Praise & Worship Music
  • This is a bit of an offshoot from my other thread about the Pastoral Council.
    I am sure there are a number of lengthy threads on these topics, so feel free to just point me in that direction - BUT:

    Just now, I made it known to my pastor that I think we ought to be able to draw a line at "Praise & Worship" Music. I said I am entertaining the idea of developing a list of suitable "Contemporary" songs to be used at Mass, but that I really think we need to be able to say "We don't do Praise & Worship here." He seemed open to this if I can defend it based on the Church's teaching and documents on Sacred Music.

    Can anyone help me out by pointing me in the right direction? I am sure the church doesn't expressly FORBID P&W music, but I am also sure that Praise and Worship music is discredited somewhere based on what the church says music must do to be worthy of the liturgy. I am looking for a quicker response than I would be able to make if I combed through all the documents myself.

    ...Or should I just freakin' do it?!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,234
    Go from another direction. What hymnal do you have?
  • NPM ... the very very mainatream "big tent" Catholic musician's organization had a whole issue of their journal a few years ago about why praise and worship music is not appropriate for mass. I'd start there.
  • PaixAmor,

    I would be very interested in reading that NPM article on praise and worthy music. Do you have a copy of it?
  • ...Breaking Bread. P&W galore. We're looking at switching but he brought up the idea of Worship Aids for contemporary liturgies.
  • NPM ... the very very mainatream "big tent" Catholic musician's organization had a whole issue of their journal a few years ago about why praise and worship music is not appropriate for mass. I'd start there.

    Oooo! In which journal? I get the quarterly, but not their other one.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,234
    What about putting together a repertoire of all the pieces you presently include over the course of the liturgical year. Mark them with P - praise and worship, H - Satb hymn, C-chant. This will establish a point of reference from which to deliberate.
    Thanked by 1bkenney27
  • I avoid most Praise & Worship at all costs, so I'm not sure that would be effective. The closest I come is Haugen/Haas. I TRIED P&W two years ago and it DIDN'T WORK.
  • BKenney,

    Although you can work from legislation, I wouldn't. If I were in your shoes, I would think in terms of "first fruits" -- Cain, Abel and all that -- and encourage everyone, your pastor and the Parish Council included, to be theocentric maximalists, not anthropocentric minimalists. Remind them that, even though the Mass can be offered in a language they understand, it addresses a mystery -- something they can't fully understand.

    You might, also, make the points that even good music can still be in the wrong context: Jazz belongs in New Orleans, bagpipes belong in the Scottish highlands, and Negro Spiriutals aren't (convincingly) sung by lilly-white scholars with Boston accents.

    Cheers,

    Chris
  • Although you can work from legislation, I wouldn't.

    Normally, I would agree, but he has asked me to. Are you saying it would be more beneficial to continue to get them see what P&W music lacks?
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I strongly disagree that BB contains "P&W galore," bk27, by comparison say to the Steubenville hymnal. It is not close to perfection, how could it be as a pulp subscription annual? It tries with both failure and success to be comprehensively "all things to all people" but the percentage of highly syncopated, tepid lyric contents and primativistic chordal "songs" is actually fairly low, and most unusable by any congregation.in
    Making distinctions about the criteria of a P&W piece can become nebulous. I, more or less, use the "Awesome God" rule: if the song's refrain seems to invite interminable repetition, such as Maher's "Your Grace is Enough," or Manibusan's "Give us Your Peace," then you're in the P&W neighborhood. Others would inclined to lump older song forms like "We are Called" or "Sing of the Lord's Goodness" into the same category. The distinctions are subtle. In any case, I would not shed a tear if the few real P&W songs in BB remained, BUT every Carey Landry song was replaced by a great hymn or a Latin metric chant from Laus Tibi.
    OCP's achille's heal is the editorial board that is charged with rotating new product in at the expense and detriment of dropping some really good offerings while keeping bathetic warhorses like "How great Thou art" and "Let there be peace on earth" in tact for undiscerning boomers. Some of the best material OCP's printed in BB/Heritage/TM over the decades is yanked every 3 years or so because of the circular firing squad method of editorial pruning.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,765
    I thought that "Song and Spirit" was the OCP book with the most P&W.

    If you need to look for something official, perhaps someone can provide a quote about keeping secular-sounding music styles out of the liturgy. Such directives were aimed at operatic music, but they would apply here too.
  • I think it's "Spirit and Song."
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I think S&S is redundant, a marvel of repackaging and marketing.
    Thanked by 1jclangfo
  • If you go to NPM.org and go to their "Publications" link and find "Pastoral Music" you might find it. I think it's been a few years, so should be online in PDF form.

    The problems discussed here with OCP are another reason to use some hardbound hymnal, whether it's a GIA one, St. Michael's, or whatever.
  • I am in charge of selecting the music for one Mass where my son plays the organ. We have OCP's Music Issue and seasonal missals. I do not select P&W stuff--ever. There is enough to choose from that we don't have to be overly repetitious. So far (now in my 3rd year), I have never been told what songs to choose (the P&W crowd gets what they want on Saturday evenings with either LifeTeen or somebody programming the synthesizer with their favs)--but the day that happens (i.e., I'm told we'll play P&W music), if it does, we are gone.

    Kathy
  • BKenney

    Your legislation goes back at least to 1903, but the promoters of P&W won't accept anything other than a squidgy interpretation of modern legislation, so there's not much point: you'll only get the other side to scream at you that, since you like Latin, you're just being bigoted (or something similar). (As evidence of this, you can conduct this test: exactly how broad a range does alius cantus aptus include?)


    Remember that to understand the law correctly you have to think with the mind of the Church. Your pastor may be persuadable by documents, but intransigents aren't going to be persuaded by that kind of argument.


  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    exactly how broad a range does alius cantus aptus include?)

    Chris, reference Kathy's thread over at the Cafe re. the "Dylan Mass." (Actually quite well done.) But the point being- to whom via our music are we referencing our musical efforts? Christ's Church, His Body, ergo "Us" without the narcicism. Therefore, we have to bespeak and be-sing our rites in some manner and discipline that in no way defaults to the mundane and profane.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,304
    NPM dislikes "P&W" music because they're financially beholden to publishers that don't do it very well, not because it is any more or less inappropriate than any other inappropriate music.

    The reason not to do P&W music at your parish is relates to your current repertoire.

    The reason to continue singing some song everyone likes that isn't appropriate for Mass is that they already know it and like it. There's already enough music at any Catholic parish like this. You shouldn't be introducing more.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,765
    For what it's worth:
    ... those instruments which are, by common opinion and use, suitable for secular music only, are to be altogether prohibited from every liturgical celebration and from popular devotions.
    Musicam Sacram, 1967, Instruction on Music in the Liturgy

    I think it would be reasonable to apply this to consider the following instruments as suitable for secular music only and therefore not accepted in the liturgy: (1) drum set; (2) electric bass; (3) electric guitar.

    But this only addresses the question of instruments, not styles.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,304
    Episcopalians (at least, the ones around here) think that "Praise and Worship music" (or, actually, they "Praise music") includes everything from "The Old Rugged Cross" to "Shine Jesus Shine" to "Seek Ye First."

    I went to a funeral a year ago which, I was told before hand, would have a "mostly Praise Music." It was all old time Southern White Gospel.

    When The Episcopal Church sent out a survey three or so years ago on music practices, one of the questions was about what styles of music you do at your parish. "Praise and Worship" music was not a category (nor anything like "Contemporary Pop Rock") but "Praise Chorus" was a category. Examples included Taize songs, terrible folk music they sing at Cursillo retreats, and some stuff I had never heard of.

    Talking about "Praise and Worship Music" in the abstract is a terrible idea. No one has any idea what anyone else means.

    People who "don't like it at all" usually haven't bothered to listen or learn much of it (because they don't like it), so they don't know what they're talking about.

    People who do like it usually have had some specific experience of a particular set of songs they like (cf. "No, I meant like Shine Jesus Shine"), so they're really only saying they like guitars and THAT SONG. Usually, they don't know what they're talking about any more than the people who dislike the stuff.

    People are not musicologists.

    Decide on specific songs that are appropriate based on their texts being sound (and hopefully excellent) and the music being good (and hopefully excellent) and don't get into drawing bright lines around styles- it's a futile exercise.
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,545
    I can't remember the name of the document (hopefully someone reading this will provide it for you), but there is a writing by Pius XII which makes clear distinction between "religious/devotional" and "sacred/liturgical" music.

    The best part of the article (especially for this situation) is that he takes no qualms with religious/devotional styles, and actually encourages their use ... at the proper time and place.

    If you can emphasize this point - that there is nothing inherently wrong with the music, and what a great thing to listen to P&W if it helps your devotions or if it keeps your mind on God while driving around or whatever use you might have for it - but it is not designed for the liturgy. More accurately, the liturgy is not designed for P&W. (Some composers might argue that they did design it for the liturgy, but that's like saying I designed a new tire tread design which will keep your guitar's tuning more stable).

    Other quotes, like pride of place and all that, might not help much. If you use such sources, I'd promote the appropriate music, but by Pius XII's example also note the benefits of other music (in other places).

    It's not about promoting the good or the bad ... Those are polarizing terms, and inaccurate. It's about promoting what is suitable to the situation. P&W has its benefits and its appropriate venues, as do chant and polyphony.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,304
    I designed a new tire tread design which will keep your guitar's tuning more stable


    It's like you're literally challenging my Google Image Search skills...
  • ^ HAHAHA
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,304
    I got nothin'.

    DEFEATED
    Thanked by 1ryand
  • The church nowhere FORBIDS P+W music - how would that even be possible, given how difficult it is to decide what falls into that category?

    So, I think the question has to be framed in a positive way. What music does the Church recommend and point us towards? There you can find a wealth of information, and you don't have to go back to 1903. I wonder if your pastor is baiting you a bit, or if he is genuinely interested in exploring what the Church has to say. If the former, he may know very well that P+W is not forbidden, and that is his way out of arguing with you. It's a bit like me baiting a parishioner by saying "tell me where Latin is forbidden in the documents" knowing that they can't support their idea. Personally, I would ask the pastor, frankly, if he is receptive to the idea of exploring the documents together (in other words, if that is what her really means). Maybe even set up some meeting times for that purpose - it could be a great thing on both a musical and personal level for the two of you. If he's baiting you, then start the conversation by admitting frankly that the church doesn't forbid that music anywhere. Then go for the positive avenue.

    I had a pastor who forbade me to use Latin, but also forbade any P+W groups in the parish. He was strongly dedicated to being middle-of-the-road. :)
    His rationale for not allowing P+W (by which he meant praise bands) was that a band situation is more performance based than participatory. In addition, music for praise bands tends to be in its own genre, from its own books, and not known well by the general congregation. So both the performance style and the repertoire struck him as being non-participatory and distracting to the liturgy. Interestingly, then, he disliked P+W for the same reason he would dislike a choral-orchestral setting in the Mass. But I have to give him credit for forbidding the P+W for a good reason. Those arguments may also help with your pastor.

    Just on a side note, toward the end of my stay at that job (as I completed my doctorate) I raised an archdiocesan choir and performed the Durufle Requiem with organ and strings, during the All Souls' Mass at that parish! With his blessing (looking back I have no idea how that got OK'd - maybe the Holy Spirit at work). Afterwards he came up to me, clearly moved by the experience, and said "wow - you can have strings here and do this music any time you want." Sadly, that little mountain-top moment and personal interaction did not lead anywhere in the parish's future and I moved on.

    Anyway, frame the discussion as an aiming for the good, the true, and the beautiful, rather than a legalistic search for forbidden music. You may have to sneak the best music in over time, into the parish's consciousness, by way of concerts and special guest artists. And let them come to you ("could we ever do any of that at Mass?" and you respond, as if it never occurred to you "well, I don't know - maybe").
    Thanked by 1bkenney27
  • Deleted
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,304
    Rescued from the jaws of defeat by Andrew Malton (so blame him).

    image
    Thanked by 2bkenney27 ryand
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,765
    Of course the Church would not write a document to forbid P&W music, or any other pop-music trend that comes along. The Church expects pastors and bishops to use common sense and know that styles that imitate entertainment music don't belong at Mass. In a similar way, there really is no need for a document to expressly forbid polka Masses.

    But I can hear the rejoinder already: "What is this 'common sense' you speak of?"
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,304
    The Church expects pastors and bishops to use common sense


    and I thought I was the funny one around here...
  • Correct. I'm not looking for THE document that forbids P&W, but I do know that banning such music can be supported by the current documents. i.e. Sacred music ought not reflect secular trends, ban on percussion instruments, etc.

    Speaking of the ban on percussion instruments, what is the deal with this? As far as I can tell, there was a document approved which placed a ban on percussion instruments in the early 20th Century and is still in effect as far as I can tell. No? If so, wouldn't the piano be banned in the strictest definition? I'm honestly asking out of curiosity, not because I think I'm right. :)
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,304
    Speaking of the ban on percussion instruments, what is the deal with this?


    Canonical exceptions for this ever since they let snare drums be altar servers.
    Thanked by 1Andrew Malton
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,600
    I've heard priests and musicians use the rock/P&W music employed at Masses celebrated by Blessed John Paul II, His Holiness Pope Benedict, and His Holiness Pope Francis as a defense of using P&W music at Holy Mass. Be prepared for this argument in favor of P&W when making argument against it.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,765
    Oh, you should see B16 in Germany: at some Mass, the musicians started playing smooth-jazz during the offertory, with, I think, a soprano sax as the lead instrument. The papal displeasure was obvious.
    Thanked by 1Chris Allen
  • Regardless of NPM's motivations for opposing Praise and Worship music, they are credible with a lot of people.

    A lot of people who don't really know what they are talking about, but know just enough about liturgy to be dangerous quote NPM and use NPM as a resource. I was once in a parish where a complainer "had a son who did an MA in liturgical music at Collegeville and was an NPM board member," or something like that, so clearly the complainer knew what he/she was talking about (they must have absorbed all of their son's education through osmosis by virtue of being his parent?). NPM also carries no ideological baggage in the minds of many people. They are known for being temperant, "big-tent" minded, etc., so people perk up when they hear "NPM opposes its use ..."

    That is why I don't think you should waste a chance to appeal to them. Who cares what their motivations are? You don't want to use Praise Music. They don't think Praise Music should be used. People like to listen to them. So quote them.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,104
    I always thought "Praise & Worship" music was an interesting description. What are we doing the rest of the time?
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,765
    It's worth recalling Fr. Christopher Smith's essay: "Why Praise and Worship music is praise but not worship".
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Oh, you should see B16 in Germany: at some Mass, the musicians started playing smooth-jazz during the offertory, with, I think, a soprano sax as the lead instrument. The papal displeasure was obvious.

    IIRC, RC, it was worse as it was during the Penitential Rite. And it was bogus in that way that only German Catholics can manage. (see, I actually think jazz is a classical genre.)
  • At WYD Sydney in 2008 the director of music was having none of the p&w or praise band stuff. They had cathedral choirs and allen organs ar all the papal liturgies.
    Thanked by 1bkenney27
  • Chonak, I actually just read that article today.
    ghmus7, you actually make a good point and our part time Parochial Vicar actually made that point out of genuine confusion. I clarified that P&W among sacred music aficionados has more or less come to be known as a genre of music.
  • But back to my last question, is percussion licit or no? I only took a brief look at the document and can't recall exactly what it was... if it was binding or not.... etc. Does anyone have insight into this?
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 455
    Of course the Church would not write a document to forbid P&W music, or any other pop-music trend that comes along. The Church expects pastors and bishops to use common sense and know that styles that imitate entertainment music don't belong at Mass. In a similar way, there really is no need for a document to expressly forbid polka Masses.

    But I can hear the rejoinder already: "What is this 'common sense' you speak of?"


    Exactly. This is the "please don't eat the daisies" or "monkeys in the sanctuary" approach to liturgy.
  • In reference to Matthew J's comment:

    Be prepared to respond that you are not the Pope's liturgical advisor, nor are you the Pope - and so you are not free to disregard the legislation as written. Don't criticize the Pope: assert that just because he has done something which appears to make an obvious rule obsolete, you are not somehow magically released from following the rules as written.
    Thanked by 1bkenney27
  • donr
    Posts: 940
    bkenny27. I just read in "Gregorian Chant" by Rev Andrew Klarmann page 143...
    2. 404. "The use of piano is forbidden in churches as also that of all noisy or irreverent instruments such as drums, kettledrums, cymbals, triangles, etc." (A).

    A. being taken supposedly from "Motu Proprio of Pius X, issued November 22, 1903.

    You will not have a good time with this one because most will say that it is not 1903 anymore and newer docs do allow them but I believe that is the reference you were looking for.

    Percussion is licit if you pastor says it is.
    Ours does not allow percussion but does allow guitar, bass and piano. He prefers the Organ.
    Thanked by 1bkenney27
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,759
    And I suspect that, even a century ago, there were indults for the use of timpani in the Mass settings of Haydn, Mozart et al. in Germanic lands.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,847
    On the Bachcantatas forum there have been reminiscences of tympani and trumpets playing outside an open door of the stricter American luthereran churches. I balk at calling it a commonsense solution...
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,114
    "The use of piano is forbidden in churches as also that of all noisy or irreverent instruments such as drums, kettledrums, cymbals, triangles, etc."

    I wonder if that means a Zimbelstern is out, too.
    Thanked by 1donr
  • THANK YOU. So, just because it's not 1903 doesn't mean the document is nullified. Riiiight? What documents allow it? Were they simply written ignorant of the prohibition or in opposition to it?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,765
    To really know whether something is permitted or prohibited, you'd have to know about all relevant instruction documents issued since 1903, and also any relevant dubium responses from the Holy See. And you'd have to find out whether something still might be permitted on the grounds of a long-standing custom.

    But having the 1903 document with a prohibition lets you shift the burden of proof to those who would advocate permitting the percussion.
    Thanked by 1ryand
  • Regarding musical instruments, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal states at #393:
    While the organ is to be accorded pride of place, other wind, stringed, or percussion instruments may be admitted into divine worship in the United States of America, according to longstanding local usage, in so far as these are truly suitable for sacred use, or can be made suitable.
  • donr
    Posts: 940
    here is the Italian from the:
    MOTU PROPRIO
    TRA LE SOLLECITUDINI
    DEL SOMMO PONTEFICE
    PIO X
    SULLA MUSICA SACRA 1903...
    VI Organo ed instrumenti musicali.

    19. È proibito in chiesa l’uso del pianoforte, come pure quello degli strumenti fragorosi o leggeri, quali sono il tamburo, la grancassa, i piatti, i campanelli e simili


    Here is the Google Translation:

    VI Organ and Musical Instruments.

    19. It is forbidden the use of the piano in church, as well as that of light or loud instruments, which are drum, bass drum, plates, bells and the like.


    Here is a link to the document