Recorded Music at Mass
  • I seem to recall something in the GIRM that discourages pre-recorded music and canned accompaniments at Mass, but now I can't seem to find it.

    I've recently heard of a case of a musician who uses some accompaniment tracks provided by OCP that can be plugged into a Clavinova via a floppy disc that plays the entire hymn accompaniment for you, completely with strange arrangements etc. I'm supposing that this would qualify as taped music since the piano is merely being used as a set of speakers.

    Anyone know what passage I'm thinking about?
  • marymezzomarymezzo
    Posts: 173
    Have just searched and scanned a pdf of GIRM and see nothing specific.

    did some googling and found this Q&A on ewtn:

    http://www.ewtn.com/Library/Liturgy/zlitur59.htm

    follow-up near the bottom of the page:

    "Simultaneously, a correspondent from Wisconsin reminded me of the 1958 instruction "De Musica Sacra" issued by the Congregation of Rites, which states: 'Finally, only those musical instruments which are played by the personal action of the artist may be admitted to the sacred liturgy, and not those which are operated automatically or mechanically.'"
  • De Musica Sacra (1958) has it:

    60 c) Finally, only instruments which are personally played by a performer are to be used in the sacred liturgy, not those which are played mechanically or automatically.


    71. The use of automatic instruments and machines, such as the automatic organ, phonograph, radio, tape or wire recorders, and other similar machines, is absolutely forbidden in liturgical functions and private devotions, whether they are held inside or outside the church, even if these machines be used only to transmit sermons or sacred music, or to substitute for the singing of the choir or faithful, or even just to support it.

    However, such machines may be used, even inside the church, but not during services of any kind, whether liturgical or private, in order to give the people a chance to listen to the voice of the Supreme Pontiff or the local Ordinary, or the sermons of others. These mechanical devices may be also be used to instruct the faithful in Christian doctrine or in the sacred chant or hymn singing; finally they may be used in processions which take place outside the church, as a means of directing, and supporting the singing of the people.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Believe it or not, Jeffrey, what you seek is in Sing To The Lord:

    Recorded Music
    93. Recorded music lacks the authenticity provided by a living liturgical assembly gathered for the Sacred Liturgy. While recorded music might be used advantageously outside the Liturgy as an aid in the teaching of new music, it should not, as a general norm, be used within the Liturgy.
    94. Some exceptions to this principle should be noted. Recorded music may be used to accompany the community’s song during a procession outside and, when used carefully, in Masses with children. Occasionally, it might be used as an aid to prayer, for example, during long periods of silence in a communal celebration of reconciliation. However, recorded music should never become a substitute for the community’s singing.
  • OK, this is an old dead thread, but it brings a question to mind: it would appear that electroacoustical liturgical music (either via tape/CD or computer-generated) would be discouraged by this. Not that it's a huge repertoire. But Salvatore Martirano had a story about an electronic piece he wrote for a friend's wedding, which got the priest exercised:
    Fr.: "You can't do that here! God doesn't like it!"
    SM: "Well, what does God like?"
    Fr.: "Gregorian chant"
    SM : "There's Gregorian chant in this" (which there was)
    Fr. "God only likes Gregorian Chant as used in the masses of Palestrina"
    SM: "God has pretty narrow tastes, doesn't He?"
    Fr.: "Yes, God does!"

    Can anyone think of any Catholic liturgical music with tape? How was it received? I think Ernst Krenek did a motet, but I can't imagine a church choir doing his things.
  • As a general rule of thumb, throughout my childhood, teen years and adult life in the Church, I was always taught that everything offered within the church for the worship, praise and adoration of Almighty God, (whether during a Mass or any other religious service and especially music, flowers, the elements of bread and wine, etc.), should be artistically the finest that one could offer and if at all possible from nature and or produced in a natural way; not synthetic or artificial.
    Thanked by 1hilluminar
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    For anyone looking, the Krenek piece is for 2 voices and tape: "Spiritus intelligentiae, sanctus," a text taken from Wisdom 7:22.
  • rob
    Posts: 143
    But, now I'm confused: would recorded music be permissible, although not "as a general norm," as an interim means of introducing chant into the liturgy, perhaps as a substitute for or in support of live singers?
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,713
    The point is that God is not worshiped by machine. Since 'actuosa participatio' begins with conforming oneself to Christ in offering oneself to God, it cannot possibly be accomplished robotically in any consequential action at Mass.

    To be near-sacrilegious, it's akin to Christ sending R2D2 to Calvary in His stead.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Well, yes, it's discouraged in Sing to the Lord and earlier documents. And yes, I've seen and heard it done - not to mention brides who want a CD for their processions. Remember, if the pastor permits it, all the documents in the world will not suffice.

    I've never tried karaoke myself because I have a sneaky sense of rubato.