Musical accompaniment on Good Friday

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oopsorganist
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Re: Musical accompaniment on Good Friday

Post by oopsorganist » Sat Jan 09, 2016 7:41 pm

Sorry
We Should Glory in the Cross is for Thursday not Friday therefore goes very well.
uh oh!

Southern Comfort
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Re: Musical accompaniment on Good Friday

Post by Southern Comfort » Sun Jan 10, 2016 10:12 pm

There is no entrance song on Good Friday. The ministers enter in silence, reverence the altar and prostrate themselves.

So Inwood's This is the wood of the cross could not be used at that point. But there's nothing to stop people using it during the Veneration of the Cross, if they are too scrupulous to use it at the entrance of the Cross. (NB: The text was never the official one, even before the latest changes, but that didn't stop people using it, and in fact continuing to use it now.)

Ephrem Feeley
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Re: Musical accompaniment on Good Friday

Post by Ephrem Feeley » Mon Jan 11, 2016 2:27 pm

We made the bold step some years back to keep the organ silent for Good Friday. Of course, this eliminates some very attractive pieces which are built around the accompaniment, but it is a sacrifice worth making. It reinforces the starkness of the day - stripped altars, no entrance hymns, everything unaccompanied - this all makes for a heightened sense of the meaning of the liturgy. It helps that we've a good 4-part choir, so the harmonic integrity of the music is retained, but we even had unaccompanied singing with just cantor and congregation in another parish a number of years back. During Lent, I keep the organ restrained, with no reeds or mixtures, and no postlude.

Here's the line-up from Good Friday 2015:

Psalm: Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit (Feeley)
Gospel: Praise to You from the Mass for John Carroll (Joncas)
Veneration of the Cross: O My People (Walker)
Anima Christi (Frisina)
Stay with me (Taize)
Communion: O Sacred Head Surrounded (Hassler)
God so loved the world (Stainer)

IncenseTom
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Re: Musical accompaniment on Good Friday

Post by IncenseTom » Mon Jan 11, 2016 4:22 pm

Ephrem Feeley wrote: It reinforces the starkness of the day - stripped altars, no entrance hymns, everything unaccompanied - this all makes for a heightened sense of the meaning of the liturgy.


Exactly where I was coming from. The problem for us is:

Ephrem Feeley wrote: It helps that we've a good 4-part choir, so the harmonic integrity of the music is retained, but we even had unaccompanied singing with just cantor and congregation in another parish a number of years back.


Our choir wouldn't be able to manage the 4 part harmony. I'd have to rope in a few mates and just have the parish choir singing the melody. They can manage the odd thing in two parts, but maintaining a hymn would be a bit out of reach.

(I also have a similar approach with the organ in Lent, and we just have silence at then end - no hymn or postlude)

alan29
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Re: Musical accompaniment on Good Friday

Post by alan29 » Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:13 pm

We use our normal instruments - no choir at ours so the congregation sing.
The music is distinctive because we never sing it at other times - psalm, reproaches, When I survey, Soul of my Saviour, etc.
That seems to be enough to highlight the day musically.

JW
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Re: Musical accompaniment on Good Friday

Post by JW » Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:24 pm

Are the congregation more likely to participate with or without organ accompaniment - isn't that the real issue? If I thought more people would sing unaccompanied, then I wouldn't use the organ - at any time of the year.
JW

High Peak
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Re: Musical accompaniment on Good Friday

Post by High Peak » Sat Jan 23, 2016 11:25 am

JW wrote:Are the congregation more likely to participate with or without organ accompaniment - isn't that the real issue? If I thought more people would sing unaccompanied, then I wouldn't use the organ - at any time of the year.

My group plays alternate weeks at the Vigil. When the group isn't playing I lead the singing of Mass parts and hymns without accompaniment. The congregation often sings with more gusto when we sing a capella. It's almost as though they are conscious of the fact that if they don't sing then there will be an awkward silence when the group isn't playing. :?

JW
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Re: Musical accompaniment on Good Friday

Post by JW » Sat Jan 23, 2016 12:44 pm

I've noticed that as well, High Peak. If I ask people, they say they like to have musicians playing. Musical accompaniment is certainly expected for major celebrations like Christmas. But I seem to hear more singing if there aren't any musicians. I wonder, is there any research on this? From your comments, it might depend as to how sympathetic the congregation is towards the liturgical ministers and / or whether there is a good sense of community in the parish?
JW

High Peak
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Re: Musical accompaniment on Good Friday

Post by High Peak » Sat Jan 23, 2016 1:02 pm

JW wrote:I've noticed that as well, High Peak. If I ask people, they say they like to have musicians playing. Musical accompaniment is certainly expected for major celebrations like Christmas. But I seem to hear more singing if there aren't any musicians. I wonder, is there any research on this? From your comments, it might depend as to how sympathetic the congregation is towards the liturgical ministers and / or whether there is a good sense of community in the parish?

Are you sensitively asking whether we are any good? :lol: Absolutely all feedback, since we started three years ago, has been positive; I've even been stopped in TESCO by parishioners saying how much they appreciate what we are doing!! But it is a small congregation (50-60) and a touch........reserved.

JW
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Re: Musical accompaniment on Good Friday

Post by JW » Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:48 pm

Nothing could be further from my mind, High Peak, I was just ruminating out loud! I'll shut up now before I dig myself further into the hole!
JW

Southern Comfort
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Re: Musical accompaniment on Good Friday

Post by Southern Comfort » Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:49 am

I think that a cappella singing can certainly work well, and would and do use it regularly (but not exclusively). But the thing is, as soon as the accompaniment isn't there, the congregation are automatically going to sound louder even if they sing at the same volume as usual, because there is nothing else "concealing" them. It's an aural illusion.

So the real question is: do congregations actually sing louder than usual when there is no organ or group? I suspect, if we are honest, that the answer is probably no: they sing as loudly as normal; it just sounds louder.

alan29
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Re: Musical accompaniment on Good Friday

Post by alan29 » Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:57 am

Southern Comfort wrote:I think that a cappella singing can certainly work well, and would and do use it regularly (but not exclusively). But the thing is, as soon as the accompaniment isn't there, the congregation are automatically going to sound louder even if they sing at the same volume as usual, because there is nothing else "concealing" them. It's an aural illusion.

So the real question is: do congregations actually sing louder than usual when there is no organ or group? I suspect, if we are honest, that the answer is probably no: they sing as loudly as normal; it just sounds louder.

Agree. And the close proximity of the instruments we are playing just accentuates the aural effect.

Ephrem Feeley
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Re: Musical accompaniment on Good Friday

Post by Ephrem Feeley » Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:41 pm

True. Accompaniment also supports the voices, and gives an overall sense of harmonic shape to the piece that is otherwise missing in unaccompanied, melody-only singing. That said, and going back to the original post, Good Friday is a suitable occasion where the only music heard is unaccompanied singing.

dmu3tem
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Re: Musical accompaniment on Good Friday

Post by dmu3tem » Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:03 am

St Thomas More group.

Sorry not to respond before.

Here are the key features:

[1] Group of composers associated originally with the St Thomas More Centre for Music and Liturgy (London) in the 1980s. Included composers such as Paul Inwood, Stephen Dean and Bill Tamblyn.

[2] Technical aspects of their style (all of which can be found in OCP publications of their music):
[a] Mixed ensemble: Basic core of unison voices, cantor and keyboard accompaniment
: Extra chord symbols for Guitarists
: Optional extra parts for a choir (usually SATB)
: One or more obligato/descant instrumental parts (all purpose for melody instruments set at concert pitch and transposed into Bb)
'Classic' instance of this style is Paul Inwood's 'Gathering Mass'
[b] So the formula is similar to that used in Taize. Some interesting technical developments from this formula have been explored by Paul Inwood in particular in his Psalm and other Antiphon settings published (often using US texts) in the early 2000s (don't have the score to hand I am afraid to give the exact reference). In general I find the melodic lines rather mellifluous (notable exception here is Bill Tamblyn, who often uses a more 'gritty' and rhythmical style owing much to ethnic borrowings.

[c] The advantages of this approach derive from its 'Meccano-like' kit approach: namely the ability to bolt on extra elements to a basic core according to the resources at hand. The weaknesses are:
[i] A tendency amongst musicians who do not think (or take the trouble) to have everyone playing at once producing a messy clutter of sound. You get the same problem with Taize music.
[ii] The instrumental and keyboard parts, because they have to be 'all purpose', are written to the 'lowest common denominator'. This means that characteristics peculiar to particular instruments are not properly exploited.

For this reason I prefer a very different instrumental style, owing a lot more to Classical chamber music, where you arrange parts to fit the particular instruments and players at your disposal. This produces a more precise arrangement and exploits their capabilities more effectively.
T.E.Muir

alan29
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Re: Musical accompaniment on Good Friday

Post by alan29 » Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:16 pm

Tangentially I am having to accompany the Exultet for the first time.
Priest wants to sing it, longer form out of the "book." He's young. Its his first chance. And he is set on it.
But desire and ability are not matched.
I've suggested he sings the proper tune for the first section and sticks to the preface tone for the second bit, leaving out the twiddly bits.
Its notated in A minorish. He's singing in G minorish. I'm having kittens.
He really does need the accompaniment as his sense of pitch is fitted with an infinite modulation machine with added glissando.
I expect a massive whiskey-filled Easter egg as my reward!
Several centuries off purgatory would be handy, too.

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