Can the priest's chanting be droned?
  • Geremia
    Posts: 237
    Can a priest's chanting during a High Mass be droned, or is there rubric that says only one priest can sing at a time?
  • Geremia,

    The rubrics say, generally, DO THIS. They don't, generally, say, AVOID THIS LIST.

    If you mean by 'droned', can there be a priest singing a single tone while the celebrant sings other notes above it..... I'm not aware that it's permitted, encouraged or required, anywhere, at any time.

    The fact that a practice doesn't have a specific prohibition, given the nature of rubrics, can not (honestly) be construed to say that it must be permitted. To use some silly examples, there's no specific rule which says that a priest may not say Mass with a cheese block on his head, but if one construed this lacuna as permission to wear such a thing, one would being silly. There's no specific rule against using wearing rainbow colored vestments, either, but if we construed the rubric to permit this, we would be reading beyond the facts into some fantasy land.

    Therefore, what you need to find isn't a rubric forbidding such a practice, but one positively permitting it.
  • .
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,696
    In the conciliar Missal, presidential prayers are not permitted to be accompanied by instruments or other singing.

    The Prayers and Other Parts Pertaining to the Priest

    30. Among those things assigned to the Priest, the prime place is occupied by the Eucharistic Prayer, which is the high point of the whole celebration. Next are the orations, that is to say, the Collect, the Prayer over the Offerings, and the Prayer after Communion. These prayers are addressed to God by the Priest who presides over the assembly in the person of Christ, in the name of the entire holy people and of all present. Hence they are rightly called the “presidential prayers.” . . .

    32. The nature of the “presidential” parts requires that they be spoken in a loud and clear voice and that everyone listen to them attentively. Therefore, while the Priest is pronouncing them, there should be no other prayers or singing, and the organ or other musical instruments should be silent.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,154
    Really, if you think about it, it doesn't much make sense for a priest's part to be droned. He chants alone. The only exception I could think of to this would be Eastern-rite(s) sung liturgies where the music seems to never stop from beginning to end, and where for particular settings there might be some kind of humming continuing from the choir while the prayers are chanted so the sound is never broken. But that isn't really proper to the Roman Rite, and in any case, I cannot think of when it would ever be appropriate for a second person to be singing the words along with the presider.
  • Jackson,

    Are you addressing your comment to me, or to Geremia?
    Thanked by 1LauraKaz
  • davido
    Posts: 702
    Gremia, do you mean mono-toned? Chanted on one note?
  • Certainly monotoned is the word that is wanted.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,154
    Well there is certainly nothing wrong with singing prayers "monotoned" (ie- recto tono). That's a step up in solemnity to merely speaking it, and should be encouraged, even for priests who have difficulty singing anything else.
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 497
    There is this book: Sung Gospels For Major Solemnities in Multiple Voices

    https://litpress.org/Products/GetSample/3462/9780814634622

    I have no idea how this can be construed as licit, and it seems to me that intelligibility would take a serious hit by having two voices simultaneously declaim such complex and lengthy texts, but it exists.
  • Gamba,

    It doesn't have to be construed as licit. It needs to construe itself as brazen. In a short time, it will become permitted explicitly, and then required. Such is the history of liturgical reform since the days of Paul VI.
    Thanked by 2dad29 LauraKaz
  • Geremia
    Posts: 237
    No, I don't mean monotoned / recto tono. I mean another singer singing on top of what the priest chants.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,154
    Only the priest should be saying/singing his part. He is metaphysically different to everyone else in the room.

    Perhaps an argument could be made for having soft humming or an organ drone underneath the prayers he vocalizes loudly for all to hear, but certainly not those parts which are spoken sotto voce. But this would certainly be unusual And arguably should not become any sort of norm at your parish. I could understand if an entire liturgy was thru-composed in an Eastern/Orthodox style (including a few choice drones) for a special solemnity as an exception, but I wouldn’t take it any further than that, personally.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,158
    In the OF the rules for which priest says/sings what are laid out in the GIRM (199-251). Each EP has a detailed spelling out, the doxology is the only thing for which chant has been provided and which all the priests chant together. GIRM#216 is explicit that the principal celebrant alone sings the Preface. Of course when the priest and people sing together (eg the Sanctus) all concelebrants join in. As ServiamScores says one could envisage a through composed EP, and EPI (the Roman Canon) does have a central chunk which all concelebrants say together.
    In the EF there is only one priest (at this celebration) offering the Holy Sacrifice, the rest of us are spectators (circumstantes) even if they are Bishops on their thrones; apart from the 1965 rite of concelebration, but I have no copy of that and unable to comment.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 315
    I have a memory (which may be faulty) of Masses by the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem where the concelebrants sang the central part of the Eucharistic prayer in parts.
  • Hawkins, Serviam,

    Marty Haugen wrote an entire melismatic sort of setting of ?all four Eucharistic Prayers?
    I know this because the parish at which my wife and I wed used these frequently ( but not all the time) when we were there. May I inquire if this is what you would support?

    Deacon Fritz,

    Assume your memory is not faulty for a moment. Would monastic rules be different for some good reason (say, a Dominican Rite, or a Franciscan Rite) or would those monks have been, to borrow an expression, loose cannons on deck?
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,154
    I never said I was advocating for any of this. I just said I could see how the argument could be made.

    I cannot think of a reason why alternate melodies could not be provided for the canon generically speaking, and those melodies could perhaps be framed with the organ, although that feels rather foreign to the roman rite to me. Personally I wouldn't go any further than Paul Jernberg's Mass of Saint Philip Neri. He sets a few extra things so that the whole suite of the ordinary contains a certain internal harmony (no pun intended) such as the dialogues that precede the canon. I'll note, however, that the priest chants a simple formula alone, albeit on a pre-determined pitch, with the schola responding in parts.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,158
    Neither would I favour it in any foreseeable circumstances. Certainly not a melismatic setting, ever, and in the heart of the Mass, for anything 'presidential', not by non-Catholic composers.
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 197
    There is a recording of a mass setting by Andre Gouzes where the institutional narrative is sung in harmony by the concelebrating priests:

    https://youtu.be/SHSDFCZa0Zc

    I can imagine that if the institutional narrative was chanted in a parish setting in the ICEL chants, different concelebrants might be on different pitches. But that might be for different reasons than in the recording.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 315
    Chris,

    I'm pretty sure they were using the Gouzes setting Chaswjd links above. They sing a lot of his music. Since the music for the EP isn't stipulated, I think they could do what the did and still have the canons firmly tied down (though the "Amens" in the recording might be at least a loose canon-ball rolling around).
  • drforjc
    Posts: 36
    While the priest is speaking these texts, there should be no other prayer or liturgical song, and the organ or other instruments should not be played. (GIRM 32)
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 879
    The prohibition cited above about other songs and musical instruments not being played during the "presidential" prayers, seems to me a prohibition about doing 2 things at one time as was common in the traditional Mass. Does it really prohibit an organ accompanying the celebrant if he requests/requires it to assist him stay on pitch?

    It's certainly typical and preferable to have these prayers sung without accompaniment, but is there a specific rubric prohibiting a soft accompaniment to "support the singing". I know during Lent and even the Triduum, there are provisions for the organ to support the singing of the priest even though the organ is not to be played on its own and traditionally was completely silent.
  • davido
    Posts: 702
    I’m pretty sure there were explicit prohibitions against accompanying the priest’s parts pre-VII (because they did it, especially in Germany). A hermeneutical of continuity would apply that to the present as well.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,696
    A way to provide pitch assistance in this context is to provide incipits at various intervals by prearrangement with the celebrant. It's not accompanying and it's not playing independently: it's just providing pitches.