Entrance Hymn + An Introit Antiphon?
  • Is it customary or permissible to sing an entrance hymn AND an introit antiphon at the beginning of mass, rather than only one or the other? I've heard it done many times, mostly at the TLM, and I've been able to have my choir do both in the OF when there is incense, and therefore some time to add an antiphon (I use Fr. Weber's chants) after the hymn is finished. But I have heard some say that it is only permissible or appropriate to sing one or the other, not both. Is this in a rubric anywhere? And where should I look for such rubrics in general? The GIRM doesn't seem particularly helpful on this (I'm thinking mostly for the OF, since that is what we do in my parish, but I'm interested in what the rule is for the TLM too).
  • For the TLM, you must do the Introit. If it is the principle Sunday Mass, there should be the Asperges (or Vidi Aquam) before the Introit, and the procession before that, so during the procession you would need to sing something, or at least have the organ play, if you don't want silence. Even for Masses where there is no Asperges, there is usually still time to do a couple verses of a hymn during the procession, then the Introit during the prayers at the foot of the Altar, and the Kyrie during the Incensing (roughly speaking).

    For the OF, I have no idea.
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  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,621
    In the EF we have the former processional hymns, such as the Salve Festa dies... So in the past we would have a processional hymn and then the Introit. At some stage in the past the Introit was also used as a procession hymn and we have extra psalm verses.

    I think the rubrics now state that the Introit should start when the priest reaches the steps at the foot of the Altar. This gives plenty of time to sing a Hymn before hand.

    I also suspect that the Hymn plus Introit option is popular because it allows an English song/hymn to be sung before Mass begins.

    An EF guide can be found here, https://lms.org.uk/scholas-guide-sung-mass
    The Liber also has the rubrics.
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  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,623
    For nearly three years now we have used the texts offered at antiphonrenewal.com for the “entrance antiphon hymns” (I make worship aids so this is very easy to facilitate). We sing the hymn up to the doxology and then chant the Fr. Weber antiphon right after (which, subtly, counts as our repeat of the antiphon). It works very well. As you mentioned, it works best when there is incense, but we only do that when choir is in season, so when choir is not in season, the priest just goes to the chair and waits a moment while the antiphon is chanted. It’s not really any different than waiting while verse 4 of a hymn is finished; the only real difference being that a cantor is chanting rather than the people singing. I personally see absolutely no conflict between the rubrics and this practice. In fact, I think it a vast improvement over just singing any old hymn and ignoring the propers. This permits people to sing the propers, and then hear actual chant (preferred option) as well. It’s win-win. It’s also a great way to acclimate people to chant (in general) and draws a clear relationship between what the people have just sung, and an “official” rendering (the changed version) of that important text as well.
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 487
    Do not let anyone tell you it MUST be one or the other. There is nothing at all in the GIRM to support this. In both OF and EF, it is permissible to sing a hymn before singing the introit. It is a great practice since it gives the congregation something to sing while retaining the use of the proper. Keep doing it.
  • Andrew_Malton
    Posts: 1,139
    On the unofficial suggestion of a Bishop’s Commission member (who knows and follows the rules) we adopted this practice (for the Novus rite): once the introit, then a hymn during the procession, then the introit antiphon again possibly with verses if incense.

    This adds to the win-win above, that this way the Mass begins right in with sacred singing. The difficulty perhaps is finding hymns that are appropriate, processional, and able to be stopped after not all the verses.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,866
    For the current missal, these are relevant instructions in the General Instructions as adapted in the USA:

    The Entrance

    47. When the people are gathered, and as the Priest enters with the Deacon and ministers, the Entrance Chant begins. Its purpose is to open the celebration, foster the unity of those who have been gathered, introduce their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical time or festivity, and accompany the procession of the Priest and ministers.

    48. This chant is sung alternately by the choir and the people or similarly by a cantor and the people, or entirely by the people, or by the choir alone. In the Dioceses of the United States of America, there are four options for the Entrance Chant: (1) the antiphon from the Missal or the antiphon with its Psalm from the Graduale Romanum, as set to music there or in another setting; (2) the antiphon and Psalm of the Graduale Simplex for the liturgical time; (3) a chant from another collection of Psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including Psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) another liturgical chant that is suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year, similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.

    If there is no singing at the Entrance, the antiphon given in the Missal is recited either by the faithful, or by some of them, or by a reader; otherwise, it is recited by the Priest himself, who may even adapt it as an introductory explanation (cf. no. 31).

    Reverence to the Altar and Greeting of the Assembled People

    49. When they have arrived at the sanctuary, the Priest, the Deacon, and the ministers reverence the altar with a profound bow.

    Moreover, as an expression of veneration, the Priest and Deacon then kiss the altar itself; the Priest, if appropriate, also incenses the cross and the altar.

    50. When the Entrance Chant is concluded, the Priest stands at the chair and, together with the whole gathering, signs himself with the Sign of the Cross. Then by means of the Greeting he signifies the presence of the Lord to the assembled community. By this greeting and the people’s response, the mystery of the Church gathered together is made manifest.

    After the greeting of the people, the Priest, or the Deacon, or a lay minister may very briefly introduce the faithful to the Mass of the day.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,866
    My understanding is that places that program a hymn before the (Latin or vernacular) Introit do it with an understanding that it gathers the people in anticipation of the opening clause of No. 47 of the General Instructions - that, having completed the hymn, the people have been gathered together.
  • Bombarde16
    Posts: 87
    (OF) So, interesting about the way we do it is that, while we do both, and they are functioning in slightly different ways, we are able to use both in their entirety...

    We begin the Introit prior to the official entrance, almost as a last prelude prior to the ringing of the Mass bells to begin the processional. However, as this is happening, the servers, Deacon, and priest are processing from the sacristy at the front if the church to the back to prepare the proper procession.

    Once we finish the introit, the bells are rung, and we begin our Processional Hymn.

    While some might definitely consider this to be splitting hairs, or abusive of the introit text, etc.... I have found that it has been a way to integrate the Introit in a way that is meditative for a people not used to chant. They have increasingly become VERY receptive to these texts and music, and have even started singing the antiphon along with the cantors/choirs (not the end goal, just a nice thing to hear).

    Are things in their proper places?- no, not really. But it's the best I can do with where we are at now. If we were making worship aids, I would be using Kathleen Pluth's, Christoph Tietze's, and Antiphon renewals introit hymns to GREAT extent.

    We do celebrate any listed feast or Solemnity during the week (8:00am and 1203pm; obligatory or not) with music. At those Masses, the introit occupies it's proper place during the procession.
  • lmassery
    Posts: 388
    Even the office of divine worship expressly permits this. See here

    https://www.chantcafe.com/2012/02/the-usccbs-divine-worship-on-hymns-and-proper-chants/
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,623
    Luke for the win!
  • These are great, well-reasoned methods you all have! Here we forgo entrance hymns in favor of the proper chants (OF). This has yielded a few unexpected benefits:

    -- The people's singing of the dialogues (which was already good) is improved
    -- It highlights the importance of the Gloria and Gospel Acclamation as high moments for the people's external participation.

    Causes for the above effects:
    -- Having people sing less improves what they DO sing.
    -- After blowing all their steam on a huge opening hymn, who has energy to sing the dialogues and acclamations anyway?
    -- People grow accustomed to having their own roles for singing in contrast to the parts that belong to the priest, deacon, choir, etc.
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 234
    I had thought that one means accommodating the desire to sign the antiphon and have a piece of music that all could join in singing would be:

    1. To have the choir sing the antiphon either in Latin in the original, or the gradual simplex or in English.
    2. To have the congregation sing the verse and further verses of the psalm from which it was taken in a metrical setting to appropriate hymn tune.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,005
    I have to agree wholeheartedly with btodorovich87. The "Entrance Hymn" always struck me like an "overture" to a big performace (opera?), and it tends to be "big" no matter the day or season, lending a sense of routine and monotony. A "smaller" choral entrance can be a better preparation for Mass, and prevents a "crowding" of Big Pieces all at the front end of the liturgy.
  • We have been doing something similar to what Chaswjd suggested. During ordinary time, we have been adapting the entrance antiphons from the graduale simplex as follows:

    - English antiphon, to the chant tune given in the simplex
    - metrical psalm translation to a hymn tune (usually 1 verse of psalm plus one verse of doxology is all we have time for)
    - repeat antiphon

    However, during feast days we've been singing a congregational hymn, followed by just the antiphon without the psalm verse.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,623
    Veritas, how does flowing from the antiphon into a metrical hymn tune work? Can you provide an example score or recording?

    The "Entrance Hymn" always struck me like an "overture" to a big performace (opera?), and it tends to be "big" no matter the day or season,
    This is something I'm careful to avoid. We regularly use chant melodies for our entrance hymns (Jesu Dulcis Memoria, Veni Creator, etc.)
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,623
    (OF) For those of you who only sing the entrance antiphon, what collections do you draw from? Do you have the people attempt any chanting during the introit, or is it cantor only?
  • MarkB
    Posts: 975
    I have programmed the entrance antiphon about 1/5 of the time during the past liturgical year; the other 4/5 of the year I program a hymn. Introducing chanted entrance antiphons is new to my parish.

    I use Fr. Weber's "The Proper of the Mass", most frequently his (iii) (Gregorian psalm tone) option, but occasionally the (ii) (medium difficulty) setting if it isn't that difficult. Occasionally I have thought that Adam Bartlett's entrance chant from the old "Lumen Christi Gradual" was better, and I have used that, for example, on Epiphany.

    Sometimes I re-set the antiphon's text myself to a Gregorian psalm tone if I think Fr. Weber's setting has too much recitative.

    My church has projection screens, and I create a slide with the antiphon's text and chant notation to display. The intent is for the assembly to sing the antiphon along with the choir, with the choir singing verses itself. Here is an example of a slide from the Transfiguration of the Lord:

    image

    We also chant the Communion antiphon at the start of Communion at every Mass. The assembly has been better about singing that antiphon than the entrance antiphon, but the participation is still not as robust as it is for familiar songs. Some people prefer to listen to the antiphons being chanted. It's still considered an oddity by many people, and I realize it will take time to shift people's expectation that Mass begins with a rousing song.

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  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 487
    (OF) For those of you who only sing the entrance antiphon, what collections do you draw from? Do you have the people attempt any chanting during the introit, or is it cantor only?


    I work at an Ordinariate parish, and we typically (I'm trying to introduce more of the authentic melodies; psalm tones get old) sing the propers as they are in the St. Peter Gradual. It's a small book, and they're in the pews with the hymnals, so folks in the congregation who want to usually sing the propers along with the choir. The entire congregation sings the Gloria Patri during the introit. Not sure how this came to be since the practice pre-dates my holding of this position, but it's interesting and the people seem to enjoy it. We sang the full Signum Magnum yesterday and, to my surprise, a good many people joined the choir for the Latin Gloria Patri despite not having the score in front of them.
  • Serviam, here's my score for this week (Missa V). Luckily the antiphon fits in with 4/4 here, but if it doesn't I just add in an extra 3/4 bar and it sounds just like many of the irregular meter modern hymns. Or I change the rhythm to fit it in (Missa IV).

    We haven't been doing this for very long though, and if the experiment fails I might try just having the antiphon, as chant, at the end.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,486
    I have to agree wholeheartedly with btodorovich87. The "Entrance Hymn" always struck me like an "overture" to a big performace (opera?), and it tends to be "big" no matter the day or season, lending a sense of routine and monotony. A "smaller" choral entrance can be a better preparation for Mass, and prevents a "crowding" of Big Pieces all at the front end of the liturgy.


    Very interesting. Should the Entrance Chant be dynamically more striking than the Gloria? If so, which of the GIRM purposes does it fulfill?
  • It sounds like we've confirmed that this is a licit practice. I began the process of introducing the proper antiphons last year, during Lent. My parish has the four-hymn sandwich firmly entrenched in its culture. I didn't foresee doing away with the Entrance Hymn as an option, and we unfortunately don't use incense enough to plan the Introit around it, so I settled on singing the Introit during the five minutes prior to the ringing of the sanctuary bells and the start of the Mass. I also sing the Communion antiphon at the beginning of communion, while the EMCH's receive the Eucharist.

    I've had a warm reception to the practice, and I've noticed some unplanned benefits:
    - Prior to implementing the Introit I would play an organ prelude, and had the unfortunate problem of having parishioners (and even my own choir members) talk over it, using the sounds of the organ as a veil for their conversations. I've found that the talking issue prior to Mass has been entirely eradicated when singing the Introit. My theory is that people have been conditioned to consider instrumental preludes to be mere background music, but not so for sung music.
    - Congregational singing of hymns has flourished. While many other factors influenced this, it seems hearing an unaccompanied voice prior to the start of Mass helps to "prime" people to sing.

    It surprised me how many people, especially folks in their 60s and 70s who I would've assumed had experienced at least some of the old traditions, are simultaneously appreciative but unfamiliar with Gregorian chant as a whole. I've had to develop an "elevator pitch" explanation of what the proper antiphons are (Do you have a Missal? It's in there. The Church teaches...), what language I'm singing other than English (Latin is actually still the liturgical language of the Church), etc.

    I use Fr. Weber's propers because they often utilize the same melodic structure of the antiphons from the Graduale Romanum. When Fr. Weber's propers and the GR line up, I sing the Latin antiphon from the GR and then the corresponding English antiphon from Fr. Weber after.

    I'm hoping to begin training our choir and cantors to sing the simpler English Fr. Weber settings. Long-term, if we're able to switch from our Gather hymnal (customary groan) to a resource that has a congregational antiphon setting, I hope to introduce the parishioners to singing the antiphons.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,866
    "My theory is that people have been conditioned to consider instrumental preludes to be mere background music,"

    Instrumental music is mostly experienced as soundtrack and has been for decades at this point in time. Preludes and postludes are largely experienced as soundtracks to arrive and depart by. The most one can do with postludes is to expect proximate choristers to maintain silence during them.