International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

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Gwyn
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International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by Gwyn » Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:10 pm

This makes interesting reading.

http://www.altaredei.com/wp-content/upl ... nglish.pdf

From the musical aspect there's a lot of truth. One can encounter music at celebrations of Holy Mass that is of such a poor standard and executed so badly that it would not be acceptable in any other situation Too poor even to be considered as muzak to be pumped through the tweety speakers in a lift or local supermarket.

How thinkest thou?

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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by organist » Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:39 pm

Printing this off to read it - saw reports on Face Book and pleased to see a paragraph on remuneration.

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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by alan29 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:59 pm

Hmmm.
Just a couple of thoughts. The end point for the Council fathers would seem to have been the "full and active participation" of the congregation. So musical choices need to have that end at the front of the mind.
Secondly a quote from art. 9 from the General Norms section of Musicam Sacram: “In selecting the kind of sacred music to be used, whether it be for the choir or for the people, the capacities of those who are to sing the music must be taken into account.”
Where there are choirs capable of turning the dots or neums on the page into something of inspiring beauty I say go for it - providing they are not usurping something that rightfully belongs to the assembly. There are undoubtedly places where that is entirely appropriate, in monastic communities and in places where they have good choirs. However we have all had experiences where the execution of plainsong and choral items has been the opposite of edifying. How does that serve to honour and preserve the heritage?
Leading from that I would argue that it is better to have a simple song sung well by the congregation than to have something complex sung badly.
So where should music leaders and organists properly focus their attentions?
A genuine question.

Edit: We all read these Church documents through the lenses of our own particular taste and personal experiences. And we can all find things that agree with us. Maybe the trick is to be a bit more catholic (small c) in our understanding and to accept that there is room for us all in God's Church.
Maybe.

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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by IncenseTom » Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:50 am

Unsurprisingly, I though the declaration was bang on.

At my parish we make use of the Alinslie 'English Proper Chants' in addition to congregational hymns - Opening hymn followed by Entrance Song and Communion Song followed by post-Communion hymn.
We also regularly use the Mass setting in the Missal, the simple Latin setting and the Belmont Mass as well as chanting the psalm.

These examples, to my mind, fulfil the requirements of Sacrosanctum Concilium and seem to be in line with the thrust of the declaration.
You can include this sort of music without putting at risk the "full, active participation" of the congregation, as long as the choir or cantors can tackle it.
In fact, I believe it helps to raise the level of solemnity, beauty and mystery beyond the level achieved by hymn sandwiches and secular-inspired music which seems so prevalent, and in doing so, I think it can help foster that "full, active participation".

Peter
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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by Peter » Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:09 am

One interesting omission: the document starts "We, the undersigned..." but has no names or signatures at the end. Do we know who wrote it?

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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by IncenseTom » Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:49 pm

Have a look on Chant Cafe or New Liturgical Movement blogs. They can be found on there.

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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by oopsorganist » Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:47 pm

IT
you describe your parish music as
"This sort of music".

What sort of music is that please?
uh oh!

IncenseTom
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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by IncenseTom » Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:28 pm

I meant the examples I outlined:
IncenseTom wrote: Alinslie 'English Proper Chants' ...
...the Mass setting in the Missal, the simple Latin setting and the Belmont Mass as well as chanting the psalm.


Collectively, "chant based music" if you're after a name.

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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by oopsorganist » Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:35 pm

So you can do it if you have a choir and cantor who can tackle it?
uh oh!

IncenseTom
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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by IncenseTom » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:50 pm

Well, we do it because we have the resources which allow us to make a decent job of it. As has been mentioned already, if the resources in the parish can't manage a particular piece of music (chant or not) then it's probably best not to do it.

Having said all that, the chant examples I've given - used regularly in our parish - are at the very simple end of the chant spectrum, and I don't see any reason why any parish can't get stuck into those examples - particularly the Missal tones and Simple Latin setting. Indeed the missal tones and simple Latin setting were required to be learnt in all parishes by various Diocesan Bishops and Jubilate Deo (1974) respectively.

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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by High Peak » Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:37 pm

oopsorganist wrote:So you can do it if you have a choir and cantor who can tackle it?


Over the last 12 months I have slowly been introducing Processionals, using John Ainsley's "English Proper Chants", to both the Vigil Mass (for which I have responsibility) and the Sunday morning Mass (which I occasionally assist). Our setup at the Vigil is guitar, mandolin, a couple of flutes and up to seven or eight singers. We sing the (mostly) Communion Processional unaccompanied. The Psalm/verses are sung duet by one male and one female voice with all the singers leading the congregation with the antiphon. At the Sunday morning Mass there is an organ accompaniment. At both Masses the (not large) congregation does join in with the antiphon, and the response to the processionals has been very positive indeed - "very prayerful" is a typical reaction. Many prefer the processional sung unaccompanied.

At the Vigil the Psalm is always sung when the music group is leading, usually in a chant style with arpeggio guitar chords accompaniment in the verses, and slightly more rhythmic strumming/plucking for the response.

The Belmont Mass is one of four Mass settings that we use - often totally unaccompanied.

In all these the congregation do join in, sometimes very strongly. So, yes, with even a small choir and one or two cantors you can very much tackle it.

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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by oopsorganist » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:50 am

I think I have already taken this thread off topic. So I may start another thread or the mods. can do.

Glynn stated that music can be so awful in some places that it does not even qualify as musac to be piped into lifts. I agree. Sometimes I go places where the technical skills of the leadership are just painful to listen to. Sometimes. But was the Pope talking about that. I only read the SSG headlines not the whole thingy.
So poorly executed music interferes with conscious active participation for me, but not necessarily for other people. They may quite simply, be used to it and are able to ignore it. Or they accept the offering made by their musical leadership as the best that can be done and then just get on with full active etc.ness.
Then Alan reminded the thread viewers that full active conscious participation was essential to which IT replied that he has lovely chant type music at his church which is enabled by a choir and cantors. IT identifies this with full active ect.ness in that his parish can listen to it, appreciate it, and maybe eventually sing along. High Peak has people who are learning to sing along and he too has a choir that can lead chant style music.
So already, some people according to their taste have equated the Pope's statements and the outcome of the conference to mean that chanted music is the best thing to go for. With a choir.

However, by far the best music around here, for technical ability, appropriateness to the Word/Season, beauty, congregational participation is not chant based. The Psalm is sung and as far as I can remember, always through- composed melodically. There seem to be a lot of people involved in the music and a big choir sometimes. It is a Mass which I can fully actively participate. Recently ie after Christmas, they sang Centre of My Life (Inwood) which really I do like so much. Authentic. Catholic. Complex.Contemporary.

And for chant, well, let me see, recently I was in a church where some members of the congregation were gathering and getting the church ready for Mass and praying quietly. A woman approached the lectern and began to sing..... she sang about four lines in an African language. She was answered by three or four men spread round the church who responded - in harmony - African harmonies, and the church was full of quiet, prayerful sound that was a bit spine tingling. Authentic. Catholic. Complex. Traditional.

So I do not buy that chant based music as being anything other than a branch of what is possible and perhaps not the best use of a choir. (In that one person could do chanting and the others could have a cup of tea).
uh oh!

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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by MaryR » Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:42 pm

I ready this declaration with interest. I was even more interested to look through the list of signatories. I have just returned from Rome where I attended 'Music and Church', a sacred music conference for the 50th anniversary of Musicam Sacram convened by the Pontifical Council for Culture. I may be wrong, because there were more than 300 participants, but I don't recall bumping into any of those who signed this declaration. What a pity because several of the suggestions they make were the focus of speakers at the conference. In case folk didn't pick up on the conference, I've set out its aims and objectives below:

Objectives

The Conference seeks to stimulate a deep reflection in musical, liturgical, theological and phenomenological terms that, leaving aside sterile polemics, can be a positive proposal for Christian worship, expression of praise to God, pleasurable to the ear in the diversity of cultural models, with the following aims:

- Reflect on the current interest for the musical phenomenon, always present in the history of the Church.

- Evaluate the weight of paradigmatic change in the understanding of music in the Church, 50 years after the Instruction “Musicam Sacram”.

- Consider the languages most apt with which to celebrate in sonorous translation the Church’s public, official and solemn praise.

- Remember the place and role of Church musicians, opening up to non-Roman liturgical traditions.

- Recover musical heritage, in ecumenical dialogue and with contemporary culture.

- Promote the urgent need for strong formation in the different musical ministries.


We had two days of fascinating talks but it probably merits a new thread and so I'll start one shortly.
Mary

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VML
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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by VML » Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:59 pm

Thank you Mary. I thought this was the statement produced as a result of the conference you were attending.
And we still do not know who the signatories are.
Whatever the reason or origin, it does suggest that time, thought, preparation and practice are needed.
We used to have all these. Now we just turn up and sing and hope that those singing in the choir can pick up what the leader has chosen, and it is causing me a bit of concern.

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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by Gwyn » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:25 pm

VML noted
... Now we just turn up and sing and hope that those singing in the choir can pick up what the leader has chosen, and it is causing me a bit of concern.

Well put VML. That, I think, encapsulates much of the problem, it simply wouldn't be acceptable in any other musical situation.

Hare (in another thread) was telling of his recent anguish that arose when something went wrong. If anything went wrong in most of the churches within twenty miles of here, you just wouldn't notice.

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