• canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,481
    Oh boy.
    My daughter was asked to play P&W. music for a parish (not mine) retreat tomorrow.
    And I have been brought in to sing... booo!

    She told the priest she doesn't do P&W music. I told the priest I don't sing P&W music! But the pastor insists she must know the more popular tunes and I can just sing a long. It's to supposedly get people fired up over the retreat. He also wants more P&W music during adoration. Shoot me now. I just loathe that. It's supposed to get people focused to pray but really it's so distracting and annoying.

    But we really don't know these tunes... at all. And if we did, we wouldn't sing them.
    Are they in for a surprise.

    My daughter says that we should just do what we want b/c then they will either like it, or we will never get asked to return. Smart plan.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,640
    Are they paying you for this? If not, then they will be getting exactly what they are paying for.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,904
    Your daughter is brilliant!!
    Thanked by 1Andrew_Malton
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,481
    I'm sending an invoice. I'm missing a fitness class for this (don't laugh!) and that has become important to me (and I've pre-paid). I do like the priest here very much. He tries hard. But it's such a last minute thing. And the church is doing well...

    Yes, my daughter is brilliant. Doesn't fall far from the tree that apple. lol...
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • MarkB
    Posts: 811
    For those who don't know or can't imagine what P&W music at adoration is like, click here:
    https://youtu.be/IXXDUQWhv5M?t=3047

    The musicians are adjacent to the altar and upstage the Eucharist. They sing for thirty minutes; skip around through the music. No opportunity for silent prayer. These sorts of things are just a P&W concert with adoration used as a pretense for the musicians to perform.
  • Mark,

    You, therefore, would vote "no" for this?
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,565
    NO is a complete sentence.

    You could choose to offer them the choice of no music or music that you are reasonably able to offer. [This establishes a professional line that you and your daughter are not human jukeboxes. It is not Non Serviam.]

  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,481
    MarkB: Yes. She was asked to use a piano next to the Eucharist but negotiated using the organ in the loft. During adoration she'll just play a few quite organ meditations with silence in between.
  • Sounds like a huge improvement.

    People who want PW music at adoration want to feel *emotions* from the music rather than connect their heart in contemplation with Our Lord... It's a totally misguided approach.

    And lest those pastors who support this schtuff decry the dearth of men who now come to church, remind them that singing squishy "I love Jesus" ballads is not the way to get them back.
  • For those who don't know or can't imagine what P&W music at adoration is like, click here:
    https://youtu.be/IXXDUQWhv5M?t=3047

    The musicians are adjacent to the altar and upstage the Eucharist. They sing for thirty minutes; skip around through the music. No opportunity for silent prayer. These sorts of things are just a P&W concert with adoration used as a pretense for the musicians to perform.


    I lead a praise and worship adoration every Friday. The events depicted in this video are badly done. Musicians should never be on the top level of the altar like this, and I'm surprised and troubled that priests are allowing this. Also the musical quality is extremely low. Praise and worship during adoration ought not to be anything like this.

    People who want PW music at adoration want to feel *emotions* from the music rather than connect their heart in contemplation with Our Lord... It's a totally misguided approach.


    This is a false choice! Emotion can play an important role in meditation, in fact, I think that concept is fairly clear from your use of the language "connect their heart in contemplation." Praise and worship helps me pray and I know this is that case for many people.

    People who want Gregorian Chant at adoration want to feel *emotions* from the music rather than connect their heart in contemplation with Our Lord... It's a totally misguided approach.


    This sentence has the same logical content as the original, I've just swapped Gregorian Chant for praise and worship. Presumably no one here would agree with this statement. I think that any style of music can be made a false idol of, but that doesn't mean that said music can't also be used for good.

    It's intrinsic to the character of music that it produces emotion. The important moral category is whether this emotion becomes and end of itself or is used to point people towards an encounter with God.

    As an aside, throwing cheap shots at bad praise and worship is equally as unfair as throwing cheap shots at bad Gregorian chant. The existence of bad Gregorian chant is not a good argument for the suppression of Gregorian Chant, and neither is the existence of bad praise and worship a good argument for the suppression of praise and worship.

    Praise and worship at adoration should be more like this, with Pope Francis and Matt Maher: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZa6spYqHsA&ab_channel=ThejasSebastian

    Also, this video starting from the 1:05:00 is closer to being representative of a professionally executed praise and worship adoration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnXjSuyGwYM&ab_channel=LifeTeen it's hard to find examples on YouTube that, and I think these musicians aren't the best but I think this is a fairer example at least.

    also this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibyCobEz5pM&ab_channel=NFCYM I have some complaints about the lead singer but the song choices are decent and the band is pretty together


    Thanked by 2PaxMelodious kenstb
  • This sentence has the same logical content as the original, I've just swapped Gregorian Chant for praise and worship. Presumably no one here would agree with this statement. I think that any style of music can be made a false idol of, but that doesn't mean that said music can't also be used for good.

    Nice try, but gregorian chant is THE music of the roman rite, as formally enshrined by tradition and numerous formal teaching documents of the church spanning centuries, right up to our day. P&W music is fundamentally secular music, with a veneer of religious text on top. Ergo, they are not the same at all. Singing the chants that have been a formal part of liturgical worship, especially in monastic communities, for over a millennia is not comparable to modern P&W. (Or rather, it's the other way around.) P&W music doesn't sound like "church music" (in even the broadest sense). Don't believe me? take the kareoke version (sans text) of any praise and worship song and ask the average person walking down the street if it is religious music. It sounds just like everything else on contemporary radio stations except that it has religious words (and even this is rather loose at times).
    It's intrinsic to the character of music that it produces emotion. The important moral category is whether this emotion becomes and end of itself or is used to point people towards an encounter with God.

    Quite right. You're absolutely correct that the emotions themselves should not be what is sought after. It is well known that Satan manipulates this. Obviously, emotions can indeed be good (I have literally cried from sorrow for sin exactly once in my life and it was a tremendously profound moment for me; one of the most important in my life, in fact).
    As an aside, throwing cheap shots at bad praise and worship is equally as unfair as throwing cheap shots at bad Gregorian chant.

    Also true. Awful gregorian chant (or hymnody for that matter) can be just as painful and embarrassing. And yet I've literally *never* experienced or witnessed a single instance of P&W that even approaches the dignity required of the temple. I have heard very professional sounding P&W groups and their music... but they are all protestant and their services resemble a rock concert infinitely more than they do any form of liturgy.
    Praise and worship at adoration should be more like this, with Pope Francis and Matt Maher: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZa6spYqHsA&ab_channel=ThejasSebastian

    As well-executed as this example may be, I confess I still fail to see how having a full praise chorus belting out behind him during the refrain and blasting it all through refrigerator-sized speakers to a stadium full of people makes this any better. In fairness, the text of the song is decent; but it could have just as easily been led as an oration by the clergy.
    I have some complaints about the lead singer but the song choices are decent and the band is pretty together

    Again, I reiterate: how is this man trying to sing? What is the style of music? It is fundamentally secular. It is entirely divorced from the musical tradition of the church. Entirely. This should trouble fans of P&W greatly.

    (I will take a brief pause here to reiterate, as I have elsewhere, I have no issue with P&W in itself—that is to say, I'm not opposed to it existing, nor do I begrudge people who like it. I went through a period where I listened to a fair bit of it to try and acclimate myself to it and try and understand it. Listen to it while you jog, drive in the car, or clean the dishes... it just has no business being used in formal liturgy. Mariachi music falls squarely in the same category for the same reasons. It is street band music. Not church music.

    I will also admit that Gregorian chant (and polyphony) is an acquired taste. Neither were not a part of my upbringing, and I didn't have the slightest interest in chant nor did I know anything about it until a priest requested that I start chanting at Mass. Once I learned its history and read the beautiful texts that the graduale contains, I was hooked. That's a story for another day. Then I started reading church documents and discovered that Holy Mother Church had an awful lot to say on this topic, and the teachings were unanimous, at which point I had to change my frame of reference for what liturgical music is supposed to be.)
  • davido
    Posts: 617
    I told myself not to click on this thread.

    But it lived up to expectations…
    Thanked by 1Don9of11
  • their services resemble a rock concert infinitely more than they do any form of liturgy.


    Maybe we need to provide a definition of 'liturgy' so that supporters and promoters of P&W can see that P&W doesn't work?
  • davido
    Posts: 617
    Chris, that would be “work of the people” correct? (purple)
    Thanked by 1KARU27
  • Davido,

    Decades ago, I fell for that, taking it seriously for a few nanoseconds. When I recovered, I became a confirmed traditionalist. In fairness, I couldn't act as if I were one for a few years.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,806
    P&W... OK for the car radio... and even that, I can't take the repetitive minimalistic THEMES...

    Praise you, (put God title here)
    You are (put God descriptive here)
    I am (put God redemption action here)

    and similar 8 bar CHORD structures over and over and over... (C, Am, F, G) or (C, Em, Am, G) or (C, G, Am, Am) or (Am, Em, F, G) or...

    ... and the beat goes on...
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,640
    P&W typical lyrics.

    Pie in the sky for me, for you
    Pie in the sky for me.
    Whenever I die,
    There's pie in the sky.
    Pie in the sky for me, for you.

    I first heard P&W when it appeared in the evangelical Protestant churches. If it floats their boat, fine, but it isn't liturgical music.
  • P&W... OK for the car radio... and even that, I can't take the repetitive minimalistic THEMES...

    Praise you, (put God title here)
    You are (put God descriptive here)
    I am (put God redemption action here)

    and similar 8 bar CHORD structures over and over and over... (C, Am, F, G) or (C, Em, Am, G) or (C, G, Am, Am) or (Am, Em, F, G) or...

    ... and the beat goes on...


    I also don't like songs like this. There are a lot of bad praise and worship songs, and I don't play them.

    Here's a better praise and worship song, for Advent:

    https://www.worshiptogether.com/songs/even-so-come-passion/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuTb0LsRRTQ

  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,640
    Seems like every year the song, "Mary Did You Know," rears its head. Would you call that P&W? I called it heretical.
  • Seems like every year the song, "Mary Did You Know," rears its head. Would you call that P&W? I called it heretical.


    The short answer is no. It's not representative of modern worship music. I just looked this up, apparently it was written in 1984.
  • Seems like every year the song, "Mary Did You Know," rears its head. Would you call that P&W? I called it heretical.
    It’s formally banned in our diocese and the diocesan director of liturgy sends out a reminder every year. I’m Im grateful.
  • Nice try, but gregorian chant is THE music of the roman rite, as formally enshrined by tradition and numerous formal teaching documents of the church spanning centuries, right up to our day.


    Going from music for the Mass to music for adoration according to this logic seems like a major stretch to me. Liturgy of the Hours is a liturgy of the Roman Rite, yet hymns are sung in the Liturgy of the Hours. Basically, I don't think that chant having the pride of place in the Mass tells us anything about what kinds of devotional music are appropriate for adoration. In fact, it is customary to end adoration with Holy God We Praise Thy Name, which is very much not Gregorian Chant.

    P&W music is fundamentally secular music, with a veneer of religious text on top.


    Be careful about setting standards that your own preferred styles of music can not meet. A significant amount of traditional liturgical music is secular music with a religious text. Some examples would be O God Beyond All Praising (set to the tune of Jupiter by Gustav Holst), What Child Is This (set to the tune of English folk song Greensleeves), Be Thou My Vision (set to the Irish folk tune Slane), and Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee (set to Beethoven's 9th Symphony). Furthermore, as I've pointed out in previous discussion, this message board is full of people who love the mass settings and other liturgical music of Bach and Mozart. I'm curious how many people on this board are willing to be consistent enough with their stated principles to condemn the use of all this music for being secular.

    Basically, I think reality is more complex than the tidy picture that some tunes are obviously sacred and others are obviously secular and there's this perfect, exceptionless binary. So if you run an experiment like you've proposed here:
    &W music doesn't sound like "church music" (in even the broadest sense). Don't believe me? take the kareoke version (sans text) of any praise and worship song and ask the average person walking down the street if it is religious music. It sounds just like everything else on contemporary radio stations except that it has religious words (and even this is rather loose at times).


    I think judgements would differ. But that being said, I think that praise and worship music when it is done well uses numerous compositional techniques to communicate a sense of the sacred. Just like Bach and Mozart did things to communicate a sense of the sacred when they wrote liturgical music despite the fact that they used similar instrumentation and chord progressions to their secular music, so it is with praise and worship music, which while having similar instrumentation to folk and pop music ultimately has a unique sound when it is well executed.

    Here are some songs that I think would win a guessing game of religious vs. pop:
    We Fall Down by Chris Tomlin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ge9O_HOKcE
    Even So Come by Chris Tomlin - in fact, here's a version with no vocals! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpUYKCPw-Bg&ab_channel=MakerInstrumentVEVO

    And yet I've literally *never* experienced or witnessed a single instance of P&W that even approaches the dignity required of the temple. I have heard very professional sounding P&W groups and their music... but they are all protestant and their services resemble a rock concert infinitely more than they do any form of liturgy.


    Would be curious what you think of the examples above.

    I'm not sure what "Protestant" means in this context. Hymnody is largely Protestant in origin, but most of us would say that hymnody has positively contributed to the life of the Church.

    I'm also not sure what you mean by resembling a rock concert. I don't think that good praise and worship should resemble a rock concert, unless you pick aspects that make for a rather superficial comparison, such as the instrumentation, in which case one could with equal fairness argue that traditional choirs resemble classical baseball stadiums because of the organ.

    As well-executed as this example may be, I confess I still fail to see how having a full praise chorus belting out behind him during the refrain and blasting it all through refrigerator-sized speakers to a stadium full of people makes this any better. In fairness, the text of the song is decent; but it could have just as easily been led as an oration by the clergy.


    Some people like praise choruses and find them edifying to their prayer. I get that this won't happen for everyone, but I think this ought to be a matter where people can have legitimate differences of perspective.

    As a note, the song played here, "Lord I Need You", is one of the most used praise and worship songs in Catholic contexts currently.
  • I find it telling to look at the difference between what Holy Mother Church (sic) says and does.

    Chant is a great idea, for people of mature, disciplined faith. Unfortunately many of us worship in communities where the number of people who have reached this level of spiritual maturity is small. Giving meat to babies is a recipe for malnourishment.
  • Again, I reiterate: how is this man trying to sing? What is the style of music? It is fundamentally secular. It is entirely divorced from the musical tradition of the church. Entirely. This should trouble fans of P&W greatly.


    Yeah...this vocal technique is not good. There are multiple levels to this - for starters, it blows my mind how low standards many Catholics have for their musicians. When I was searching for videos of praise and worship adoration to send on YouTube, bad vocal and musical technique was ubiquitous. Evangelicals generally seem to have standards that are so much higher and actually expect their musicians to be good at their jobs. Point being, singing poorly is not part of the style of praise and worship, it's just bad praise and worship. Anyone who actually makes praise and worship for a living (for example, Hillsong, Bethel, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Matt Maher) sings with at least decent vocal technique, or at least, their record labels clean it up for them before it hits Christian radio stations.

    The lead singer in that video is Ike Ndolo. Based on what I saw in that video, I'm sorry to say that I don't think that he has nearly the vocal talent that Evangelicals would expect from a worship leader. Yet, he's one of the bigger names in Catholic praise and worship. At one point he had a recording contract with Oregon Catholic Press. The event I sent the video of is a pretty major event in Catholic praise and worship and it's significant to be the musician chosen to lead the music for it.

    So, Catholic praise and worship is a long way from being good.

    I dispute the claim that the style of music being played is fundamentally secular. I'm not sure by what objective criteria this is being measured. Vocal technique (if so, as stated above, the vocal technique is poor and unrepresentative of the genre)? Instrumentation? Something compositional, like chord progressions?

    I will also admit that Gregorian chant (and polyphony) is an acquired taste.


    Unfortunately I've been mostly unsuccessful in acquiring this taste. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but I've been around the genre for awhile now and haven't had a lot of growth in my appreciation for it.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,565
    "their record labels clean it up for them"

    and on the eighth day, G-d created Auto-Tune.

    "Unfortunately I've been mostly unsuccessful in acquiring this taste. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but I've been around the genre for awhile now and haven't had a lot of growth in my appreciation for it."

    That puts you at a serious disadvantage in conversations of this sort. Because you can't really grapple with why the Catholic Church has continued in its liturgical legislation to give chant pride of place. The arguments as between idioms are not symmetrical in that regard. But let me venture a proxy: an idiom of singing where omitting accompaniment would leave the music at a very significant loss is an idiom that has problems in Catholic liturgy. (If it's of an idiom of sung music I couldn't program because accompanists would all be out of town, and it would feel too naked to sing that way, then unless it's a work of genius, it's likely got problems.)
  • I find it telling to look at the difference between what Holy Mother Church (sic) says and does.

    Chant is a great idea, for people of mature, disciplined faith. Unfortunately many of us worship in communities where the number of people who have reached this level of spiritual maturity is small. Giving meat to babies is a recipe for malnourishment.


    Pax,

    Two responses:

    1) Those who grow up on this music (Gregorian chant, sung well) take it as perfectly normal. It forms part of the structure of their disciplined faith. (My boys used to do dishes and sing Palestrina at the same time, or school work and the Dies Irae).

    2) Just as you find it interesting to see a difference, I find it puzzling (and informative) that one side in this thread keeps coming back to the "fit for liturgy" argument, while the other latches on to the "emotional" or "personalist" approach to prayer.

    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • But let me venture a proxy: an idiom of singing where omitting accompaniment would leave the music at a very significant loss is an idiom that has problems in Catholic liturgy.


    The best praise and worship songs work very well acapella. Here's an acapella version of Even So Come: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFao8v0SiZA&ab_channel=DavidWesley

    you can't really grapple with why the Catholic Church has continued in its liturgical legislation to give chant pride of place


    I don't think that the Church's logic behind saying that chant should have pride of place is that chant is aesthetically pleasing or that people like it. I think it has much more to do with chant being a well proven technique to support texts.
  • Just as you find it interesting to see a difference, I find it puzzling (and informative) that one side in this thread keeps coming back to the "fit for liturgy" argument, while the other latches on to the "emotional" or "personalist" approach to prayer.


    I think this is a false dichotomy. I think that good liturgical music of any genre succeeds in meeting both of these objectives.
  • Furthermore, as I've pointed out in previous discussion, this message board is full of people who love the mass settings and other liturgical music of Bach and Mozart. I'm curious how many people on this board are willing to be consistent enough with their stated principles to condemn the use of all this music for being secular.

    Why would anyone condemn Bach organ works for being secular when they never would have seen performance outside of a church in his day? If you want to see actual secular organ music that was transplanted unchanged to the church, just as praise & worship has done, take a listen to Lefébure-Wély.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,640
    I would say, coming from an eastern perspective, that although I worked 20+ years in Catholic music as an organist/director, I may have different views than a number of Roman Rite Catholics.

    For us, there is a barrier between the secular world and the temple. What is secular should not be brought into church and that includes music. Music for the temple should be set aside for that holy purpose and not imitate secular mediums. Granted, I would note there are differences between liturgy and devotions and that the rules for liturgy are more stringent. "Holy God..." was mentioned for Benediction although it wasn't mentioned that "Holy God..." is a setting of the Te Deum, an ancient hymn of praise. Benediction is a liturgy of the western church, it is not a devotion. Stations of the Cross are a devotion.

    As for the quality of musicians, there are good Catholic musicians but they are often people who don't need the money and can work at low pay. Low pay is the norm in many Catholic parishes. There is usually money for everything else, but music is not really a high priority. Cheap priests love volunteers since no costs are involved. You do get what you pay for. Given the state of most volunteer choirs, acapella music is hard as hell to do well unless you have trained voices. Many of them will also not work for nothing.

    Please do not use OCP as an example of Catholic music. It is a money-making enterprise and is almost in the category of "he that should not be named."
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • I think this is a false dichotomy. I think that good liturgical music of any genre succeeds in meeting both of these objectives.


    You may indeed think it is a false dichotomy, but if you look back at the thread, you'll see these two principles in conflict with each other, or perhaps being shot past each other.

    That which is liturgically appropriate can (and often is) affectively effective, but since our responses to individual pieces of music are (mostly) individual and personal, this standard (that it speaks to me) can't be used to decide if music can or should be used at the public worship of the Church.

  • For the record, contemporary, I would be more than happy to be rid of any of the hymns you quoted as counterexamples if it also meant absolute elimination of P&W. In fact, I would joyfully abandon anything but chant if it meant that musical abuses ceased universally. A purely chanted monastic liturgy, with perhaps some organ, sounds absolutely heavenly to me, and I would be in paradise if that were my experience every Sunday.
    Thanked by 2StimsonInRehab Lars
  • Please do not use OCP as an example of Catholic music. It is a money-making enterprise and is almost in the category of "he that should not be named."


    Wasn't attempting to do so. As someone who likes contemporary music, I largely think that OCP gives contemporary music a bad name by making contemporary music of low quality then somehow convincing people to play it. There's a strange sociological phenomenon where some parishes want to play OCP contemporary music instead of praise and worship from Evangelical publishers even though the former is of objectively lower quality in nearly every category (depth of lyrics, compositional quality, production value, sacredness of sound, etc). I think that OCP has some good contemporary songs, but I think these are in the substantial minority of what they produce.

    That being said, I think it's good for publishers to be money making enterprises. A profit motive should help them to make music that people want rather than push ideologically motivated music that people don't want. OCP's weakness in making contemporary music is a real threat to the company right now and I expect them to have significant financial problems as CCLI takes more and more market share from them.
  • RANT WARNING:

    . A profit motive should help them to make music that people want rather than push ideologically motivated music that people don't want.


    And yet, OCP has been producing this stuff for decades....

    If someone said to you "music that people want" and "ideologically motivated music" are, apparently, in the same box, not opposed boxes, you might accuse that person of being stupid or pushy or something, but the company continues to produce it and people continue to buy it and the ideologically pushy stuff ("I will raise YOU up", to get rid of "him"; "Faith of our Mothers", to compensate for the "Faith of our Fathers"; "Sing a New Church into being"; "All are Welcome", and all the rest) is the most popular among those parishes which buy (literally, as well as figuratively) the whole program.

    When the bishops of this country considered a national hymnal just a few years ago, they decided to put Batistini and Alstott (or his successor) in charge of the project.... which is very much like putting foxes in charge of hen houses or kleptomaniacs in charge of security.

    To your point -- not quoted in my box above -- about Protestant Evangelical stuff instead of the schlock available through OCP: importing into the Catholic liturgy that which is inimical to it has been the problem since, say, 1970.
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  • and on the eighth day, G-d created Auto-Tune.


    Time to make another plug for my Gregorian Chant Auto-tuning Device - The Correctus™! Best seller for any aging church choir! Never hear scooping on the Salve Regina again! Only five easy payments of $19.99! Order now and receive free shipping in time for Christmas!

    An aside: When we're speaking of the 'personalist' element in contemporary music, does that include the technical side as well as the emotional side? Because what I've noticed in singing from the WLP recently is just how virtuosic a lot of the entries are. The irregular rhythms, the word underlay changing from verse to verse, a lot of non-intuitive jumps - it's not that the music itself is bad per se, they just don't make sense as congregational pieces. (I'm probably bringing nothing new to the table here.)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,640
    (I'm probably bringing nothing new to the table here.)


    Good point, never-the-less. Much of that music is not "singable" for amateurs.
  • Good point, never-the-less. Much of that music is not "singable" for amateurs


    What if we change the punctuation:

    Good point. Never-the-less, much of that music is not singable for amateurs.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 439
    I would joyfully abandon anything but chant if it meant that musical abuses ceased universally. A purely chanted monastic liturgy, with perhaps some organ, sounds absolutely heavenly to me
    Wished it had been like that this morning... I had a free Sunday and attended Mass in my own parish church for the first time in months, looking forward to the schola cantorum singing that I was member of for twelve years. It was like hell - they didn't even manage to keep the (by now) well-known tunes of the propers of Gaudete Sunday nor the 'old-Solemnes' rhythm (let alone anything more elaborate). Pastor thanked them afterwards for their inspiring singing, I guess there were not many PIPs who would agree... could have been quite different if only the choirmaster had asked me to join in after spotting me in the pew...
  • An aside: When we're speaking of the 'personalist' element in contemporary music, does that include the technical side as well as the emotional side? Because what I've noticed in singing from the WLP recently is just how virtuosic a lot of the entries are. The irregular rhythms, the word underlay changing from verse to verse, a lot of non-intuitive jumps - it's not that the music itself is bad per se, they just don't make sense as congregational pieces. (I'm probably bringing nothing new to the table here.)


    WLP does not have anything in their catalogue that I would consider to be a serious effort at praise and worship. They have their own in-house contemporary style from Ed Bolduc and John Angotti, but there is a clear difference between that and mainstream praise and worship. I think that Bolduc and Angotti use some pretty unintuitive syncopations. Both of them have a couple songs that I like, but I have never programmed any of their works.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,640
    Chris, never-the-less is an older form used until the shorter Oxford dictionary decided it would slash hypens.

    I thought you loved being archaic.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,640
    Isn't WLP now part of GIA? I wondered if that would make a difference.
  • davido
    Posts: 617
    Contemporary, please continue to read posts on this forum, because many of your arguments have already been hashed out and answered here.
    For instance

    one could with equal fairness argue that traditional choirs resemble classical baseball stadiums because of the organ


    Ball park organs are built on very different tonal designs than church organs, nor are they played in the contrapuntal style.

    Hymnody is largely Protestant in origin, but most of us would say that hymnody has positively contributed to the life of the Church.


    Hymnody is not protestant in origin. A great place to start to understand this would be the Catholic Encylopedia entry on “Hymn”: https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07595a.htm

    Also worth studying is this book of office hymns translated into English: https://books.google.com/books/about/Lauda_Syon_etc.html?id=AcdVAAAAcAAJ
    which demonstrates that the hymn genre was always about theology in poetry, not about music.

    Going from music for the Mass to music for adoration according to this logic seems like a major stretch to me. Liturgy of the Hours is a liturgy of the Roman Rite, yet hymns are sung in the Liturgy of the Hours.


    The office hymns do have chant melodies. "Hymn" is a Gregorian musical genre.

    There is an argument that "traditional hymns" are a largely Victorian Protestant (Anglican) genre. However an examination of the genre shows that a great many of the texts are translations from Latin, Greek, and German sources, and that a large number of the tunes were adapted from chant, folk, and Renaissance polyphonic origins.
    Also, 19th century hymn writers were often associated with the Oxford movement - people like Henry W. Baker, John Mason Neale, Robert Campbell, John Ellerton, Cecil Frances Alexander - and the character of their hymns is inspired by their formation in Classical languages, their study of Latin office hymns, and a deep knowledge of scripture, resulting in texts which are very Catholic in nature.
  • Charles,

    It's timeless, not archaic, but as you'll see, I've acknowledged the superior form and edited my post.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Contemporary,

    As I recall -- and someone here will set me straight on the details -- hymns in Catholic worship date from the time of St Ambrose, who penned Te Deum Laudamus

    Strophic hymns aren't much behind that, since the Office is full of them.
  • davido
    Posts: 617
    Ambrose is in fact credited with many of the oldest office hymns.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,565
    And there was also St Ephrem (306-373), properly of the Syrian church, but whose influence went far beyond that.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,640
    Just messing with you, Chris. Nothing serious.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,640
    I would think that many view hymns as Protestant because we use so many of them and they are attributed to Protestant writers. The Divine Office has fallen into such disuse that many if not most have never heard Office hymns. This is sad.
  • Recently, I went on a JSTOR reading binge to do some research about the the effects that the Council of Trent had on liturgical music. Surprisingly, the effect was relatively minimal (the council only addressed music obliquely), but one common thread in a whole slew of scholarly articles was to take pains to point out that hymnody very much predates the protestant reformation, and there were long-standing cultures of [vernacular] hymnody during the old rite in many parts of Europe, especially on feast days as a "special" thing that they got to do.

    To be honest, this was a bit of a surprise to me as I was unaware that traditions of large group hymnody during mass had such a long and storied history. Essentially, the protestant reformation ran away with it, but like many of the other things they took to excess, it was fundamentally catholic before they did anything to it.
  • Liturgy of the Hours is a liturgy of the Roman Rite, yet hymns are sung in the Liturgy of the Hours. Basically, I don't think that chant having the pride of place in the Mass tells us anything about what kinds of devotional music are appropriate for adoration. In fact, it is customary to end adoration with Holy God We Praise Thy Name, which is very much not Gregorian Chant.

    A few things to unpack here:
    1. you are correct that mass music isn't the sole arbiter of devotional music in other liturgies and paraliturgies. That said, the command that chant receives "pride of place", I believe, is universal and transcends Mass alone.
    2. The liturgy of the hours contains many "hymns" as defined both poetically and musically, it's true. Many of those hymns are in fact gregorian melodies. Modern melodies and translations sometimes substitute for the older latin, but many of the great hymns have ancient monophonic chant melodies to go with them.
    3. Holy God We Praise Thy Name is a decidedly anglo (perhaps also German; not sure) way of dealing with it, and it is a [vernacular] trope of the Te Deum, a traditional gregorian hymn.

    Be careful about setting standards that your own preferred styles of music can not meet. A significant amount of traditional liturgical music is secular music with a religious text. Some examples would be O God Beyond All Praising (set to the tune of Jupiter by Gustav Holst), What Child Is This (set to the tune of English folk song Greensleeves), Be Thou My Vision (set to the Irish folk tune Slane), and Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee (set to Beethoven's 9th Symphony). Furthermore, as I've pointed out in previous discussion, this message board is full of people who love the mass settings and other liturgical music of Bach and Mozart. I'm curious how many people on this board are willing to be consistent enough with their stated principles to condemn the use of all this music for being secular.

    This is indeed problematic. In their defense, they are presented in a way that is typically in accord with traditional hymnody (musically speaking; something that can't be said for P&W). But there is some merit to your observation, certainly. There is a fine degree of separation however; these other works are readily adapted to their new task in a way that isn't at odd with the larger tradition of hymnody. P&W music cannot claim the same. Stylistically it imitates secular music, is played on instruments which, if we wish to be technical, are only suited to secular music and were banned by Pius X (although this is no longer observed), and cannot be dressed up in any way that makes it seem like any form of well-established liturgical music.

    As for the latter half of this observation regarding Bach & Mozart, their liturgical music was conceived as liturgical music. It happened to be orchestral, so it bears obvious similarities to their other work. I'm not sure how it could not when one employs a full orchestra to make the grandest musical offering possible. But in the sense of Gebrauchsmusik, it is liturgical music—so conceived—from the get-go. You'll also note that they didn't write music using street bands as ensembles. It was high-art music, not common-man music.

    When I write music for Mass, I don't expect it to also pull double-duty on the radio as easy-listening music once the pews are empty. I also try not to write pedestrian music (read: quotidian in style and essence; 'pedestrian' is not intended as a derogatory term). Is it the same in P&W culture? I don't think it is.

    Ultimately, Bach, Mozart & others' music did start a trend that culminated in truly "operatic" masses that were formally decried by Pius X as being excessive and ultimately inappropriate.
    Thanked by 2Elmar sdtalley3

  • For those who don't know or can't imagine what P&W music at adoration is like, click here:
    https://youtu.be/IXXDUQWhv5M?t=3047


    Jesus. That’s as far as I could get. They’re not praising Jesus, nor are they worshiping Him by repeating his name. That’s not Praise and Worship music. Te Deum would be Praise and Worship Music. Ave Verum Corpus would qualify. Tantum Ergo. When you think about it, if the piece of music praises and worship Jesus, it is rightly Praise and Worship Music.