Friday, November 03, 2006

Musicam sacram vs. Music in Catholic Worship

Here is a great article comparing Musicam sacram with Music in Catholic Worship. It first appeared in AIM about a year ago and is reprinted now at Adoremus, apparently with some revisions.


At Saturday, November 04, 2006 10:36:00 AM, Blogger Todd said...

I went to the point at which the author says that MCW discredits the sung Mass. More accurate would be to say MCW criticizes the performance Mass. Should I keep reading? Or should I devote a series on my own site for these documents and walk through what they really say.

MS and MCW are accessible enough. GIRM trumps them both. Why not just read those first? Why do we need to read the spin doctors?

At Saturday, November 04, 2006 11:22:00 AM, Blogger Father Martin Fox said...

I confess the hierarchy of what ought to be sung in Mass challenges me, because it's not what I'm accustomed to.

My "hierarchy" -- without accompaniment -- is something like this:

1. Bare minimum: I sing the Alleluia, Mystery of Faith and Per Ipsum.

2. Add: kyrie, collects, then preface and Sanctus, Lamb of God.

(With accompaniment, Gloria).

3. Entrance and communion antiphons, Our Father.

4. Opening dialogue and introduction (i.e., everything is sung till 1st reading), Eucharistic Prayer, concluding dialogue, blessing and dismissal.

5. Gospel dialogue and Gospel.

At Saturday, November 04, 2006 2:04:00 PM, Blogger Cantor said...

Todd, I’ll agree the author misleads a bit on MCW, but it is conscpicuous that the BCL document doesn’t mention, anywhere that I’ve seen at least, singing the entire Mass, or nearly so. In particular, singing the dialogues seems an unfortunate omission.

Some have commented, for instance, that singing the Our Father is overkill, overloading that part of the Mass with too much music. If, however, we see it in light of the EP itself being sung, as well as dialogues and so forth, then singing the Our Father (esp. a straightforward chant setting) seems not quite so awkward.

MS views a choral Ordinary as still being legitimate, which is why it gives encouragement for congregational singing of the Proper (since that’s just monophonic chant - why not have the folks sing that if they can be taught to do so?). The musician in me wishes this were still a permissible option somehow - I understand and agree that it’s good to have everyone singing - i.e. participating externally, but in a culture of skyscrapers and just seems funny that we put such restrictions on specialization of tasks in the liturgy when it’s how we live our daily lives.

It is helpful to read analyses of the documents; also, this article (printed in AIM) was my first exposure that I recall to MS. Many are ignorant of the older document because NPM never talks about it, LTP’s “The Liturgy Documents” leaves it out, and so forth - it gets brushed over, despite its having (I believe) more canonical weight than MCW and LMT.

Schaefer is maybe not to be considered in the same breath as Ms. Hitchcock et al; he did first publish the article in AIM, a legit mainstream publication.

At Saturday, November 04, 2006 2:15:00 PM, Blogger Cantor said...

Fr. Fox,

Your reaction seems something like mine when I first looked at MS - it seems so far askance of what generally happens. (As I recall, in France it’s a bit more along the lines of MS - not that that has improved their Mass attendance, it seems!)

Notable to me is that singing the Prayer of the Faithful is prioritized over the Proper chants and readings. It’s the only part of the hierarchy that doesn’t come “pre-packaged”, so to speak - at least, not in common practice.

At Saturday, November 04, 2006 10:23:00 PM, Blogger Todd said...

MS's promotion of a sung ordinary has been abrogated by the 1975 GIRM. Ditto a number of other prescriptions of the document.

I question the stature of the dialogues, though I concede a singing priest is likely to bump up participation in other areas. But the dialogues are among the few prayers and rituals not directed at God. I'd ask if the prayers directly addressing God should get priority.

MS is receiving something of a revival in reform2 circles these days, but I think the Roman Missal is still the place to start.

At Saturday, November 04, 2006 10:39:00 PM, Blogger Cantor said...

Apparently the CMAA folks are asserting that MS actually overrides GIRM....I’ve asked for an explanation - we’ll see. The musician in me would love it - I had Haydn Sancti Nicolai Mass in today and would love to think this could actually work, at least licitly, at Mass, but right now I don’t see it happening.

I agree that the Missal is the place to start, but I also don’t see that much tension between it and MS.

Good point, re the texts addressed to God.


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