An Interesting Observation, re: congregational song
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,655
    Our Diocese has given permission for churches to reintroduce congregational singing as they each individually choose, though we are still discouraged from giving out any resources for people to use (leaflets, hymnals, etc).

    At the Cathedral I’ve taken a very slow reintroduction - both out of caution and because people are still concerned about it.

    This past Sunday we celebrated our (transferred) Patronal Feast.

    For congregational music, we did Gloria VIII and Holy God We Praise Thy Name. I was sort of expecting okay participation on the first and really good on the latter piece... however, my ears told me otherwise and actually the Gloria was far more enthusiastically sung.

    I’d be curious to see if anyone else doing such an approach finds anything similar.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Our bishop has said that congregational singing is still not allowed, but choirs are allowed to the extent they can social distance in the choir loft. We aren't singing the ordinary (again at our bishop's direction), but have been singing some hymns and the antiphons. Even though congregational singing is forbidden, I can hear some people in the congregation singing from my spot at the organ bench.

    On a side note to this, has anyone changed the format of the responsorial psalm to discourage congregational singing? For example, the cathedral in my diocese does the refrain, sings all the verses without a refrain in between, and then does the refrain once at the end. (Before anyone attacks them, it is a very traditionally minded music program that has just made this modification as a result of no congregational singing).
  • At Walsingham -
    I play prelude, offertory, communion, and dismissal voluntaries at the anticipated Saturday mass. There is no singing. In ordinary times the people sing the Merbecke mass and an offertory hymn, and I sing the propers. Since there is no singing at all at this mass the priest says all the propers.

    For the Sunday morning high mass there is no congregational singing at all, but the cathedral choir sing various ordinaries, the propers, and offertory and commuion anthems.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 164
    has anyone changed the format of the responsorial psalm to discourage congregational singing?

    We have dispensed with the response altogether, and sing the psalm in directum to Anglican chant.

    I have had to specifically avoid any chant ordinaries which the congregation knows.
  • So nice to hear that there are others out there who sing the psalm in directum to Anglican chant! Bravo! At Walsingham we alternate periodically betwixt Anglican chant psalmody by the congregation, and the actual gradual (P-B) sung by the choir - usually seasonally.

    I'm curious - how many here use Agnlican chant at their masses?
    Just choir - or congregation too?
  • Gerard, I'm glad you get to at least sing some form of the ordinary. Our diocesan directives specifically say to speak the ordinary. Their rationale is that the ordinary is the part that belongs to the people, and it should therefore be spoken to allow them to participate. While I understand this, I still miss singing it.
  • PolskaPiano
    Posts: 198
    Matthew- probably the most singular, powerful recurring moment as a music director is leading the Gloria. Our parish sings it with gusto. (We have been singing Carroll T. Andrews Gloria.) It fills me back up when the nonsense surrounding church work brings me down. It reminds me of the phrase, "It covers a multitude of sins."

    In general, 3 of our 4 masses enthusiastically sing even more so than before.
    Thanked by 1tandrews
  • marymezzomarymezzo
    Posts: 204
    I've noticed that our parishioners are singing the ordinary (ICEL Missal chants) pretty enthusiastically. They were really belting it out last Sunday.

    In September I got the pastor's permission to have a handful of singers in the loft (usually three or four) for the 10 o'clock Mass, and in addition to the ordinary the tiny choir has been singing propers, the responsorial psalm, and at Communion a chant hymn or simple motet after the proper. About a month ago we added a recessional hymn, although the people had no music in hand.

    Our bishop has just given the parishes permission to provide a one-page music handout, which must be trashed after each Mass. We'll start using handouts this Sunday, and I'll bet people will enjoy singing For All the Saints as a recessional.

    I never thought I'd get this worked up about the opportunity to sing hymns. :-)
  • Our diocesan policy of no congregational singing is still in effect. I have been playing and singing hymns that no one in the congregation should be familiar with. The Responsorial is recited between the lector and the congregation. I have been singing the Gospel Acclamation without the congregational response (acclamation, verse, acclamation) and it has worked so far. We have not sung any of the Ordinary.
  • Congregational singing is still banned, but as of September 25th, the singing of one cantor is allowed and singing from the choir loft has been encouraged. The only things permitted to be sung are The introit antiphon, offertory antiphon, and the communion antiphon. Optional psalm tone verses are also allowed, but the music should not unduly prolong the Mass because they want to have people in the church for only as long as necessary. The Diocese has said that the cantor sings on behalf of the congregation.

    Even better and rather surprising, the Diocese’s blog has added several free chant resources for singing the propers in varying degrees of difficulty so that “it’s too hard” cannot be an excuse. They even included the Latin Roman Gradual. No more four hymn sandwich. It’s a great resource, so I’ll post it here: https://www.catholicyyc.ca/blog/singing-the-antiphons


    Unfortunately our Music Director has been temporarily laid off until the end of the year, though may be back for Christmas according to the Pastor.
  • On a side note to this, has anyone changed the format of the responsorial psalm to discourage congregational singing? For example, the cathedral in my diocese does the refrain, sings all the verses without a refrain in between, and then does the refrain once at the end. (Before anyone attacks them, it is a very traditionally minded music program that has just made this modification as a result of no congregational singing).


    This is our situation. I've tried chant-like settings (RRice) and I also set Anglican chant style which was sing straight through with a refrain at the beginning and the end. When I am the only one cantoring I frequently sing the PB gradual setting instead.

    In toto we currently have:
    •No congregational singing.
    •Organ prelude
    •Entrance Antiphon (Fr. Weber)
    •Gloria (Olbash, Mass in Honor of Our Lady, Star of the Sea) sung by a cantor and schola only (diocese states that the rest of the ordinary should be recited because "it belongs to the people.") It's dumb and it is what it is.
    •Psalm (typically my own setting to anglican chant tunes or something that closely mimics them)
    •Alleluia; here I was looking to the gradual and adapting one of the florid alleluias into a 3x alleluia (in other words, I take the melisma and set the word "alleluia" to it three times rather than once with a mile long melisma) and then set the verse to a psalm tone, however after we got the the alleluia "cantate domino" a little while back we liked it so much that we have continued using that. (example attached)
    •Offertory Antiphon (Fr. Weber)
    •Communion Antiphon (Fr. Weber)
    •Communion Anthem
    •Postlude

    We alternate between the men and women of the schola for the verses of all of our antiphons. Sometimes between verses, sometimes on either side of the ' * '.
    Thanked by 1Patricia Cecilia
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,456
    On a side note to this, has anyone changed the format of the responsorial psalm to discourage congregational singing? For example, the cathedral in my diocese does the refrain, sings all the verses without a refrain in between, and then does the refrain once at the end.


    We've been doing this since the churches opened.

    We sing the Kyrie, Gloria, Gospel Acclamation, Sanctus and Agnus Dei.

    I have noticed that if a pick a well known hymn, people sing along. They sing quietly, but they sing. They also sing the ordinary quietly.