Enthusing an Unaccompanied Congregation
  • Complementary to the other thread, I was wondering what members’ strategies are for leading / teaching new unaccompanied congregational music.
  • Prayer. (Not joking…) and repetition are, so far, the only thing I’ve found that make any dent whatsoever. Well, these, and seeding a few strong singers in the pews.

    This is such a difficult thing to do; I ask Jesus & Mary to enthuse people’s hearts to sing all the time.
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • Nihil,

    Make absolutely sure that you're not asking them to sing campfire music at Mass.
  • Not a problem you need to worry about with Nihil, I assure you.
  • Serviam,

    I have heard many apocryphal stories of the encouragement to put the rosary away and hold hands and sing the musical equivalent of Kumbaya so, while I don't remember them at first hand, I know they did happen. I'm pleased that most on this forum won't suffer from that dereliction of duty.
  • I meant the Latin Chants for the Ordinary for the Requiem Mass in a week, since they sing several Gregorian Ordinaries well, but only in response to the loud organ swelling the lay, as it were.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,145
    yeow... not to a congregation in a week!
  • Not hard, tho? Everybody knows the Sanctus and Agnus. Kyrie is a single melody... and that’s it for Ordinary.
  • More was just wondering what people do to cue the congregation to sing heartily in the context of unaccompanied monody. (Here, I guess congregational things were accompanied during Advent and Lent). What I ended up doing worked pretty well, tho (we had a Requiem tonight for the 20th anniversary of death of a beloved pastor).
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,155
    The magic ingredient is confidence. The chant Ordinary is designed to be lead by the intonation of a cantor. Some people have, or have learnt, the ability to get others to follow, but others (and I knew one who was precentor of Westminster Cathedral) are too diffident.
    Thanked by 2NihilNominis Coemgen
  • My own personal approach is to start with a very strong incipit with the voice alone, and then accompany the congregation with the melody soloed out, usually on a cornet. This really helps to bring out the melody and allows the accompaniment to fade to the back of the texture. My congregation seems to respond well to this.
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis