You can't do that (chant) because... active participation! Question?
  • JesJes
    Posts: 508
    Recently in discussion with my Archbishop and a group of devout laity we decided to do an OF mass in English with solem latin Gregorian chant Propers.

    The response from the Archdioce director of music was such:
    "You cannot do that (chant) because it does not foster congregational participation."
    His argument also was with the lack of consistency, going between English and Latin language with the readings at mass.


    Quote Pius XI:
    "In order that the faithful may more actively participate in divine worship, let them be led once more to sing the Gregorian chant, so far as it belongs to them to take part in it."

    Who is right? Who is wrong? and why?
    Is Pius XI only referring to specific types of chant or is he referring to it all?
    Which chants belong to us to take part in and which ones don't?
    Does this mean that the alleluia from the solemn propers is not belonging to us?
    Who do I follow?
    Why is this STILL unclear today?
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,411
    foster congregational participation


    This is why this is still unclear today! What does congregational participation mean?

    Do we need to actively (vocally) participate in everything being sung?
    If so the propers will have to go.

    If we can actively participate by listening or reading, the Propers are fine.
    Thanked by 3Jes CHGiffen jchthys
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,130
    Thanked by 1Jes
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,997
    Lack of consistency between English readings and Latin chants. That's a new one. Don't want to confuse either the native English speakers or the native Latin speakers!

    And don't forget the Greek chant!

    And people have such a hard time with the Hebrew word Alleluia that we might as well toss it out.

    When there aren't rational arguments for beautiful liturgy, people make up the most arbitrary "rules." I have been hearing these rules for decades and they are all nonsense. Ask for a citation regarding linguistic "consistency."
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen tomjaw Jes
  • MarkB
    Posts: 191
    I'm guessing that the archdiocese you are in is not Portland. Still, this might be useful to you: it's what Archbishop Sample says about the congregation's participation in his recent pastoral letter about sacred music.

    1. General Standards

    a. Participatio Actuosa (Active Participation)

    Those responsible for sacred music in the Mass must foster and enable the participatio actuosa (active participation) of all the faithful; all should have the opportunity to participate fully and consciously in the sacred action of the Mass. This does not mean that everyone present must sing everything all the time; the sacred music of the Mass pertains to different participants in different ways depending on its structure and its position in the rite. The congregation should be encouraged and enabled to sing whenever appropriate, and when the singing is properly rendered by the cantor or choir alone, participate interiorly through engaged and prayerful silent reflection. Likewise, the musicians should be attentive and prayerfully engaged in the parts of the Mass which do not necessarily involve music, both for their own spiritual good and so as not to become a distraction to others. They should participate in the Mass, observing all the appropriate postures and gestures of the congregation to the fullest degree possible.

    Pope Francis recently encouraged musicians and singers to study and prepare so that they can accompany the liturgy well, and not be tempted to draw attention to themselves: “Please, do not be a ‘prima donna!’” he said. Liturgical musicians, he continued, should be “animators of the song of the whole assembly,” not replace it.

    Again Pope Francis; “Active and conscious participation in the liturgy constitutes being able to ‘enter deeply’ into the mystery of God made present in the Eucharist: thanks in particular to the religious silence and musicality of language with which the Lord speaks to us.”


    You can find a link to Sample's letter in another thread currently near the top of this message board.

    Thanked by 3jchthys Jes Antonio
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,687
    By that DM's principals, there should never be non-English vernacular things at any primarily English-language liturgy. Fortunately, the relevant liturgical legislation has no placed no such principled restriction on the use of Latin propers as such in a vernacular Mass and vice versa.

    There's also a problem looking at congregational participation of a given community in a given liturgy as a photo, rather than over time, as a movie, as it were. Is a practice likely to become a chronic obstacle to the kind of participation desired by the authority in question? If not, the objection to it should be accordingly dialed back.

    Understand I think some of this problem comes from ministerial folk becoming habituated to seeing that X Liturgical Moment Always Looks Like This, even when the Missal itself and its governing documents/legislation do not. It's habit and inertia.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Jes
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,886
    I think there is room for both. As Pius XI indicated, some masses should be of the "high" nature with the more difficult music sung by a choir. He mentioned special occasions. Some masses should be simpler and have more singable chants so the congregation can learn and sing the parts appropriate for them. It doesn't have to be either/or but both.
  • Mark,

    Jes writes all the way from Australia, so she's not in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.


    Jes,

    I would ask someone which of the following makes more sense:

    a) You didn't bury your most-beloved grandmother, because someone else put her in a coffin and still someone else lowered her to her final Earthly resting place.

    a1) You did bury your most-beloved grandmother, because you put in motion those things necessary to have her buried according to the rites of our Holy Mother, the Church.


    b) You didn't participate in the prayers of the Mass because you were busy singing the Sanctus while Father was mumbling something else while his back was to you.

    b2) You did participate in the prayers of the Mass because at that point, your assigned duty was to sing so God can draw others, through your music, closer to Him.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,029
    Forgive me, Jes, but were you asking this person for permission to do this? You absolutely do not need permission to sing Gregorian propers.
    Thanked by 2MarkB Jes
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,029
    Actually, let me say one other thing: Gregorian propers are the first recommendation in the GIRM for the music at Entrance, Offertory, and Communion. This person is either A) disingenuous or B) uninformed...or both.
    Thanked by 1Jes
  • JesJes
    Posts: 508
    In my archdiocese it is compulsory to ask permission of the music director of the diocese to do music when doing mass for the archbishop. Is this customary elsewhere?

    Is there a disjointed by doing the gradual and alleluia chanted propers? The others seemed to be okayed. Just those two.

    Given that there would be 3 bishops and 5 priests at this mass I made the assumption it was a high mass and that such participation would be praying along to the solemn chants.

    I'll be writing to my Archbishop to ask for his pastoral letter or thoughts on Archbishop Samples letter. Hopefully this may make my decision to either Benedict option my way out of this diocese and into another nearby one or to stick around and educate the plebs.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 191
    You didn't say in your original post that this was a special Mass with the archbishop presiding. I, and I believe others, assumed you were referring to preparing a parish Mass (perhaps on a regular basis) with Gregorian propers.

    Given that the archbishop will preside, it is fitting that he or his archdiocesan director of music, as his delegate, have a say in the music for the Mass.

    If the other Gregorian propers were approved, as you stated, but the gradual and alleluia during the Liturgy of the Word are what the music director objected to (because of going back and forth between English and Latin), then you got about 80% of what you wanted to do, and I wouldn't press it. The presiding priest/bishop is in charge, ultimately. I'd look for a good English chanted setting of the responsorial psalm (instead of the gradual) and a solemn alleluia to use with a chanted English Gospel verse. That should satisfy the music director.
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • JesJes
    Posts: 508
    @markb it is NOT about what I want.

    I'm curious to know the reason why this cannot be done.

    As for the permission sought I'm receiving one direction direct from the archbishop who has asked me to do the music the laity want (and they want chant) whilst the director of the music at the archdiocese is against this and cites the swapping of languages and lack of active participation as his reasons why.

    It's a case of who do I follow? How do I justify the decisions made? Not about what I want. Gosh if I just did what I wanted then my church would likely empty due to my hubris.
    Thanked by 2Incardination tomjaw
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,091
    @Jes Would a letter/email/message to both the archbishop and the director of music outlining the conflict help? (I'm not sure).

    And ... If you just did what you wanted then your church would likely be filled with scads of us coming to participate in a beautiful mass.
    Thanked by 2Jes Incardination
  • MarkB
    Posts: 191
    Well, the GIRM does state that the responsorial psalm is to be preferred to the gradual, even though the gradual is a permitted option. See GIRM #61. At least that's the case in the United States. I don't know what adaptations have been made in Australia.

    GIRM #61 does contain language about the people's response during the responsorial psalm. Additionally, the Introduction to the Lectionary (at least in the U.S.) #20 states that responsorial singing of the psalm is to be given preference over any other method of singing the psalm.

    That could be what the music director is referring to concerning the lack of participation: if the gradual were to replace the responsorial psalm assigned for the day in the Lectionary, then there would be no sung response by the congregation; but the rubrics prefer that the responsorial psalm in the Lectionary with a sung response be used. So, if my interpretation of your scenario is correct, then the music director does have the support of rubrics regarding choice of music for the Liturgy of the Word (responsorial psalm and Gospel verse/alleluia) in an English OF Mass.
    Thanked by 1Jes
  • JesJes
    Posts: 508
    I'm hoping that a conversation with the director can clarify if there are any specific changes in recent years. Problem is I cannot use the archdiocese approved hymnals due to their cost. They are not out of copyright and the cost is rather enormous. For a "one off" mass to pay the expense of over $3000 AUD would be unfair.
    The director is personally invested in selling these approved books as he directly profits from their sale - being the man who owns the rights for use.
    If one doesn't wish to use these books it appears he rejects their decisions to do other material.

    This appears to be a situation of whatever HE wants not whatever is correct.
    I just want to know what is correct.
    Because up until now I've not been incorrect when choosing to do chant propers.
  • JesJes
    Posts: 508
    @markb very helpful thank you!
  • MarkB
    Posts: 191
    The director is personally invested in selling these approved books as he directly profits from their sale - being the man who owns the rights for use.


    Is it just me, or do others find it very odd that the archdiocesan music director would personally own the rights to the archdiocese's approved hymnals and would personally profit from their sale? That can't be right.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw cmb
  • JesJes
    Posts: 508
    Don't get me wrong. He compiled the hymnals even wrote some of the masses found within and reharmonised a lot of the hymns. He did the work and ought be paid for it.
    However; these are the only hymnals I'm asked to use by the archdiocese and by him and that to me doesn't sound right...
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen

  • Is it just me, or do others find it very odd that the archdiocesan music director would personally own the rights to the archdiocese's approved hymnals and would personally profit from their sale? That can't be right.


    Isn't this the same as GIA owning the rights to the psalm texts, ICEL owning the rights to the revised translations, etc.?

    Not that it's any less abhorrent, but there does seem to be a precedent at least.
    Thanked by 3MarkB CHGiffen Jes
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,029
    If you don't have the hymnals, you can't use them. This is beyond obvious.

    It is also beyond obvious that if he wants them used, he needs to take it up with pastors, who control the purse strings, not poor organists and choirmasters!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,679
    Jes, most of the music controlled by the big publishers can be licensed through a service called "One License", which does serve Oz as well as the US, so if you want to use some of the content of the official hymnal, you can probably get permission for specific pieces more cheaply on a short-term, single-use basis from them.

    But in any case, the GIRM (Australia edition) says expressly that you can sing the proper chants from the Graduale Romanum (see paragraphs 48, 61, 62, 87): that is, the Entrance, the Psalm, the chant before the Gospel, and the Communion. It doesn't say that expressly for the Offertory, alas. But I hope having official support in the GIRM (which is law) helps.
    Thanked by 2Jes CHGiffen
  • JesJes
    Posts: 508
    @chonak seriously useful to know! Thank you!

    The issue with offertory appears to be timing I've found. If doing the chant you'd want to hope there is incensing or a long collection etc. I find that OF chant books have shorter offertory chants than EF materials.

    Thank you so much.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,029
    If you're concerned about timing, you could consider using an Offertory chant from the Graduale Simplex, rather than the Graduale Romanum.
  • There is nothing to prevent different parts in one and the same celebration being sung in different languages. (VATICAN II!!! Musicam sacram 51)
    Not that it likely matters; the "Spirit of Vatican II" folks generally don't give a [insert expletive of your choice] about what the documents actually say.
    Thanked by 3CharlesW Salieri dad29
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,373
    ^^ And the only real 'language issue' involves Latin. It is never a problem if the Entrance Hymn is in English, the 'Kyrie' in Albanian, the 'Gloria' in Spanish, the First Reading in French, the Psalm in English & Spanish simultaneously, the Second Reading in Klingon, the Alleluia in German, the Gospel in Russian, the Sermon in English, the Creed in English with a French Refrain, the 'Sanctus' in Old Norse, the Lord's Prayer in Welsh, the 'Agnus' in Briton, the Communion Hymn in Latvian, and the Recessional in Irish; but God forbid that the choir sing the Communion Antiphon in Latin. The only permissible Latin is an out-of-tune former-soprano screeching the Schubert 'Ave' at some person's funeral/wedding.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,886
    The only permissible Latin is an out-of-tune former-soprano screeching the Schubert 'Ave' at some person's funeral/wedding.


    Oh, no! She's been to your place, too.

    I think it is possible to teach the congregation Latin and English chants they are able to sing. The "they can't sing Latin" often comes from using chants that only a trained choir can sing. It puzzles me the number of posters who want to do Latin chants, but are not willing to choose chants singable by the congregation.
    Thanked by 2Salieri tomjaw
  • MarkB
    Posts: 191
    With apologies to The Beatles:

    I got something to say that might cause you pain,
    If I catch you chanting in Latin again,
    I'm gonna let you down,
    And leave you flat,
    Because I told you before, oh,
    You can't do that.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen tomjaw
  • Whether it's the children or the people can't sing chant, or they can't sing Latin, or they just can't sing at all because Catholics can't sing, etc., etc. - all these are variations on a theme. And, as has been noted before on other multiple threads, the problem here is the person who's making this sick claim. That person can't, and therefore he and she assume that no one else can, either, and projects his and her ignorance onto others lest he and she have to admit that he and she is the problem - and, he and she need to be told so in plain English (or Latin, or Estonian).

    Those who are ignorant want to keep everyone ignorant lest their ignorance is brought to light and they are shown to be the only ones who 'can't'; and they will go out of their way to see to it that nobody chants or sings in Latin - or Greek, or even Old Church English - lest they are out of a job.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19631204_sacrosanctum-concilium_en.html


    See section 6 starting at 112, with particular attention paid to 116. Gregorian is supposed to be the standard, not the aberration, even according to VII.
  • The difficulty is not so much that people cannot chant - more that people won't learn chant. Some have better reasons than others for refusing to learn. The thing here is the issue of how imperative it is that the congregation sings. If the congregation won't sing, it does not need to follow that the music then has to suffer to pander to the congregation's lack of willingness to sing what they ought. That is part of what leads to what we have today.

    As long as we have so much emphasis on congregational singing, then it will be difficult to maintain the standards and ideals that ought to be upheld. The key is for 1) the pastor knowing what ought to be done, and 2) having a music director who can implement at least the minimum of the ideal AND then who is willing to both learn through and through the higher ideals and teach them, pouring himself out to teach it at all cost. If the congregation will not learn even the basics, that is on them - one need not sacrifice the basic minimum just to satisfy the congregation. Despite all of the emphasis on "active participation" in the 20th century, it cannot be rightly asserted that one is not participating in the (more important) interior way if he is not saying anything, even if it is (however rightly) admitted that ideally the congregation should sing the parts proper to them.

    I realize that there is the reality to deal with today, with regards to common practice in the Novus Ordo and the Novus Ordo in general, but no matter what anyone says, to place such emphasis on the responsorial psalm is to outright reject centuries of tradition with the gradual and alleluia chants, and this is not okay. I personally could not be a music director at such a parish. God bless those who can, and have to deal with such a hatred of, or at best, complete ignorance of or indifference towards the liturgical traditions of the Church.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,373
    The only permissible Latin is an out-of-tune former-soprano screeching the Schubert 'Ave' at some person's funeral/wedding.

    Oh, no! She's been to your place, too.

    Isn't she ubiquitous, Charles?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,886
    ... to place such emphasis on the responsorial psalm is to outright reject centuries of tradition with the gradual and alleluia chants, and this is not okay.


    It's just simple fact that some parts of the mass have disappeared and were changed by lawful authorities. We musicians didn't do it, and don't make the rules. The gradual and alleluia chants are gone and we have been told to use the psalm. Although not specifically forbidden, the Propers are gone for any practical purposes. Also missing are compositions titled, "Elevation," which were often very beautiful pieces of music. The only way to use that missing music is to find another place in the mass, if you can even find time for it. The actual elevation itself has gone from significant to a hurried part of the mass getting little emphasis. And while I am ranting, how did the homily become longer, and one would assume, more important than the Eucharistic Prayer which is often rushed and shortened?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,301
    Chonak has made a slight error above. It is true that the GR Offertory is not explicitly mentioned, presumably because there is no spoken text to substitute for the chant. But GIRM (Australian edn) says, my emphasis :
    74. The procession bringing the gifts is accompanied by the Offertory chant (cf. no. 37b), which continues at least until the gifts have been placed on the altar. The norms on the manner of singing are the same as for the Entrance chant (cf. no. 48). Singing may always accompany the rite at the Offertory, even when there is no procession with the gifts.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen chonak
  • OraLabora
    Posts: 141
    The conventual Mass at the abbey I'm attached to as oblate, does just this, a mix of Latin and vernacular (in this instance French) plainchant. The propers and ordinary are in Latin Gregorian chant (Greek Kyrie of course), and the rest in French plainchant, including chanted readings.

    I guess one can argue that a conventual Mass, lay participation is neither required nor encouraged. I do, and am tolerated, because I can blend my voice with the monks and sit in the first pew to avoid singing over people's heads, and I can sing the propers & ordinary competently, and am wise enough to keep my beak shut if it's a chant above my pay grade. If you told the monks it was "inconsistent" to mix Latin and vernacular, they would certainly give you a puzzled look. It all blends together beautifully. The laity are encouraged to give the responses (in French) where appropriate, pray the Pater (chanted in French), and whatnot. So one cannot say they do not "participate" at all, they simply are allowed to participate at their skill level.

    Certainly at the parish level, there is nothing wrong with doing this either on high occasions, or from time to time. Our schola does just that, singing at a parish Mass once a month, rotating around different parishes. In that light parishioners see it as a "special occasion" and generally are most welcoming, but our experience of singing at the same parish every month was less than spectacular, we were kicked out because, allegedly, the collections were poorer on the days we sang.

    The musical director at your archdiocese is simply being too rigid.

    Ora
  • I (regrettably) live in novus ordo land and at both my current and previous parishes I introduced plainchant in both Latin and English. I sprinkle authentic/unadulterated Latin chants every so often and sing a communion antiphon (Latin, or more often, English by Fr. Weber) before the "communion hymn" (if there even is such a thing...) every week. The response has been largely positive. At my previous parish I was complemented by grateful souls very regularly. At my new parish (6 months) I've received a few complements and no complaints. Anyone who is liturgically aware is grateful for the change, and most other people are too apathetic to care. The feedback I've most typically received goes something like this, "I just LOVE that chanting... or song... what is it called? YES! the chant. I just love it. It makes things just feel so still and HOLY. THANK YOU!" I have received a variation on that comment I don't know how many times in the last 3 years.

    As an aside, three parishes ago I enjoyed a very traditional cassock-wearing priest who even had a communion rail retrofitted to the church and 75% of the congregation used it (kneeling) after a year or two. I started with introit before the entrance hymn and had Bartlett antiphons at communion. When a new liberal pastor came, he put the kibosh to both within a matter of weeks and I had multiple people come up to me and lament their omission and ask me to do them again. I had to woefully ask them to talk to father... (This same priest talked to the parish council about dismissing me because of my "obstinate disobedience in insisting on kneeling down to receive communion on the tongue..." Please pray for him.)

    For feast days I try to sprinkle in other things like the introit or offertory antiphons as well. I do not supplant the "hymn sandwich" formula outright, I just add an extra element before the hymns and then use the hymns to fill whatever time is left over for that particular liturgical action. On Palm Sunday we will do the Hosanna proclamation and then chant Pueri Hebræorum as we process into the church. Little things like this can really elevate the liturgy without completely rocking the boat.

    I have my choir doing the Weber antiphons every week (although, since they are new, I am transcribing them to simplified modern notation until they can learn to read the actual neumes) for communion. They have made great progress. Depending on how fancy I want to be, I might have them chant the refrain as transcribed from Communio and then take Weber's verses in English. There's a lot you can do. It doesn't have to be all Latin; even translations are still the "Proper" texts and are therefore superior to some random 70's tripe.
  • It is never a problem if the Entrance Hymn is in English, the 'Kyrie' in Albanian, the 'Gloria' in Spanish, the First Reading in French, the Psalm in English & Spanish simultaneously, the Second Reading in Klingon, the Alleluia in German, the Gospel in Russian, the Sermon in English,

    I understand that the costs of copyright permission for readings in Klingon is prohibitive.
  • Madame,

    The revised Klingon is easily accessible, and free, but the Old Klingon, with all the hard sayings, is (actually) illegal to use, and very expensive.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,130
    Always use Latin
    Avoid all Copyright fees
    Remain timeless

    UPDATE
    Engrave the music yourself
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • MarkB
    Posts: 191
    Ah, maybe the Latin and the music are public domain but the engraving or typesetting or layout is copyrighted. There's always an angle someone is trying to work.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,130
    MarkB

    Revised previous post
  • JesJes
    Posts: 508
    @serviamscores I do not regrettably live in novus ordo land. I regrettably live in "what in the world did these imbeciles do to the mass" land.
    Generally, the response to my choirs singing chant is positive too.
    It was the reason I was booked to do mass for this archbishop.
    Okay, the big day is today! Who votes that I sneak in one of the propers into communion? (It isn't like the "Director of Music" is present after all.)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,091
    Thumbs up, Jes!!
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,783
    The US law's "creative work" hasn't ever been interpreted to apply to typesetting. From what I hear though, UK engravers were successful in lobbying for explicit protection.
  • We sing English propers, and post the antiphons in a program. Some are simple and some complex. Now after at least five years of consistent use for the entrance and communion, the congregation has caught on, as they are becoming more and more familiar. Recently I have posted the verses pointed and scored with Meinrad tones and let the choir and congregation sing the verses. If we know the Latin GR antiphon we will use that as the final antiphon. The congregation also know a handful of mellismatic Alleluias from the GR. It takes time and consistency. I encountered much resistance at the beginning , even a a series of anti chant articles form the DRE in our own bulletin. Once the pastor deferred to her opnion and asked me not to use chant during the vigil. I then agreed that we will recite the Exultet, Alleluia, litany of the saints, and the Lord's Prayer., and then the sequence the next day. We chanted.
    Thanked by 2irishtenor tomjaw
  • JesJes
    Posts: 508
    Archbishop smiled at me (beamed) when I started chanting.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,029
    Once the pastor deferred to her opnion and asked me not to use chant during the vigil. I then agreed that we will recite the Exultet, Alleluia, litany of the saints, and the Lord's Prayer., and then the sequence the next day. We chanted.


    Very savvy indeed, Ralph Bednarz!
    Thanked by 1tomjaw