that this is the target of most of what we have come to expect when we go to Mass.

    Add this to the complete loss of the concept of propriety that has occurred in our culture and the music we have may actually be better than we have any right to expect.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,696
    I think (after only a moment of thought - there could be more) that you can put these people in 3 camps:

    1) Those who want music that evokes a certain emotion at Mass. Even the most joyful and playful of the Gregorian repertoire isn't going to inspire Aunt Betty to go dance in the aisle the way her favorite song from the blue hymnal will or the P&W song on the radio does. And Cousins Lucy and Bart really love those Clavinova piano and string solos that bring tears to their eyes - chanting about Job during the Offertory just doesn't bring the same emotional experience to them.

    2) Those who have only experienced chant executed badly - lifeless, sometimes but not always slow, and sung with the same value on every note with no attention paid to the text being sung. Neume after neume after neume after neume after neume after neume.

    3) Those who have only experienced "minimal" chant - i.e. Sanctus and Agnus Dei XVIII being trodded out every Lent as punishment.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    Is this a statement of environmental toxins (including "organized noise"), degrading of DNA, or lack of context?

    We have heard sounds, chords, harmonies, and dissonances that were not even imagined in the days when chants were written. Even in Bach's day, he would have burned his wig if he only knew what would come later.
  • ...burned his wig...

    I can't add much to what has been said above, which covers the gamut, I think, of 'feelings', 'rationales', and congenitally or environmentally conditioned dispositions.

    Amongst reasoning persons it is likely that badly performed chant (of which there is, as there always was, no dirth in our churches) is uppermost in creating negative impressions of chant.

    Others don't like it because they never thought about it, they were conditioned not to because of peer pressure (whether the peers were children, adolescents, or adults).

    It's not entirely accurate to say that Protestants (as a widely varying group) don't like chant. Many don't, and get paranoid that the pope might be coming or that they would turn into Catholics. Others like it because they do recognise its spiritual depth and value. They like it because it is peaceful, 'spiritual'.

    Chant is no stranger to Anglicans of all stripes, Lutherans, and even others. It isn't really accurate to aver that Catholics like chant and Protestants don't. At this point in history it might be more or less half and half. (Which, from the Catholic perspective is sad.)

    This gets us to the Catholics who don't like chant. It reminds them of the pre-Vatican Two Church - which they may or may not have personally experienced. It is a hallmark of the ancien regime which they wish to have rid themselves of. It is just too Catholic for them. It is too 'churchy'. Much of the chant which they have likely heard is, indeed, depressing. They are being conditioned in all too many of our churches to equate it with penitential seasons, which equals sadness. Most of all, they have been taught to dislike it from youth up by clergy and teachers who refer to it in negative terms. Such negatives are interiorised at an early age, are unthinkingly echoed throughout life by the various age groups. Such negatives have no relationship to objective reality, but the damage is done by incompetent clergy, teachers, peers, and parents - and, in most cases, it sticks.

    It is difficult for us to imagine what chant, or, for that matter, any modal music, sounds like to those who have never heard it or have rarely listened to it. It is strange to ears that hear only tonally. Very strange. Some like it for that reason. Others don't. I can recall how very strange it sounded to me in my Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven imbued youth. But, I liked it for that reason and knew that God was in it. Others dislike it for that very reason.

    Finally (tee-hee), I, um, would like to ask Charles just how it is he knows that Bach would have 'burned his wig' if he had known what was on the horizon. Is this not the merest speculation? Why, much good, after all, transpired between Bach and Karl-Heinz Stockhausen - which is why few, very few, people have heard of Stockhausen and everybody knows about Bach - even those who don't like him. Besides - Bach would look rather funny without his wig (even funnier if it was burnt), as would Mozart - but then, Beethoven would look funny with one. And Stockhausen? Well, it would take more than a wig (burnt or not) to place him amongst the illuminati.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    These are all good answers.

    I find myself wondering what Melo would say...
  • ...wondering...
    Whatever he would have said it would have been delivered in that faux regional accent of his.
    I don't know what 'regional' it was, but it was always fun.
    Thanked by 2Paul F. Ford Carol
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    Jackson, I think Bach would have not taken kindly to developments in music after his time. If Beethoven could bring audiences to tears and near hysteria with his new improvisations, Bach would likely have been shocked by the strangeness of newer music.

    I think some of this goes deeper. If you see the mobs near rioting in the streets these days, it becomes obvious that they know nothing of law, history, order, precedent and other marks of civilization. I suppose many are to blame for that, all the way from the educational system to popular culture.

    To quote Swift:
    The Poems of Jonathan Swift, D.D., Vol. II, edited ..... I know nothing of music; I would not give a farthing for all the music in the universe.

    Too many of our folks are like that. Although technically skilled - at least some are - they are otherwise a collection of know-nothings who are blissfully ignorant of the past. I wouldn't even assume that Catholics have a unity of culture. That went away some years ago.

  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,188
    I teach chant to my school kids (grades 2-6). Yesterday, in a revelation that even caught me by surprise, my girl's choir said they wished we would only sing Latin and they preferred chant to all the things we sang. I asked why and they said," because we feel God in the chant better than all the other music we sing." Does that answer your question?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    I am assuming this is a parochial school? I agree that kids can learn anything and usually faster than adults.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • Gregorian chant is, by its nature, unapproachable music. It cannot possibly touch the human heart the way that Puccini can; it lacks that direct approachability to our plane of existence.

    Why is it great music, then, if it cannot rouse our worldly emotions? Because it inspires us to a higher plane, one that is purely objective - music relating to the greatest objective force, God himself. One can say the same about Renaissance polyphony and the music of the greatest later Catholic composers (Bruckner, most of Franck, etc.) It draws us closer to touching the wings of angels. There is no room for merely human sentimentality - only the starkness and objectivity of the God-head.

    If one tries to approach this music on our level of existence, one will invariably be disappointed. After all, chant lacks the raucous, immediately identifiable melodies and harmonies of modern music that can instantly endear a piece to our ears and hearts. But if one seeks a higher level of understanding, and comprehends the piece on anything deeper than a surface level, there is an inestimable level of depth and beauty within the Gregorian and polyphonic repertoire.

    Unfortunately, both our modern ecclesiastical and secular cultures abhor this kind of deeper understanding. It is ultimately not merely a sickness of church music, but of the Church herself. Nowadays, the liturgy has to be dumbed down even further from the prescriptions of the Novus Ordo so that it is instantly recognizable and understandable to the C & E Catholics, and reaches them through secular means of expression. Music must engage the congregation on their level and not on God's level. Anything other than the vernacular is seen as unacceptable, because it fails to engage the congregation on terms they can immediately understand.

    Yet none of this is unattainable for devoted Catholics. Though they may not speak Latin fluently, they can make their way through a Pater Noster or a Salve Regina after a few gos at it. Though they may not be trained singers, they can easily get through Mass VIII with some guidance. We all possess the ability to engage with ideas and art of a higher level than ourselves; we just have to be pushed towards it.

    So, to answer your question, the reason people hate Gregorian chant is because the Church has moved towards immediate comprehension of everything, along with the secular world, and the only method of curing this illness is to return to our older philosophy of the Church engaging humanity at a level higher than we normally operate at; in other words, returning the influence of God's plane to our religion.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    If we had an official hymnbook, it would be dreadful.

    Yeah, that is what its opponents say.
    Because its promoters sing its content too slowly.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    Unfortunately, it would be put together by committee. That would mean the best sellers from OCP and GIA and the greatest hits of Haugen/Haas/Joncas and similar.

    So sing it slowly and softly - so softly I can't hear it. ;-)
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    its promoters sing its content too slowly

    I am grateful when some songs are sung quickly, hoping that they will end sooner.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    I thought the Graduale was the official book.
  • Charles, I do agree with your conclusions about post-Bach - only not as sweepingly as you. My above 'wig' comment was tongue-in-cheek, I just didn't purple it.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,992
    "I thought the Graduale was the official book."

    One might think that, but if that were applied restrictively, I suspect it would be a trigger for the eventual attrition/elimination of most paid musician positions at Catholic parishes.
  • ...attrition/elimination...
    And that is just one more reason that so many persons-music directors hate or oppose or forbid chant. They fear it because they can't perform or teach it and it threatens their very existence. (Not only that, but chant would cast their junky music in the shade that it belongs in.)
    Thanked by 1CeciliaJulia
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,992
    Rather, it's that pastors won't want the bother of being forced into a transition into using chant, especially to pay for it, and would probably settle for music-free Masses - in other words, it would be another nudge in the direction of the McMass.
  • Gregorian chant is, by its nature, unapproachable music. It cannot possibly touch the human heart the way that Puccini can; it lacks that direct approachability to our plane of existence.

    You've got to be kidding. This is unacceptable.

  • jcr
    Posts: 132
    All of the comments have been focused on aspects of the issue here and are good observations. I have heard a number of interesting responses to chant.

    "It isn't cool."
    "It doesn't have a beat." This reminds me of an ad for a Catholic church music position stating that the "vibrant" church in question used music that was "lively and had a beat".
    "When I hear chant, I feel fear."
    "Do we really have to sing that dirge."
    and on and on.

    The apprehension of beauty seems to be difficult for some folks. This has always been so. However, there are things that warrant a particular kind of response because they are worthy of it by their nature. To those who are open to this and will listen, much of value will be revealed.
  • Noel, I don't claim that chant is inexpressive; far from it. But it doesn't engage us on the same level as Puccini, which uses tropes and clichés to manipulate us into feeling a certain way.

    Chant challenges us to approach it at a level beyond our basest desires as humans. When we do feel something from it, it is the majesty of the God-head, not surging erotic love and crocodile tears.

    I see this as nothing negative. After all, chant is doing exactly what it is supposed to and nothing that it shouldn't. But let's call a spade a spade and accept that no average person is going to be sitting in the pews bopping their head to Viri Galilaei like it's a pop song.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,219
    It cannot possibly touch the human heart the way that Puccini can; it lacks that direct approachability to our plane of existence.

    Errrmmmm.....not Puccini....but not strictly 'majesty of the Godhead', either. Of course, the objective is to raise the minds and hearts of the faithful to God, and to glorify Him. Raising the minds is a challenge, yes.
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  • MarkS
    Posts: 282
    In medieval times, ordinary folks loved chant, would wait each year for the Sundays when they would hear their favorite 'song', and sing the melodies at home. It was not unapproachable—it was the music of their world, and not totally dissimilar to the 'popular' music of the time.

    I think the reason that people don't like chant today is much simpler than many of the above suggestions, and is the same reason that most folks don't like so-called 'classical' music generally. Folks lack a sufficient background and experience in Western musical history/culture, and their listening habits are conditioned by the (pop) music environment that they grew up in and continue to be saturated with. In order for music to be intelligible for such folks, it needs to be short, have a steady, predictable meter (preferably with a pop dance beat), and be formally simple and predictable; any singing should be in the vernacular in a vocal style with which they are familiar (i. e. a pop vocal style of whichever flavor).
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Carol
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    The conventions of opera, the tropes and cliches, remind us that music inspired by opera is music inspired by the world of entertainment. Entertainment is a legitimate but secular (that is, non-sacred) purpose. So following the conventions of opera gives the music a secular style. That by itself is a reason to avoid that music in church. One of the principles enunciated by Pope St. Pius X in his foundational document on church music, Tra le sollecitudini, is that the music of the liturgy should be recognizably sacred in style.

    It must be holy, and must, therefore, exclude all profanity not only in itself, but in the manner in which it is presented by those who execute it.

    And by "profanity" he doesn't mean crude expression: he just means secularity.

    [edited 10/14 to fix jumbled word order]
  • I have found that at the times I get immersed in chant and modal polyphony for extended periods it is tonal music that sounds weird! Imagine how strange developing tonal music must have sounded to late mediaeval and renaissance folk, to wit their many complaints about the same.

    Some credit must, I think, be given for those whose hatred is not irrational (as it is with many) but simply the inability to hear with understanding ears what is, in fact, sublime. It isn't, after all, the fault of most people that chant is as strange to them as classical Japanese music. It is the fault of the clerical establishment and most of our intellectual elites, who have purposefully seen to it that it wasn't heard, was spoken of derisively, and became strange to the populace because it was intended to be made strange. So desparate were these people to estrange chant from the Catholic faithful that they shamelessly told (and continue to tell) bald lies that the council 'did away with it'.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen jchthys
  • Jackson,

    Do you mean to suggest that the ignorance and hatred of chant which some of your colleagues here report is the result of intentional neglect and false reporting?
  • Chris -

    Yes, emphatically!
    There are other causes in different spheres, but, concerning chant in the Church, those are the root societal causes.
    The wide variety of other reasons are well touched upon by all the above commentors.
    There is no single reason that applies in every case.

    Some ignorant people will eagerly learn and be glad to be taught.
    Some other ignorant people are unteachable and will insist on remaining ignorant (invincible ignorance).

    That the suppression of chant by the majority of the clerical order has been deliberate and merciless is, I should think, obvious, self evident. That they and many musicians and teachers have lied about what the council said about chant and intentionally put it in a bad light is equally obvious and beyond dispute.

    Also, we are dealing with a cultural matter, which has been very well attested to above by Mark S.
    A different and more intelligent line (and honesty about what Vatican Two really said), though, by those responsible for catechesis would have made all the difference in the world.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 468
    Anything other than the vernacular is seen as unacceptable, because it fails to engage the congregation on terms they can immediately understand

    Or as Chesterton might have put it: Chant has not been tried and found wanting, chant has been found difficult and therefore left untried.

    So it's usually not a malicious hate. The hate is real however. I'll never forget a lady coming out a parish classroom an remarking that she might have to leave the church if more Latin kept creeping into the liturgy. What triggered her? At Mass we sang "Angels We Have Heard on High" which features a Gloria in excelsis Deo. Oh noes! A carol virtual every Christian and even most scoffers know is proof of Latin tunneling under our house! Ok, that's just Latin and not specifically chant, but who would doubt that a Jesu Dulcis Memoria would have set her hair on fire?
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  • Scott,

    I can't escape Abp Bugnini's statement (which I'll paraphrase here, because I don't have the book in front of me) about why Latin must be abandoned in favor of the vernacular. He said that the vernacular was necessary and there was no argument which could stand in support of Latin because..... the addressee needed to understand what was said to him.

    One of the following, it seems, must be true:

    1) Bugnini needed a better editor, so that this sentence says "addressor", instead of addressee, and the rest of the sentence needs to reflect not said to him, but by him.

    2) Bugnini was an ignorant fool who, having studied theology, understood wrongly that Mass was addressed to man.

    3) Bugnini was a malefactor who knew what the Church has always taught about the Mass, and wished to change that.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,219
    who would doubt that a Jesu Dulcis Memoria would have set her hair on fire?

    That would be a feature, not a bug.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,219
    One of the following

    Your #3 is Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner. And if you doubt that high-ranking Roman figures could be malevolent haters of the Church and the faithful, fix your eyes on the Current Crisis for just a moment.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • If one views church music as a living tradition, and the chant along with it, I cannot help but view the upheavals of the beginning of the 20th Century, instigated by the Motu Proprio, as in part causative of the break with plainsong in its entirety in the minds and hearts of so many of the faithful.

    It's tempting, in a modern "EF" milieu, to return to the immediately pre-conciliar music and view this as "the" tradition, stretching back to St. Pius V, and then only having been very gently pruned and weeded of some occasional poor tendencies, small in degree and short in their reach. On that view, the only major break in that tradition in recent memory would have been that of the 1960's. But that would simply fail to be true.

    The post-Motu-Proprio upheaval in Catholic music was extraordinarily far-reaching, ambitious, and only partially successful. The chants that would have been familiar at the time, representing by then centuries of the tradition received, organic, imprimatured, and living -- that is, the Pustet editions of the Medicean Gradual -- were replaced summarily with a new book of much more complicated restored medieval chant, unfamiliar in both design and interpretation, which was made binding on the entire Church. Simultaneously in "figured" music, much of the favorite music of the age, however unpleasant it may be to think of it in that way, was judged unsuitable, and "appropriate" compositions, by mediocre composers of that age, judged more decorous, were brought in to replace it.

    So, there was a clean break with the received chant tradition, replacing it with a (very high-quality and meticulously researched) archaeological reconstruction. Thus, the new chant books already received a certain amount of resistance, including nationalist resistance from non-French Europeans, and were intrinsically not all that easy to implement at a parish level. This was coupled, too, with an abandonment of what had been an all-too-well-loved tradition of ancillary music, and its replacement with the music of unremarkable composers whose highest musical achievement lay often in their dogged ability to follow rules and satisfy scowling liturgists by being suitably short and uninteresting. And so, the implementation of such reforms, understandably, was spotty, at best.

    Possibly the best work was going on, through the ministrations of Justine Ward [*profound inclination*] and her Method [*reverence*], in the grade schools, but I just don't think enough time passed before the deluge for that to take real, intergenerational root.

    So, with the living taproot, however corrupt, that tied in an organic, decentralized way to the broadest sense of the tradition, uprooted in '03 and '08, and with the "new-old" ways having had insufficient time to take root between generations, it was perhaps inevitable that the attachment of the broad sense of the faithful to plainsong in its present Graduale form was tenuous at best. Since the attachment to any other sort of plainsong had been carefully uprooted by the Church, come the reforms, it was perhaps all too easy to sweep away entirely.

    And, without that visceral sense of "this is how we did things" (just ask my 60-year choir veterans, in a very musically conservative [non-partisan sense] parish) applying to Gregorian plainsong from the Graduale, an attempt to graft it onto a vernacular liturgy without a real powerhouse of an education program to accompany is going to seem weird at best, hopelessly out of touch and alien at worse. A suggestion, as it were, from another planet.

    (And speaking of planets, what's with the traditionalist attachment to the abridged planeta, anyway? Gothic is great...)
  • A well-reasoned observation of the musical scene in late XIXth and early Xth century church music. Most of which would seem to be sensitive and accurate. I would quibble with a detail here and there, but, on the whole, I believe that you are spot on in your analysis. One thing, though: surely you are not suggesting that 'Pustet chant' was anything other than yet another phase in chant history. Surely you are not suggesting that we should still be in thrall to it?!

    Your assessment of Solesmes as yet another 'phase' in chant history is accurate, as is your religation of the Ward method to history's dust bin. Still, one achievement which cannot be gainsaid is that a number of generations of children and adults were taught from their youths up how to read square notes, sing them enthusiastically, and love what they sang. It is undeniable that, far from being culturally estranged from chant, chant was quite alive and well in the lives of Catholics. Then, chant in our schools and our churches was summarily jettisoned and purposefully stamped out by the chic shabby-minded 'reformists' (destructors) of the post-Vatican II era. Their work is still going on in calculated opposition to the will of the council, and will be with us for some time to come. This is not the fault of the research of the Solesmes monks, to whom history is in heavy debt for making it possible to get at chant's more likely historical nature. Their research has led to semiology, which is today's 'last word' on chant, but won't be tomorrow's. If, after all, history didn't change things we would still be singing chant as the Carolingians sang it, not according to Pustet, Solesmes, or semilogy itself - probably more like Marcel Perez.

    If there is one unavoidable lesson from history it is that things change. They not only do change, but will change. It is a mistake, I believe, to think that any specific period in chant history (or any other history) is the golden mean which will act as a 'Trent-like' calcifier of a given chant 'method' which is infallible for all time.
    Thanked by 3CharlesW CHGiffen Elmar
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    If one views church music as a living tradition, and the chant along with it, I cannot help but view the upheavals of the beginning of the 20th Century, instigated by the Motu Proprio, as in part causative of the break with plainsong in its entirety in the minds and hearts of so many of the faithful.

    I think you nailed it accurately. Sometimes it seems appropriate to say, "God save us from reformers." We had one in Pius X and another in Paul VI. Reformers never seem able to see the logical consequences of their reforms. It is the law of unintended consequences at work.
  • One thing, though: surely you are not suggesting that 'Pustet chant' was anything other than yet another phase in chant history. Surely you are not suggesting that we should still be in thrall to it?!

    Certainly not! In fact, I think the reform as conceived could have succeeded with a century of consistency in application, especially given the evident success being met with in parochial schools at the time. It was just the serial rug-pulling, and the still-freshness of the Solemnes chants, that were the undoing of chant generally when the 1960s came calling.

    I would love to hear more of your quibbles here and there! My model is under constant refinement. I'd love to work this into my major paper for my MCM.

    Still, one achievement which cannot be gainsaid is that a number of generations of children and adults were taught from their youths up how to read square notes, sing them enthusiastically, and love what they sang

    Precisely my point about Ward, and the basis of my surmise that the reform was on the path to unparalled success, before the musicians were backstabbed by the liturgists.

    I just think that the freshness of the reform did it no favours in resisting the tide of the folk mass in popular sentiment.

    It is the law of unintended consequences at work.

    I think all reform, however necessary, must be recognized as opening up real vulnerabilities at even deeper levels. Reforming one thing calls more things into question, and is an immediate source of destabilization.

    Two sainted Pontiffs of the XXth Century attempted global reform. And I think a major problem was that the second over-estimated the success and fullness of the implementation of the first's reform (encouraged, no doubt, by liturgists who knew better and wished to scuttle it, which they would call for openly within years of the inital reforms). He tried to build on what had not yet taken deep root. And so, the building was unfounded.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    Was the Ward Method used beyond the United States?
    How did World War One and World War Two
    affect the European implementation of the 1903 Motu Proprio?
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  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    How widespread? - Her 1975 obituary in the New York Times says (among much else)
    ... Her books, the basis of the Ward method, were translated into French, Dutch and Italian, and are now being used in France, the Netherlands, Britain, Switzerland and Portugal, as well as the United States and the Philippines. ...
    Mrs. Ward was decorated by Italy and the Netherlands for exceptional civil service. In 1944, she received the Croce di Benemerenza from the Order of Malta and the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifica from Pope Pius XII. ...
    That said, in England at school between 1942 and 1954, I was not taught by the Ward Method, at either Catholic school.
    Thanked by 2eft94530 CHGiffen
  • Thanks, eft94530,

    I should note that I took the question in context of the USA, which is very much the scope of my researches.

    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • In my experience, it's primarily association as the reason behind disliking Gregorian chant.

    "I don't like chant because it reminds me of the angry priests I grew up with before Vatican II."

    "Chant makes me angry. It makes me feel like the church is closed off and exclusive again."

    "Chant is from the old church. We're the new church."

    These are phrases that have been spoken to me in my office, by people quite upset that we re-introduced chant to the Mass.
    Thanked by 2eft94530 Elmar
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    I think that sometimes musicians who love chant - and I am one of them - can overdo it and beat the congregation over the head with it. Balance, folks. It's essential.
    Thanked by 1CeciliaJulia
  • Sergeant Edward,

    Those may indeed be the stated reasons, but do they pass what in other contexts we call the "smell test"? If, as Jackson Osborne has suggested elsewhere, there has been a deliberately taught hatred of the past, could those "angry" priests be more the result of planted memory than reality? The last comment in your list makes me think the memory may be learned rather than actual: "sing a new church into being" is, after all, one of the refrains of one of the great modern songs.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    Aquinas talks about ..
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    @sergeantedward :- I note that you spoke of this anger three years ago on the forum, is the anger healed by renewed experience of chant or does it endure?
  • True story.

    Years ago I was the part time director of music in a parish. For the folk group which was under my administration ("control" would be far too hyperbolic a word), I planned (I think) I am the bread of Life, and planned it to be sung out of Worship III The folk group was up in arms because I had planned to use the red book at their Mass. Thing is,.... there were more red books than blue ones (Gather), so by choosing the red book, I had enabled more eyes to be on a book. ONE member of the group recognized that I had done the group a favor.

    Association may be correct as an analysis, but it's a learned association often, not a natural one.
    Thanked by 2chonak a_f_hawkins
  • I know some Catholics who like Gregorian chant mostly for political reasons (whether they actually like it for any spiritual reasons I have no idea, as they only thing they talk about is chanting for the sake of being more correct and thus better than than those who don't chant).
    I know some secular people who LOVE Gregorian chant as music, and go to Masses at monasteries just to be able to hear it.
    I know some Catholics who hate chant because it prevents the congregation singing along, or because it is 'erudite' and thus, again, prevents a sense of participation in the congregation (these are Traditionalists, by the way! They seem unaware they've been cross-pollinated. lol).
    I know some people who hate Gregorian Chant because it 'takes too long'...which is related to it not being carnally stimulating (ie having a beat).
    And I know some Catholic choir leaders who justifiably refuse to accomodate one iota to the priest, congregation or anyone else who wants anything other than just chant, because they know if they let the door open even a crack pretty soon we'll just be singing the four hymn sandwich instead of the propers.

    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Catherine,

    I've met two of the kinds of Catholics you mention. The cross-pollinated kind who don't realize it are usually claiming one of two things: we want more people to come to the Traditional form, so we have to make it..... less traditional! ; or my parish in the 1950s used (some substitute) and our priest said it was perfectly ok, so we (usually self-identified) blue-collar Catholics don't need any of that frilly stuff to be good Catholics.

    The other is the one who won't compromise to let anything other than chant in -- and so, for example, they shun polyphony.