What is the purpose of hymnody in the Roman Rite Mass (OF)?
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,632
    I've noticed some renewed interest in hymns and hymnals on the Forum of late. There have been many discussions about what should constitute the contents of a Catholic hymnal, and therefore what texts are appropriate; there have even been cases where two people are actually saying the same thing, but coming from different directions - causing them to miss each-other's points and dissagree more. The questions about whether this or that hymn or hymnal is Catholic, seems really to stem from one fundamental question: what is the role of hymns (of any stripe) in the Roman Catholic Mass under current legislation (GIRM as contained in MR3)?

    Since hymns are used in the OF Mass at four usual places we should first look at the entry in the GIRM relevant to those places.

    The Entrance Chant:
    48. This chant is sung alternately by the choir and the people or similarly by a cantor and the people, or entirely by the people, or by the choir alone In the Dioceses of the United States of America there are four options for the Entrance Chant: (1) the antiphon from the Missal or the antiphon with its Psalm from the Graduale Romanum as set to music there or in another setting; (2) the antiphon and Psalm from the Graduale Simplex for the liturgical time; (3) a chant from another collection of Psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including Psalms arranged in metrical and responsorial forms; (4) another liturgical chant that is suited to the action, the day, or the time of year, similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop

    The Preparation of the Gifts
    74. The procession bringing the gifts is accompanied by the Offertory Chant (cf. no. 37 b), which continues at least until the gifts have been placed on the altar. The norms on the matter of singing are the same as for the Entrance Chant (cf. no. 48). Singing may always accompany the rite at the Offertory, even when there is no procession with the gifts.

    Communion
    87. In the Dioceses of the United States of America, there are four options for singing at Communion: (1) the antiphon from the Missal or the antiphon with its Psalm from the Graduale Romanum, as set to music there or in another music setting; (2) the antiphon with Psalm from the Graduale Simplex of the liturgical time; (3) a chant from another collection of Psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including Psalms arranged in repsonsorial and metrical forms; (4) some other suitable liturgical chant (cf. no. 86) approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan bishop. ...


    There is no reference to the Recessional hymn in the GIRM

    The one word that I see repeated is "Liturgical". Option four, then, is "another LITURGICAL chant", not "another song that is suited to this part of the Mass, the day, or the season..." (GIRM no. 26 - GIRM (c) 1982 ICEL). To my thinking these are not analogous - If the USCCB Secretariat for Divine Worship wants to interpret them that way fine, but if the drafters of the GIRM wanted it to be the same in practice they would not have altered the Law to this extent. Does it then follow that the vast majority of hymnals are actually basing themselves on out-moded models, namely the 1950's EF Low Mass and the OF Mass with Four Devotional songs, and not on a new paradigm that focuses itself on Liturgical texts? In otherwords, is a Catholic hymnal a Catholic hymnal because it includes Immaculate Mary, or is it a Catholic hymnal because it includes liturgical texts to be sung by the people at the Entrance, Offertory and Communion (GIRM 48 options (3) & (4))?

    Now what constitutes a Liturgical text? Must it be in the author's original language? Can it be a translation? A metrical paraphrase? Can it be a newly composed text? If so, what makes a text liturgical, and not devotional?
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
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  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,357
    I would like to hear from, if there is such a person around, someone who can speak to the pre-contemporary use of hymnody in Mass, and its development into our current practices. If we sing hymns because we are copying Lutherans, that is bad. If we sing hymns because we have always sung hymns (regardless of whether the official Liturgical Books agree on the matter) that would be an entirely different thing altogether.

    I honestly don't know what the precedent is.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,592
    We have sung hymns for at least 50 years that I know of. There are hymnals older than that, so someone was singing them. Despite what some would have you believe, most masses were not high masses, and there were hymns.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,357
    That much I gathered.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,102
    You will not find any silver bullet in the documents. People trod off in high hopes, and then come to realize the law will not resolve this.
  • JenniferGM
    Posts: 59
    So many of the hymns were written for devotions, not Mass use.

    I have often wondered the perspective from people who witnessed the transition. I think their experience would depend on the background of the musicians in the parish...and in Thomas Day's opinion, if they were Irish Catholics or not.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    You might also consider the practice of Catholics in different countries. I'm not an expert of course, but there would appear to be a very rich tradition of Catholic hymnody in France and Poland, for example.

    My mother-in-law (84 y/o) is French Canadian and grew up in Montreal. She recalls very vividly "always singing French hymns" at the Latin High Mass as the entrance and recessional hymns. She also remember many Latin hymns from that era that were sung during Mass. To this day we can hear her singing her little French "cantiques religieux" to herself. Hymns were an essential part of French culture, and I think the same is true of the Polish Catholic experience before and between the world wars.
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,349
    Susan Benofy wrote in 2010:
    Vernacular hymns

    The singing of hymns in the vernacular was also a feature of most people’s experience of the “New Mass”. This, too, was promoted by liturgists before the Council. In some European countries, especially in German-speaking ones, hymns had been sung at Mass for centuries and some ethnic parishes in the US retained the custom. Though it was not the general practice, some liturgists — especially those who worked for more use of the vernacular —began to encourage hymn-singing at Mass.

    In 1956 there was a presentation called “Making Active Participation Come to Life” at the Liturgical Week sponsored by the Liturgical Conference. In it Father Eugene Walsh, SS, a professor at Baltimore’s St. Mary Seminary, introduced what he claimed was “the most all round useful means for making active participation come to life, a program that is to be used at low Mass”. (“Making Active Participation Come to Life” People’s Participation and Holy Week: 17th North American Liturgical Week. Elsberry, MO: The Liturgical Conference, 1957, pp. 47-48.)

    The program consisted of a “dialogue Mass” at which the people spoke their responses in Latin and also sang hymns in English at the Entrance, Offertory, Communion, and at the end of Mass. Father Walsh clearly thought this method of participation was superior to the singing of the actual Mass texts in Gregorian chant.

    During the discussion after Father Walsh’s presentation, two priests in the audience, both from rural parishes, explained how they were able to instruct their parishioners in the basic Gregorian chants so that they could regularly participate in the sung high Mass. But Father Walsh defended the superiority of his “Low Mass Program”.

    I think we must always distinguish between participating, and participating with an insistence on learning.… I come from a large urban area, and I feel that we have to reach all of these people, and I do not think that we can do it just by the sung Mass. This is one of the beginning programs which lends itself to more simplicity and perhaps is catechetically better because it is more in the language of the people…. (p. 48)

    In 1958 the Sacred Congregation for Rites issued the “Instruction on Sacred Music and the Sacred Liturgy”, which explicitly allowed such vernacular singing, but did not consider it “direct participation” because it did not involve the actual liturgical texts prescribed for those parts of the Mass.

    At low Mass the faithful who participate directly in the liturgical ceremonies with the celebrant by reciting aloud the parts of the Mass which belong to them must, along with the priest and his server, use Latin exclusively.

    But if, in addition to this direct participation in the liturgy, the faithful wish to add some prayers or popular hymns, according to local custom, these may be recited or sung in the vernacular. (§14b)

    The practices that were introduced on November 29, 1964 — use of the vernacular language, the priest celebrating Mass facing the people, singing vernacular hymns, standing to receive Communion and the removal of altar rails — were almost universally understood to be part of the “New Mass”. As we see, none of these were required by the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Liturgy, but all had a significant “pre-conciliar” history.

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  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,929
    Holy Confusion, Batman (...who is Chonak in this case)! Reading this, it seems that vernacular hymnody was an intentional bastardization of the Mass.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,349
    Maybe "devotionalization" would be closer to the intention: to take the personal involvement people experienced in Catholic devotions and associate that to the Mass, so that people would experience greater fervor in it. Perhaps well intended, but not a way to cultivate a genuine liturgical spirituality.
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  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,929
    Devotionalization I can accept to a point. I have devotions, especially to the BVM. The question remains, where does one draw the line in sacred music for the Mass? (of course, this thread paralells the one on 'what constitutes a Catholic Hymnal'?)
  • elaine60elaine60
    Posts: 85
    This is interesting. Never thought of hymns as devotional-but can see that.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,438
    Of course, cultivating a genuine liturgical spirituality is perhaps the ultimate goal, but given the fact that the vast majority of the Catholic population are not practicing the Faith and are in practice secular atheist materialists, perhaps cultivating popular piety and devotion is the next best and far more practical goal.

    I am convinced that simple, beautiful Catholic hymns are by far the easiest and best way to reach the "low-information Catholic." Not only that, I'm convinced that the congregation that sings together, sticks together. Perhaps it's the realization of that famous maxim of Pope John Paul II's: lack of participation = alienation. When people sing at Mass (the ordinary, antiphons and hymns) they feel involved and in the process real bonds of solidarity are created.

    You might want to take a look at this video of the culmination of the 2010 Chartres Pilgrimage at Paris. The people and priests are singing numerous verses of Chez Nous Soyez Reine (Be the Queen of our Home) as Mass ends, and you can see how the singing of that simple hymn allows them to express all that is in their hearts at the moment.

    It may be simple pious devotionalism but I'll take it (because it works.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv5EvDKcFLQ
    Thanked by 1MHI
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,349
    Well, of course, francis, Walsh's proposal was a mistaken approach: the Mass itself gives the people plenty of material on which the congregation can exercise its singing role: the dialogues and the major parts of the Mass ordinary. But it seems that some priests didn't think the faithful were capable of understanding the Mass ordinary and needed something in the vernacular to sing.

    It's ironic that Fr. Walsh defended his approach as catechetically better; since it did not aim to lead the people to sing the Mass itself, it was abandoning the catechetical objective proposed by Church music documents.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 802
    The question of the purpose of hymnody in the mass is a crucial one, since without an adequate answer it's difficult to tell what a good hymn for mass might be (as opposed to just a good quality hymn).

    The traditional role of a hymn to serve either as a devotional backdrop to the liturgy or a way of introducing and finishing off the mass - a sort of "overture" and "coda." It most places it was understood that, strictly speaking, the opening and closing hymns were not part of the mass, hence the vernacular was permitted.

    The 1958 Instruction on Sacred Music, puts some meat on these bones when it stipulated that the hymns at low mass "must be chosen appropriately for the respective parts of the Mass" (no. 30). This gave rise to such songs as "Take Our Bread" or "O Lord, with Wondrous Mystery" and for the offertory and "Sent Forth By God's Blessing" for the recessional. One can see hymns arranged according to the various parts of the mass (opening, offertory, communion, recessional) in many hymnals from the 1950s and early 1960s.
    Evidently, this is the source of the much maligned "four hymn sandwich," and indeed the 1958 Instruction is often remembered today for giving official approbation to this notion.

    It is interesting to note that the Instruction cites two encyclicals of Pius XII, Mediator Dei (no. 105) and Musicae sacrae (no. 64), which reads in part: "[Hymns at low mass] can help to make the faithful accompany the sacred services both mentally and vocally and to join their own piety to the prayers of the priest. This happens when these hymns are properly adapted to the individual parts of the Mass, as We rejoice to know is being done in many parts of the Catholic world."

    While the quasi-official (and now superseded) Music in Catholic Worshipfrom the 1970s determined that the four hymn mass "is now outdated," the more recent document Sing to the Lord brings it back in a modified form: "Because these popular hymns are fulfilling a properly liturgical role, it is especially important that they be appropriate to the liturgical action" (no. 105d). In its discussion of music for the entrance procession, the document states that "Other hymns and songs may also be sung at the Entrance, providing that they are in keeping with the purpose of the Entrance chant or song" (no. 144b).

    Please forgive the treatise above, which was only to lend support to my opinion that the rationale behind many recent Catholic hymnals goes beyond what is understood in these documents. The notion that hymns serve as a compliment to the "theme" of the mass, this theme being derived from the readings, or at least that hymns should be connected in some way to them, seems mainly to be a development since the Council, though again one can see traces of it earlier. I do not find it in any official document (please correct me of I'm wrong). The epitome of this idea, that each Sunday should have its own hymn related specifically to the gospel of that day, seems even more foreign to the traditional understanding.
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  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,929
    It's all so sad that this came out of Baltimore, the primal see, where I am originally from. I played the organ at the first Basilica of the US in Baltimore over the span of 25 years. Such a rich heritage of Catholic tradition but bereft of it's very soul and spirit.

    One Christmas eve Mass years ago, we were sitting there and for Communion the organist and cantor performed 'drummer boy'. My 10 year old son turned to me and said, 'is that a Catholic song?'

    ...from the mouths of babes.
    Thanked by 1MHI
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,349
    @rich_enough: The idea of choosing hymns to correspond to the readings may be an attempt to follow that provision in the GIRM which allowed another song "suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year".

  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "If we sing hymns because we are copying Lutherans, that is bad."

    Why, Adam?
  • MHIMHI
    Posts: 324
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  • WendiWendi
    Posts: 633
    Gavin...it's bad because we aren't Lutheran, we are Catholic. The celebration of the Mass should reflect that, not copy the worship practice of non-catholics.

    Thanked by 1MHI
  • Ignoto
    Posts: 126
    I would like to hear from, if there is such a person around, someone who can speak to the pre-contemporary use of hymnody in Mass, and its development into our current practices. If we sing hymns because we are copying Lutherans, that is bad. If we sing hymns because we have always sung hymns (regardless of whether the official Liturgical Books agree on the matter) that would be an entirely different thing altogether.


    Perhaps page 587 of Fr. Anthony Ruff's Sacred Music And Liturgical Reform: Treasures and Transformations might help because it mentions some dates. I think page 586 might help, too, but the preview doesn't show that page. The following pages, especially up to page 593, seem to discuss the history of vernacular hymnody and its development into our current practices.

    In addition, from "Ecclesiastical Music". 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia: "Songs in the vernacular, alternating with prayer, are suitable during low Mass (within narrow limits, however)..."

    Also, I thought this excerpt was useful for background info:

    From "Liturgy of the Mass". 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia:
    "A sung Mass (missa Cantata) is a modern compromise. It is really a low Mass, since the essence of high Mass is not the music but the deacon and subdeacon."


    Regarding pre-contemporary hymnals (does that mean pre Vatican II?), this 1884 American hymnal with imprimatur from the Archbishop of New York (The Roman Hymnal: A complete manual of English hymns & Latin chants, for the use of congregations, schools, colleges and choirs) gives specific hymns that can be sung at different times in the Low Mass (see nos. 18-20). The preface and beginning quote from the 1883 Pastoral Letter is interesting, too.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    Purpose of Hymnody?

    Not entirely sure of the intentions of the Holy Mother Church, but I often use hymns to supplement and/or substitute for some of the propers.

    For example, I almost always follow up the communion chant with a communion hymn. Typically something like "Let All Mortal Flesh", "See Us, Lord, About Thine Altar" or "Soul of My Saviour/Anima Christi." I am sure that there are more that I use, but those three immediately spring to mind.

    Even the Marian Antiphons are, technically speaking, hymns, and I regularly use these at the end of Masses.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    Also, I might point out that the Gloria and Sanctus are both hymns, belonging to the Ordinary of the Mass (well, so is the Pater Noster, but that is a divinely revealed text).

    The Kyrie and Agnus Dei are remnants of former litanies.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,357

    "If we sing hymns because we are copying Lutherans, that is bad."

    Why, Adam?


    What I meant-

    Bad: "Those Lutherans are singing hymns, and we feel left out. We should sing some too."
    Which is similar to: "Those mega-churches have Praise Bands, and look how cool the kids think that is. We should have that too."

    I did not mean the following, which is not necessarily bad:
    "After careful consideration and prayer, there are certain practices among our separated brethren (hymn-singing among them) which are a glory to God and edifying to God's people. While being careful to preserve our cultural identity as Catholics, it seems worthwhile for us to engage in these practices."

    What I was on the lookout for was some documented history such as:
    "Yeah, we've always sung hymns. What of it?"
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,632
    I am the organist at a Polish church - even during Latin Solemn High Mass we sang devotional hymns (I have annecdotal and phonographical proof); this was an indult granted during the partitions when the occupying governments of Prussia and Russia (not of course Austria, since is was Catholic), forbade the practice of the Catholic Faith and the teaching of the faith outside of the liturgy; many of these hymns were introduced to try to teach the faith.

    Please, don't misunderstand me: I love hymns, and things just wouldn't be the same for me without DOWN AMPNEY or CWM RONDDA.

    Now, while the Gloria and the Sanctus are hymns, I don't think that anyone programing music for Mass would sing them at the Entrance or Offertory. The Marian antiphons, however, are hymns - and they are liturgical hymns, not devotional hymns, and would in the strictest reading of the GIRM fulfill option four "another liturgical chant".

    My question, in a nutshell: is our paradigm for chosing hymns at Mass, and then our pradigm for what makes a Catholic hymnal, based on the Low Mass idea of the '50's; and if so, should we not be striving for something higher? Should we perhaps be looking for a new paradigm for option four, based on the Catholic Liturgical patriomony (of both West and East)?
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  • rich_enough
    Posts: 802
    @chonak - You are most likely correct; I understand that hymns are meant to correspond to the liturgical season or the day, I only meant to suggest that the practice of linking every hymn to the readings is foreign to the way they have been understood and used in the Catholic liturgy until very recently.

    is our paradigm for choosing hymns at Mass, and then our paradigm for what makes a Catholic hymnal, based on the Low Mass idea of the '50's; and if so, should we not be striving for something higher?


    Besides the rationale given above, to amplify the readings, this is the default reason for hymns at mass, as far as I can tell. Music directors may have their own reasons, but I'd guess that if you ask the people in the pews on a regular Sunday, they might say that singing a hymn is a way to "participate" in the mass (though I've always wondered exactly how singing a non-liturgical text qualifies as liturgical participation), or they might figure that singing is better than just sitting there during the offertory or after communion.

    The fact is that hymns at mass, with notable exceptions, are really an addition to the liturgy, so that any rationale given for their use (devotional, didactic) will be, at best, extrinsic to the liturgy itself. This does not mean that they have no place, only that they are (or should be) secondary to those elements which are liturgical. What concerns me is that in practice they have crowded these elements out, either by replacing proper texts, or by being given priority over those parts of the mass (responses, psalms, acclamations, etc.) which should be sung ahead of them.
  • JenniferGM
    Posts: 59
    That Walsh proposal is directly opposite from Msgr Martin Hellriegel's Music Plan, and Hellriegel was responsible for the Liturgical Conferences. I have his Music in the House of God from 1951 (I think this is what was reprinted in the Caecilia No. 83, but it's one that isn't in the online archives.) He was illustrating what he did in his parish of Holy Cross in St. Louis, MO. He bemoans that his parish doesn't sing. He outlays his plan at the end of the talk, (emphasis mine):

    1. HYMNS. I gather the best texts and music that I could find, had the text mimeographed on sheets, in order to try them out, and eventually selected the best-suited. I was, and still am, convinced that one should not begin with Latin but with English. These hymns were for before and after Holy Mass and for evening services. First they were practiced with the children; then in church with people and childn (usually after evening services) and also in society meetings. Now our parish sings over 100 hymns, which were printed on durable cards in the color of the various seasons. Before services the number of the hymns are posted on the hymn-board.


    His description of Holy Mass continues, having the people learn different masses and propers. His program is consistent with Pius X and carried through to Vatican II.

    I enjoyed his opinion here:
    3. I am firmly convinced that we need a reasonable reduction of black Masses, lest a spiritual black-out is experienced. No organist for any length of time can play a daily Requiem (or two or three on the same day) and remain spiritually fresh; nor will priest and people--especially the children. If endless Requiems were according to the mind of the Church, why did the Church not supply us with some five or six different musical settings? We have eighteen chant Masses for feasts, but only ONE for the "Requiem." Est modus in rebus. It is not difficult to teach the people to ask Masses of the Day instead of Requiems for their offerings. From a pastoral viewpoint the "Requiem problem" is a serious matter.


    Obviously Paul VI didn't get his memo. I'd be happy to scan the booklet if people were interested.

    But I digress. My whole point is that the hymns was a tiny part of his program, and he emphasizes that they weren't FOR the Mass, but outside the Mass (I'm not sure if it's the Sandwich idea) and devotions.
    Thanked by 2MHI JulieColl
  • MHIMHI
    Posts: 324
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  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    An aside, I have found that the stabat mater is an optional sequence for the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Well, my Harper-Collins daily missal says so anyway.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,357
    Is that why the Ordinary chants from the Requiem are the only ones everybody knows?
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,632
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I vaguely remember reading somewhere that until the reforms of, I think, Pius X, if a stipend was given for a Mass to be celebrated for the repose of a deceased person it had to be a Requiem Mass; so then it seems that the daily Mass for the Dead would be a hold over from prior legislation. Again, I'm not 100% sure on this, so if anyone can prove me wrong I'd be most grateful.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 714
    So many of the hymns were written for devotions, not Mass use.


    I really would like to see a source on this. I've never heard that Father Faber's hymns were not sung at the Oratory's Masses.
  • JenniferGM
    Posts: 59
    I don't have a source, but in my mother's experience going to school run by the Madames of the Sacred Heart (Georgia Stevens' order) this was the case. The hymns were sung at all the devotions -- and there were many.

    I think it depended on where you were and who was running your parish--religious orders and heritage played heavily on the influence.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,357
    devotions -- and there were many.

    This is relevant.

  • "Is our paradigm for choosing hymns at Mass, and then our paradigm for what makes a Catholic hymnal, based on the Low Mass idea of the '50's; and if so, should we not be striving for something higher?"

    YES

    and

    YES!

    Vatican II clearly sought to move in the direction of sung liturgy, and away from the low mass model. Why haven't most average parishes grown in this direction?

    For starters- The priests that serve them aren't formed to know this in seminary. The musicians that serve them aren't taught this in school or through liturgical leadership. Ministers and musicians are by and large not prepared to lead in a realization of sung sacred liturgy. They are not readily and systematically given the knowldege or the tools.

    This is where CMAA plays an important role- leadership (however loose) has the ability and the desire to provide sems, priests, and musicians with knowledge and tools, education and resources. When equiped, members can then provide assistance at their local level.
    Thanked by 2gregp dad29

  • I am convinced that simple, beautiful Catholic hymns are by far the easiest and best way to reach the "low-information Catholic."
    Vigorously disagree. Responses and the ordinary, and supplemental hymns- their rightful parts of the mass- can be taught and when they are, they're treasured. Our congregation belts out responses and the Credo with gusto. And that's appropriate for sung sacred liturgy.

    Not only that, I'm convinced that the congregation that sings together, sticks together.
    Yes, largely true. They are being formed together. One main goal is that they be formed by an authentic Catholic liturgical (and devotional when appropriate) sprituality.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,912
    Maybe "devotionalization" would be closer to the intention: to take the personal involvement people experienced in Catholic devotions and associate that to the Mass

    Compare the "Rosary Ladies" at Mass.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • "The traditional role of a hymn to serve either as a devotional backdrop to the liturgy or a way of introducing and finishing off the mass - a sort of "overture" and "coda." It most places it was understood that, strictly speaking, the opening and closing hymns were not part of the mass, hence the vernacular was permitted."
    This answers the original question quite succinctly and accurately, from all my own research.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,357
    I would think that, in the context of a OF Vernacular Mass, this could conceptually be extended to a hymn during the reception of communion, a post-communion meditation and/or a hymn during the offertory.

    Which is exactly what has happened.

    For practical reasons (people are fumbling for their wallets, and also sitting), I find an Offertory Hymn to be kinda pointless, and much prefer the typical Episcopalian (etc) practice of singing an Anthem at this point. In a smaller church, I would think chanting the Offertorio would be the best solution. In a larger church, with more time to fill, chanting the Offertory, followed by a relevant Motet would be a good practice.

    For similar practical reasons (people are either sitting, or moving around), singing a hymn during communion seems useless- but I can't imagine stopping it in most places. Given that people are likely desirous to engage in their own personal prayers at this time, I would think that the chanted Communion (not in English) followed by unobtrusive organ music would be the best idea.

    Post-Communion seems, to me, to be the best place to "add" a hymn or song, if one is desirous of doing so.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • Adam, our parish, where I serve as DoM, uses the Catholic traditional model you describe for Offertory and Communion.
    Proper chant, motet, organ and/or chant hymn, time permitting.
    Our organist is getting really good at his improvisations. Last Sunday he improvised on the Sequence in a most inspired way! A few choir members and I even made our way to the organ to ask who was the composer. Cool beans.

    Also, if incense is used at the Offertory, there is also typically time to sing at least the proper chant and a motet. This is where Anglicans received that tradition of a choral piece at the Offertory, btw. They just dropped the propers, and Latin for a time, and were left with anthems. Episcopalians in my area often use top 40 Catholic Renaissance motets at their Offertory. It's a giggle for our community of singers (Catholic and mostly otherwise) that one hears more of that kind of Catholic music in that context than in most Catholic parishes.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,912
    ...based on the Low Mass idea of the '50's; and if so, should we not be striving for something higher?

    Yup. The "Missa Cantata" or the real Solemn High Mass (defined above) is the ideal, complete with congregation singing all the responses and Ordinary in Chant, maybe even the antiphons of Introit, Offertory, and Communion propers.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,357
    It's a giggle for our community of singers (Catholic and mostly otherwise) that one hears more of that kind of Catholic music in that context than in most Catholic parishes.


    Episcopalians have been laughing it up about that for nigh on 40 years.
    Thanked by 1IanW
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,912
    I've heard it said that the "daily Mass for the dead" was popular because it was short

    Wrong. The Requiem was said for the faithful departed, based on Mass stipends paid for such Masses. IOW, the Faithful drove that train.
  • JenniferGM
    Posts: 59
    Yup. The "Missa Cantata" or the real Solemn High Mass (defined above) is the ideal, complete with congregation singing all the responses and Ordinary in Chant, maybe even the antiphons of Introit, Offertory, and Communion propers.


    Going full circle, a high Mass, or even the lowest sung Mass needs the priest to sing. In our parish we have 4 priests, and only 1 sings. Which leads me to think we have to start with the children, especially boys, and teach them to sing and to love the chant!
    Thanked by 2francis IanW
  • Jennifer- yes! Teach the boys and girls to sing !

    At the summer chant camp I lead, this year we have 28 boys and 34 girls registered so far. Some of those boys opt to join the Choristers every Fall. Some are now older teens considering the priesthood. Likewise, some of the girls are considering religious life. Their love for the sacred liturgy and chant plays a role in their desire.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 802
    This answers the original question quite succinctly and accurately, from all my own research.


    I agree as far as the extraordinary form goes, but the original question was about the ordinary form. So far I've not gotten a good answer.

    As far as I can tell, hymns act as "fillers" for particular parts of the mass, i.e. better to sing a hymn than do nothing. This may explain why they are so often left unsung by the people, as something done because there seems nothing better to do rarely inspires anyone to do much of anything.
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 456
    This may explain why they are so often left unsung by the people, as something done because there seems nothing better to do rarely inspires anyone to do much of anything.

    It's like it's following the cardinal rule of radio stations: no "dead air".
    Thanked by 1francis
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,929
    Scott:

    As opposed to sacred silence?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,357
    sacred silence?

    coughing, fumbling, ushers whispering who think they are whispering, sacristans clanking vessels, kneelers plopping up and down, parents too loudly correcting children that weren't actually bothering anybody, occasional flatulence (and flagellants, if you're lucky)...
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,929
    Adam:

    You had to be there.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood