If the organ is not to be used, except to support the chant/singing/......
  • does it follow that, in the mind of the Church, the organ can/should/must have a unique speaking part - i.e., beyond accompanying the chant/singing -- at other times?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,974
    GIRM 313. The organ and other lawfully approved musical instruments should be placed in a suitable place so that they can sustain the singing of both the choir and the people and be heard with ease by everybody if they are played alone.
    A specific example -
    GIRM 142: ... If, however, there is no Offertory Chant and the organ is not played, ...
    IF you accept GIRM as part of the mind of the Church
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 548
    Ah, GIRM 313 -- Don't put the organ in the hallway.

    To the OP, yes, absolutely. Especially in the Magisterium of Pius XII and beyond.
  • Hawkins,

    I don't have the GIRM in front of me. Could "if they are played alone" be adequately and accurately rendered when they are played alone?

    Nihil Nominis,

    Hmmm. Are you suggesting that the pipes may be in the main body of the church, but that the organist and his console should be outside, somewhere near the relocated tabernacle?
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    the pipes may be in the main body of the church


    ...along with the other "lawfully approved instruments" such as the tambourines, guitars, kazoos, snare drums, and crows, in the mind of the Church.
  • Dad,

    If we separate the tambourines, guitars, kazoos, snare drums and crows from their instrumentalists, would they make the same sound?
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    Let’s not forget the cymbals. They’re in the Bible, after all.
    Thanked by 2Liam francis
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,974
    CGZ - I am not clear what distiction you want to make here. There is no requirement that there be an organ, and GIRM must be interpreted in the light of 'progressive solemnisation'. This particular 'if' is about what the priest may do. :
    IGMR(2002)142. ...
    Si vero cantus ad offertorium non peragitur vel non pulsatur organum, sacerdoti licet, ...
    I cited it because there is no clear articulation of what the organ(ist) may do, only specification that they may not play solo at certain times. MS is clearer, but must be interpreted in the light of the changes to the Rite, it should not be read restrictively
    65. In sung or said Masses, the organ, ... can also be played solo at the beginning before the priest reaches the altar, at the Offertory, at the Communion, and at the end of Mass.


  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,974
    ryand - Indeed 'Praise the Lord with the clashing of cymbals'. But probably not while the priest was in the Holy of Holies. I don't know of any detailed description, but Luke 1:10&21 don't suggest that the crowd was tired of singing, rather of attentive waiting. I would welcome cymbals, in some outdoor processions.
  • .
  • Carol
    Posts: 558
    I figured "crow" was the singer whose voice resembles a crow.
  • Hawkins,

    I'm trying to discover whether the expectation is that the organ will play its own part, or that it will merely function as an accompaniment for voices. I think the expectation is different in the praxis of the OF and the praxis of the EF, but what the Church understands to be the norm is my goal.

    For example, most people nowadays take Low Mass as the norm in the EF, since High Mass and Solemn High and Pontifical (anything)Mass is still rarer, but the Church presumes that a sung Mass with the Bishop is the norm. Choirs are used in many OF parishes mostly to support congregational singing (or to show how fashionable they are, microphones and inclusive language and all), and people are (as per HH Pope Benedict XVI) tempted to applaud when the choir sings a solo piece well.... even though the choir is supposed to have its own voice, to which the assembled lay faithful are occasionally joined.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    I figured "crow" was the singer whose voice resembles a crow.


    DING DING DING.....winner winner chicken dinner!!
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  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,367
    Did I hear "sopranshee"?
    Thanked by 3CharlesW Carol tomjaw
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    whether the expectation is that the organ will play its own part, or that it will merely function as an accompaniment for voices. I think the expectation is different in the praxis of the OF and the praxis of the EF


    When I was trained ('63-'69) in 'church organ,' it was understood that the organ could be played independent of singing--thus such pieces titled "Preludium", "Offertorium", "Communio", and "Postludium" were part and parcel of organ-music collections. (NOT true for Advent and Lent, of course.)

    That was true for Missa Cantata and Missa Lecta. By praxis in this area, that hasn't changed--except for the compulsive ORGAN IS GOOD!!! playing during Lent at OF Masses.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,974
    Chris G-Z - I have no authority to pronounce on such matters. Nor any relevant academic qualifications. I note that music usually forms the last section mentioned in liturgical documents (unless they also mention art), and the organ (or other instruments) is usually the last matter addressed in that section. MS is, I think, the only attempt by the Church to give a consoldated overview of the various authoritative pronouncements, and it is now partially outdated. Nevertheless a role for solo organ is enthusiastically endorsed by
    MS §62. Musical instruments can be very useful in sacred celebrations, whether they accompany the singing or whether they are played as solo instruments.
    "The pipe organ is to be held in high esteem in the Latin Church, since it is its traditional instrument, the sound of which can add a wonderful splendor to the Church's ceremonies and powerfully lift up men's minds to God and higher things. ..." (SC §120)
    That last quotation from SC is the true 'spirit of Vatican II'.
    OTOH there is no endorsement of the organ usurping a voice role, as in those French Organ Masses where, for example, the organ and choir 'chanted' alternate verses of the Gloria. The organ is solo only when there is no text required to be said or sung.
  • madorganist
    Posts: 631
    Accompaniment in Church documents doesn't necessarily mean what we musicians think of. I would refer you to nos. 15-18 of Tra le sollecitudini, where it should be clear that voluntaries, improvisations, or interludes are referred to, and alternatim practice elsewhere in the documents. Note that these have a permissive rather than prescriptive character, but I believe there is actually a rubric requiring the playing of the organ at the intonation of the Gloria on Holy Thursday and at the Easter Vigil.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    requiring the playing of the organ at the intonation of the Gloria on Holy Thursday and at the Easter Vigil.


    I think you refer to the requirement for the church's bells (including the altar bells) to be rung then.
  • madorganist
    Posts: 631
    Feria V in Cena Domini, Missale romanum, 1960:
    incipit solemniter Gloria in excelsis, et pulsantur campanae et organum, quae, expleto hymno, silent usque ad Vigiliam paschalem.
  • madorganist
    Posts: 631
    See also the Ordo for those days.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,509
    I use the organ for accompaniment, only, during OF masses for most of Lent. On the infamous "Pink Sunday," I will play interludes during communion, maybe offertory. Postludes return at the Easter Vigil. A bit of silence is a good thing.

    My experience with the EF folks is that they do as they please, make up all kinds of reasons to justify it, then criticize the OF folks for not following the rules.
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  • Incardination
    Posts: 833
    My experience with the EF folks is that they do as they please, make up all kinds of reasons to justify it, then criticize the OF folks for not following the rules.

    No prejudice there, I'm sure.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,509
    None whatsoever. Just observation and experience.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    Well, Mad........that's an addition of which I was not aware.

    As to 'do as they please', please see the French order with blue altar-boy cassocks.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,509
    You realize I am only referring the nuts in my area, not the nuts in yours. I have no idea what yours do.
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  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,815
    EF folks = nuts in either your area or mine

    Most definitely no prejudice In either location
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,509
    They make their own enemies.
  • Incardination
    Posts: 833
    Strange... in my area, there are nuts in every group - Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish, Atheist, OF, EF - doesn't matter. Must be nice to live in an area where nuts are only relegated to one group.

    I imagine it makes it so very convenient when that takes place.
    Thanked by 2Carol tomjaw
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,509
    No, I just hope those nuts never unite. Ecumenism would be the death of us all.
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 41
    Chris - the traditional practice is best illustrated by the passage on the organ in the Ceremoniale Episcoporum, where the role of the organ during a sung Mass is detailed. The upshot is there is the expectation (but not requirement) that the organ will be played solo at various times throughout the Mass. The other relevant rubrics govern when the organ may accompany voices (ALWAYS except during the triduum, glorias of Holy Thursday and Saturday excepted) and when the organ may substitute for alternating verses of psalms, Gloria, etc. (but this is - if memory serves - not allowed for the Credo, which must be entirely sung). The alternation with the organ (which in that case would not be accompanying, but would be solo, background to a loud-voice recitation of the given verse), as mentioned above, is provided for in Pius X's motu as well as numerous SRC rescripts.
    CharlesW - the nuts notwithstanding, many rubrics are indecipherable without recourse to the practice of the church from, e.g., 1570-1950, which was, in turn, based on 5-8 centuries of preceding practice, all relatively consisten in the Latin rite, until everything was thrown into confusion in a major way circa 1969 but brewing since the late 1940s.
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  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,106
    Credo, which must be entirely sung
    True I think, but a counterreformation novelty, to judge by Cavazzoni's organ verses and alternatim polyphony such as Isaac's.
  • Um -
    If the rubrics state specifically that the organ is to be, or may be played at Gloria on Maundy Thursday and the Easter Vigil is this not an explicit assumption on the part of the Church that the parish does, indeed, have an organ; and, in light of this assumption, is there not an obligation and a rubriical requirement, an inherent presumption, that every parish does (must), indeed, have such an instrument by which to fulfill the rubrical command or permission? A plainer reading could not be made - so doth it seem to me. What the Church presumes one to have, one is obliged to have. (???)

    (Not necessarily purple.)
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  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,974
    The rubrics AFAIK never say the organ must be played, it is always potest pulsari - it is possible/allowed to be played. In Chapter 28 of the Ceremoniale Episcoporum(1948) it sometimes says it is customary at certain times to play the organ, and modern texts continue to emphasise that the organ is to be held in high esteem.
    In the rubrics one never sees the solecism "the organ will play".
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,509
    many rubrics are indecipherable without recourse to the practice of the church from, e.g., 1570-1950, which was, in turn, based on 5-8 centuries of preceding practice, all relatively consisten in the Latin rite, until everything was thrown into confusion in a major way circa 1969 but brewing since the late 1940s.


    Perhaps it doesn't go back quite that far, more like three centuries. Before Trent, liturgies varied considerably from place to place and there was no effective standard followed by all. That was one of the issues the reformers at Trent and after wanted to resolve.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,815
    ...until everything was thrown into confusion in a major way circa 1969 but brewing since the late 1940s.
    Hence, we MUST refer back as the errors of modernism were subtly weaved into the newer documents on music, and then we see that the later give way to unabashed novelty.

    I see the Motu of 1904 as one of the most significant and clearly stated guidelines on Musica Sacra. Correct me if I am wrong, but what moving forward from there brings any more clarity to the pursuit of the craft?
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    Without disagreeing with @Sharpe34's conclusion, is the Ceremonial for Bishops the best place to determine Missa Cantata praxis? I see the Bish once a year, at most....
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,974
    The Missal rubrics are concerned almost exclusively with instructions for the ministers. The music gets little more than a passing mention. Nearly all the customs of the church are set out in these other books. Fortescue said -
    OBVIOUSLY the first source of all for a book on Ceremonies is the liturgical books themselves, the rubrics of the Missal, Breviary, Pontifical, Ritual and Caerimoniale Episcoporum, then the Memoriale Rituum of Benedict XIII, the Instructio Clementina, for the Forty Hours, our own Ritus Servandus for Benediction and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    Or one could simply read the Instructions of 1958, 1965, and the USCC docs following the Revolution of '69.
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 41
    @dad29 - To my knowledge the CE is the only liturgical book that spends any time dealing with the use of the organ. The rest - like a great deal of the liturgy - is the work of commentators and rubricists, whose directions are worth whatever they are worth - a whole subject in itself, much like the "common opinion of theologians" vis-a-vis the wholly separate subject of dogmatic theology. Thanks to @a_f_hawkins for the reference here implying, I think, the foregoing.

    @francis - agree wholeheartedly with the authority of the 1903 motu - hard to imagine that anything subsequent added much more. Interesting tidbit - when the 1958 instruction permits the use of women singers it cites two SRC decrees as authority for its decision that decided precisely the opposite. Such a glaring error raises questions about the whole document.

    Disclaimer: I don't want to fight with anyone about this particular point, or about the 1958 document. The observation is offered as food for thought, and an interest item. I have had enough flack over other posts elsewhere in this forum! (And I'm saving my energy to keep my immune system up to dealing with COVID!)

    @Richard Mix - I have no knowledge of the organ composition (and concede the point, if there is evidence extant of alternating organ compositions as was envisioned for the gloria, etc.), but could not the polyphony have been intended to alternate with the Gregorian, like so many settings of the magnificat and benedictus deus?

    @CharlesW - fair enough, but I wonder if the diversity to which you refer, which I acknowledge, is so diverse as to make pre-Trent practice not useful as a tool of legislative interpretation. Example: (and I don't want to fight about this either: it's an academic point, not [yet] a critical one) in many instances over the years, the SRC expressly provided, consistently with Pius X's motu, that the Sanctus was to be sung before the consecration, exclusive of the Benedictus, which was to be sung after the elevation. In 1961 (if not before - I haven't checked; perhaps it was 1958) the rubrics were changed to mandate that the Sanctus and Benedictus be sung together, unless the lengthy polyphony required them to be split (again, this may be from 1958). Why, I wonder, would the SRC have been so consistent and definitive in holding the line in the face of several rescripts submitted from various places and at various times? What could the pre-Trent practice, in basically the first millennium of Christian worship, tell us that would explain why this decision was adhered to so consistently? (And how, then, would / could we evaluate the change - in other words, following standard canons of statutory construction / interpretation, if we knew the "why" for the original law, we could understand if or why that original "why" no longer applied, and thus better appreciate the legitimacy of what might otherwise seem [as - full disclosure - it seems to me] a purely arbitrary change for the sake of change).
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,106
    could not the polyphony have been intended to alternate with the Gregorian, like so many settings of the magnificat and benedictus deus?
    Organists have always improvised and intentions are hard to determine absent evidence, but it just seems economical to imagine organ and polyphonic choir in the same space and time rather than requiring separate plainchant choruses to accompany each (it's true we don't have much alternatim polyphony contemporary with Couperin). William Mahrt has argued for organ being the default for Isaac's alternatim pieces, though I don't recall whether Buchner left any organ Credos. Cavazzoni's may well be the only examples to have made it into print, but I have come across ms. organ Credos somewhere or other.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,974
    I note that the Messe Greque de Saint Denis has organ/choir alternatim throughout except for the Symbolum where they split into two choirs. (Several copies on the internet here for example.) I don't know whether it is a guide to typical usage, of course, but because it is an oddity it is carefully recorded. And because it is an oddity, it would probably not have been altered to conform to later usage.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,509
    ... if we knew the "why" for the original law, we could understand if or why that original "why" no longer applied, and thus better appreciate the legitimacy of what might otherwise seem [as - full disclosure - it seems to me] a purely arbitrary change for the sake of change).


    And often we will never know the "why." All my Trad friends are beside themselves over having to receive communion in the hand last Sunday despite the fact this was the norm for receiving communion for about the first four centuries of Christianity. Why was it changed? We can speculate but we were not there to witness the reasons.

    The Church does not live in seclusion or isolation from the culture and is affected by it, like it or not. Not only that, different people in charge have different ways of interpreting things. Understanding the reasons behind their mandates is often nearly impossible. The Church has had times of no change when change was needed, and change when the reasons for it were shaky. Go figure.

    Of one thing it seems certain. A flood of Vatican documents can be unleashed to support or contradict any issue of choice. Those documents can seem like sound and fury signifying nothing.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,974
    SRC Dubium 2682 ad 31.
    31. Ubi cantus Chori non producitur usque ad elevationem Hostiae, Benedictus qui venit etc. cantarine debet post elevationem; an immediate post primum Hosanna in excelsis?
    cantari debet post calicis elevationem

    That suggests to me that the choir could sing the Benedictus beofre the Elevation, if they have time.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    the SRC expressly provided, consistently with Pius X's motu, that the Sanctus was to be sung before the consecration, exclusive of the Benedictus, which was to be sung after the elevation. In 1961 (if not before - I haven't checked; perhaps it was 1958) the rubrics were changed to mandate that the Sanctus and Benedictus be sung together, unless the lengthy polyphony required them to be split (again, this may be from 1958).


    Praxis before VatII was this: if the Ordinary was polyphonic, split the Sanc/Ben. If the Ordinary was CHANT, they were both sung before the Consecration. That praxis carried over to EF celebrations of today. I am not aware of the regulation you cite from '61 ('58).
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,974
    I should have added the date, Dubium 2682 was answered on 12 Nov 1831. I was not looking for the change, but to find the long established custom.
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 41
    @a_f_hawkins - Are you saying that because the question was premised with the condition regarding the choir singing the first part of the sanctus and reaching the elevation before finishing, that the legislative meaning of the reply is that the benedictus is to be sung after the elevation ONLY if there's no time to finish it before that?

    Looking only at the text of THIS decree, I see the point. But the consistent interpretation of that decree suggests otherwise.

    That decree - 2682 - is cited in the Dubium of 1921 (no 4364), along with the CE, the decree 3827 (of 1892), the decree 4243 (of 1909), and the rubrics of the 1908 roman gradual, all of which were relied upon for the 1921 decision that the Sanctus is sung EXCLUSIVE of the Benedictus, which latter chant is only sung AFTER the elevation. From the 1921 decree "This rubric shall be observed inviolably, notwithstanding anything else t o the contrary." See, e.g., Papal Legislation on Sacred Music p. 472; Predmore (#103, 141, 146); Matters Liturgical (1948), po. 185. Pius X's 1903 charter confirms this ruling as well.

    My point isn't that this is ancient in the sense of being a 1000+ year practical custom, but that from a legal point of view, it is venerable insofar as the issue was raised many times and answered in the same way, as well as affirmed in / by numerous different sources, arguably attesting to a consistent view.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,974
    Also the Pustet 1871 Gradual, which had official force.
    Finita Præfatione chorus prosequitur Sanctus etc. usque ad Benedictus exclusive.
    I wonder why this clear rule was omitted from the 1908 Gradual. Perhaps Solesmes wanted to change the rule, but were just trying to slip it past SRC unmentioned. They did not even put a double bar before 'Benedictus ', whereas Pustet starts a new line.
    No doubt there is at least one treatise on the subject.
  • Hawkins,

    One relevant point in the "Why" question you pose is this: if a new law doesn't expressly abrogate an old one, the old one remains in force. That, for example, was supposed to be the most obvious reason why altar girls weren't mentioned, and the ban on membership in the Masons was not as bluntly explicit in the new code.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,974
    Why, I wonder, would the SRC have been so consistent and definitive in holding the line in the face ..., if we knew the "why" for the original law, we could understand if or why that original "why" no longer applied, and thus better appreciate the legitimacy of ...
    Holding the line was what SRC did, that was why the Pian Commission was set up to work in complete secrecy, Pius XII wanted to present SRC with Papal fait accompli.
    Perhaps Solesmes thought the practice of splitting was an unwarrented post-medieval imposition of polyphonic practice on the chant, and were eventually shown to be right?
    I have been trying to recall what we did at school 1949-1955, I think we carried straight on from Sanctus to Benedictus, but then - it was a Benedictine school.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    I can tell you what we did in a non-Benedictine grade school 1957-63: chant--therefore, both the Sanctus and Benedictus were sung before the Consecration. However, the polyphonic choir at the 10:30 Missa Cantata split them. FWIW, this Archdiocese was (then) pretty blue-nosed about doing what the Instructions said.
  • that was why the Pian Commission was set up to work in complete secrecy, Pius XII wanted to present SRC with Papal fait accompli.


    elaborate, please.