Congregational Mass Cards for New Missal
  • I have read a number of comments in other discussions about the usefulness of preparing a cardstock 8.5"x11" congregational worship aid that has (e.g.) the ICEL English chants for the Ordinary on one side, and perhaps a Latin Ordinary on the other side.

    I would like to suggest that we pool our efforts to create and share such aids, because in my experience they tend to get used a great deal more than Ordinaries in hymnals, where you have to pick up the book and turn to such-and-such a page, already after the music has begun (since, for some strange reason, it seems most Catholics still don't really know what's coming next at Mass until it's on top of them).

    Also, I'm wondering if it wouldn't be a good idea to include on these cards the prayers or responses that have changed (e.g., the new Confiteor, the new "Lord, I am not worthy").

    I have on my shelf many such cards from the 1950s, sometimes with square notes and sometimes with modern notation, and it seems to me that this is yet another good idea from the past that we can and should recover.
  • Since some parishes in my area have already begun discussions about the best manner to introduce the new missal, I wonder why the USCCB hasn't already prepared for distribution the type of Mass card you propose. If the new missal chants are to be learned, a user-friendly pew resource is the only way to go. And may I add, getting accompaniments to these chants into the hands of parish musicians is equally important. This needs to happen soon if the chants are to have any chance of being embraced by the typical parish.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,992
    One expedient way to do it is to paste text changes into the inside covers of current hardbound hymnals.
  • I should have added that I would love to see examples of current congregation aids if anyone has them -- I'm not referring to the worship aids that have already been shared in this forum (folded sheets with hymns, acclamations, parish news, etc.), but strictly the format of a front-and-back card with the Mass Ordinary on it.

    Does anyone have good connections over at ICEL? I agree that it would be splendid if they could prepare such a resource.
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 469
    ICEL doesn't (as far as I know) publish books themselves, but a number of the liturgical publishers have already announced a pew card of this sort, LTP for instance. They also have a book with the full text of the ordinary with the ICEL chants.
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    this is a great idea. Our parish has been teaching the Missa Jubilate Deo (the one that every Catholic should know,) and it is a couple pages in a booklet that we put together (with other songs), and I am *always* finding those pages torn out, b/c obviously they get sooo much more use than the rest of the book! I wish we had just gone with a card.
  • ICEL wouldn't have to publish; they could simply make the PDFs available for free distribution.

    This sounds like a project for -- Chant Cafe! And the other chant typesetting gurus out there. I will try my hand at making something, but it's a cut and paste job for me at best.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    Peter

    Someone started a similar thread a number of weeks ago. I remember them posting their card as a pdf. You might look it up and see if it will work for your situation.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    This would be wonderful. I looked at a "card" by one of the big three. It has 4 pages. Printing on card stock would be a big improvement. I think the ICEL chants on a single, durable card would be an easier sell to the pastor.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    I offered to make one up on the other thread but they came up with their own. I am still willing to do this as I want to put one in our pews here. Before I do, give me the hit list of exactly which elements to include. Off the top of my head I think the dialogues and the Ordinary would be key. I have mixed feelings about including the
    Credo because I think that is the hardest sell to get people to sing, and because it would eat half the space. Thoughts?

    BTW... I would use the ICEL pdfs as it is simple to import them into my layout app, so this would be a fast turnaround.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    ICEL pdfs would be great. I agree on the Creed.
  • Francis,

    I would be delighted to see a card from you. I think there should be (at least eventually) two versions of any set of music: one with the Creed and one without. Starting with the Creed would be overwhelming for a lot of pastors, musicians, and people in the pews, but after successfully introducing the rest of the Ordinary, the Creed would be a logical and obvious step.

    The ICEL chants are the place to begin. They are the most basic and will probably be the most commonly in use. It will be an easier sell to say: "Here are the official chants that come along with the Missal, so shouldn't we at least start here? We can always branch out later..."

    As for what to include: the Ordinary parts (minus the Creed for now); all the sung responses, including Memorial Acclamation(s); and if possible, the texts for the people that have changed, e.g., the Confiteor and the Lord, I am not worthy. That way, all that the people would need access to would be in one place. Not sure if this is even possible with a double-sided letter-sized card, but one could make the attempt!
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    Peter

    It is possible to fit anything anywhere for typesetters and engravers. Size of content however becomes the issue when you try to include too much on one side. After looking at the pfds by ICEL, I think I will reset the content myself as theirs wastes a lot of space. Also, what do you think if I set it in square notes? It will save a ton of room.

    Another reason to use GN is to promote the psychological effect that the chants are rooted in the Latin and Gregorian tradition. Unfortunately, a psychology ICEL is, at least, not interested to promote and support.


    Liquescents and episemas are not used...

    ...The quilisma is used only in the Preface sung by the celebrant, not in congregational chants.

    In the music to be provided to the Conferences of Bishops, ICEL seriously considered employing the venerable four‐line square note notation of the Latin chant books. Once one learns the medieval notation, which does not take long, it is in some ways easier to read than modern five‐line notation. But pastoral considerations argued against this approach. There is danger that the traditional four‐line notation would pose a practical hindrance and psychological barrier for some singers. The uppermost goal must be to enable sung liturgy. Though a standard G clef (without key signature) is used with this five‐line notation, it is not intended to suggest an absolute pitch, but rather, as in four‐line notation, relative pitch, to accommodate various ranges of voices that will be singing these chants.

    First Progress Report of the ICEL Music Committee


    Was there a rereview and solicitation for input and any following reports?
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    Here are my questions:

    In the music to be provided to the Conferences of Bishops, ICEL seriously considered employing the venerable four‐line square note notation of the Latin chant books. Once one learns the medieval notation, which does not take long, it is in some ways easier to read than modern five‐line notation.


    If it is venerabe and easier to read, then why was it not employed? The lingo is patronizing.

    But pastoral considerations argued against this approach.


    Who made and What were the "pastoral considerations?" Are we (the body of musicians of the church) not part of making that assessment or at least providing input?

    There is danger that the traditional four‐line notation would pose a practical hindrance and psychological barrier for some singers.


    Wow. Since when (1960?) has there been "danger" in the very things of longstanding tradition? Isn't the danger always in those who question them? Is this the sole criterion of the "pastoral considerations?"- "some singers?" Is this not the tail wagging the dog?

    The uppermost goal must be to enable sung liturgy.


    So this summing statement then assumes that GN does not enable sung liturgy? If it doesn't enable sung liturgy, why has it been used for hundreds and hundreds of years?

    Just questions.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    I run an Episcopalian choir full of people who love all sorts of music, including traditional Catholic sacred forms such as chant and polyphony. That have been more than gracious and welcoming of everything I have done, and they have no post-V2 psychological axes to grind. They sight read incredibly well.

    However, the first time I handed them 4-line, square note music it took a great deal of reassurance that this was, in fact, not hard to sing. My organist just about flipped out when he saw it ("I don't know how to do that!").

    There is definitely a psychological barrier for people with chant notation. They think it's going to be harder, scarier...

    Denying this is counterproductive.

    The more interesting question is:
    Is it worth the trouble which will be caused by using it?

    ICEL decide it was not worth the trouble. I find that decision.... unfortunate.
    But not altogether surprising.

    Also, considering the potential for complaining/confusion/whatever with the new translation, I'm sure they felt like 4-line notation might be received with some additional hostility.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    Adam

    I totally agree with you on everything you have said. However, Non-Christians, many non-Catholic denominations and Pagans are hostile towards things of the Church. What is the difference between them and those who profess to be Catholic but are hostile to it?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    You are asking the wrong guy.
    As I said...
    I find that decision.... unfortunate.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    I hope you don't do it in square notes. Despite all the arguments in favor of neumes, it will provide chant opponents another weapon for keeping it from ever being used in many parishes. What's the objective here? Is it to get the chants adopted and used, or stake out ideological ground and maybe lose this golden opportunity?
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    This is not about ideology... its about ease of sightreading and using precious real estate. I will challenge any typsetter/music engraver to a contest to fit the same content in the same fontsize that I create with GN. And of course elegance is a whole nother matter. IMHO, ICELs present pdfs don't even make it onto the elegance meter at all. WLP is resetting everything because of the same reason. Look on the same document mentioned above and you will see ICEL is setting their own conventions in regard to layout and engraving. I mean, look at the PDFs. Have you seen anything similar to that in a professional publication much less the official Missal of the church? That alone is a travesty.

    Beauty should not only reside in the content of the music but also in its engraved presentation.

    You will of course please forgive me for my rants. I do get defensive about the intrinsic nature of beauty, whether it's a musical composition, a publication, statuary, architecture or a pipe organ.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    Charles... I can make you a special edition in clunky MN. However, you will have less real estate so you would have to decide which parts you want to leave out.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    I don't disagree with you. But I have a pretty good idea of what I can "sell" to the pastor and congregation. Square notes would go over like a lead balloon.

    I don't need the Creed, since it's unlikely we would sing it. I can use the other Ordinary parts.

    Many thanks.
  • I can see why ICEL made the decision it did. I think that the #1 goal has to be getting the chant idiom back into the parish. After some years of this, the square notes can also be reintroduced, because there will be something of a living awareness of how the familiar melodies match the square notes, and then it can go in reverse: people reading the square notes of a chant they have never seen. For now, I think the modified modern notation (stemless notes) works better for our situation, which is admittedly a dire cultural situation.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    Here is a sample of MN in elegant style compared to the same thing in GN.

    download engraving comparison
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    BTW... what happened to the Mea Culpa!? I thought it was going to be in the penitential rite?
  • Yes, it's in the Confiteor: "Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault."
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Francis, would there be enough space for English in MN and Latin in CN (chant notation) at least for Ordinaries? It would be really good to have Latin Ordinaries side by side with English ones. Thanks.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    I am sure the ordinary would fit, but the dialogues are the issue. If you just did Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Mem Acc, Amen, (possibly the Lord's Prayer and Sanctus, I think it would all fit.

    Another thing, I am thinking I would produce octavo size folded cards (not 8.5 x 11) but 6.875 x 10 - This is much more natural for holding and for scanning (by the eye), fits better in the pew, and will be more durable, especially if it is laminated. I can produce them in 2 color (black and red : novel idea! do the red say the black). My only issue is going to be dealing with ICEL and their copyright demands.

    And Mia, that is a great idea, to do the Latin next to the English. In fact, I would do the Latin in the GN and the English in MN.

    Mia: If I did the Eng/Lat side by side, I would do it on a larger card, probably an 8 x 10 and not include any dialogue.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    Here's a little secret about square vrs. round note heads. Look again at the example I have posted above.

    Square note heads are wonderfully natural for singing chant, because the sides of the notes, in a sense, 'point' to the word you are singing. Because their sides are vertical, they direct your eye to the textual matter which is vertical to it. This is more psychological than visual. Round note heads give you the feeling they are 'grabbing' at the space around them, and do not necessarily assign themselves the textual matter directly below them. Why?

    This phenomenon is called 'leading the eye'. The way content is placed on the page is how a designer leads the eye from place to place. In reading modern notation, you sort of feel a much greater tension in trying to "connect note head to word or syllable." This is actually a little known secret by only those who understand design and more specifically, chant engraving.

    A little story: My choir never saw square notes when I got here three years ago. They all had that initial "o my gosh, I can't do this" response to me at first. I simply assured them that they will see how easy this is and in the long run how much easier it will be than reading MN for chant. We have been doing the AUG propers. Now they ALL prefer GN because they now understand the difference and the ease in reading GN when it comes to chant. When new members come to the choir and we practice the chant, the new member vocalizes the "omgicdt" sentiment, and the choir sells them on the spot! That is one of the more rewarding moments in choir rehearsal for me.

    As for my philosophy on 'waiting', there is no waiting any more. To take back the territory, you have to push a little on the boundary line, or else you will never find the right time to re-present GN. I know I stirred up the hive on this subject above, but I want to see where people are with regards to pushing a little on the boundary. From what I am reading, it all comes down to the particular situation which is largely influenced by the pastor, committees and general stance about Latin or the EF. Do you agree?
  • Just throwing this in as a tidbit of trivia regarding space savings.

    I don't remember if it was in the 1982 Episcopal Hymnal where I saw it, but wherever it was, the engravers used an abbreviated modern staff notation (i.e., less than 5 lines, perhaps as little as 1?) for the dialogues.

    Using this on congregational cards may add another "fear factor" into the mix regardless of the notation used. (The example I saw was in modern notation if I remember correctly.) But could it also be a way to ease people into reading notation?
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    AE:

    Yes. Good idea. If you find that example, let us know where it is.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,072
    Gents: Aristotle is on the money. If you look in a 1982 in the service music section #1 for Morning Prayer, you can see an example. It is interesting in that the reciting note actually gets a flat (!) as a way of showing the ti-do relationship.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    Bruce

    Im going to look at that for sure.
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    A point-of-order here: What's the most proper name for the square note notation? Is it just that… "square note notation"? Or, "four-line notation," or "Gregorian notation," or "neumes," or what?

    Just curious. (And for that matter, is "modern notation" the best name for a five-line staff?)
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    Don't know Mark... I call it Gregorian or Square Note, and other Modern or 5 line. Why?
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    Just curious! :)
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    Depends on what you're emphasizing, I imagine.
    "Square notes" are easier to sing, line up properly with the text (vowels), and use less horizontal space. "Four-line" notation takes up less vertical space, spans the correct pitch range, and correctly demonstrates the relative (rather than fixed) pitch relationships of the music. "Gregorian notation" has a certain official gravitas to it, although it might be the slightest bit misleading, as Gregorian chant exists apart from the notation, and the notation can be used for non-Gregorian chants."Neumes" seems an odd choice, as you don't describe modern sheet music as simply "notes."
    "Five line notation" wastes vertical space, and usually suggests a fixed pitch. Also, "five-line" is easier for organists to read. "Round notes" are less scary than "square notes," and (even when used stemless or on a four line staff) people seem to flip out less if the notes are round rather than square.
    "Modern notation" (in reference to chant) might mean that awful, awful thing where they put a quarter note on every syllable. Much preferable to that is "modern chant notation" (stemless round notes on a five line staff). Another problem with "modern notation" is that in the world of academic (non-liturgical, non-early) music, "modern notation" might mean all the weird 20th century things like box-notation or pages of squiggly lines with cryptic instructions about when to turn on and off the vacuum cleaner. So, while "modern notation" might be an okay shorthand for a generic conversation ("chant notation is better than modern notation"), it seems that in reference to a particular edition of a piece of music, it is best to be specific ("The ICEL chants are presented in stemless round notes on a five-line staff").
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    Yes... Adam has a point... ICEL is using 'stemless-round-note-five-line-staff' notation.

    I have simplified it to two categories.

    GN and MN.

    If it is not four lines and square notes, it's MN. Polyphony is composed in MN. However, number of lines is not so much the issue because I might use two lines for the dialogues and still use square notes which in my mind is still GN.

    However, there is also HN! Hybrid Notation (compliment of yours truly). It shows up as number nine in google.

    demonstration of hybrid notation

    (BTW... I don't consider "boxed squiggles" or any noise making scribbling to fall into the category of music. I call that NN - nonsense notation)
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    AE:

    I looked up the example you mentioned. They are using two lines with a TE as the demarcation for the top line (probably because they could'nt use the DO clef as it would be off the staff (next space up). Effectively, this is kind of a substitute for the DO clef in that it puts one in the frame of mind as singing in the Mixolydian mode using the top line as the lowered 7th. Actually, now that I think about it, they are really using the FA clef without the clef which would be the space below the bottom line and including a fixed TE on the top line.

    I do not care for the round notes... they look sandwiched tightly between the lines. It is better if it doesn't touch the line if it has nothing to do with that pitch if you know what I mean.

    It is a great idea for the Mass card as it will save TONS of room for the dialogues.

    Bruce:

    I am not seeing a Service Music section for Morning Prayer... what page is that on? I found an example at #153, The Liturgy of the Palms.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    dude- i love the idea of the Hybrid notation for accompaniment to chant. I can't imagine a convenient way of typesetting that, though....
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    Adam:

    I suspect I am the only man for the job... unless you are an illustrator/graphic designer/music engraver all in one.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    I am all of those things, but hardly ever at the same time...
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    OK... then you can easily do this too! How about some help! I love the NOH accomps, but I barely get my work done for the parish much less doing something as ornate as a Hybrid NOH.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,451
    Easily? no... no....
    Moreover, as a Software program manager by trade, my real concern is how to create a music notation software capable of this level of awesomeness.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    It's interesting that we are calling "modern" a system of notation that is how many centuries old?
  • Francis,

    I have followed this discussion with great interest. I think the only way forward is to make several cards, of different content and sizes, so that choirmasters can pick the one most suited to their parish situation. (Only English; English and Latin; modern notation; square note; etc.) Naturally, you've only got so much time, so why don't you pick a paper size, format, and content that you think works best all around, and share it with the forum?

    I know that my pastor is looking forward to seeing congregational aids, and relatively soon, at that. My worry all along has been watching GIA and other companies scramble to get their products on the market, and musicians grabbing hold of second-rate stuff for lack of alternatives.

    Peter
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    Peter

    Lets start with your preferred version. I will crank it out in the few days at best. After all, I have organ music to practice. ;-}
  • My preferred version would be, as mentioned above:

    * the Ordinary parts (minus the Creed for now), in ICEL's English version, and with modern notation;
    * all the sung responses, including Memorial Acclamation(s);
    * the texts for the people that have changed, e.g., the Confiteor; Lord, I am not worthy.

    Either on an 8.5x11 card both sides, or the same card folded into 5.5x8.5, allowing four smaller pages. Or legal size folded in half.

    Peter
  • It may be of historical interest (and perhaps some practical value) to see three Mass cards that came out, one in Latin in 1959, and two in English in 1964 and 1965. I have these due to the generosity of a deceased organist who bequeathed a large collection of music to me, including such rarities as congregational aids from the "old days."

    For the sake of people who are thinking of creating congregational Mass cards, I should like to mention to dimensions of the original documents. All were made with card stock.

    1. Chant Mass for the People (1959): a folding 11x17, to give four letter-sized pages.
    2. Simple Hymn-Tune Mass (1964): front and back, a bit short of 12x9.
    3. English Mass in Honor of Pope John XXIII (1965): front and back, 10.5x7.
  • I'm bumping this thread because I looked but could not find a very simple thing. I need an 8x11 with the essential chants in modern notation for the congregation. My version attached is kind of shabby because it used the ICEL editions, which strike me as not quite beautiful or symmetrical. Has anyone done a version that is cleaner and more beautiful?
  • This is absolutely perfect!