Liturgical Dance in the 16th Century
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    This may drive some of you to despair

    Yes, indeed. Their blend, intonation and phrasing is spot on. The diction is exemplary and unforced, and their rhythmic flow belies meter. Oh, and no mile-wide wobbling vibrato is discernible. Can they come to California?
  • ...out of context.

    Hear, Hear!
    Thanked by 2CharlesW dad29
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,839
    it just doesn't belong in my parish where it is completely out of context.
    This is what many of us are used to hearing about Latin.
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  • GerardH
    Posts: 70
    Dance seems to have been properly legitimised at least in Zaire, where the local "Use" of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite has been adapted to local custom, in line with recommendations from Vatican II. Priest and servers dance around the altar as a means of veneration, and the offertory procession takes the form of a dance also.
  • ...used to hearing...

    So I have heard.
    But! There is a fundamental difference of context betwixt importing things from very different cultures than our own for whatever sentiments and in fostering appreciation of what is, in fact, a seminal element of our own culture and heritage. These people have it just exactly backwards. It is the stuff that they foist off on us that is absurdly 'out of context' in our true ecclesial. culture. And, somehow they should be made to comprehend this. And, whilst being polite and respectful, there is no need to cave in, back down, or blink when doing so.
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  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,839
    ...our patrimony, a legacy from our forefathers and mothers.
    I have two problems:

    How are choir members of various descents supposed to feel about whether chant/polyphony is 'theirs'?

    And by 'ours', do you really mean the heretic culture of that notorious pirate Drake? :-)
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005
    This is what many of us are used to hearing about Latin.


    Latin actually fits in our context. There are no problems with it at all.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,711
    Latin actually fits in our context.


    So there IS such a thing as "western civiliztion"? An actual culture derived from a cult (Christianity?)

    Imperialist dog!!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005
    Imperialist dog!!


    Get over it! There's no political correctness here. LOL.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    This thread has my head whirling and spinning. I'm going out for Sufi.
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005
    If you knew Sufi, like I know Sufi...
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,756
    Right palm facing up, left palm facing down...

    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    This thread has my head whirling and spinning. I'm going out for Sufi.

    I'm getting better now. Found a Sufi in mufti, his moniker, Raffi, caused me to laughie, his fez e'er so spiffy, his orbits not iffy, the tune quite so riffy, I tipped him a fifty!
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005
    ...I tipped him a fifty!


    Sounds like someone is well paid. ;-)
  • Latin actually fits in our context. There are no problems with it at all.


    Really? With the exception of indigenous Americans and some folks imported against their will from Africa, I would have thought that most people in the US of A are descended from those who explicitly rejected European culture and crossed a big wide ocean to get away from it.
  • ...rejected...

    This is preposterous. I am one of the small minority of actual Anglo-Americans. I consider myself a European colonist, which is exactly what all of us (including, ahem, the Hispanics among us!) are who are not Afro-American, Oriental-American, Amerind, or Middle-eastern-American, & cet. Except for those, our cultural heritage is European, though some, such as the Spanish and some Orientals, are much more keen to preserve significant elements of the culture of origin than are most European Americans, who have been so dazzled by the mass culture created by big business, Hollywood, and pop-culture that they think this IS their culture. It isn't. They have been seduced by the great American non-culture. No, this is not my culture, and I resent deeply having it foisted off on me, in daily life, and particularly in my spiritual life. We did not come over here to leave Western Culture behind. We came over here to realise the import of the finest of Western philosophical thought as regards human dignity. Somewhere along the line we have gotten disastrously side-tracked. I am not ashamed of my European heritage, nor should anyone else whose family are the descendants of European colonists and immigrants. The "American dream' is, properly understood, the European dream, because it represents the culmination of Judeo-Graeco-Romano-European thought, a culmination which, in our time and place, has become grotesquely malformed.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW dad29
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005
    I would have thought that most people in the US of A are descended from those who explicitly rejected European culture and crossed a big wide ocean to get away from it.


    Not necessarily. My ancestors, like many who came to the U.S. prior to 1800, did not leave Europe to escape western culture. They came for economic reasons and to escape the politics and management of a rigid class system. Granted, what passes for any kind of culture today is enslaved to political correctness and has seriously deviated from its authentic cultural beginnings. The Church which was once a bastion of western culture is now busy navel gazing and letting the inmates run the asylum.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,304
    I would also like to mention that some of us do not know or care why our ancestors came here.
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  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,839
    such as the Spanish and some Orientals
    People can have strange notions of what exactly counts as 'European'. Kastner strikes me as a bit apologetic when he describes the Iberian organ tradition as a phenomenon of "extreme Western civilization", and I bet a 'real' Anglo would be horrified to be called a European and lumped with continentals. Old world continentals, I mean ;-)
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005
    I would also like to mention that some of us do not know or care why our ancestors came here.


    Maybe they were driven out for subversion and disturbing the peace?
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,756
    Well, certainly there were many, many immigrants who came voluntarily to the USA to erase their particular pasts (including family connections) - and not because those pasts were shameful, but because they knew that they could easily do this in America (it was incredibly easy to invent a new self - more than once!). The allure of freedom from the past was one of the most important selling points of America to the rest of the world (it still is, though diminished from what it was a century ago). *That* dream is very much a part of American culture.

    The great American cinematic opera - the Godfather trilogy - opens with a pregnant scene about when this dream *fails*. The entire theme of the story is built on it. An immigrant thinks he was finally free of the handcuffs of the patron-client relationships that were the social foundation of the pre-Industrial world. But it was not so. "I believe in America." ....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIBpHO1gZgQ

    America has a rich culture - it's just not yet been ossified/amberized. It's not only European/Western. It's also very much built on indigenous cultures (even with genocide) and African cultures (not only even with, but because of, enslavement and what it enabled). As some Europeans like to point out, white Americans tend to be in denial about how non-"white" they are, culturally speaking.

  • dad29
    Posts: 1,711
    I would have thought that most people in the US of A are descended from those who explicitly rejected European culture and crossed a big wide ocean to get away from it.


    You would have thought wrong. Few of them left "a culture", if any.

    Most of them left a rotten economy. Anyone familiar with immigrants knows VERY well that 'their culture' is firmly in place in their communities; and 2nd-3rd gen immigrants still honor their distant-past "culture". Particularly the religious part.

  • I am very familiar with immigrants: I am one, and I deliberately choose to hang out with others. By the 2nd generation, what is honoured is the memory of the culture as it was, not the current living state of the culture. By the 3rd generation, it's gone except out of politeness to the grandparents. People have thoroughly adapted to the new location.

    Most people only realise that when they try going back and realise that they share nothing of the attitudes and world-view of the old country. If those who see themselves as colonials tried to go "home" today
    1) they would most likely not be allowed due to immigration restrictions
    2) They would be unlikely to handle the class structures, "civil liberties restrictions" (as Americans see them) and pan-country agenda that are part of life in Europe,

    White Americans are caucasian, not european.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,711
    Well, then. The first thing you must do is define "culture." The political structure of a country is not its "culture," nor is its economic system. Both of them are subsets of the actual "culture" which--in all of Europe--is Judaeo-Christian.

    Granted, that J-C culture is vestigial, but pursuit of truth (capitalized, too) was its hallmark; and that pursuit was the 'business' of the Church from the day of her founding.

    If you have a different definition of "culture"--that is, one that does NOT flow directly from "cult," then let us know what you mean by the term!!
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,304
    in all of Europe--is Judaeo-Christian.


    The drastic difference between the Christianities (and cultures) of Western European, Eastern European, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Ethiopia, India, and elsewhere suggests (to me, at least) that "Judeo-Christian" is not a specific enough description for the culture historically referred to as "Western."
    Thanked by 2Richard Mix Liam
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,839
    But you have admit it makes a handy stick with which to beat that other Abrahamic tradition (or even Arab Christians).
  • Are you then, Adam, wishing to assert that there really is no such thing as 'Western Culture'? That the vaunted 'Judeo-Christian' and 'Graeco-Roman' basis of this supposed culture (or, perhaps we should say 'community of kindred cultures'?) is a myth? I'm attempting to ask this with a formally unbiased frame of mind, but suggest that if such is your intention you must needs demonstrate that there are no cultural binders amongst those nation states which logically would constitute this amorphous civilisation; such as art, literature, especially philosophy, musical patrimony, architectural styles, technological achievements, rule of law, and so on, not to omit religious experience (this last is, admittedly difficult due to 'the West's' religious fragmentation - though 'it' remains, at least [less and less] formally, a 'Christian' entity). I eagerly await your development of this interesting assertion. Of course, it is granted that there are within this culture-civilisation manifest differences between the binders mentioned above. This is what happens when one puts anything under a microscope. But, I think that you have your hands full if, removing the specimen from the microscope, you didn't notice that there are, and have been for many centuries, as many defining similarities as incidental differences, plus quite obvious and defining differences between this and other culture-civilisations.

    It is pretty common knowledge that the occidental and oriental minds work in very different ways, and this doesn't even give consideration to the uniqueness of the African mind, the Amerind mind, and others.

    And, Richard, I don't think that any of us really wishes to use our cultural affinities as a stick to beat 'that other Abrahamic tradition', or Christian Arabs, or anyone else. May they, both and all, be blest - they are what they are (which is admirable), but they are not 'western'; nor do they intend to be. (And, some of them beat us with their sticks - lest we think that anyone on this planet remains in a state of original grace.)
    Thanked by 2CharlesW dad29
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,711
    that other Abrahamic tradition


    Mohammedanism?

    Speaking with admiration for the Judaeo-Christian tradition implies honoring BOTH of those elements. The only other "Abrahamic" tradition (self-claimed, by the way) is that of Mohammed.

    Surely you don't need a refresher on the texts of the Qu'ran...do you? (Hint: see B-16 at Regensburg...)
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  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    admiration for the Judaeo-Christian tradition implies honoring BOTH of those elements. The only other "Abrahamic" tradition (self-claimed, by the way) is that of Mohammed.

    Not to mention the discourses of St. John Bosco.
    OTOH, as I mirthfully coined earlier, the Sufi tradition has admirable features and qualities.
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  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,839
    As I think Adam agrees, a 'Judeo-Christianity' that excludes my corner grocer who grew up Christian in Jerusalem is just a bit bizarre.

    According to the font of all wisdom "Judeo-Christian" entered the English language in 1939 when George Orwell used it to describe an ethical system opposed to the European phenomenon of fascism, itself a self-proclaimed shield against another ideology of West-European origin. I'd like to see how the usually precise Orwell defined it! One might be able to forgive a naif who thought it was something along the lines of a cheek for a cheek.

    My own position is that the term can only be meaningfully applied to musicians who have a temple gig on the side.

    Now for the win, can someone try bringing this back to 16c Dance?
    Thanked by 2melofluent CHGiffen
  • Interesting, Richard, about Orwell and all. Thanks. Very illuminating as we dance around that altar of culture.
    Now for the win...bring this back...

    Um, maybe didn't Judaeo-Christians and corner grocers dance in the 16th century? Some may have done so in churches in Spain?
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Now for the win, can someone try bringing this back to 16c Dance?

    I did already, the Sufi dervishes whirled first in the twelfth century!
    image
    220 x 156 - 13K
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  • ...I did already...

    Yes But! They didn't do it in front of an altar.
    Why, they don't even have altars.

    (I witnessed some dervishes once, here in Houston. Quite remarkable, deeply moving, the moreso precisely because their dance is prayer expressed as dance. But not on an altar - something tells me that the dervishes would know better.)
    Thanked by 1melofluent
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,304
    There is such a thing as Western culture. My point was that it is not a perfect overlap ( and so not synonymous) with "JudeoChristian".
  • The more one looks at it, Adam, using 'Judaeo-Christian' as a presumed synonym for 'Western Culture' (whatever we mean by that) does, indeed, present difficulties. Not the least because Christianity is by definition 'Judaeo-Christian' wherever it flourishes or is persecuted. This may be in Africa, India, China, and so forth. The culture of Christians, to the extent that it can 'flourish' in these places is a 'Judaeo-Christian' one, albeit not a Western one. Perhaps it is profitable that you have brought this matter up. Still, though, we may assert (more lamely as the years pass) that Western Culture is a (as in one of several) 'Judaeo-Christian' culture. We may, though, lay a better claim to being 'Graeco-Roman' - at least in our philosophical foundations and intellectual formation, and in the basic premises of our law, not to mention the formal kinship between our arts and crafts, fine, literary, and otherwise.

    I suppose one could write a doctoral thesis or author a magisterial tome about just exactly what is and is not 'Western Culture'. We, here, could but banter over bits and pieces of it, aspects of it, various manifestations of it, but not arrive at a scholastically respectable definition - if such a definition has an objective existence.

    Compounding the matter are places or states which seem to share this 'Western Culture' but do not identify as 'Western'. Russia is a prime example. It is 'western' culturally, but not, at least according to its current czar um, president, by political kinship and social assimilation 'western'. And this does not address significant 'oriental' traits and paranoias in the Russian psyche. There are many such states in the world; and many overlapping facets of identity; and many which appear through their technology to be just like 'us', but are far from subscribing to the philosophy of human values that are essential to 'Western' identity. Then there is Australia at the bottom of the world. Definitely not 'western', but indubitably a key member of 'the west' and 'Western Culture'. I'll stop here before I get carried away. You have touched on an extremely complex complex of ideas.

    Probably, though, all these cultures do dance, and have been doing so at least since the 16th century - but not in front of altars. (There!)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005
    The most realistic term I have heard to describe European culture is "post-Christian." If the U.S. is a bit behind Europe in this, it isn't by much.

    I haven't spent much time around Muslims, but did meet some Sikhs. Nice folks, but they were California Sikhs with pastel turbans. They were progressive in outlook and may not have reflected the majority views of that religion.

    I realize it is somewhat fashionable to call Islam "Abrahamic" and say that they worship the same God as Jews and Christians. Many of the great western saints would not have agreed with that, and I don't, either.

    We don't live in a rational age anymore and are awash in a mindless sea of political correctness. Regardless, a spade is still a spade and a shovel is still a shovel even if both "identify" as rakes. Next we will have to build unisex tool sheds for them and I suppose, have sensitivity training for garden tool identity issues.

    Dance? The Southern Baptist majority here would be scandalized!
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  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    The most realistic term I have heard to describe European culture is "post-Christian."

    W and I went on a nine day pilgrimage to Rome in early February this year. A sort of profound disappointment weighed upon us regarding the obvious lack of usage that the myriad churches/basilicas etc. receive by the populace. So much so, I remarked afterwards, "were it only possible to teleport these magnificent buildings to the USA so we wouldn't have to worship in pre-fab cafeteria-boxes." We're no where's near Rome in terms of lack of practicing catholics in my estimation. No wonder folks blithely give up (figuratively) edifices like Maria Maggiore to be mosques, they're totally disconnected.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005
    It has seemed to me there has been a larger defection from mainline Protestant churches in the U.S. than from Catholicism. We have lost plenty of people, to be sure, but perhaps not quite as many percentage wise.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,756
    Those magnificent buildings, transported to the USA a la the House of Loretto, would loose essential character. They are of a piece with their current placement AND people. Stick an American congregation in, say, Santa Sabina By The Marina, and it would not be what it is in Rome even with a sparse congregation. It *is* a quintessentially American thing to imagine the differences would not matter so much, however. A Roman would know better.

  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I knew you'd comment as such, Liam, and it is welcomed. But my focus is less about Roman sensibilities than those of the suburban American prelature. I would make the same observation about St. Chapelle, Reims, gilded white baroque chapels in Austria or even open air bamboo churches in Nairobi. They are of a class < than the cracker barrel, low ceiling boxes many of us endure weekly. It's so sad sometimes it makes a Huibers/Oosterhuis meeting place seem like the Taj Mahal.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,756
    Just so long as we understand that the American Catholic pragmatic impulse for church architecture dates to circa 1929 rather that 1965.

    Here's an immigrant church from Boston from the 1880s:

    http://www.ballets-russes.com/images/PWH_5729_s.jpeg

    By the 1930s, new churches were cookie-cutter historicist ripoffs with catalog art; with the vast expansion of parishes and parochial schools after WW2 (before Vatican II), began the direct plunge into even sparer and more functional "spaces" (because schools were prioritized over churches) with war surplus early on.... A generation of getting by without investing in beauty taught a hard lesson that bishops and pastors have been reluctant to unlearn ever since.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    The CCC, quoting Nostra aetate says Muslims profess to be Abrahaminic, not that they actually are.
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  • We are not at a loss for magnificent churches in this country, and some are, in addition to being 'magnificent', fine architecture. Unlike the Europeans, though, it seems to be likely that if they are as sparsely (or even, in too many cases, not near as sparsely) attended they will be closed (over the protesting pleas of their congregations), delivered to the wrecker's ball, and replaced with something that 'makes money'. That's the difference between the European and the American mentality.

    (So, there is no question of dancing in them, certainly not in the 16th century.)
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,711
    "Judeo-Christian" entered the English language in 1939 when George Orwell used it to describe an ethical system...


    One could work with that, if one remembers that "ethics" are founded on "morals" and the #1 Moral of the J-C tradition begins: "I Am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before Me." See similar #1 in NT.

    Now, then. When Europe and the US moved to displace that God, beginning in the late 19th/early 20thC, the JC "culture" (always derived from "cult") began to separate from the now-regnant "Western" culture. There is a remnant, of course, varying in strength from region to region.

    That also allows us to incorporate other areas (such as Africa) into the J-C culture, of course. Especially those which utilize Gregorian Chant and its derivatives.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,005
    Dad29, I would go even earlier for that displacement. I am thinking 18th-Century Enlightenment folks who had already left Christianity for any practical purposes. No, those Masons didn't just run children's hospitals at the time, but had a much darker focus - the destabilization of the Church and government. To a great degree, they succeeded. What victories over the Church they couldn't win in the past, good old Paul VI and cronies handed them in the 1960s.
  • Dear heavens. I am glad to see this thing petered out in April. I don't check in very often any more, but thought this one had run its course.

    You never know what you are going to start when you ask a question here. I see we got to architecture and declining attendance. Entirely disagree with those who think a European church building here would have no effect, but I have also stopped worrying too much. I know good parishes in plain buildings. Aside from that, dear heavens, did we wander.

    Kenneth