Repetitions within vernacular Mass texts
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,601
    I am trying to remember which church document clearly states that repetitions of the Mass texts, such as the Glory To God set as a Litany in the Mass of Creation rather than as the great hymn of the church that it is, are not permitted/to be avoided. And I cannot after a search, find this.

    Help! And hopefully someday, there will be direct topic links to documents that we can use for reference.
  • Adam Bartlett
    Posts: 533
    This is a pretty useful site, and an altogether fantastic idea, I think. I don't see the topic you're looking for specifically, but you could probably find what you seek pretty quickly with a keyword search.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,865
    Section 20 of Liturgiam authenticam has this:

    While it is permissible to arrange the wording, the syntax and the style in such a way as to prepare a flowing vernacular text suitable to the rhythm of popular prayer, the original text, insofar as possible, must be translated integrally and in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions in terms of their content, and without paraphrases or glosses. Any adaptation to the characteristics or the nature of the various vernacular languages is to be sober and discreet.
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 747
    Yes, I hate responsorial Glorias, too. But legislation? I doubt it. Liturgiam authenticam is talking about translations, not musical settings. Start limiting textual repetitions in your musical settings, and you'll end up discarding the bulk of the polyphonic repertoire.
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,601
    Repetition of the "Glory To God" takes the great hymn of the church and turns it into a Litany.

    This puts emphasis on one part, the people end up only singing that part and that would appear to be in contravention of the intent that the Mass text be said unaltered.

    Thanks for all the great links!
    Thanked by 1tomboysuze
  • BachLover2BachLover2
    Posts: 330
    i think i remember reading something in a church document that warned against excessive repetition of words.
  • Maybe this is what is hiding from your memory:

    It is strictly forbidden to change in any way the sung text, to alter or omit words, or to introduce inappropriate repetitions. This applies also to compositions of sacred polyphony, and modern sacred music: each word should be clearly, and distinctly audible.

    Musica sacra (1958) 21.a
    Thanked by 1tomboysuze
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    I recall my parents and other choir members, immediately post VCII, complaining that various classical settings had formerly been forbidden because of the arbitrary repetition of words, and yet here, only a few years later, everyone was pushing English settings replete with repetitions and even paraphrases.

    But the "authority" for all this might have been, "the priest said so," (though I suspect there was something more. There was a little pamphlet, green IIRC, that sat on every organ console I saw as a child, that I have since learned was a digest of musical legislation -- my mother tells me any actual musicians left who were conscientious about doing the right thing searched in vain for the same sort of guidance for the post conciliar Church.)

    Save the Liturgy, Save the World!
  • BachLover2BachLover2
    Posts: 330
    G: i would suggest the operative word is "inappropriate."
  • Donnaswan
    Posts: 585
    Frogman, If you are thinking in particular of the MOC, we've been singing that for so long, the congregation AKA 'assembly' sings all the verses at my shop mostly from memory. Just think if we had started out learning the Gloria in Latin chant . They'd be singing that now from memory.

    Donna
  • Charles in CenCA
    Posts: 2,416
    I think that care ought to be taken in criticizing or classifying repetitions as changing their very substance and meaning. As I recall, someone here (Aristotle?) advanced a very worthy arrangement, years back, of the Missa de Angelis "Gloria" that utilized the intonation phrase as a refrain, and which JT published and advocated as an "entry-level" method for congregational singing of the Latin text. What's good for the goose.....
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    In retrospect I'm no so sure that was a good idea but in any case it was done in response to a need as expressed by the pastor - a fact which makes a huge difference of course.
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    i would suggest the operative word is "inappropriate."


    Sorry, modifying what?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    Sorry, Frogman, but the only thing you can find on this in STTL is a statement ALLOWING the practice if it helps facilitate participation in singing.

    There are good reasons to oppose responsorial settings of the Gloria, but I don't believe any have the force of law.
  • BachLover2BachLover2
    Posts: 330
    @G: see pius xii above
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,601
    This may well be what I remember, thanks Joseph.

    It is strictly forbidden to change in any way the sung text, to alter or omit words, or to introduce inappropriate repetitions. This applies also to compositions of sacred polyphony, and modern sacred music: each word should be clearly, and distinctly audible.

    Musica sacra (1958) 21.a

    Altering or omitting words seems obvious since that alters the meaning of the sentence. Inappropriate repetitions would apply to the Glory To God since it is a prayer.

    The Agnus Dei, being a Litany...I see no problem with, though I am pleased that trophing is not permitted.

    But cutting the Kyrie Litany to 3 from 9. What, please, were they thinking? Did they change Holy, Holy, Holy to Holy and be done with it? The significance of three repetitions goes back long before the Church and has always been part of liturgies...even before the Church.

    Nothing more frustrating to me than being told that the modern Lord Have Mercy takes too long.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    especially considering that the 9 kyries were originally cut down from several different litanies containing dozens of kyries each.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    " In the "Ordo of Saint Amand", written in the eighth century and published by Duchesne in his "Origines du culte" (p. 442), we have already our number of invocations: "When the school has finished the Antiphon the Pontiff makes a sign that Kyrie Eleison should be said. .... When they have repeated it the third time the Pontiff signs again that Christæ [sic] Eleison be said. This having been said the third time he signs again that Kyrie Eleison be said. And when they have completed it nine times he signs that they should stop." So we have, at least from the eighth century, our present practice of singing immediately after the Introit three times Kyrie Eleison, three times Christe Eleison, three times Kyrie Eleison, making NINE invocations altogether. "

    From Catholic Encyclopedia
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    So we have, at least from the eighth century, our present practice of singing immediately after the Introit three times Kyrie Eleison, three times Christe Eleison, three times Kyrie Eleison, making NINE invocations altogether.
    The most bone-headed change to the Ordinary following the Council, (IMO.)

    Save the Liturgy, Save the World!
  • MarkThompson
    Posts: 768
    I would think that the change from a ninefold to a sixfold Kyrie is at least in part related to opening it for congregational response. Chantwise, it's fine when only ministers at the altar have to begin the Christe Eleison, but asking the congregation to spontaneously shift from the priest's third Kyrie into the Christe wouldn't be easy.
  • Re previous comment: Prior to V2 many Episcopalian parishes, at low mass, said a ninefold Kyrie responsively and nobody had a problem with it.
  • MarkThompson
    Posts: 768
    But that was a spoken, not a musical or chanted Kyrie, right? I'm trying to imagine how it would go with something like Mass XI, and the least you can say is that it would take a lot of practice.
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,601
    This was the standard, both sung and spoken until V2.
  • The ninefold Kyrie at low mass was always spoken. At a sung mass the Kyrie would have been sung in full. Only exception I remember was for Kyrie of mass IX, usually alternated between boys (1st petition) and men (at Episcopal churches, at least). Kyrie was never sung responsively with celebrant.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    I think people seriously underestimate congregations all the time. If they were used to a ninefold kyrie, and knew when to go into the Christe eleison, they could do it. Have the schola/choir sing along with 'em... as long as you're not doing crazy polyphonic stuff, they'd be just fine.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    My children's schola sings ninefold Kyrie. I have a couple of older boys starts the first Kyrie eleison and sing the alternating parts by themselves, and the rest of the schola sings with the congregation. Also in the leaflet I hand out to the congregation for the Latin text and translation, I type the part that congregation sings in bold with a short explanation under it, something like (9 fold Kyrie, sung in alternation with cantors, please join in bolds) - hopefully they will know it without this explanation when they get used to it. I also told them about the tradtional structure of Kyrie, 3 times to the Father 3 times to the Son and 3 times to the Holy Spirit, and also the nine choirs of angels around the altar. A lady I know who likes contemporary music and happens to be in the Mass when the children sing, asked me later why they sing Kyrie differently. I told her briefly about the tradition, and she was amazed saying " there's so much in the Liturgy..." This was a chance to share our Catholic faith through traditions in our Liturgy, even if it was a just a small part. (I think it's a good idea to have a corner for "Note about Music" in the church bulletin where you can provide interesting facts about music, explanation of a neum per week and so on.)

    Musically each Kyrie eleison of Gregorian chant has its own unque ternary form that fits the texts beautifully. While trying to make it easy for the congregation and aiming for the immediate result of their singing, 6 fold is destroying this beautiful form of Kyrie. When our Holy Father talks about the beauty in art and music, he emphasizes the importance of the form. When we sing 6 fold Kyrie, we are giving up this beauty for the sake of convenience. In order to experience the divine beauty and love, there must be some sort of sacrifice and effort on our part also. If we keep seeking for our convenience and easy ways to worhsip God, what are we going to have left in our worship?
    If you dare to be a bit 'extra ordinary' and inpire the congregation to sing and experience the beauty even with the simple Ordinary parts, there are ways to do so (although it might take longer time and harder work). One of my children's schola which is now getting used to ninefold Kyrie asked, "why adults sing only 6 fold Kyrie?" Hmmm, don't have a good answer. (Maybe it's too hard for adults or are they too busy? I don't know.)
  • In the Episcopal Hymnal 1940, Missa cum jubilo appears in English as the "Fourth Communion Service" with accompaniment by Healey Willan (not credited in the hymnal until The Hymnal 1982). The standard ninefold Kyrie structure is marked to alternate voices throughout, "Boys" starting, "Men" following, and "Full Choir" on the final Kyrie. But the implementation of that alternation varied from parish to parish; in many parishes, everyone sang all of it; in some parishes, it would be sung with one set of voices (trebles or men) on the first of each petition, the opposite voices on the second , and full on the third petition. In the parish in which I grew up, we (adult and children's choir both) learned to sing that mass setting in Greek and Latin by reading the words from a mimeographed sheet and attaching them to the correct 'note' or 'notes'. When I learned to sing chant directly from the Liber as an undergraduate (40 years ago), it was so enlightening and a joy to see the correct notation. (For instance, Willan grouped the opening six puncta of the Kyrie into 3+3 instead of 2+2+2, both with beams and the rhythm of his accompaniment.) When my present 'work church' congregation (Anglo-Catholic) sing this mass or Missa De Angelis (or any of the other Communion Services with the exception of the Oldroyd, where they wisely default to just the congregational part) they sing all of everything with great gusto, simply because they love traditional music, and "That's the way we've always done it". (I never thought I'd hear the "Seven Last Words of the Church" in the positive context!) My home parish celebrates the EF as the principal Mass, and those worshippers have learned to sing Missa De Angelis and Missa cum jubilo. (We don't sing the responsorial psalm at the English and Spanish NO masses, but when Father chants, the congregation sings the usual Ordinary and responses.)

    Off-topic: They also sing along on the Anglican chant psalm every week (I only use ten tones, so they are familiar) and chant the responses and the Our Father. They are less solid on the responsorial psalms we use in the summers, but the consensus from parishioners seems to be that 1) the Anglican chants are easier to sing (and we do have a cappella verses, during which the congregation still sings); and 2) fewer people in the pews and in the choir makes everyone less confident. Several parishioners have picked up on the fact that I set the responsorial psalms to the same tone for anywhere from two to four weeks, and make the changing responses grow organically from the tone. (They are always plainsong, not metrical.)
  • Bruce E. Ford
    Posts: 415
    Patricia Cecilia wrote: "In the Episcopal Hymnal 1940, Missa cum jubilo appears in English as the "Fourth Communion Service" with accompaniment by Healey Willan (not credited in the hymnal until The Hymnal 1982).

    The accompaniment was almost certainly the work of Winfred Douglas and not Healey Willan. The chant adaptation was Douglas's. It was separately published with accompaniment (under the title "Missa Marialis") before it appeared in the Hymnal 1940.

    The Hymnal 1982 does not attribute the accompaniment to Willan. Under the Kyrie (S92), Sanctus (S115), and Agnus Dei (S159) it says: "Setting from: Missa Marialis. Plainsong, Mode ___ adapt. and acc. Gharles Winfred Douglas (1867-1944)."

    The Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei are adaptations of those in Vatican Mass IX (Cum iubilo); but the Gloria is from Vatican Mass X. Douglas undoubtedly chose this Gloria because the range of Gloria IX is exceptionally wide.