Rubrics question for sung Mass
  • After reading through much information on the forums, and inquiring of a few acquaintances, I thought I'd post my question here as I'm still a bit puzzled/confused. My background is Episcopal (Anglo-Catholic) and our rubrics aren't as meticulous as those of the Catholic church. Thanks to the forums and the wealth of info through CMAA, I've become quite enlightened. However, as a composer, there is a small matter for which I could really use better understanding.

    It is my understanding that when the Gloria and Credo are sung, the celebrant must intone them, and the choir/schola may not repeat the words of the intonation in the musical setting that continues thence, at least for EF. For Missa Cantata, I'm told the choir may intone the Gloria. I completed a Missa Solemnis earlier this year and posted it, but I admit now I'm in a bit of a fog on the intonation issue.

    My Gloria begins with the Iona Gloria, while the Credo does begin with an intonation of sorts. So my question is then, at what type of Mass would my Missa Solemnis be appropriate, since it's lacking in "true" intonations for these two sections? EF? Missa Cantata? OF? Also, at what type of Mass would a Missa Brevis be sung? What somewhat contributes to my confusion is that the rubrics seems to be rather strict about intonations, yet so many churches use masses by Baroque and Classical composers for special occasions (EF, presumably), masses that lack intonations. If rubrics require intonations in EF, how then do Baroque masses fit in?

    As a composer, I write music to be sung and enjoyed (AMDG), and to allow that music to bring people closer to our Creator and all His wonderful Mysteries. Since my mass settings are geared for Catholic use, it would be helpful to have a better understanding of "what goes where" so to speak, so that I might be mindful of this when composing. Things like "where intonations are a must" etc.

    Please un-confuse me!
  • At the Extraordinary Form, the celebrant intones both.

    For the Novis Ordo Mass it is a toss-up due to current lack of guidance, meaning a firm rule, with much music having been written in the last 50 years which takes away the intonation from the Celebrant.

    The terms Missa Solemnis, Missa Cantata and Missa Brevis are historical terms that do not apply or are in use in common practice with the Novus Ordo Mass. Nor with the current EF Mass either, in most cases.

    If I'm wrong, I apologize, and would welcome enlightenment, as you are also seeking.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    In the EF (high/cantata), the celebrant intones both the Gloria and Credo. If your piece has a non-traditional intonation, teach it to the priest beforehand and give him the initial pitch. Priests tend to intone too low.

    "Solemnis" simply means a deacon and subdeacon are present at a sung (i.e. cantata or high) Mass.

    "Missa brevis" describes music, not a form. It's just a short setting of a Mass ordinary. Personally, I wish there were more of them.
  • Pes and Frogman,

    This is definitely helpful. Since the Credo does have a usable intonation, I think I can satisfactorily leave it alone. However, the opening phrase is repeated three times (once by celeb, 2x by choir) - a Trinitarian formula that I use several times. Is this still acceptable? If not, changing the 2x repetitions with "Patrem omnipotentem" would still fit the score without disruption.

    My Gloria opens using the Iona Gloria, which I understand is an ancient one, supposedly about 1500 years old and associated with St Columba. Would this opening of my Gloria render said movement unusable since it lacks intonation? Conceivably, the celebrant could sing the opening "Gloria in excelsis Deo," with the choir continuing with the two further repetitions of the phrase. It is my understanding that (supposedly, per legend) this Gloria was sung back and forth between St Columba and the monks on the shore as he was leaving Iona. That said, it would be easy enough to omit the Iona Gloria and replace it with the customary intonation.

    If making these modifications would render the M Solemnis more readily acceptable for use for a proper EF High Mass, then I can easily do this.

    The various Missa Bevises I've come across generally have neither Gloria or Credo, only K, S/B, and AD, and are overall very short works. The one English-language one I wrote many years ago, and the St Catherine Mass I'm currently working on follow this formula. Would these then be generally limited to Advent/Lent since no Gloria? And in practise, how often is the Credo actually sung, rather than recited?
  • When the EF is sung, the Mass may be either "Missa Cantata" (celebrant alone) or "Missa Solemnis" (with deacon & subdeacon). In either case, the celebrant must intone the Gloria and Credo, and the choir may not repeat the words of the intonation. A number of (mostly 18th- and 19th-century) Mass settings ignore this rule; sometimes the problem can be corrected by having the instruments alone play the offending portion, the choir entering with "Et in terra" or "Patrem omnipotentem."

    Furthermore, the celebrant must sing his part to Gregorian chant, which means that the intonations must be from the Kyriale, whatever music may follow for the choir (or congregation).

    The terms "Missa Solemnis" and "Missa Brevis" are used by custom to refer to musical Mass settings which are, respectively, long and elaborate, or shorter and simpler. Some Masses are "brevis et solemnis," combining a solemn style with, well, brevity. "Missa Brevis" among the Lutherans (Bach, for example) refers to a setting of Kyrie and Gloria only, whose musical style may be quite solemn and extended. There are also a number of Missae Breves by composers such as Healey Willan, for example, which omit the Gloria and Credo. They are perfectly suited for Advent and Lent (provided they are a cappella), but can be sung anytime if the missing movements are supplied in chant (which was the custom at Willan's church).

    In the EF, the Credo is always sung at Missa Cantata or Missa Solemnis on Sundays and important feast days. It is omitted on lesser feasts and ferial and penitential days. It is recited only at Low Mass, when no portion of the Mass may be sung. In other words, there is no such thing in the EF as a sung Gloria with a recited Credo.

    In the OF, the Gloria may be intoned by the celebrant, a cantor or cantors, or everyone together. The rubrics seem to have forgotten about the Credo. As with so much of the Novus Ordo, legally the door is wide open, but one hopes that ancient custom would carry some weight.
  • Andrew, what you've added to Pes and Frogman is of immense help! Speak of Trinitarian assistance...! I'm currently modifying my Gloria & Credo to begin with appropriate intonations to render them more useful. Both versions can then be available, for proper EF, as well as those who wish to be adventurous with Novus Ordo.