Solo chant during the pandemic... anyone taking advantage of the situation?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,353
    I think people know that I am extremely pro-congregational singing, but also very pro-chanted-propers, and that I think finding a way to balance these seemingly-mutually-exclusive goods is one of the most important challenges of Catholic musicians.

    All that preface aside:

    As churches reopen under orders to avoid or severely limit congregational or even choral singing, now seems like the opportune time to introduce/expand the chanting of the propers.

    Is anyone taking advantage of this situation? Are you doing the Latin chants of the Gradual? O vernacular settings? What has your experience been? Has people's receptivity to it changed?
    Thanked by 1Gustavo Zayas
  • MarkB
    Posts: 360
    On Easter and Pentecost I chanted the sequences in English to the traditional chant melodies. I'm new in the parish, and before the suspension of public worship I had planned for the choir to sing metered settings of the sequences because that's what they had always done before my arrival. But in the absence of choirs I used the opportunity to chant the sequences myself a cappella. Easter was a video Mass and Pentecost had social-distancing public worship with cantor and accompanist.

    People really liked the chant. Three stayed after the Pentecost Mass to say how much they enjoyed the prayerfulness of the chant. Nobody that I heard about disliked it.

    I've also begun chanting the Communion antiphon with one psalm verse before starting the Communion song. I use the vernacular settings in the Lumen Christi Simple Gradual. Nobody has commented on that one way or the other, but no news is good news because there hasn't been opposition to it.

    So, yes, I have used the opportunity to introduce chant and propers at a parish that hasn't experienced them before. I'm not discarding their familiar music but I am adding chant where I can in small, subtle, non-threatening ways, testing the waters. Hopefully chant at Mass it will seem normal for the Mass whenever we get around to normal worship again.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,632
    With me and the TLM, it's almost the opposite. We've always had chanted Propers. But to my ears, chant is not a solo act. When we were doing livestreams and there was no time for a Communion motet, I was doing the Griesbacher Communions from the Repertorium Chorale, so they could serve both as Proper and Motet. In general, I'm doing more composed setting now. But we're doing Credo VI (because nobody knows it), and I plan to do the Gregorian Ordinaries that nobody knows.

    But if I were doing the Missa Bugnini, I would definitely be doing chant Propers.
  • Yes, but not in Latin. SEP Introit and Communion chanted at the English Mass. One or the other chanted at the Spanish Mass from the SPP. But this is not very different from what we would do pre-pandemic. The only difference for me is much fewer choir members. We neither encourage nor discourage congregational singing. I agree with your preface. Oh, and the sequences are always sung in Latin.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw janetgorbitz
  • TCJ
    Posts: 698
    We have begun singing the Introit all the time (as opposed to some of the time) for the English Mass. We have introduced propers at the Introit for the Spanish Mass.
  • Caleferink
    Posts: 325
    I've been using Fr. Samuel Weber's The Proper of the Mass at Entrance, Offertory, and Communion (usually the simpler Gregorian-esque settings or the Gregorian psalm-tone ones if I'm in a pinch. Nobody has come up to me after Mass to complain about it in part because everyone is ushered out right away. I've been getting some blowback from our youth/Confirmation director because we're having Confirmation this coming Monday and she's one of those who thinks we need 1960s-1970s-esque folk music to make it "relevant" to 2020 youth. I just tell her "my hands are tied" this time around ;).
    Thanked by 2tomjaw janetgorbitz
  • Calefrink,
    How might she respond to the idea of switching places? You teach the kids, and she sing all the music.....
  • vogelkwvogelkw
    Posts: 51
    For daily Masses I have used English propers from Weber and Bartlett (mostly Simple English Propers, but a few from the Lumen Christi Simple Gradual.) I started doing this more consistently during the months of not being able to gather in person, so as to lift up the celebration over livestream. It certainly helped me enter into the Mass better when I had no one there in person. I chose seasonal propers for Lent and Easter, specific ones for feast days, and plan to use the Sunday propers for the weekdays of Ordinary Time. I have to keep it simple due to my limited singing ability, limited time to prepare, and short length during a daily Mass.

    It is difficult for Sundays, since we have a 6 parish grouping, with various situations of volunteer musicians, and the common history of the 4 hymn paradigm. I did have a musician for some of the Sunday livestream Masses who used the Communion Antiphon from the SEP during Lent. Now that we are back to Masses in person, we still have some parishes where musicians have not yet returned or they have limited availability. When I have Mass without musicians, I use the SEP antiphons. I sing the order and ordinary so the people have ample opportunity to join in with their responses. Since we cannot have books in the pews at this time unless individuals bring their own, using propers make a lot of sense to me.

    I conclude daily Mass with the seasonal Marian hymn in Latin. I might sprinkle in a Latin proper in here or there, like the introit for a Mass for the Dead, but overall most of the Gregorian repertoire is too difficult for me to quickly learn and sing solo.

    I hope to sing (English chant) and preach on the Sequence for Corpus Christi this weekend. Our Masses are still available via livestream as the people of God slowly begin to return to our Masses in person.

    God bless,
    Fr. Vogel
    Thanked by 2tomjaw janetgorbitz
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,145

    Nothing gets me riled up quite so fast as a school teacher, principal, DRE, or the like trying to make liturgical music choices. That all comes back to the pastor: if he has your back, you can tell them to stay in their lane; if he is a spineless worm, you know you must acquiesce to whatever nonsense they request because they will go over your head and you’ll be overruled in an instant. It’s a shameful way to run a parish, and terrifyingly common “in the wild.”
    Thanked by 2tomjaw ServiamScores
  • Irish tenor,

    Would "alarmingly" work, too, or "predictably", for a modifier of "common"?
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,145

    Yes, those modifiers would work, too. :-(
  • tandrews
    Posts: 73
    All 3 chanted propers at the Cathedral. We were already doing Communios, but the introit and offertory have been a great addition.

    The steady diet of the Rice gradual is turning into "let's try something harder" from the cantors. Music to my ears!
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,608
    Yes & No. The hymnals & missals are out of the pews, and there is no congregational singing---or very little. Which is a bit disappointing considering all the work we've put it trying to encourage congregational singing.

    We have been singing the Entrance, Offertory, & Communion chants for years now, so that has stayed the same. I (or whatever cantor happens to be on duty) sings some hymns or motets to 'fill-in' after the Offertory and Communion chants, or I just play the organ.

    For the ordinary, I have taken full advantage of the situation, and have used: DuMont modes 1 & 5 (mode 6 this weekend for Corpus Christi); and Kyriale Masses: X, XII, XIII, XV & XVI at Weekday Masses. For Sundays of O.T., when we normally chant the Gloria in English (K.S.A. remain in Latin/Greek), I intend to use some of the settings from Lumen Christi, some of Fr. Columba's adaptations, and my own adaptation of Merbecke's setting.
  • JesJes
    Posts: 544
    Yes and no, the plan this year was to start 3 choirs up...
    I lost all work at my regular becahse he decided not to live stream.

    However... ive been on tour. I've chanted in a large number of states, gained a significant following from Texas, I've been to france, germany, new zealand, i worked O.S. chanting all without leaving my bedroom!

    I also increased my work with a dominican priest at the uni so I'm enjoying learning OP chant and discovering new things each day.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 323
    Careful now, chant and propers could easily become the music we have when we cannot have regular music. To be dispensed with as the threat fades.

  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,646
    I have strict instructions to discourage all congregational singing. Unfamiliar chant Ordinaries, all the propers including the Gradual, etc.

    I do miss singing a hymn each Sunday though.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,646
    And the dialogues. I miss singing the dialogues the most.
  • CharlesSA
    Posts: 112
    Forgive me for frankly saying that the fact that most of us are not allowed to sing the liturgy, all because of a virus, is beyond absurd.

    I will NOT go back to a regular parish setting until the absurdity passes - if it ever does. Until then, I will find the places here and there that don't give a darn about what any authorities - both spiritual and especially temporal - say about how we should worship.

    For the past 4-5 weeks I have sung at a traditional Mass in basically a "private" setting (i.e. not held in an actual church and not associated with any parish); a "congregation" of maybe 25 with myself and one other singing the chants. The congregation gladly joins in with whatever they know, which usually is only the dialogue responses, but occasionally a hymn they know by memory or even one of the more well-known chant Mass settings.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,515
    We are not singing hymns - The varmints took up the hymnals. I miss hymns, too. We are singing the ICEL chant mass which the congregation has memorized. My cantor yesterday sang "Adoro te devote" and also "Let All Mortal Flesh" at communion and offertory. I played some Dupre chant arrangements. Attendance is about half of normal. I will be glad when normalcy returns.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 263
    Congregational singing is not permitted in our diocese. Fortunately for me, I've been chanting communion antiphons (typically Fr. Weber) for nearly two years, and at the 10:30 mass we also sing the introit. We do the major sequences every year as well, so chanting is slowly becoming part of our cultural zeitgeist even if it's not yet coursing through veins.

    The last few weeks I've upped the ante a little bit by turning to the Palmer/Burgess plainchant gradual which has the original plainchant melodies and more elevated "KJB-styled" text. I sang their setting of the sequence for CC. This week I even substituted the gradual for a responsorial psalm (since they can't respond anyway!).

    I'm terribly blessed to have a pastor who very much desires to elevate the liturgy (and music in particular) and bring as many things back to tradition as possible. This is a tremendous boon for me and he even took the time to explain the sequence and the choice to use the gradual at the beginning of this week's homily.