Friday, June 09, 2006

MS 19-21

19. Because of the liturgical ministry it exercises, the choir (capella musica, schola cantorum) should be mentioned here explicitly.

The conciliar norms regarding reform of the liturgy have given the choir's function greater prominence and importance. The choir is responsible for the correct performance of the parts that belong to it, according to the differing types of liturgical assembly and for helping the faithful to take an active part in the singing.

Therefore:

a. Choirs are to be developed with great care, especially in cathedrals and other major churches, in seminaries, and in religious houses of study.

b. In smaller churches as well a choir should be formed, even if there are only a few members.

Twofold purpose of the choir:

1) Correct performance of the parts that belong to it

2) Helping the faithful to take an active part in the singing.

Not very inspiring; functional to say the least in this context.

20. Over the centuries the choirs of basilicas, cathedrals, monasteries, and other major churches have won high praise because they have preserved and developed the priceless treasury of sacred music. By means of rules issued specifically for them and reviewed and approved by the Ordinary such choirs are to be continued in order to carry out liturgical celebrations with greater solemnity.

Nevertheless choir directors and parish priests (pastors) or rectors of churches are to ensure that the congregation always joins in the singing of at least the more simple parts belonging to them.

In other words, keep working toward the advancement of liturgical music through choirs striving for excellence yet not usurping the participation of the faithful.

21. Especially where even a small choir is not possible, there must be at least one or more cantors, thoroughly trained to intone at least the simpler chants that the congregation sings and to lead and sustain the singing.

Even in churches having a choir it is better for a cantor to be present for those celebrations that the choir cannot attend but that should be carried out with some degree of solemnity and thus with singing.

Cantor's responsibilities:

1) Intone the simpler chants that the congregation sings

2) To lead and sustain the singing.

The first seems to imply that music is being used that requires intonation . . . chant, anyone?


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