The incompetence of this GIA Quarterly article
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,028
    Some of you might receive GIA Quarterly at your parishes. The most recent issue, which I browsed earlier this week, has many articles whose subtext is that the celebration of Mass at parishes should feature ethnically diverse music to reflect the diverse constituencies in the Church in the United States. The implication is that parishes should rush to buy Gather 4, which is extolled by GIA as being its most diverse collection of songs ever: "This new edition is more diverse, more inclusive, more representative, and more balanced than any other GIA hymnal."

    One article, authored by Paul Inwood, takes some jabs at promoters of chant and attempts to argue that when the Church's documents about liturgical music state that Gregorian chant should be given pride of place, it doesn't really mean that chant is to be preferred. That was then, this is now, and today we are all about being diverse and woke now. (So buy Gather 4!)

    I've attached the article for you to read, in case you don't get the publication.

    He starts with an irrelevant diatribe about how the Latin word "cantus" doesn't simply mean "chant." That's really not important, but he dwells on it for half of his article. It's on page two, in the last section, where his argument reveals that he either doesn't know what he's talking about or he's writing a propaganda piece to push his publisher's hymnal. (Buy Gather 4!)

    Inwood states:

    One of the banners that those who are in favor of actual chant frequently wave is the statement in Sacrosanctum concilium that at first sight appears to give Gregorian chant primacy over all other forms of liturgical singing. The statement in question runs: "The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, all things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services." (SC 116)


    He then argues that Musicam sacram restricts that statement only to Masses celebrated in Latin:

    We find a significant aid to interpreting SC 116 in paragraph 50 of the instruction Musicam sacram of 1967, where this statement is once again made: "Gregorian chant, as proper to the Roman liturgy, should be given pride of place, other things being equal. (MS 50a) However, the key is the context. Section 50a is a subsection of paragraph 50, which begins, "In sung liturgical services celebrated in Latin" followed by subsections (a), (b), and (c).

    In other words, when you are celebrating in Latin, Gregorian chant should be given pride of place, but this does not hold good if you are not celebrating in Latin.

    Then he proceeds to say that Gregorian chant should be used only sparingly, and that because so many different ethnicities and personal tastes are present at Mass, music should be a mix of varied styles so that there will be something that appeals to everyone. (So buy Gather 4!)

    Inwood's argument that Musicam sacram restricts the priority of Gregorian chant to Masses celebrated in Latin is refuted by Musicam sacram's very next paragraph, #51:

    Pastors of souls, having taken into consideration pastoral usefulness and the character of their own language, should see whether parts of the heritage of sacred music, written in previous centuries for Latin texts, could also be conveniently used, not only in liturgical celebrations in Latin but also in those performed in the vernacular. There is nothing to prevent different parts in one and the same celebration being sung in different languages.


    So it's not at all what Inwood ineptly argues; he either stopped reading Musicam sacram too soon, when it seemed like he had what he was looking for to support his predetermined conclusion, or he ignored that paragraph because it didn't suit his argument.

    As well, his argument doesn't account for the repeated insistences in numerous documents that Gregorian chant is to be a part of seminary formation, that the Church's sacred music is a treasure of inestimable worth (that doesn't refer to Gather 4, by the way), and that in the GIRM, the first option for singing at the entrance, offertory, and at Communion is the antiphon from the Graduale Romanum, with "another suitable song" relegated to the fourth option in order every time.

    The instruction that Gregorian chant is to be given pride of place at Mass means exactly what it says. The fact that it is routinely and nearly universally disregarded is irrelevant to what it means and instructs. Inwood's attempt to neuter the statement in response to a small but growing trend to sing more chant at Mass (thus not needing to purchase as much or any music from GIA anymore) fails.

    The article in GIA Quarterly is thoroughly incompetent. The whole issue is, as I contended at the beginning, merely a propaganda piece to persuade music directors who don't know better to purchase GIA's products.
  • DL
    Posts: 72
    Curiously enough, Mr Inwood, as an organist, is a remarkably sensitive accompanist of chant.*
    *Whether or not you think it should be accompanied is another matter.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,967
    Another piece of context: during the rollout of the 2011 Missal in the Anglosphere, Mr Inwood expressed grievance (at least at Pray/Tell) to the effect that composers of settings of the Ordinary that had previously been in use were being wronged in the process by loss of royalty compensation from settings that, if not revised for the updated Missal text, were thus being sunsetted. He was vehement in arguing against any changes to the congregation's Missal text (and yet, when probed on his support for the proposal in the euthanized draft 1998 Sacramentary to include a corrected, modern translation of the Lord's Prayer as an alternative to the customary rendering that English-speaking Catholics have used for many generations - a usage that arguably was imported into the vernacular Missal on their behalf for obvious pastoral and spiritual reasons - he stood his ground because that customary translation was incorrect, an argument that made sense under Liturgicam Authenticam* but not from his own perspective, and he didn't make this point ironically or for effect).

    * Disclosure: I've never been a fan. It shares with its predecessor an utter failure to elevate euphony in the vernacular according to the native genius of that vernacular, but at least LA in practice established the principle that standards for liturgical translation can be updated.
  • DL
    Posts: 72
    The New Translation not infrequently aspires to the heights of Vogon poetry.
    I’m interested, as a priest who likes music, that here in the UK publishers don’t seem remotely interested in marketing hymnals or missal-hymnals of any sort to me.
  • Diapason84
    Posts: 75
    GIA has peddled theologically suspect and mediocre composers and hymn writers for decades. “Gather” and “Worship IV” are glaring examples. You can easily bypass their liturgy planning guide as it’s a giant advertisement for their suspect products.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,746
    On the rare occasion they show up here, I toss them straight in the bin.
  • Nisi
    Posts: 146
    Same here, Serviam -- mine go straight into the waste basket. Playing a duplicitous role, like a sheep in wolf's clothing, that magazine is pure GIA propaganda whose sole purpose is to sell things to make money.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,746
    The spanish version is just as bad, too.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,159
    Whatever it used to mean (Gregorian Institute of America), GIA is a logo/name that seemingly connotes (depending upon ones viewpoint) quite different:

    GIA - its corporate viewpoint: Gregorian Is Awful (i.e. there's no profit in it)
    GIA - my personal viewpoint: Greed In Action
  • TCJ
    Posts: 973
    A few years ago, GIA was telling us we have to be sure to include music written by people of color. Why? Because they are people of color. Nothing about the quality of the music or the appropriateness of it for Mass. What happened to using something if it's good (regardless of composer) and not using it if it isn't?

    It's all about trying to please people (an impossible task) and not God.

    These days I only read their publication for laughs.
  • Diapason84
    Posts: 75
    “Incompetence” is too kind, MarkB. I appreciate your perspective but let’s call it for what it is: deliberate agenda.
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 468
    I'm sure Inwood did extensive interviews and polling of "diverse" people to discern their preferences, right? Right?
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,186
    Unfortunately, people take their material as some evangelical demonstration of what is "right" without seeing it for the propaganda it is. GIA have forgotten their roots (and everything else sacred).
  • tandrews
    Posts: 161
    His setting of the Exsultet does not hold a candle (made of bees) to the authentic chant.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 2,057
    GIA was telling us we have to be sure to include music written by people of color.

    mkay, I'm cool with Nunes Garcia and Kevin Allen.
    Also, pink is a color, just saying.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,967
    So is beige.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,746
    It’s funny to me… I literally couldn’t care less what a composer’s skin color or sex are… is the piece of music beautiful and edifying (orthodox)? Yes or no? Those are literally my only two criteria. If it is beautiful and worth doing, then huzzah! If it’s not, then I move on. Skin color and sex (or God forbid ‘gender’) factor into that assessment EXACTLY 0%.

    And yet, as a young, white man, I will be accused of being “racist” for wanting to schedule something by Bach instead of some pink-haired modernist who fancies themselves the successor to Webern. *heavy sigh*. (I just don’t care.)
  • francis
    Posts: 10,697
    Serviam

    Exactly
    Thanked by 2tomjaw ServiamScores
  • Diapason84
    Posts: 75
    Let’s not forget another equally bad publication—“Today’s Liturgy,” along with editorial encouragement to buy plenty of copies of this year’s Respond & Acclaim, despite no changes to the contents in over 30 years.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,943
    And yet, as a young, white man, I will be accused of being “racist” for wanting to schedule something by Bach instead of some pink-haired modernist who fancies themselves the successor to Webern. *heavy sigh*. (I just don’t care.)


    Racist? As W.C. Fields once noted, "I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally."
  • doneill
    Posts: 207
    "Rapidly this morphed into 'entrance song' or 'opening song,' particularly if the sung item was not actually a hymn accompanied by the organ but a freer-song form accompanied by guitars." This is misleading, because "hymn" has nothing to do with instrumentation; it's a poetic form, as he actually mentioned previously in the paragraph. Guitars can play hymns, and organs can play "freer-song forms." In an attempt to clarify language, he's actually muddying the waters.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,746
    …despite no changes to the contents in over 30 years.
    I have long joked at church that we paid for Alstott’s lake house, since our parish (under my predecessor) dutifully bought his psalms repeatedly for years.
  • I was recently approached by a parishioner of a certain age who took the tired "we don't want to go backwards" argument, not exclusively about chant but any type of traditionalism at all. I'm going to try a tactic in conversation which I suspect might work...because 1) most people who make these arguments don't really know specifically what they are talking about and 2) if they do, the position makes a fallacious assumption a-la-Barney-Stinson, "newer is always better"....
    I know it comes from a place of him personally preferring types of trite GIA/OCP fare to the traditional corpus of Church music, so my response will be: "Ok, Mr. Man, you don't want us to 'go backwards'...I presume you like music...so what do you like? Taylor Swift? Or Bing Crosby? Rhianna? Or the Beatles?....If you had to pick favorite movie, would it be Tenet, or Casablanca? The Matrix, or the Godfather? Now, we don't want to be looking backwards, now do we?
    I'll let you know how it goes. I'm not expecting much but I'm tired of attempting to engage these types of arguments as if they are made in good faith, or at least as if they are intelligently reasoned. The new trick I want to try is to see if I can get the person to realize their own illogic. Which I admit is a far bridge.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw LauraKaz
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,967
    Don't try rhetorical tricks with parishioners. It may be tempting, but never comes off successfully, because seals an interaction as bilaterally adversarial.
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 468
    Don't try rhetorical tricks with parishioners. It may be tempting, but never comes off successfully, because seals an interaction as bilaterally adversarial.


    Agreed. If you have pastoral backing for programming "backwards" (i.e. good and reverent) music, then just fob off complaints with something non-commital like. "It's a tricky balancing act, and I'll try to do the best I can." Then do what you know needs to be done anyway.
    Thanked by 2Liam CHGiffen
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,028
    This article does a good job of explaining principles of Catholic liturgical music without being long to read. I recommend it to people who question me:

    http://wcucatholic.org/some-thoughts-on-liturgical-music/

    The elegant truth of this article contrasts starkly with Inwood's article.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,919
    Regarding parishioners who want to help fix the music program:

    "They will beg for your advice,
    Your reply will be concise,
    And they'll listen very nicely
    then go off and do precisely what they want."
    - Alan Jay Lerner
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 258
    The article overlooks the two things: First, nothing in Sacrosanctum Consilium or the GIRM mentions Latin being a prerequisite for chant. Strangely, even Mr. Inwood, at the end of his article, discusses singing Pange Lingua to an English text but using the Gregorian melody. Second, Sacrosanctum Concilium specifically specifically calls for the laity being able to sing or say those parts of the mass which belong to them in Latin. That cannot happen unless massses are routinely said in enough Latin that the people can learn their parts.
  • tandrews
    Posts: 161
    I suppose the simplest response to Mr. Inwood's prose would just be to say "ok boomer."
  • My nickname for "GIA Quarterly" and OCP's "Today's Liturgy" are the same --- the Sunday Comics.
    BMP
  • Diapason84
    Posts: 75
    .
  • I'm not very concerned with the content in the GIA Quarterly; I'm more interested in GIA's current output.

    I go to their "choral readings" most years, as it's the best way for me to visit with area music directors whom I know. It's great to see everyone, but the choral music has gotten increasingly frustrating. To my ear, it's just gotten really, really bland.

    They have good composers in tow (Michael John Trotta is excellent, IMO -- his setting of O Magnum Mysterium is sublime), but they seem to focus less on that. It's too bad.

    And Gather 4 is, indeed, a mess. The post-He Who Shall Not Be Named era hasn't been kind to GIA at all.
    Thanked by 1MarkB
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,028
    What's happened to the Walt Disney Corporation is also happening to GIA, and for the same reasons. Top-level executives in both companies are making the decisions that are producing the consequences.

    Moviegoers want quality, entertaining films with good stories that they can enjoy with their children. They don't want to feel like they are at a woke diversity, inclusion and equity seminar.

    Massgoers and liturgical musicians want quality, reverent music that is appropriate for Mass. Woke diversity criteria are not a consideration. The same issue of GIA Quarterly had an article that asserted -- I'm not kidding -- Communion is an excellent time to sing music that reflects the community's ethnicity.
  • Diapason84
    Posts: 75
    .
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,746
    I honestly doubt that would do much good (as much as I’d love to see it happen). They would just claim that they still had the right to sell to any congregation in the US and that it’s against US law to impose such restrictions. (Ecclesiastical law be damned.)

    That’s my guess anyway.
    Thanked by 2francis CharlesW
  • francis
    Posts: 10,697
    again... As long as the N.O. with its nebulous rubrics are employed, the infamous Alius Cantus Aptus will allow anywho to program anywhat at anytime, anywhere for anycause.
  • The old GIA used to have some very nice resources when it went by the name "Gregorian Institue of America." There is so much in THAT catalog that could use a good custodian... If only they would just make digital copies available, they could really open themselves up to this market (the CMAA crowd).
    Thanked by 2tomjaw ServiamScores
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,028
    GIA is a private company, owned by non-Catholics. OCP is a non-profit company under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon.

    Cardinal Cupich can't order GIA to do anything. Archbishop Sample could throw his weight around OCP to change direction, but if he hasn't yet (10 years after arriving), he's not going to.

    I have a friend on the inside who has told me that the music side of the two publishers is not profitable and music sales have fallen considerably over the past ten years. OCP's bread and butter is its missalette sales, not its music, and wedding its music to its missalettes keeps parishes in the OCP musical ecosystem as long as they buy OCP's missalettes. Competition from the Ignatius Pew Missal and Source & Summit's missalette product is starting to erode OCP's market share. GIA has other divisions besides sacred music.

    OCP and GIA benefit largely from inertia and laziness among parishes and music directors. Changing to a new missalette/hymnal is a parish culture-changing decision that requires a lot of effort to implement. It's much easier to continue using the same old, same old.

    I don't hear much anymore about the Diocese of Marquette, which went in the direction of imposing a diocesan hymnal. I wonder how that is going.

    It will take bishops encouraging parishes to go in a different direction and setting an example, as Bishop Kemme of Wichita has done. Reduce demand for OCP's and GIA's products, which would force them to adapt to a new market.

    But, really, so much is available for free that is underused.

    When the revised responsorial psalms and Lectionary are approved and promulgated in ??? years, a parish could purchase a hardbound, permanent pew missal, eliminating annual purchases of disposable missalettes. A hardbound hymnal with lots of public domain songs or weekly handouts with sung propers could supply the music for the assembly.

    Or maybe the content of Mass texts and music will all be delivered to people's phones in the years ahead.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 502
    ... "celebrations led by piano, guitar, or contemporary ensemble"???
    Over here, even in the most 'progressive' krings the worship leader is synonymous for the celebrating priest, while the combo & youth (=we still feel young) choir is 'serving' the celebration rather than 'leading' it... and for that matter, our pianist is serving the choir rather than leading it (the latter is my task, at least that's what I'm paid for).
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,186
    FYI: Tony Alonso (Known in academic circles now as Antonio Alonso) is the Catholic faculty member at Emory University in Atlanta,GA. Yep, he is teaching kids the "Catholic" way. Tells you everything you need to know.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • tandrews
    Posts: 161
    Known in academic circles now as Antonio Alonso


    lol I do this too!
  • john m
    Posts: 136
    Regarding the Marquette hymnal: after an encouragingly solid start, the bishop has fallen silent on the subject of sacred music. I do not know whether this is because he has already said all that he had planned to say, or for some other reason.

    My copy of the GIA Quarterly is deposited in the round file after a glance at the table of contents and the authors. It is a marketing tool for GIA and nothing more. I find it easy to believe that GIA and OCP are seeing a slump in their "liturgical" music sales. The explosion of excellent free resources on the internet has caused many of us to abandon the traditional publishers. I know of few colleagues who purchase much from either of them anymore; I suspect that their remaining customer base is musicians who are looking for repertoire not envisioned in the sacred music documents, and their catalog certainly seems to reflect that that is the market they are going after. These publishers abandoned their high liturgical ideals quite some time ago.

    The attempt to twist the statement "Gregorian chant should be given pride of place" to mean "Gregorian chant should not be given pride of place" is simply gaslighting.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,746
    I think that even OneLicense is feeling heat from S&S. I know they were not too kind to one secretary when she informed OL that the church was transitioning to S&S. They even threatened legal action if every livestream they’d ever done was not pulled down.
    Thanked by 3MarkB tomjaw LauraKaz
  • Regarding the Marquette hymnal: after an encouragingly solid start, the bishop has fallen silent on the subject of sacred music. I do not know whether this is because he has already said all that he had planned to say, or for some other reason.


    I did some digging -- it appears the diocesan hymnal was implemented in mid-2021 and the bishop decreed all hymns had to come from the hymnal. I'd be curious to know if it's actually succeeded, because it's hard for me to imagine that a top-down effort like this would actually work.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CHGiffen
  • john m
    Posts: 136
    During the hymn selection process, Bishop Doerfler of Marquette requested hymn submissions from all the music directors and asked the hymnal committee to accept as many of them as possible. Several were rejected - for example, "Let There Be Peace On Earth" which is arguably not a sacred song at all - but most were. So the musicians around the diocese were given a say in the contents. Not everyone took advantage of the invitation.

    The restriction to the hymnal applies to congregational hymns only, not to liturgical texts or choral motets. The diocese invites music directors who wish to use a hymn not in the book to submit it to the Office of Worship to approve it for use, to ensure that the text is doctrinally sound. As far as I am aware, the musicians are complying with the decrees. Not universally happily, but complying.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,028
    Regarding what the two big Catholic publishers consider their audiences and their missions to be:

    I agree with the poster above that GIA has become a trainwreck due to its leadership. Gather 4 was forged during the BLM riots, and it reflects the vice president of sacred music's ardently woke priorities. Remember that GIA fired and canceled a composer for opposing arson on Twitter during the summer of BLM. GIA is trying to make Catholic parishes woke instead of Catholic.

    As for OCP, just yesterday they released this promo-commercial. Watch it. It tells you exactly what they believe their audience is and what their mission is: spiritually comforting, emotionally moving, light sacropop. Nothing in this promo is about liturgical music being for worship or especially suitable for Mass and in accord with rubrics and Tradition. It's about making people feel good with sappy songs.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgWad9R5TJs

    They are doing it to themselves, and they will be left behind as other options have become easily and widely available that are free. There are also upstart publishers that are competing with them and are doing a better, more authentic job of providing quality musical resources for Catholic liturgy. Pseudo-scholarship attempting to say that chant doesn't have to be given pride of place at Mass is obvious for the self-serving propaganda that it is.

    As a former bishop in my diocese used to say, the solution is in seminaries and cemeteries. I think OCP and GIA are heading for the cemetery.
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 258
    This seemed apropos to the discussion. Robert Conquest’s third law:

    “The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.”
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen tomjaw
  • Not good
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 468
    The same issue of GIA Quarterly had an article that asserted -- I'm not kidding -- Communion is an excellent time to sing music that reflects the community's ethnicity.


    And:

    Did not know they fired a composer because of BLM/arson opposition.


    Me either. Frankly, both of these items should be printed up on leaflets, loaded onto C-17 Globemasters, and dropped on every parish in the country. If you're still using GIA after that I don't know what.
    Thanked by 2NihilNominis tomjaw
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,028
    Since not many seem to know about GIA firing/canceling a composer other than David Haas, here is a link to a story about it:

    https://reason.com/2021/06/15/daniel-elder-cancel-culture-choral-composer-antifa-blm-gia/

    From about 2/3 of the way into the article:

    Within hours, GIA issued a denunciation of Elder.

    "The views expressed in composer Daniel Elder's incendiary social media post on Sunday evening do not reflect the values of GIA or our employees," it read. "GIA opposes racism in all its forms and is committed to do what Michelle Obama called 'the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out.'"

    Note this PR statement endorses the view that Elder had made an "incendiary" statement. Neither Harris nor LaBarr responded to a request for clarification as to which aspect of Elder's anti-arson agenda they oppose.

    GIA also announced that the company would no longer publish Elder.
    Thanked by 1Charging3296
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