Happy Birthday

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oopsorganist
Posts: 739
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 9:55 pm
Location: Leeds

Happy Birthday

Post by oopsorganist » Tue May 31, 2016 9:14 am

After posting late last night - after being asleep all day in the car I was restless - so I got to thinking how very naughty I was to think I could express an opinion- even some criticism - of those who are for sure, better placed in every respect to discuss the Liturgy of the church. What arrogance. So I considered the Happy Birthday comparison which is so often trotted out to justify, encourage and put into action, the singing of the Acclamations in Mass.
This comparison supports the present production of elaborate and beautiful sung( Latin masses). Those that come out of the rich treasury of Sacred Music which is also Liturgically appropriate.

So I have in mind various birthday parties with various ways of singing Happy Birthday.

Upstairs the chef in his kitchen can hear these parties and he likes them all. His restaurant is full, buzzing, and noisy. (He is chopping mushrooms by way).

Jane's party sings Happy Birthday to the usual tune and with wild abandon and laughter afterwarfs as the candles are blown out. Fully active with conscious participation.
Mary's party has a choir singing something special - in harmony with rehearsal, finesse, good heart. (Could have been in Latin. Or Spanish.) Mary responds how? The others in her party are listening to the choir and enjoying it and appreciate the gesture in all its aspects. There could have been 12, 40, 3 in the choir, it could even have been a soloist.

It seems to me that having taken that key moment from the whole party that others would have to find other ways to wish Happy Birthday to Mary by smiling at her during the singing or some other way. But it is a totally different event.

Where we agree as a church that it is OK to have a choir representing the people in making the Acclamations, that something is lost so I came to the conclusion that in such situations, the matching and "key" part of the Mass should then be said by everybody. So that it is put back in. When the action is listening during the responses, the Mass is somehow incomplete. And if you have to say the Alleluia because a concert has been arranged that obscures that part which all should have agreed to offer up - then the comparison with a birthday party just does not hold together.

What some music director/liturgists should be saying, therefore is - "It's like Happy Birthday but most of you don't have to bother to sing it because I have organised some others to do this for you, found some lovely and unusual pieces that fit in that place of the ceremony, and you get to listen. We'll be doing that instead of singing Happy Birthday".
uh oh!

organist
Posts: 525
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 11:39 pm
Parish / Diocese: Westminster cathedral
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Re: Happy Birthday

Post by organist » Tue May 31, 2016 4:51 pm

Of course you assume that all want to sing Happy birthday and actually can sing! Perhaps a better solution is a clear melody line and others can add harmonies and descents? :D

organist
Posts: 525
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 11:39 pm
Parish / Diocese: Westminster cathedral
Location: London
Contact:

Re: Happy Birthday

Post by organist » Tue May 31, 2016 4:53 pm

Yes I meant descants some of which can be descents rather than ascents! :D

oopsorganist
Posts: 739
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 9:55 pm
Location: Leeds

Re: Happy Birthday

Post by oopsorganist » Tue May 31, 2016 5:45 pm

Yes exactly Organist.

And also, why not provide the congregation with the dots for Acclamations. The Methodists do it with their hymnals - they have the melody line and people do harmonize - as they get the the fifteenth verse. :D

Expectations are very low in some places.

And most people like to sing Happy Birthday - as long as everyone else is joining in it is OK.

And we have some great English Masses available. No need to fracture the Liturgy with two languages. One setting is advised as good practice during a Liturgy to provide cohesion. Blobbing off on a Latin thing is a fracture of the Liturgy.
uh oh!

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