New Settings of Propers: Wonderful, pointless, needed?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    Vernacular settings of the sung propers.

    To my knowledge, the trend was started by Christopher Tietze. It was taken up by a number of other composers, and finally reached its (probably) highest potential with Adam Bartlett.

    Plainchant, Psalm-tone, choral, quasi-P&W, metrical hymns.

    My questions...

    (And please, please- no "English sucks, use the Graduale" diatribes. We already know how you feel.)

    The existence of all these different versions, editions, projects, etc is certainly a symptom of something good.
    I'm wondering though, if they themselves are good or worthwhile.

    The SEP exists. Great.
    Is there now any reason that any composer should spend the time to write another plainchant setting of the Propers?

    Tietze's Introit Hymns exist. Excellent.
    Is there now any reason that a hymn-text writer should spend the time to write any more metrical settings of the Proper Introits?
    (Okay- I can think of one good reason: Common Meter, but besides that).

    No really good Contemporary-styled settings of a whole Propers cycle exist.
    Given the antipathy between Proper-champions and Contemporary-style musicians, is there any good reason for someone to work on such a project?


    As more people discover the Propers, it seems inevitable that composers of all styles and skill levels will write more and more settings.
    Would the existence of an overly large number of options for "doing the Propers" be, in practice, actually a good thing?
    Or would it create a Paradox of Choice problem?
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    A Tietze-inspired project could be profitably done along these lines:

    I once heard a quasi-antiphon-ish text, from Scripture, set to a short-ish hymn tune. Then the Psalm was chanted like a Psalm, and the antiphon was repeated like an antiphon. There was no need to put the whole shebang into hymn form, and in fact the Psalm was much better this way.

    Although hymn tune-Psalmtone is an uneasy hybrid, I think some would find the result useful. One would have to take liberties with the antiphon's text, of course, and think quite a bit about the modes and the tunes. I think you could do something like this very well, Adam.
  • Singing them as Anglican Chant would not require taking liberties.
  • Adam, as Todd is wont to say, I think you could find a number of proper antiphons among the psalter settings of the late, great Lucien Deiss that date to the late sixties as the truest progenitor to vernacular, antiphonal, rhythmic settings.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    I prolly should spell out what I mean by my Tietze yet not Tietze proposal. Here is an introit-like thingie. Looking ahead to this Sunday, what if a congregation that is used to singing a hymn sang at the entrance something like this to I dunno, St. Thomas (Williams):

    Let every heart rejoice
    That searches for the Lord.
    O seek the Lord, O seek His strength,
    O seek the face of God.

    And then the congregation watches the procession, making Dr. Mahrt happy, whilst the ladies of the choir sing the first verse of the Psalm, to a Psalmtone that (here's the tricky part) somehow matches St. Thomas (Williams).

    The antiphon-ish thingie repeats. Same verse, of course. There's only one verse because, although it's a hymn tune, it's secretly an antiphon.

    The men of the choir sing a verse of the Psalm.

    The antiphon-ish thingie.

    Etc., until the incense stops swinging and the procession has run its course.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,934
    Sounds like a plan, Kathy! :)
  • up with every single effort to set the propers!

    the parvum might eventually come out. I want to print the American Gradual. there is so much to do. We have half a century of wasted time to make up for!
  • Any word, JT, on maybe musicasacra hosting the 1964 Plainsong Propers?
  • Heath
    Posts: 895
    Kathy, have you seen the various propers set by Lynn Trapp and Delores Dufner (sp?) over at GIA? Uses a very similar formula to what you proposed . . .
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    Heath, I did see a printed copy of Advent Introits by Dufner some time ago. I don't remember if they were in this format. I got this idea in Paris. One of the parishes (Sacre Coeur?) set a text (not the introit of the day but a Pauline text) to a short hymn tune, alternating with psalmody.
  • One composers' 2¢:
    I'm working at a Propers project (that's all I'm saying until it's farther along). But it's in Latin, because that's what has permanence, and those are the folks who believe in Propers. Would I be averse to doing choral English Propers? No; for the right price and terms I'll do just about anything moral. Is there "a need" for such things? Oh, probably not; the Mass has its own music, and there wasn't a "need" for the Missa cuisvis toni, Missa Papae Marcelli, the Mass of Creation, or any number of other works. But the church has traditionally supported art. And we never really know what was needed until we see what's been used. The Rossini Propers were needed. The SEP were needed. But ultimately, in the eyes of history, we're all writing on spec.
  • No really good Contemporary-styled settings of a whole Propers cycle exist.
    Given the antipathy between Proper-champions and Contemporary-style musicians, is there any good reason for someone to work on such a project?
    Adam, there is the Psallite project from the Collegeville Composers Group, and it does the communio according to the deepest tradition.

    There! That should give the pot another stir!
  • Yes, Paul, good bump.
    And I've been remiss not to post a review of a VERY interesting and worthy project by Ken Macek and Paul Tate (GIA) inwhich the Introits of Advent/Christmas/Epiphany are solidly set, and as they are repeated, sequentially adorned through various methods without obscuring the principal melody and text of the antiphon. Adam, you should really check this out at GIA. Anyone who has a comprehensive music program with ensemble or contemporary LifeTeen could benefit by this project.
    And no, I was not compensated for this endorsement. Ken's an old NPM internet bud, and exemplifies a truly studied and progressive integrity in his parish work at ATL's cathedral and as a "modern" composer.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    I'm sure you know what a fan I am of the Psallite project.
    But would you really call that Contemporary styled?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    Ken sent me a set of CDs and scores for the Introit projects a couple months ago.
    I have also been remiss in reviewing them (along with the stack of Mass Settings I have been sent... oh, the price of fame! :) )
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    in the eyes of history, we're all writing on spec.

    +1
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,067
    Adam, depends on what you consider contemporary. You could do something like this (http://www.modernpsalter.com/songs), but (regardless of personal intent, which I'm sure is genuine) are you then rendering to Caesar or to God? It's so far removed from the tradition, I don't know.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,601
    I am thinking of a parish in the east Bay area that has a practice of cantillated responsorial Psalms. It is a form of plainsong, but the incipits and cadences have the inflections of Gospel music. It serves the text, rather than the other way around. It's much more Roman in its way than a Broadway tune or a metrical paraphrase. I see no reason why that kind of approach could not be applied to the Propers.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    Bruce-
    I know you don't agree, but I think that modernpsalter project is awesome.
  • Dr. Ford,

    I have only one volume of Psallite, but from looking at it, it doesn't appear that the Communion antiphons are always the same as in the Graduale Romanum, Simple Gradual, or Roman Missal.

    Am I missing something? Set me straight if I'm wrong.
  • Heath
    Posts: 895
    Here's the entire Trapp/Dufner collection, thus far (called the "Corpus Christi" series):

    GIA search result

    And this is random . . . found some English propers (English chant adapted from the Gregorian) by a Lutheran pastor:

    Propers



    May be more on that site . . .
  • Mike R
    Posts: 106
    Count me among the "(almost) any propers projects are good propers projects" crowd. I think what we most need are settings that are easily picked up by the congregation (as the Simple English Propers are). Shifting parishes from hymns to an openness to propers will be tough no matter what; it will be significantly more difficult if there is no congregational singing.

    As to the comments on the Psallite project, I agree with Adam that it's not especially "contemporary"...it has a more Baby Boomer-era folk style to it. That said, the style is rooted in continuity with authentic tradition so that it has more of a timeless sound than most of what has come out of the folk genre. One of its flaws is that it pretty much requires very strong cantors to keep things together and to be sung in parts to not be boring, especially when without accompaniment.
  • Yes, I'm more and more for the view that all propers projects are good. As with the old "hymn wars," we can have the "propers wars" in 10 years :)
  • lmassery
    Posts: 350
    I actually was thinking that a contemporary-style setting of the propers would be great. In my experience it is easier for contemporary-loving folks to understand the reasons for using liturgical texts than the reasons for the genre of chant. It is an easier point to sell and in many cases they don't care as much about what text you sing, as long as it is "up-beat." I would love to see a contemporary setting of the propers, complete with piano, guitar chords, and syncopation which we all love so much :) And I would like them to be refrain-song style because antiphonal singing is another difficult point to sell to contemporary-minded folks.
  • Count me among those who view all propers projects as worthy.

    "Stylistic compromise, substantial integrity?" (2005)
    Prima Pars
    Secunda Pars
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    Is it ok, do you all think, to repeat the introit or part of it, in a hymn paraphrase? This sort of thing is done all the time in some responsorial Psalm antiphons:

    The Lord is kind and merciful/ the Lord is kind and merciful.
    Taste and see, taste and see the goodness of the Lord (bis)

    Antiphons are sometimes short. Hymn tunes are relatively long. Would repeating be obnoxious?
  • Is it obnoxious in heaven, what with all that "Holy, holy, holy Lord....Hosanna in the highest" stuff constantly looping?
    ;-)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    "Yo, check it, Raphael. Sample this, yo."
  • Some might disagree, but I think there is wisdom in the use of the Graduale Simplex for smaller parishes where music resources are limited. A contemporary/hymn tune setting of the Simplex could be very useful. As a point of demonstration, I took the text of the Mass I Ordinary Time Communion Antiphon/Psalm from By Flowing Waters and adapted it to the hymn tune Stuttgart. My apologies to Dr.Ford, but as mentioned,this is purely for demonstration purposes and hopefully someone with much better capabilities will take up the challenge!
  • Kathy, I think your idea is great.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    Ok, ok. Where does one find the official antiphons?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    Cross posting, only because the other thread doesn't seem to be interesting as many people, and I'd like some more opinions on something like this...
    (Based on Kathy's suggestion...
    Metered/rhymed antiphon, set to a hymn tune, with verses in Anglican Chant.
    I think this could be super useful in Anglican-Use and Anglo-Catholic parishes, among others)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    Adam, looks great!

    A couple of comments:

    1. For this purpose it really comes in handy that A-B-C-B is an acceptable rhyme scheme in hymnody.
    2. This isn't a familiar tune for me, maybe relatively unknown in RC circles?
    3. I still think the active voice would be preferable in the first line.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    1. Yes. AABB and ABAB is just too much rhyming to have to do and still keep faithful to the original text.
    2. I found it in the Episcopal 1940 Hymnal. I didn't know it either, but I like it immediately and thought it was easy enough. Plus, in that hymnal at least, it was originally set to an Advent text.
    There are tons of LM tunes out there, I'd be interested in getting together a list of ones "probably familiar to American Roman Catholics" along with "probably familiar to Episcopalians, Anglicans, and similar."
    3. I agree. I didn't have the opportunity to make the change before reposting here. I'm going to put together a full set of these for Advent (at least), and I'll make that change in that "Edition."
  • Not to get too off topic, but BRESLAU is a common tune for "Take Up Your Cross," in those strange hymnals that haven't set it to ERHALT UNS HERR. I'm looking at you, Collegeville Hymnal, with your bizarre assignations of common hymn texts to uncommon tunes ("On Jordan's Bank" to anything other than WINCHESTER NEW? Really?). I don't think enough people would know it to get confused by it, though.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,934
    I have heard BRESLAU also in duple time and triple time, but with hemiolas in the second and fouth lines, as follows, IIRC (S=short, L=long):

    S S S | L S L S | L. S S S | L S S L | L. S S S | L S L S | L. S S S | L S S L | L.

    "Creator of the Stars" is also often set to BRESLAU. Here is an organ performance, in duple time: BRESLAU, organ, 4/4 time.

    I haven't located a score or performance in triple time with hemiolas. Also, I'm more familiar with the triple time versions notated in 6/4 rather than 3/4 time.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    I found it in 6/4, but changed it to 6/8 here.
    My opinion is that 6/4 is a time-signature that causes bad organists to play too slowly.
    (I suspect it has something to do with the way Americans are taught about rhythm and time signatures.)

    I try to avoid the near occasion of dragging.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,934
    Actually, the 6/4 should be 3/2.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,067
    Adam, sorry, forgot I posted in here. I apologize if I've posted modernpsalter before in a negative fashion...once is enough! I just don't think that style respects the text of the Psalms. I know Charles has before promoted Janet Sullivan Whitaker's stuff on here, and I'd vote for her work, too. That style is okay, I think, even if not my preference.

    Also, regarding 6/4: if you tell the organist to think of it in three, that should help, right? I hope? I'm thinking of LAND OF REST, which always seems to have a nice lilt.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    In 3?
    Hmm.... I put this on in 6/8 because I was thinking of it in 2.
    Ah, well. What was that other thread about not disputing taste?

    But hey!
    Thoughts about the format for Introits?
  • JJKP
    Posts: 1
    Hi guys, I have an unusual question, which is a bit off topic.

    Does any body know if Missa Deus Genitor alme is in a particular mode?
    The Liber does not have a mode listed against this Mass.

    Thanks in advance if anybody can answer.

    Jeremy
  • I've thought a lot about the crux of your initial question, Adam.
    Since English speakers (a small % of the Church) have SEP, I tend to think that most compositional exercises/settings/collections of the propers are not so needed. They become projects for musicians working in situations where chant and/or Latin is not desired or allowed. This is appropriate as a transition- even a long transition- for specific communities.
    But as a contribution to the Church as a whole? More projects are not needed, IMO.
    Why flood the cyber market with so many variations on a theme? I feel it becomes a distraction more than a help. Here are a few objections-
    [PLEASE NOTE: it is not my intention to crush the efforts of any particular individuals in my concerns. Please don't take criticism of certain styles and differing perspectives personally.]
    1- All vernacular propers will be translations of official texts, and some will need to be more or less paraphrases due to the structure of the language. and music. This is especially true of metered hymn projects.
    2- We have a plethora of mediocre church music from every generation that has avoided the authentic propers, for whatever good intention. Many people composing, while having authentic devotion, do not possess equal compositional skill. Most people are not Bruckner.
    3- Others, with requisite skill AND devotion, compose good or great musical works but lack a living prayerful experience with the auhentic chants. Their music, however brilliant, is only connected to the organic tradition of the Church in as much as they are.
    4- Contemporary settings don't work for successive praying generations. Their style belongs to one moment in time. By the time they are learned and internalized by one group of praying people, they are dated and alienating to other groups. Such settings, by definition, lack permanence and universality. They could be great for devotional purposes, but fall flat in the timeless worship of the mass.

    Again, I intend no offense but want to raise caution about the longevity of such ideas imposed on a praying Church. Time has shown a need to avoid being the second wave of the St. Louis Jesuits, Rossini propers, and other such endeavors.

    I humbly suggest that, in general, our efforts are better spent at studying, praying, and deeply imbibing of chants we may sing infrequently than composing things of limited quality and universal value. We are all living in a time when connection to tradition has been lost, and the Church via the Council has asked us clearly to move forward in an attempt to renew and restore that praying tradition.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    Great points!

    This might be a little modern-culture ego centric at first (bear with me), but...
    I'm starting to think that "What does the Church need from composers?" is the wrong approach for most composers.
    The two more pertinent questions are:
    -What does my local parish need?
    -What do I need to write?

    Here's why:
    As JQ (and others) pointed out- the Church doesn't NEED any more music.
    There is chant, which should be enough.
    If that isn't enough, there is an amazing body of Renaissance polyphony.
    If that isn't enough, there is tons of really great metrical hymns (texts and tunes) in a variety of styles.
    If that isn't enough, there is a great deal of folk, contemporary, rock, pop, klezmer, polka, bluegrass, Gospel, hip-hop music....

    For a thousand years or more, there has been enough music.
    So now, there must REALLY be enough music.

    But...

    Those of us in parish jobs will continuously find some specific need (OMG, I need something for this feast day, and I only have two altos and a clarinet player!).
    We will write, arrange, compose, decompose, etc.
    Those of us doing so should share our music with others (free or commercially- that's up to you), because someone else might find it useful or edifying.

    Beyond that- we should compose because we are moved to do so by God.
    The output of that prayerful-creation may OR MAY NOT be useful.helpful to any other musicians or to the Church generally.
    That doesn't mean we shouldn't compose that piece or write that text.

    I've written a number of songs that I know should never see the light of day. They were gifted to me by God- but not for use as music for anyone else, but for my own prayer.
    I have sat at a piano and strummed out the most embarrassingly simple, pop-infused chord riff and belted out Psalm after Psalm.
    That doesn't mean anyone else in the world should be inflicted with "A Four-Chord Psalter: Devotions for the Emotions."

    On the other hand, a piece of music or a text, or the ability to create them, might be gifted to us by God, for the benefit of others.
    In which case it would be a shame for us to not share it- out of false humility, or laziness, or for any other reason (light... bushel).
    (Even worse, and I am very guilty, is not even writing the thing or doing the work. Like burying the talents...)

    Like all things- this takes discernment and judgement, which can only be learned through prayer, study, and engagement with our tradition.


    I think, then-

    It is up to God to decide what the Church "needs."
    It is up to us individually to do what God inspires (calls, cajoles, commands) us to do.
  • Adam, great response. I would also add that God has spoken to us through the magisterium of His Church. The Church has loosely and specifically (ah, paradox!) asked musicians and all ordinary folk what to sing/compose for a long time for the sacred liturgy.
    Are we listening? I'm asking myself and everyone else. Are we working toward a common goal of sung sacred liturgy and how best to do this?

    Perhaps every age is operating under some sort of chronocentrism, and being that we are all tied to time in this earthly life that's understandable. Our immediate style is what we know, and sometimes what we think is best
    At the same time, there is more reason to be concerned with sacrality, universality, and soundness of form in our composition attempts. Our private compositions aside (I love doing this, too!) most of what we offer to our Church from ourselves needs to be a gift to all peoples and all times. A tall order, indeed. But I believe love and obedience mandates these things.
    We've all had enough drivel and distraction from publishers. We've all experienced the jolt of music from one parish to another. But we are Catholic, universal, and desire communion with as many fellow travelers as possible. The Church has laid out a plan, but most church musicians (and pastors!) don't know about it due in part to the distraction of new music overload.
  • +2K, MA. I'm wit'ya. Again, like MA states, no disparaging of existing/future endeavors implied whatsoever. Particular thanks to Adam B, and RR for being "Johnny on the spot" in this particular time window of our pilgrimage.
    It is up to God to decide what the Church "needs."
    It is up to us individually to do what God inspires (calls, cajoles, commands) us to do.

    Can't agree with you, Adam on the first declaration. God gave the keys (to the Porsche) to Peter, both the decalogue and the two greatest commands (see last Sunday's gospel) are prominently on display on the owner manual cover page.
    Can't disagree with you, Adam, on the second one. But my twopence cautions that I ought to consider every single one of MA's admonitions, plus the fact that the Graduale Romanum (and all such compilations) come to us from hundreds of thousands of anonymous souls' lifelong endeavors to transmit the chanted Word in the Church's designated universal tongue through rote memory, an evolution of continuously honed transcription, interpretation and daily exercise, and the scrutiny that is the lens of time.
    Regarding your economy of inspiration, perhaps I could invoke the example of the recently much hallowed Steve Jobs (RIP). There is no doubt that humanity is "called" to invent, re-create if you will. Mr. Jobs' incredible insight as to what attributes and constituent elements of his latest product would attract the greatest interest from the greatest number of consumers was not only brilliant, but wonderful and beneficial. He was the greatest of Santa's elves we've seen since Edison and we were the bespectled kid in "Christmas Story" who could barely keep his water while waiting for Christmas dawn and getting his new toy. Back to Jobs' stuff- thanks to him we can carry the Bible, the GR, the SEP, the Tietze and everyone else's into church contained as bytes within our tablets, and sing away. But where I see divergence and confusion is that as we somehow don't make much distinction between the medium and the message, we will become more disinclined to invest our time in the original message (the Treasury of chant) and more inclined towards the attraction of the new, or the convenient or the subjective rather than the universal.
    As a composer like you and a bunch of folks here, I have long speculated why so many composers have rummaged through the jewelry boxes of Latin texts in order to have a body inwhich to clothe their musical inspirations. At what point do we have enough "Ave verum corpus" settings? Well, never. But unless you have the serious Jones inspiration of a Kevin Allen (or me, I like my setting, like "duh") you need to consider whether the inspiration is genuine or comes from simple hubris.
    I would think that trying to re-invent the wheel of proper settings would require a personal encounter with "AM" if you're aware of what already is extant. Then, by all means, have at it. For me, I don't feel the burn; I've set propers, yes, when my pastor commissioned me for specific occasions for a specific congregation. 'Nuff said.
    One of the beautiful aspects of going through the "crucible" with MR3 is that we will be able to chronicle the process by which universality, sacrality and beauty affects utility in the new Ordinary settings. If anything, "we," the Church could most benefit by a serious re-orientation towards that which we know in our DNA "feels" catholic.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    This is not a definitive answer or an exhaustive test by any means, but two questions one could ask oneself before embarking on a "project" of any sort:
    1. If no one but myself ever uses this piece, will it still have been "worth it" to me to have worked on it?
    2. If someone else were to independently produce the exact same thing before I have a chance to finish/disseminate, will I be thrilled that it is available for the Church, or annoyed that I don't get to be the hero who provided it?


    And then there is the most important question one can ask about one's own composition:

    1. So what?
  • Adam,
    1. YES, I'd just caution you to spend an equal amount of time steeping in the authentic chants, that is, if you plan on going public with compositions. (It's kinda like the Catholic who spends a ton of time learning about Marian apparitions, but doesn't know catechism basics. I'm not saying that's you, but I just caution musicians toward priorities and away from distractions... Maybe because I'm so prone to distraction?) :)
    2. Unsure, but if you're trying to say 'down with ego', Amen to that.
    1/3. As we say in CA, "totally".Your 'so what' test has been really useful to me on many occasion, as I'm prone to geek out on things that won't build up the Chuch. Thanks!!
  • OK, I'm going to roil the waters. I will admit that I write for myself and for the Platonic ideal Catholic Church. I write as much for the concert hall as for the liturgy, because there are very few places that can do what I need them to do. It's not at all that I'm OPPOSED to writing for the liturgy; most of my sacred music would work just fine in the liturgy, I think, and some of it has. But I don't do baby talk. I try to keep things as simple as possible, because that's an element of craft. But I'm not going to write I-IV-V-I homophony, even if that's what Mary McArdle (who just celebrated 50 years in the soprano section) is used to, even if I know that the harmony will gain added piquancy from Mary McArdle going a half step flat on the high notes. And I don't have a cookbook for writing church music. All I can do is write what inspires awe and reverence in me, figuring that it might well do so for others. And it has, enough that it's been worth it. I use the old tools, but I sharpen them on a synthetic stone.

    Do I have too much ego to write Church music? Possibly. I've invited God to change that, if He will. But I yam what I yam.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,934
    Okay, now I'm rather discouraged - or at least wondering just what it is (and why bother?) that I've been doing when composing an Ave verum corpus, an Ave Maria, a Veni, veni Emmanuel, an O magnum mysterium, an In manus tuas, Domine, a Non vos relinquam orphanos, a Conditor alme siderum, a Nunc dimittis (albeit vernacular), some Mass ordinaries and propers, some hymns and hymn settings, and other non-liturgical religious music?

    Should perhaps these works be withdrawn (from public scrutiny) in anticipation of being consigned to the dust-bin of time, because people here are saying that, at best, we are just diluting the pool (or ocean) of what is already there - and besides, if it's 21st century, then it's not chant or Renaissance polyphony (and even if it were in the style, it's bound to be a poor imitation of the ideal)?

    Should my own time be spent better on preparing editions of Renaissance polyphony, which I enjoy very much, since early music is one of my deepest interests? At least these might be valued by the church. But, then, I suppose that the church already has identified nearly all the truly valuable early works, so is there any real point in digging up others, because (except for going undiscovered) bringing those works from old manuscripts and collections is just, for the most part, picking through the trash.

    It seems as if there are elements of assault on ones self-worth and questions of pride versus humility going on in these changing times.

    If we shouldn't compose chant (because it's already there), or polyphony (because it's already there), or hymns (because they are already there and we don't really need them anyway) ... what should we do?

    Chuck
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    I think we should be composing things for two different reasons: 1) because of a perceived need, 2) because they are fun to write. Some ideas have come together and the possibility of forming a whole is granted. That's the sort of project that makes life shine, so why not do it? But after that, who knows why you feel inspired to write something. Aren't you developing your own powers? Aren't you learning? Maybe it will never see the light of day, but maybe that's not the point of one particular piece. Maybe it will lead one soul closer to God. Wouldn't that be nice?

    Or maybe some 24th century grad student will write a dissertation about your motet and it will suddenly become standard curriculum among college choirs, leading to major concerts of your larger works, and more dissertations. Who knows? Don't give up your day job, don't stay up past your bedtime, accept honest feedback (with a grain of salt), and keep writing. It's fun.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Just FYI, I have been making a Psalm Tone version of all the Propers here each week