EF musical appropriateness question
  • Is it ever right and proper, but also is it seemly and just, to substitute (say) Isaac's polyponic introit for the Gregorian chant? I have an acquaintance who suggested quite strongly that in the revival of the Traditional Rite, polyphonic Propers could supplement, but not replace the chant Propers. That is, for example, it would be acceptable to sing Palestrina's Sicut Cervus; Sitivit Anima Mea at Mass, but not at the Easter Vigil during the procession to the baptismal font.

  • I've substituted plenty of times. I adapted Wood's Oculi Omnium for the gradual of Corpus Christi one year. Next year we hope to use Tallis's Tye's Cibavit for the Introit. We've used the settings for the propers of the mass when singing a polyphonic Requiem. I've also used Yon's Christus Factus Est for gradual at Holy Cross. No complaints there, and we had a stickler Fraternity priest who would've said something otherwise.

    I see no problem with it. The text is covered, and there's no need to go to the trouble of learning more music than is absolutely necessary.

    EDIT: Wrong composer for the Cibavit. Muh bad.
    Thanked by 2Incardination tomjaw
  • Chris, I think if you accept that argument, you might as well toss out the body of polyphonic Mass settings for the Ordinary as well as all Responsory settings that were clearly written to substitute for the corresponding chanted parts of the Office.

    The Victoria Requiem a 4 (for example) has music for several parts of the Propers as well as the Ordinary, but how would your acquaintance justify the singing of a Palestrina / Lotti / Byrd Mass even for simply the Ordinary? The O Magnum Mysterium (various composers) was written for the Responsory during Christmas Matins... let alone the many wonderful settings that were written for Tenebrae Responsories. While we can certainly use those as motets, they were written to be used during the singing of the Office.

    We often use the Sicut / Sitivit for the Easter Vigil, and I actually schedule which years will be done in chant vs. which years will be done with the full motet.

    I've run into one or two people who have made similar arguments as your acquaintance... but those arguments are (I think) comparable to a kind of musical scrupulosity which is (as scruples are) a distortion of the underlying principle - in this case, the general primacy of chant as the preferred form of Liturgical music. Virtus in medio stat.

    Down the road we may even be using your own composition of Circumduxit eam!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    I agree that it is not wrong, but I would be crushed if I went to a missa cantata on Corpus Christi and the chanted Cibavit eos didn't happen.

    One of the beauties of the sung Mass is the way each year's chants can be anticipated and remembered by congregations
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,731
    I can understand the argument that we should not use Polyphonic settings but this relies on a very restrictive reading of the relevant legislation. All this beautiful polyphony was written for the Mass so why can't we use it?
    The one problem with using Polyphonic settings is the text is not always the same as in the modern (1924) edition of the Graduale (although the Missale Romanum does not always use the same text as the Graduale). Our rule is as long as it is largely the same we will use it, I have discussed this with various experts / pedants and they do not see a problem.

    Anyway on Sunday we will once again (we have done this for several years) be singing the Issac settings of the Introit, Alleluia, and Communion, for the Communion we sing the Issac, verse, chant, verse etc. so you get to hear the Chant Proper as well. The Propers of the 24th and Last Sunday as well as the Propers of Epiphany 3 are regularly repeated so to avoid singing the same propers for several weeks in a row we sing Issac / Palestrina!

    We sing Issac Propers on up to 10 Sundays a year, we also sing the Bruckner Locus Iste as the Gradual (with verse sung to the chant) on Feasts of the Dedication, Sicut / Sitivit at the Easter Vigil / Pentecost Vigil, and we also sing the Palestrina Dextera Domini on 3rd after Epiphany and Maunday Thursday.

    As they say 'Variety is the spice of life'
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • Kathy,

    Would it matter what took the place of the chanted Cibavit eos.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    There have been multiple times where we chanted the proper text + verse, and then used the polyphony for the repetition of the proper antiphon. That doesn't mean that we think it wrong to do just the polyphony, but it's always nice to hear what the polyphony is based on, since Isaac did strive to have most of his polyphonic propers recognizable as having come from them.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,177
    Forgive me, but this strikes me as the same scrupulosity that requires the chant be performed strictly according to the Ward-Mocquereau-Liber interpretation, lest the validity of the Mass be called into question.
  • Thank heavens --- PCED just ruled, in response to a dubium to that effect, that no, the method of chant interpretation is not de jure.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • Salieri,

    I take your point, but the scrupulosity isn't mine: I am the one suggesting that it is possible to sing polyphonic introits, communios and so on.
    Thanked by 1CCooze
  • the method of chant interpretation is not de jure.

    Nihil, does this mean that the Quires of Sleepy Eye will be taught chant interpretation a la Pustet?
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,177
    Chris: I know that it isn't yours, you're a musician. For all the beauty of the EF, it does attract 'exotic' people. (And I say that as a proponent of the Usus Antiquior.)
  • Who on earth is suggesting that polyphonic propers might be “forbidden” in the Extraordinary Form?

    This is something I never heard before.

    Honestly, I cannot understand some of these questions. At the Sacred Music Symposium, one of the presenters talked about someone who thought a Sung Mass was forbidden on days where the Missal said: Credo dicitur. Their point was that the Missal said “The Credo is said” not sung. I laughed out loud when I heard this.

    The Presenter used this example to demonstrate the importance of consulting people who have familiarity with the authentic Catholic liturgy. Otherwise (the Presenter said) we end up making ridiculous errors, such as not understanding the meaning of Credo dicitur.
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    I do not think polyphonic propers are being forbidden. More likely they want .. always first use the chant score .. then if possible by skill or time follow it with the polyphony.
  • someone who thought a Sung Mass was forbidden on days where the Missal said: Credo dicitur.

    This almost sounds like something I would hear at the St. Mary's Music Conference.

    Which reminds me - I need to finish my review of that conference!
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • This

    someone who thought a Sung Mass was forbidden on days where the Missal said: Credo dicitur.

    reminds me of something I've had to say to classrooms of adolescent students: no one can write a rule book so clear that a teenager can't misunderstand it if he is determined to do so.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,177
    someone who thought a Sung Mass was forbidden on days where the Missal said: Credo dicitur.

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,003
    In the most recent GIRM for the OF, #38 includes the clarification, "In the rubrics and in the norms that follow, words such as “say” and “proclaim” are to be understood of both singing and reciting, according to the principles just stated above." Presumably because there were folks who had tried to excluded presidential chanting on the grounds of said =/= sung.
  • Liam,

    Your explanation makes sense, but is there evidence that the norm for the OF is singing rather than speaking? I ask because the EF norm is a sung Mass with the bishop. (For others who read this later, remember that "norm" means "how things should be done", not "how things are usually done".)
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,003

    Well, the OF basically broke down the rubrical gates that formerly had the effect of cloistering a sung Mass so that that was only able to be done under certain situations.
  • Of course the final arbiter of what is acceptable at the EF is Father.
    One might ask, "Just what was all that polyphony written for?" (for the Office, mostly, but I think you get my point).
    Sacrosanctam Concilium tells us that chant should have 'Pride of place" in the liturgy. What does that mean exactly? Theoretically, one could do nothing but polyphonic Ordinary and Proper settings, and at that point, one would clearly not be giving chant pride of place. But how many institutions could sustain such a program?

    We just came off a phase of replacing many Offertory and Communion chants with composed settings, mostly from Peter Griesbacher's Repertorium Chorale, but also a bowdlerization of my setting of De profundis clamavi. I wouldn't want to always do that; as a group, it's hard for us to learn pieces for a single use like that.But it seemed fitting to overegg the pudding a little in expectation of Advent. And we were generally doing Gregorian ordinaries. mostly (groan) Mass XI, so there was some balance.

    I've never tried composed Introits or Graduals; I think it would be something i'd run by the priest (we have a rotation of them doing our Masses). There are a lot of composed Introits out there (and Asperges!)

    I think that we now have, for the EF, perhaps the strictest liturgical rules for music in the history of the Church. I see no need to make them even stricter than they are now.
  • JesJes
    Posts: 576
    Hmmm I guess you have to ask yourself is the chant being used in the polyphonic propers?
    If the tenor line is singing the chant line in the polyphony... well then you'd be doing both soft and hard tacos!
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,409
    evidence that the norm for the OF is singing
    For a start, GIRM 40:
    Great importance should therefore be attached to the use of singing in the celebration of the Mass, ... Although it is not always neccessary (e.g. in weekday Masses) to sing all the texts that are in principle meant to be sung, ...
    GIRM 393:
    Bearing in mind the important place that singing has in a celebration as a neccessary or integral part of the liturgy,* ...
    *SC #112