• I'd be interested to hear anyone's thoughts about this article. http://www.ccwatershed.org/blog/2013/aug/19/propers-sung-low-mass-ordinary-allowed/

    My parish currently has a monthly Missa Cantata and the other Sundays are Low Mass. We're recruiting more singers so we can have a Missa Cantata perhaps on 3 Sundays. But we'd still like music, other than a hymn sandwich, at the Low Mass. Should we take this article as being legit guidelines? My parish priest remembers being taken to EF Low Masses as a boy and hearing de Angelis being sung.

    Thanks in advance.
    Nachthorn.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,713
    The guys at St John Cantius beg to differ. See: http://media.musicasacra.com/pdf/lowmass.pdf

    The SJC position comports with my memory, too.
  • You might try a Pius-Parsch-esque Bet-Sing-Messe.
  • I chant (sometimes with a very small schola) the Introit before Mass most of the time. It is, therefor, not sung during the EF Low Mass. But I also chant the Communion Antiphon at the beginning of distribution of Communion. It is still just "music at the Mass", but the Pastor likes it. It simply makes no sense to me that music of some sort may be sung during a Low Mass, but it is forbidden that any of that music actually pertain to that Mass and that it must be only generic. The above variety of postings demonstrate that the rules and the enforcement of the rules have historically varied.
    Thanked by 1hilluminar
  • Note that neither of these differing opinions (CCWatershed's article vs. St. John Cantius and Psallite Sapienter) cite which authoritative documents they may have used in coming up with this opinion.
    Thanked by 1HeitorCaballero
  • It seems that there have been a lot of local customs. I am tempted to side with CCWatershed's article, even though the two other sources (particularly PS) have been very useful at other times. To me, it feels like a set back to not allow the faithful the chance to sing the Ordinary simply because they aren't "up to" singing the propers.

    Steve, I absolutely agree that it doesn't make sense for any music AT Mass to be generic. Isn't this the type of thing, certainly in the OF anyway, that we've been trying to avoid?
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    The general consensus has been that the propers and ordinary aren't to be sung at Low Mass.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,419
    To me, the idea of singing the proper and ordinary at a Low Mass in pointless. If you can sing the propers and ordinary, why even have a Low Mass in the first place? If the priest is not up to chanting everything properly (lack of preparation or whatever), there is always recto tono recitation - not the ideal, but I don't think it is forbidden in extremis. On the other hand, since you have a monthly Missa Cantata anyway, obviously the priest is up to chanting his parts. Just do a sung Mass and be done with it.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,392
    From my reading: According to De Musica Sacra and MS the distinction is between a READ Mass and a SUNG Mass. It is a sung Mass if the celebrant chants his parts listed at MS#29, even recto tono. MS is intended as liturgical law for the 1962 rite, it lays down that you can chant the ordinary without the propers (#30 & #31), but not vice versa.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,392
    I knew a priest who was prepared, if neccessary, to chant although he could not remain in any key, certainly could not do as well as Rex Harrison. It did provide the organist with a challenge if he tried to cue the congregational Amen.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    I agree strongly with Salieri. You can have a high Mass with two servers, so if you have the staff to sing propers and ordinary at a low Mass, you really shouldn't be doing a low Mass. As for the priest, singing recto tono is always a legitimate option.
  • I've had it argued to me before (by an ex-Anglican, none the less) that the "Sung Mass" doesn't exist. Either a mass is Solemn or it is "Low". Anything without deacon or subdeacon, whether with sung ordinary/propers or not, falls under Low. Which this gentleman used (in my opinion) to justify singing non-latin motets and hymns during Mass. Sigh.
  • If you are citing MS as meaning Musicam Sacram from 1967, note that this document is not relevant to the EF Mass nowadays, as the EF is to be celebrated according to what was in effect in 1962.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,392
    EF is to be celebrated according to what was in effect in 1962
    But as specified in Summorum Pontificum: i.e. The Missal (and other books) promulgated in 1962, with any modifications indicated in Summorum Pontificum, and any subsequent instructions issued by the Commission Ecclesia Dei (such as 30 April, 2011).
  • JesJes
    Posts: 510
    Put some organ in it! :) I love organ low mass!
    Thanked by 1MarkS
  • Protasius
    Posts: 468
    Anything without deacon or subdeacon, whether with sung ordinary/propers or not, falls under Low.

    IIRC Fortescue wrote that, but I don't think that you can still hold that opinion with the 1962 Rubricae generales, which distinguish between missa lecta and missa in cantu, as far as music is concerned.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,392
    AFAIK there is no translation of 'low Mass' into latin. The EF 1958/60/62 rubrics distinguish:
    1) Pontifical Mass, celebrated by a bishop (or equivalent) with the associated rubrics of the Ceremoniale Episcoporum. 2) Solemn Mass (missa solemnis), with the celebrant and 'sacred ministers' [deacon and sub-deacon], and the ministers chanting the parts laid down. 3) sung Mass (missa cantata), no assisting sacred ministers, but the celebrant chanting all the parts laid down for him. 4) that leaves a Read Mass (missa lecta) if it is not any of 1 to 3. If there are rubrics among these which clearly answer the OPs question, I have not found them. MS does seem to clearly forbid the singing of the ordinary or propers at a missa lecta, but is dated 1967.
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 464
    You don't want 1967's Musicam sacram, but 1958's De musica sacra et sacra liturgia.

  • The technical name for "Low Mass" is "Missa Privata" -- often (erroneously, as I understand it) rendered as "Private Mass". Privata means (at least) "with something missing".... as in "deprived of..."
  • Hi,

    I sung the st Agnes EF mass last saturday.
    It was a mass with one altar server only. Everything was sung.
    It was not a missa cantata, nor a low mass either.
    I'm perfectly fine with that because I think every mass should be sung as much as possible, even with simple propers and simple kyriales.

    Liturgy is by definition sung.
    Low masses should be private masses only.


    Thanked by 1hilluminar
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,419
    Low masses should be private masses only.

    Or during times of laryngitis.
  • It seems to me (and, thus, I am entirely willing to be corrected) that a Missa Privata could be celebrated in any of the following situations without anyone arguing about it.

    1) If there is more than one priest at a parish, one could celebrate a Missa Privata at a side altar while the other celebrated at the high altar. One or both of these Masses, occurring concurrently, could be a Missa Privata.

    2) If there is not sufficient time to celebrate the Mass at a properly-dignified pace which the music would require, it would be better not to sing than to sing badly.

    Thanked by 1Jahaza
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,392
    Everything was sung.
    But in that case why do you not want it referred to as missa cantata? As De Musica Sacra 1958 says
    3. There are two kinds of Masses: the "sung Mass" and the "read Mass."
    The Mass is called a "sung Mass" if the priest celebrant actually
    sings those parts which are to be sung according to the rubrics.
    Otherwise it is a "read Mass."
    Furthermore, if a sung Mass is celebrated with the assistance of
    sacred ministers, it is called a solemn Mass. If it is celebrated
    without the sacred ministers it is called a "Missa cantata."
  • I have heard it argued that a Missa Cantata should not be referred to as a High Mass. It was argued that the Solemn High Mass is the only High Mass, and that a Missa Canta was actually just another form of the Low Mass. This view is obviously not the accepted norm, considering that most people refer to a Missa Cantata as a High Mass.

    However, I can't help but wonder if in the interview with Dom Gregory Hugle, when he's referencing the "Low Mass", that he might just be referring to the Missa Cantata option.
  • @a_f_hawkins

    Missa cantata looks a bad wording to me because it is not related to the mass being sung.
    It is related to a given ceremonial of a kind of solemn mass without sacred ministers.
    Hence it is sung like a solemn mass.

    The EF does not separate the ceremonial from whether the mass is sung or not.
    So, you cannot mix the ceremonial of a Low Mass with sung propers which is sad.
    As a consequence, if you cannot have enough altar servers for a Missa Cantata, but you have a good choir, you won't be able to sing the mass anyway.

    I experienced the contrary last saturday, despites the rules, but I think we should move in that direction.

    The OF is much more liberal in this regard since the Sung Mass became the normative mass.
    Thanked by 1hilluminar
  • To others: yes there are sometimes reasons for Low Masses, like short timing or ill priests.

    And there are rules: Low Masses shall not be sung.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    I sung the st Agnes EF mass last saturday.
    It was a mass with one altar server only. Everything was sung.
    It was not a missa cantata, nor a low mass either.


    Isn't that the definition of a missa cantata? Perhaps you meant to say "the ceremony such as as candlebearers and incense was not used" or "it was not a missa solemnis?"
    Thanked by 1moderntrad
  • Thanks @Ben Yanke

    Isn't that the definition of a missa cantata? Perhaps you meant to say "the ceremony such as as candlebearers and incense was not used" or "it was not a missa solemnis?"


    Exactly, there were no candlebearers nor incense. After reading a bit of documentation around, I suspect many possible configurations match the missa cantata. And one of them matches the ceremonial of a Low mass.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,392
    Yes. De Musica Sacra draws no ceremonial distinction between missa lecta and missa cantata, except for permitting (not requiring) incense at missa cantata. The Latin text does not in any way use or imply the term "Low Mass", in other words- it supports Fortescue, there is Mass with deacon and subdeacon, or there is the rest. Of course it also supersedes anything Fortescue says about music. I do not mean it contradicts Fortescue about music, just that if there is a disagreement then it overides Fortescue.
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 464
    After reading a bit of documentation around, I suspect many possible configurations match the missa cantata. And one of them matches the ceremonial of a Low mass.

    This is correct. A Missa Cantata is such because of the singing. It can be celebrated with a "High Mass" ceremonial of incense such as is described in e.g. Fortescue, or it can be celebrated with the same ceremonial as a Low Mass with one or two servers. Whether it is done one way or the other depends on local custom.

    As I understand it, the "High Mass" ceremonial was more common in the US for the Missa Cantata than in some other places, because the US, as mission territory, had for a longer period of time the indult necessary until the mid-twentieth century to use incense at a sung Mass without sacred ministers. The rule was then changed in the mid-twentieth century to allow incense at any sung Mass.

  • BGP
    Posts: 210
    If the 4 hymn practice is desired to be avoided, you can have organ at certain periods and motets or similar. I would encourage being conservative and sticking with the broadly accepted practice of no Mass texts being sung, rather than going after possible technical exceptions.

    The debate over what is "High Mass' and what is 'Low Mass" (here and elsewhere) is something I find frustrating, unending and unhelpful. My understanding, perhaps incorrect in some details, is as follows- we have Missa Privata/lecta, Missa Cantata, and Missa Solemnis. Missa Cantata being a post Trent living and organic development of the liturgy, it seems largely governed by custom/traditional practice. Generally, in practice, it is celebrated in one of 2 ways. Either, Simply like low Mass but with sung texts or like Solemn Mass but with different ministers fulfilling the duties of the Deacon and Sub Deacon (ex- servers saying the Confiteor, priest chanting the gospel and so on). The Plenary council of Baltimore called it 'High Mass', Fortesque insisted it was 'Low Mass' there is no definitive answer, and so the debate is stupid water treading. Just call it Sung Mass and kill the debate.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    Sung Mass with full ceremonial was not permitted until 1962, since incense couldn’t be used. It properly is more like Low Mass, with one server and another to chant, and if you want ceremony, you have Solemn High Mass. Now, in the medieval era, the distinction on Sunday was more fuzzy, but certainly a priest’s private Mass was sung in such a manner until recitation alone became the custom.
  • BGP
    Posts: 210
    "Sung Mass with full ceremonial was not permitted until 1962, since incense couldn’t be used." For the sake of clarity, Mass with full ceremonial was not Universally permitted prior to 1962.

    Instructions are given for it in this 1907 ceremonial.
    https://archive.org/details/handbookofceremo00muel

    It sounds like it was not at all unheard of at the time of this 1943 ceremonial which makes mention of the US bishops having an indult for it. https://www.scribd.com/document/256324372/The-Book-of-Ceremonies-L-O-Connell-1943
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,713
    I'm sure Mr. Roth will provide documentation for his claim.
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 464
    Sung Mass with full ceremonial was not permitted until 1962, since incense couldn’t be used.

    As BGP notes, celebration of Sung Mass with full ceremonial was widespread as a permitted practice because of indults including a general permission in the U.S.