Instrumental Music During Lent
  • I understand that the organ (or other instruments) should only be used to support singing at Mass during Lent (GIRM 313). What about outside of Mass, for example at a reconciliation service? In the past, our parishes would have the organist play reverently while confessions were heard. To be clear, this is not directly prior to or following a Mass time.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,726
    Next Sunday, which I often refer to as Pink Sunday, allows for use of the organ for more than just singing. I still try to keep it down and don't do postludes. GIRM doesn't address events outside of mass.
  • I think, for the purpose of creating soft background music during confessions would be an acceptable use-case. I have been asked to play similarly on more than one occasion. This isn't really the same as embellishing a liturgy; it is more practical than that: it provides privacy during confessions. Alternatively, you can pipe a CD of plainchant through the speakers too. This has the same effect.
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,656
    Was subjected to incessant organ playing during Confessions about 5 years ago. It's not a good idea, friend; reminds the PIP of a retail store Muzak or funeral home loop. Tell your priest/employer (?) that it might be a lot more cloying than inspirational.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,726
    I have heard the organ played during penance services. It accomplished two things.

    1.) Helped to keep down chatting by the folks waiting.
    2.) With priests hearing confessions in the aisles, it kept penitents from being heard by others.

    Keep in mind the volume was no more than necessary to accomplish these purposes.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen JL
  • Although 'spirit' has acquired a much-deserved bad repute by its association with the so-called 'spirit of Vatican Two', I would suggest that in the 'spirit' of Lent what is good enough for the mass is good enough for other quasi- or para- or whatever services or gatherings throughout Lent - excepting Laetare, commonly called 'rose Sunday', or, in Anglican usage, 'Mothering Sunday'. (The appelation 'rose Sunday' arose in times past when the pope would present a golden rose to certain favoriti on Laetare.)

    Charles is correct - most vesture, on Gaudete and Laetare alike, is not rose coloured (as it should be) but is a trashy looking pink or salmon - not even approaching roseate. I must say that there have been only a very few (like maybe two or three) times in my life at which I saw vestments that were actually of a marvelous shade of rose. (Down with pink - any and everywhere!)
  • down with pink? well, maybe not any and everywhere.
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  • ...well maybe not..
    Ha!
    There's no pink in the Sainte Chapelle.
    Lots of rose, though.
    (And photographs are notorious for not illustrating true hue.)
  • sure there is pink at Sainte Chapelle, MJO. Also at Chartres. :)
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    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Well, maybe so - if your illustrations are accurate.

    Um, is that really pink?
    Or is it perhaps pale magenta?
    Or is it a shade of rose???

    Whatever it is it's beautiful and
    is definitely NOT the sick Pepto-Bismol pink of most of our so-called 'rose' vestments.
    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,726
    I am wearing a pink shirt Sunday and I have encouraged the choir to wear pink, also. It will match the shockingly pink tabernacle veil which is nowhere near rose by any definition. It is also a way of needling the clergy and their pink vestments which are closer to pink than rose.
  • Doubtful that the needle will be felt, but nice try CharlesW :-)

    Perhaps it will be a consolation to reflect that the good God made all colors, and that His roses come in all shades of that beautiful one.

    The earliest named rose (gallica var. officinalis 'Versicolor' (Rosa mundi), 1500s) is striped with a similar pink to that in the Chartres window.

    We return you now to your original post topic! :-)
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,726
    I grow roses and like them in all colors. They are truly beautiful.

    My pastor isn't fond of the pink vestments and is glad to only wear them two Sundays of the year. LOL.
    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,069
    we wont have rose, pink or salmon sunday.... it will be purple.
  • ...it will be...
    Purple, you say?
    Any thing that isn't pink or salmon is good - unless it really is roseate.
  • dad29 March 27 Thanks
    Posts: 1,642
    Was subjected to incessant organ playing during Confessions about 5 years ago. It's not a good idea, friend; reminds the PIP of a retail store Muzak or funeral home loop. Tell your priest/employer (?) that it might be a lot more cloying than inspirational.


    Sounds like you were subjected to bad and/or loud organ music. The multiple services I've played (and multiple I've attended) have always kept things below mp. typically P or even pp. Just enough to keep people from hearing confessions at the end of aisles and as mentioned above, to keep the din of talking to a minimum so penitents can pray. And yes, it essentially IS liturgical muzak. But that's precisely the point in this context.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • Gamba
    Posts: 120
    In the penance services we have, I chant an assortment of things in English, primarily the various penitential psalms and the psalms concerning the law of God. This provides cover for confessions, and also gives folks some sacred words with which to process whatever sentiments of embarrassment or remorse they are experiencing. Will admit to using minimal amplification, to save voice for what is sometimes 45 minutes of uninterrupted, unaccompanied singing, but nowhere in the (quite large) church am I louder than I would seem to be if I were singing, say, the Exultet or some other exuberant thing without amplification.
  • I consider that the use of organ alone is banished during lent (of course except Laetare). So that applies to all and any offices. I admit an exception for funerals, as in my parish lots of people are not regulars, and the mass being quite lengthy (we follow the extraordinary latin rit) a few interludes avoid to see family members leave... But no music for penance ceremonies. (Sorry for my english, Im french...)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,069
    I used to play the organ during Penance Service during Lent. Usually just an 8' flute and/or celeste. Strictly meditative usually in a minor key.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 6,475
    (Sorry for my English...
    Vive la France.
    Vive le roi,...
    too
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,613
    Vive les Rois...the joys of latter-day monarchism, you get your pick.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • ...get your pick.
    I'll pick them all - reigning or pretending.

    If I'm not overlooking any there are (counting grand duchies and principalities) yet ten remaining reigning monarchs in Europe - Norway, Sweden, Denmark, UK, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Monaco, Lichtenstein, and Luxemburg, (not to mention Vatican City).

    (If one were to add Canada, Australia, and quite a few other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations of which The Queen is head of state, their numbers would increase appreciably.)

    Vive les rois (et les reines)!

    Then there are those scattered across the Middle East, some places in Asia and the Pacific.

    It is notable that the British committed regicide and repented of it, whilst the French committed regicide and have yet to repent - which is to say that they remain obstinately unrepentant.
    (A Fifth Republic president, though, is a monarch in all but name...
    for which we can thank Charles de Gaulle!)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,726
    whilst the French committed regicide and have yet to repent...


    I'm not so sure the Russians repented, either, but the French never repent of anything and never will. LOL. They have, however, produced some of the world's finest music.

    As an American, I do wonder why some of those countries keep royal families in splendor to perform ceremonial functions. Other than providing pomp and ceremony, they are largely useless for any practical purpose. Those royals are quite ordinary people, some not even measuring up to the average. There are a few like the British queen who are exceptional. She's sharp and has, I am told, a stunning understanding of world affairs and events. Her son and heir could charitably be called a goof.
  • As a french citizen, I wish France would reconcile (is this correct ?) with its past and repent and goes forward. I consider that France, assuming its past, could be a major player in installing christianity (thats what matters, at the very end). Nevertheless, I think that devil is working hard in order to ensure that my country, kingdom or republic, is a top amoral country in the world...
    Then, liturgy is a modest, humble answer... at my modest, humble level of a parish choir manager...
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,439
    I hardly consider the Glorious Revolution (bringing in hat Orange fellow to replace the legitimate king) to be a great act of contrition on England’s part...

    And to say France never repented isn’t entirely true. There was the Bourbon Restoration. And the Citizen King. France just couldn’t make up her mind on whether or not she was penitent. She has been, and will be no doubt, a beautiful country - when she finally makes up her mind.
  • Gamba
    Posts: 120
    As an American, I do wonder why some of those countries keep royal families in splendor to perform ceremonial functions.


    It means there is a distinction between the ceremonial and the functional head of state; the former to be the personification of national pride and identity, and the latter to bear the brunt of criticism for the way things are. In the UK right now, Elizabeth II remains greatly loved, while Theresa May is widely reviled.

    On the other hand, here in America, where the President fills both roles, about half the time, half the country is ashamed of its head of state, and so one sees people rejecting ceremonial honors given by the president because they cannot abide him as a governor. So no one can unite the people like a monarch, because half the country voted for the other guy and resents the incumbent. And every four or eight years, the person leading America is someone completely different and there is no continuity.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,726
    Great Britain is united? That's pretty funny. I have heard all the reasons for keeping monarchy. It's their tax money and if that's how they want to spend it, fine. I wouldn't do it and as I recall, my ancestors took deadly aim at the British over it.
  • ...took deadly aim...
    Well, about a meagre 10% took deadly aim. That's the percentage of the colonial population who participated in or supported their 'revolution'. Not happy at that, they confiscated the land of those who had remained loyal and drove rest into Canada, which in addition they tried to conquer for their new-fangled republic, but the wise Canadians would have none of it. In sum, not at all 'democratic' decision making, nietherr kind, nor peace-loving.

    Stimson is right in that the so-called 'glorious revolution' (there was nothing glorious about that act of perfidy) was a sad step - at least they didn't commit regicide yet again.
    Thanked by 1Viola
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,726
    I don't think you need to worry about Canada because you couldn't give it away at the moment. They are as politically messed up as we are. Although I still look forward to taking that trans-Canada train trip in the future to see the beautiful scenery.
  • NihilNominis
    Posts: 344
    Story about organ during penance services:

    I was playing for a school penance service; I had to step away for personal reasons, so I put on the sequencer on the organ with a track of confession-music improv that I sequenced for just such a purpose.

    But, I was away too long. Later that day, when I had my choir students that afternoon, K___ declared, with some annoyance, "Well, EVERYBODY heard my confession... the music STOPPED!"

    So, it serves a purpose.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,613
    To complete my thought on the tangent now that it crossed the Norman Channel:


    http://my.raex.com/~obsidian/Britpret