Friday, September 28, 2007

A new development

So, like many single Catholics, I attend a Catholic young adult group. This group has Mass on Tuesdays, music for which is currently provided by a couple of guys with guitars. (I don’t mean to paint a derogatory picture by that description - it is what it is.)

I had the idea (since I’d probably be fired for it in my own parish where I work) of starting a chant group for this Mass. There is a not-insubstantial element of tradition-friendly Catholicism among the young adult crowd in my area, so I figured I would snag enough folks to start something. Perhaps ironically, two of the guys I got are the guitar players!

Right now I am trying to find a time when we can meet. Beyond that, though, I am wondering about repertoire.

Obviously, the Graduale Romanum is one ideal, if not *the* ideal. The Graduale Simplex is another option. I think By Flowing Waters might be our first step, though. And/or, the Anglican Use Gradual.

I don’t think this will be a full-blooded “choir” - though who knows.


At Saturday, September 29, 2007 7:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful! I'm considering approaching the guitarists for my parish's Saturday Mass about joining the choir, although I assume I know the answer...

And of course, your average angry Catholic music blogger would have just grumbled about the guitarists and not even considered inviting them. Shows that keeping a positive outlook helps!


At Sunday, September 30, 2007 8:09:00 AM, Blogger Dad29 said...

You could use the Liber Cantualis as a foundation ($17.00 or so from GIA) and then add a Graduale--but why not the "Gregorian Missal" (also from GIA) which contains REALLY GOOD English translations of the Propers...

At Sunday, September 30, 2007 10:08:00 PM, Blogger Cantor said...


Actually, those are from Solesmes; GIA just resells them, as do OCP and WLP. But, thank you for the LC idea; that book had not occurred to me. (I actually don’t own a copy, though...)

I play guitar myself and have done so for Mass with this group. Part of the reason they use guitar is because there is no easily accessible piano for their space needs. And let’s face it - it’s a lot easier to play some chords on the guitar and sing than it is to accompany competently on a piano or organ.

Anyway, these two guitarists are actually pretty tradition-friendly guys. One of them is a former Episcopalian.

At Thursday, October 04, 2007 7:32:00 PM, Anonymous Pes said...

Two words: office psalm tones. Then a seasonal communio with the tones they already know. Then maybe some seasonal antiphons.

Cantor, I'm with a group now (and not directing it). We sing a complete Mass every month with maybe three one-hour rehearsals. The lads do a good job, but their Latin is already good and several are ace readers. But you know what's tough to get? Beauty. Perfect blend. And I think that's because we spend so much of our energy learning all those pieces.

If you start modest and get a great unison sound with the right sense of weightlessness, they will love it. Otherwise, it will always feel like work.

At Friday, October 05, 2007 10:07:00 PM, Anonymous pdt said...

I'd suggest you start without spending a lot of money and working from there. The St Cecilia Schola Cantorum has many resources on their website. The starting point for:

Start off with some simple pieces and work from there.
You might also work on learning the 8 modes of the Gloria Patri, which you'll find at:

Not only are they fairly easy to learn but they'll get you more than halfway towards singing the Introits.

And if that doesn't keep you busy enough, watch out for the many books Jeffrey Tucker (at likes to post for free download. There's enough music in them to keep you busy for the next 3 generations of your young adult group!

Have fun with it. God bless.


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