Prof Eamon Duffy on liturgical music

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Gwyn
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Prof Eamon Duffy on liturgical music

Post by Gwyn » Mon May 01, 2017 10:17 am

Professor Eamon Duffy presented his Private Passions on Radio 3 yesterday (Sunday 30 April 2017). This was a repeat of a prog first broadcast a couple of years back.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04tvnpl
He spoke on a number of topics. When asked about the state of liturgical music in the Roman Catholic church Eamon responded with;
That’s rather a depressing question.
Certainly, in The UK and, I think, in America there’s been a tendency for the liturgy to have become associated with a particular moment in folk music; so we sing in church the kind of music that we would never dream of listening to at home or anywhere else. I think there’s been a radical impoverishment and a loss of the sense of the numinous. The traditional function of music – to lift the spirit and to provide a standard of excellence that transcends the ‘everyday’ is hard to recover.

The theory behind it often included the idea that everybody ought to participate and so you got church orchestras together in which people played recorders and triangles and guitars and so on, and that it was better that there should be participatory music than that there should be excellent music.
The programme is well worth a listen via BBC iPlayer.

oopsorganist
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Re: Prof Eamon Duffy on liturgical music

Post by oopsorganist » Mon May 01, 2017 1:29 pm

and that it was better that there should be participatory music than that there should be excellent music......

And does it therefore follow that participatory music cannot also be excellent?
uh oh!

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Re: Prof Eamon Duffy on liturgical music

Post by alan29 » Mon May 01, 2017 2:02 pm

oopsorganist wrote:
Mon May 01, 2017 1:29 pm
and that it was better that there should be participatory music than that there should be excellent music......

And does it therefore follow that participatory music cannot also be excellent?
Or that "performance " music is therefore excellent.
This is what happens when an expert in one area pontificates outside their expertise.

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Gwyn
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Re: Prof Eamon Duffy on liturgical music

Post by Gwyn » Mon May 01, 2017 11:10 pm

Oops queried;
. . . and does it therefore follow that participatory music cannot also be excellent?
I'm sure that participatory music can and should be excellent Oops, but examples are very few and far between.

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Re: Prof Eamon Duffy on liturgical music

Post by oopsorganist » Tue May 02, 2017 8:31 am

.....I'm sure that participatory music can and should be excellent Oops, but examples are very few and far between.......

we probably need to ditch these terms of "participatory" and "performance" because it is immediately obvious that "performance" music it not OK, because we are definining it as non participatory.

It's supporters will then drag in the argument that the common woman will be participating by listening, and so on.

So in defining two different styles (is even that useful?) things may be clearer. So I shall think about this. So as to be fair, you see.

Because, if performance music is indeed non participatory then it should not be included or added to the Mass.
uh oh!

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Re: Prof Eamon Duffy on liturgical music

Post by nazard » Fri May 05, 2017 10:28 pm

These two terms wind me up.

"Performance Music"

Well, without a performance music is just marks on a sheet of paper. I know a few of us can look at printed music and imagine the sound, but that is hardly what I consider to be music in the liturgy. Of course, some music is so bad that it really should not be performed, but for me any kind of music is performance music.

"Participation Music"

Participation in any kind of music is possible, but some music is easier than others. I am put off by banality at one end of the spectrum and over complication at the other. I don't find I get any sort of religious feelings from "This is the day" or "Spem in allium", although I do enjoy listening to the latter. I am wary of the people who harp on about participation because they commonly use it to push for their favourite musical style, which they claim is eminently suitable for participation. What makes me even more wary are those people who claim that music which has been used in the past is no longer suitable: "Now thank we all our God" doesn't connect to modern people...

A final thought. Send your congregation out on Sunday with a rousing performance of "Roll out the barrel." You may well get the participation, but I doubt if you will get any useful benefit.

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Re: Prof Eamon Duffy on liturgical music

Post by oopsorganist » Sat May 06, 2017 10:51 am

Sorry
I focussed on those terms Particpation and Performance ...

I think those that argue against more simple modern contemporary hymns are so longing for pre Vatican 2 Liturgy...........

Musicum Sacram has only the term Participation in it. We should really only debate around that document rather than get caught up in the politics of style. The document calls for "holy sincerity" and a "spirit of cooperation".

Perhaps this is the key bit for this thread?
9. 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. No kind of sacred music is prohibited from liturgical actions by the Church as long as it corresponds to the spirit of the liturgical celebration itself and the nature of its individual parts,[7] and does not hinder the active participation of the people.[8]

That's almost clear. Any ornate Mass Settings which hinder the active participation of the people are not really the proper thing to do. I am not sure about how the promotion of Latin Plainsong Mass settings might hinder the active participation of the people. I think they might do so and I think that there is clear instruction about the use of the vernacular or indeed many languages in one Mass even....although variety is good. I think it says that. Maybe you can read lots of different interpretations in to the guidance.

If a few people of higher education and sensibility, are gnashing their teeth at the rendition of a folksy (syncopated/ simple / lively) Gloria by the congregation, (accompanied by Noah and Leanne on the recorder and triangle) then that is sad for them. As long as it is produced in holy sincerity it should be accepted as prayer.
uh oh!

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