History of the “4-hymn sandwich”
  • I was just curious the origin of the “4-hymn sandwich” and how far back it goes. I thought there might be some scholars on this forum that could answer this question.
    Thanked by 1John_F_Church
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 693
    It began around 1955-1958 you can read about it here https://ecommons.udayton.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1382&context=marian_studies

    The October 1958 instruction, Sacrae musicae disciplina,
    implemented the provisions of the 1955 encyclical and sanctioned the singing of "popular religious songs" at the missa tecta (nos. 13-15).This led to the "four-hymn" pattern of participation: a hymn at the entrance, offertory, communion,
    and conclusion.

    Hope that helps.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,039
    More discussion on the Forum in the context of the traditional Latin Mass here.
    Thanked by 1Don9of11
  • WGS
    Posts: 299
    I have always presumed that the expression started as more like a "2-hymn sandwich". i.e. - one hymn at the beginning of the Mass and one at the end. - "travelling music" for the priests who really had no interest in singing the Mass itself. - and, of course, there was some amusement about the consonance with "ham sandwich".
    Thanked by 1John_F_Church
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,777
    According to some articles I read about Trent and sacred music, vernacular hymns were sung throughout mass as a special treat on feast days as early as 500 years ago.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    Hymns are nothing new. Many masses didn't have singers accomplished enough to sing Propers and chant. Those that did, for the most part, had the congregations listening to the good singers. The congregations couldn't sing that literature. After Vatican II, the Propers were not translated into English for 9 years, if I recall correctly. Nine years later, the parishes had replaced Propers with hymns so the people could participate. When the vernacular Propers were published, it was too little, too late.
  • tandrews
    Posts: 163
    there was some amusement about the consonance with "ham sandwich"

  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 693
    I happened to be reading one of the Sacred Music Journals from the Archives. In one of the journals J. Vincent Higginson who was a contributor to the journal wrote an article "Hymnody in our Time" it was published in the Summer issue 1967. This is a very interesting article on the history of the so called "4-hymn sandwich," and he makes some very good points that are still relevant today.

  • Liam
    Posts: 5,003
    "there was some amusement about the consonance with "ham sandwich" "

    Once "sandwich" was added to the "four hymn(s)", it was ironic/sardonic (I certainly recall this from 1990s Usenet discussions) - they were treated as the "ham", the meat and heart of the sandwich - which they are *not*. The musical *meat* of the Mass is the Ordo: when virtually the only thing being sung were hymns, it was an inversion of the Church's intention, though it arose from habits created by the former rigidity about what could and could not be sung in what class of Mass.
  • Don't forget the deutsche Singmesse, either!
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,473
    I confess that I like it, but we are adding proper chant and choir motets. For the American Church it can be a starting point and a move away from sacropop.