Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

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John Ainslie
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Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

Post by John Ainslie »

I've just watched - and done my best to take part in from afar - a live-streamed Sunday Mass (actually from churchservices.tv/newsouthgate). All done very nicely with just one reader and two concelebrating priests. But all SAID. What could be the role of music in live-streamed liturgy? This is an urgent question, with the Triduum coming up.

One cantor would be better than none. The priest and reader could respond to him/her.

Pre-recorded music? Hymns/songs? Instrumental/atmospheric music?

The question (it seems to me) is this: how can music assist online onlookers to observe more than just sights and words, but be drawn into truly participating in the liturgy they are seeing and hearing?

Are there (going to be?) live-streamed liturgies in which this question has been seriously addressed? Where can they be found?

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keitha
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Re: Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

Post by keitha »

We are currently experimenting with using virtual technology to provide some 'active participation' - which will not be 'full' but may be better than nothing! Wish us luck. If we crack it, I will post details here.
Keith Ainsworth

organgrinder
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Re: Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

Post by organgrinder »

I watched St John's Cathedral Portsmouth at 10.00am, also via churchservices.tv - single cantor and organ. All the essential music, even a communion processional (although no procession obviously). It lacks atmosphere but very prayerful all the same. These services can be replayed at any time.

Southern Comfort
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Re: Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

Post by Southern Comfort »

Now that places of worship are to be closed for at least three weeks, there will be no music, alas, unless clergy wish to do unaccompanied singing... :(

blackthorn fairy
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Re: Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

Post by blackthorn fairy »

As did the Dean of Northampton yesterday for the livestreamed Mass for the Annunciation - he sang the essential bits unacc (Gospel Acclamation, Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation, and a Taize Communion prcessional). Not a lot, but it worked and under the circumstances, what more could he have done? It worked - and that is everything.

John Ainslie
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Re: Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

Post by John Ainslie »

Southern Comfort wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 10:47 pm
Now that places of worship are to be closed for at least three weeks, there will be no music, alas, unless clergy wish to do unaccompanied singing... :(
Churches are business premises, not homes. Though closed to the general public, are priests instructed not to go into them? I think not. Invited co-workers could include a reader, a cantor (or two), an organist, all keeping social distancing easily in the sizeable spaces of most churches.

Where there's a will, there's a way...

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keitha
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Re: Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

Post by keitha »

I have just read the regulations that came into force yesterday and which replace all previous regulations and government guidelines (the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020).

As I read them (i) (apart from the 'normal' permitted exceptions) a minister of religion is only entitled to travel from his/her home to his/her place of worship and (ii) places of worship must be closed to all except for funerals and for broadcasting worship (however, people who are not ministers of religion can only go to churches for funerals). So as I read it, if the place of worship is within/part of the home of a religious community, members of that community can worship together (such as the Birmingham Oratory or a monastery). Ministers of religion who share a place of worship (say, a parish priest, curate and deacon) could all travel to that place of worship and worship there (socially distancing) - and a service where they participate could be broadcast. Some dioceses have introduced tighter restrictions (such as only allowing funerals at cemeteries).

I do not think choristers, servers, organists and the like can attend (probably even for funerals). We will have to see how this all works out in practice and over time. The regulations are likely to remain in place until at least 15th April, by when the need for them has to be reviewed by the Government.
Keith Ainsworth

alan29
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Re: Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

Post by alan29 »

I flicked through some livestreams on Sunday morning.
I saw a cathedral in NI with several priests concelebrating with no distancing. I saw an English cathedral where the bishop was in full gear and had an assistant priest close enough to wrangle his crozier and mitre. I saw a parish Mass where there was a priest, a reader and a cantor all on the rather snug sanctuary together and all facing each other in a triangle.
As far as I am aware they were all breaking the law.
On the other hand I saw a great number of priests celebrating alone and pitching the tone of their celebration to make it seem more intimate.
My heart goes out to them. This must be a terrible way to celebrate Mass. And Holy Week will be no better.

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keitha
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Re: Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

Post by keitha »

The problem is that the Regulations (see above) do not go as far as statements from government ministers and the press seem to be implying. Our bishops have, probably rightly, but inconsistently, gone much further than the law requires.

Gatherings of more than 2 people (not being in the same household) are only illegal in public. A locked Church is not 'public'. However people travelling to such a private event could be guilty of an offence unless they are exempt. "Ministers of religion" travelling to their place of worship would be exempt (which would cover a Bishop/Priest/Deacon - even if they are not living in the same household).

"Minister of religion" is not defined in the legislation. I suppose, arguably, a cantor and a reader, given that they are described as having a 'ministry', could be argued to be a 'minister of religion'...but I would be interested to see that one being argued in court!
Keith Ainsworth

alan29
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Re: Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

Post by alan29 »

The regulations refer to "a minister of religion" going to their place of worship, not to more than one.
On the face of it, unless they are members of the same household, there should only be the celebrant.
I'm sure lawyers would smack their lips at the possibilities.

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keitha
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Re: Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

Post by keitha »

I am a lawyer - and I'm certainly not licking my lips! My view is that as Catholics we should be supporting the spirit of the legislation and doing our best to protect people. That's where, I think, the Bishops are generally coming from and like you, I feel very sorry for our priests in these circumstances. My own PP, a former Anglican, goes into Church to say Mass solo, livestreams it, and his wife and children watch the stream in the Presbytery...then he joins them afterwards! It all seems a bit bonkers, but he's following the law, the diocesan rules and at the same time setting an example.

In the meantime, we have parish evening prayer via Zoom every evening and we're testing out various ideas for the Triduum.
Keith Ainsworth

alan29
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Re: Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

Post by alan29 »

I certainly agree that Catholics should be seen to be observing the spirit of the law and shouldn't be seen to looking for loop-holes.

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keitha
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Re: Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

Post by keitha »

Our daily Evening Prayer via Zoom has gone reasonably well - we get between 15-20 participants and people like the rhythm it gives to their days. Adding music to the Triduum has proved a tougher nut to crack - mainly because the gizmo that I ordered has been stuck with Royal Mail for a couple of weeks now. We are trying a work-around if another bit of kit arrives later today...but time is running out.
Keith Ainsworth

justMary
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Re: Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

Post by justMary »

I attended Easter Sunday Mass via Zoom yesterday. A single-family group (ie one bubble) provided music, and I think also controlled the camera / meeting, positioned I'm guessing 20m away from the altar. It didn't go well: the reberb, delay and likely sound quality picked up from the camera (close to the musicians) did them no favours.

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keitha
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Re: Live-streamed liturgy: what about music?

Post by keitha »

We tried Zoom, but the varying upload and download speeds of the participants makes it very difficult and people cannot speak together. When I use it (and other systems such as Teams) for large groups in business meetings, we have to have a plan to ensure that no more than one person talks at a time. We have Evening Prayer via Zoom, but avoid singing and mute all but a couple of people to 'represent' us all. That works very well.

Another option, which can work, is to have readers coming in to, say, a church via Zoom, with everyone else muted on one computer then being picked up by live mics and cameras streaming the liturgy. It's not perfect, and the participants need to have high upload speeds. We tested this, but were not satisfied that we could get enough quality, so shelved it for Easter (but may look at it again if we increase the internet upload speed).
Keith Ainsworth

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