How do I know which music is licit?
  • This popped up on another thread, so let's make it something that can be found by Google.

    How ARE we supposed to know if any musical setting is licit?

    I assume that if the words are explicitly licit--the words of the Missal, the Grail Psalms unaltered, then it is automatically licit unless the bishop actually hears it, hates it, and bans it.

    But, say, "metrical versions" of Psalms necessarily have different texts. So howis you typical CPVMD to know?

  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,493
    Don't do metrical psalms, and it's not an issue. If you're trying to dot your is/cross ts, text is enough. If you're working in a diocese where the bishop is that persnickety about music, you're in an environment many would love to have. Seriously, if you can replace the Propers with any old hymn, licitude of those texts is not an issue. The Psalm has a tradition of given texts, so you really need to be more careful there. I was anticipating any possible problems, so I once asked Jeffrey Ostowski if his stuff had an episcopal imprimatur. He said he'd sought one, and they told him he didn't need one.

    Has the Church EVER banned a piece of clearly liturgical music? It's discouraged styles, but I can't think of a piece that made it onto the Index or something similar (unless you count the PDQ Bach Passion according to Hoyle or his Mass in the Allah Mode). Even the old Black List was just Nick Montani & friends spouting their opinions. A bishop could enforce a Black List within this diocese, but even that would be difficult.
  • R J StoveR J Stove
    Posts: 302
    There are some Latin Mass churches (I speak from experience) where, at weddings, both the Mendelssohn Wedding March and the Wagner Bridal March are banned; this is because of the works' theatrical origins. Other than that, in eight years of regular organ-playing for the Tridentine liturgy I can't think of any pieces that have been forbidden outright. If in doubt, I think you would need to consult the individual priest.
  • "Don't do metrical psalms"

    I'm wondering, do you not like metrical psalms because of the fact they're usually paraphrased, or do you not like them at all? What about the Lyric Psalter by Haugen/Alonso which is metrical and uses the RGP?
  • Andrew Motyka
    Posts: 927
    The Lyric Psalter, while the music is metrical, isn't really a "metrical psalter," per se. A metrical psalter is one where the psalm texts themselves are in meter, like a hymn: 8 6 8 6 (CM), or 6 6 8 6 (SM), etc. Think the settings in Tietze's Introit Hymns.

    You can write a metrical musical setting of a psalm without it being a metrical psalm.
  • So, is this setting a metrical psalm?:

    To differentiate, the metered hymn-like psalms could be called "metrical" and psalms like the Lyric Psalter could be called "rhythmic".
    Thanked by 1Andrew Motyka
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,395
    Yes. Though when I think of Metrical Psalms I think of things like this:

    Psalm 100 (Adapt. William Kethe, ob. 1608?)

    All people that on earth do dwell,
    Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice:
    Him serve with fear, his praise forth tell,
    Come ye before him and rejocie.

    Know that the Lord is God indeed;
    Without our aid he did us make:
    We are is folk, he doth us feed,
    And for his sheep he doth us take.


    Notice that the metre doesn't change: it has the same number and type of feet in each line, so that they can easily be sung to the same tune without altering the underlay.
    Thanked by 1Andrew Motyka