Ecclesiastical Music
  • francis
    Posts: 10,668
    I found this a fascinating read. I also think it reflects the clear cut way in which the music of the RC liturgy always has been and should continue to be faithfully guarded and suspect to innovation.
  • This statement seems worthy of highlighting:

    Whenever music, instead of assuming a character of independence and mere ornament, acts as an auxiliary to the other means of promoting the worship of God and as an incentive to good, it not only does not interfere with the religious ceremony, but, on the contrary, imparts to it the greatest splendour and effectiveness. Only those who are not responsive to its influence, or stubbornly cultivate other ways of devotion, can imagine that they are distracted in their worship by music.

    This too:

    St. Jerome, referring to Eph., v, 19, exhorts as follows the young whose duty it is to sing in Church: "Let the servant of God sing in such a manner that the words of the text rather than the voice of the singer cause delight, and that Saul's evil spirit may depart from those who are under its dominion, and may not enter into those who make a theatre out of the house of the Lord".
  • francis
    Posts: 10,668
    I have, for many years, struggled with improper dispositions (first, in myself), and of those who are called upon to provide sacred music at the service of the liturgy. The breaking down of the 'Berlin Wall' (which I speak of in other posts on this forum) has opened a floodgate to things musical, but not necessarily to the benefit of the liturgy at all, and sadly, mostly destructive, in my opinion. I have found this attitude rampant in professional music societies and guilds of those I have enrolled, and even of those dedicated to sacred music itself.

    I find it present when there are operatic singers in the choir and particularly in the spirit of professional musicians (because we are easily given over to pride and egotism) and are many times more concerned about the technical, or we are non-believing or just plain living in sin. Often this state of soul creates a musical/spiritual distortion in the liturgy and does not understand the nature of latria or even the finer nuances of the attitudinal dispositions of dulia or hyperdulia.

    We (musicians of the liturgy) can many times be centered on self and easily become an "audio spectacle". Unfortunately, I find the position of the modern cantor or "music group leader" is riddled with this defect, simply by the nature of their geographical position on the altar, not facing God!

    Ironically, I am always delighted and elated when I stumble upon the beautiful disposition of the simple heart of a parishoner (amateur) and somehow they usually far outweigh and contribute much more than the spectacular performance of the well trained (myself included).

    It should also be noted that not every "simple heart" can hold a pitch or invariably understands the nature of worship at the Holy Sacrifice, but when these gems occur in one and the same soul, it is wholly a supernatural experience and one, I believe, that Jesus, Mary, the angels and saints find magnetic and irresistable.