The Decalogue of The Organist and The Church Singer - Rev. Carlo Rossini
  • I came across this article written by Rev. Carlo Rossini, and thought it interesting food for thought.

    1. Since Music in .church becomes part of the Liturgy It is in itself "Worship'"
    Therefore all church music must be the very best of its kind and also must be
    offered in the best possible way.

    2. The organ in Catholic churthes is not an instrument for noise or entertainment,
    but for the accompaniment and support of the singing.

    3. The first requirement for a good rendition of church music is that the organist
    and the singers be permeated with the spirit which prompts Holy Mother Church
    during the different seasons of the Ecclesiastical Year (Advent, Christmas, Lent,
    Easter, Pentecost).

    4. Choir members, in order to sing with the proper expression and to give God
    Intelligent praise, should become familiar with the meaning of the words of the
    liturgical text.

    5. Reverence and devotIon should always accompany the singing. Choir members,
    therefore, (especially if they are boys) should keep their voices between piano
    and mezzo-forte. Full voice will be used only when tne composition suggests it.

    6. Church singing must retain the character of choral music. Consequently, no individual
    voice in the choir should be heard above the others; no personal ambition
    or desire to "show off" should be tolerated.

    7. The singing should always proceed smoothly (legato). The tedious defect of producing
    a separate impulse of the voice for each note and syllable of the text
    should be carefully avoided. The contrary defect of "sliding," "slurring" and
    "scooping" should also be avoided.

    8. The tempo, the breathing marks and the expression marks, as they are found in
    the score and in the voice part, should be scrupulously observed. Extra breathing,
    when necessary, should be done between words. never between the syllables of
    a word.

    9. The Italian pronunciation of the Latin is prescribed by the Church. Therefore,
    singers should carefully enunciate both vowels and consonants according to this
    system: a = ah; 'e, 0::, a: = long a; i = ee; 0 = oh; u = 00; j = y, as in
    Yield; c before e, i, y, i£, re, = ch, as in Church; g before e, i, = j, as in Joy;
    gn sounds as "ni" in dominion: t followed by two vowels the first of which is
    i, is pronounced "tsi" (except when t is preceded by s, as in Hostia, Ostium.)

    10. Liturgical chant in early Christian centuries belonged exclusively to the Choir
    of Levites, and our church singers today, although laymen, are taking their place.
    Members of the church choirs, therefore, should consider their office as a privilege
    and should show themselves worthy of the same by a dignified, modest and devout

    Organist and Choirmaster,
    St. Paul's Cathedral,
    Pittsburgh, Penna.
  • Interesting food for thought indeed ... although I disagree with some of what is written.
  • I too, have some thoughts not quite in agreement with these statements. However, it is interesting to me how such a figure in Catholic church msuic history, like Rossini, saw and felt about the subject.