technology and CDs and such.......

Well it does to the people who post here... dispassionate and reasoned debate, with a good deal of humour thrown in for good measure.

Moderators: Dom Perignon, Casimir

oopsorganist
Posts: 769
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 9:55 pm
Location: Leeds

technology and CDs and such.......

Post by oopsorganist »

Well the PA system man has been last week, got rid of the tape player unit and replaced with CD player ...... we are soon to have a microphone on the music group side of the altar where the group stand in front of the Sacred Heart side chapel. PP has his usual gripe at me about the music group having touched the PA system and messed it up.... which is something we seldom do, but PP has a big "thing" about this, mainly because if anyone does touch it or change around the microphone connections, it can change the settings to default.. he then feels his microphone on the lectern is too low and has to go and change it... he has a handicap which makes it difficult to do a dignified walk up steps to the old High Altar where the system control box is.. probably having done the introductory bits and so on.....I can see his problem but I can't see why the PA controls can't be moved somewhere more accessable ( which I can't spell). Anyway.

Last week a parishioner said that in a nearby parish which is larger and more significant than us, they just use CD's and sing along to the CDs. I felt a bit put out obviously. But if that is the norm around these parts who am I to oppose it?

Re the CD, the good news is that PP cannot deafen us with chanting monk tapes/ various irrelevant lovely choir bellowing or whatever, before Mass. Those days are gone.

The bad news is that he has already purchased three CDs. One is The Three Singing Priests. I have heard some of this on Youtube. Another purchase is "Carols". I fear what may follow. He has something else for "during Communion". And he has the remote control. This is sending shivers down my spine. We may struggle musically but at least we are real people. Doing the best to keep something Live in the parish. He will turn us into stained glass windows.

The other problem out of all this links with my continuing frustration over the sound system and amplifying music generally. I struggle to work my washing machine. I am overwhelmed with anything that requires plugging in but I do know we could do with a mixer desk and such like. But what? A microphone our way will help the youngsters who sing with us, but the guitars and occasional keyboard need something else. I need a sound engineer!

I have no idea what the music group sounds like anyway during Mass.

I know I am negative, glass half emty (usually because I have drunk it) but I think I just lost a battle or two. Oh what a strange parish this is and what a strange PP!

SOS to be so long winded. But it helps me to ask for advice here otherwise I would stop trying to do anything at all.
uh oh!

User avatar
Gwyn
Posts: 1145
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2003 3:42 pm
Parish / Diocese: Archdiocese of Cardiff
Location: Abertillery, South Wales UK

Re: technology and CDs and such.......

Post by Gwyn »

The old High Altar where the system control box is.

That speaks reams and pretty much says it all.

The bad news is that he has already purchased three CDs. One is The Three Singing Priests. I have heard some of this on Youtube. Another purchase is "Carols". I fear what may follow.

Does the P.P. realise that he needs a license to play CDs in a public place? The fine for doing so without one is hefty I believe.

This situation is dire. Isn't there something along the lines of "choirs should be diligently trained"?

God! Where do you begin with a setup like that, eh? I'm impressed with your posts Oops, while they often they tell of a sad situation, they always reflect the love you have for Our Blessed Lord and his Holy Church. Be joyful. Keep the Faith. If necessary in another parish where your enthusasm and love for the liturgy will be appreciated and welcomed.

nazard
Posts: 555
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 7:08 am
Parish / Diocese: Clifton
Location: Muddiest Somerset

Re: technology and CDs and such.......

Post by nazard »

Oops,

You have my sympathy. I am an engineer, and I installed our parish's pa. I detest the thing. Its only a small church, and we really don't need it. A previous pp thought we did and paid the local pa cowboy a fortune to put a system in which took us from "you can hear every word" to "why is Father impersonating an alien with laryngitis" in one foul swoop. Under threat of being lynched by the congregation he tried to persuade me to fix it for 5 bob, but I refused until I got carte blanche. It cost a good deal more than 5 bob, and it still uses the nice steel box the original contractor installed, and even a bit of the wiring.

If you need to amplify your music group, you will need a mixer, leads, mics and stands and probably a thing called a "DI" box as well. You need to have the mixer where you have control of it. The old high altar is not a good idea. You need to walk around the church during rehearsals to get the balance roughly right and then again during mass to finalise it. It is not really possible for the performers to do it themselves. You need someone with technical competence, good hearing and musical competence and taste to set up your mix. Good luck and pray to St Jude. He's the saint I pray to for my memory, but I can't remember why.

I'm sure this board will give you a lot of good advice, but take each step carefully. Don't rush into anything.

And keep music live. I think a vatican directive tells us to. Does anyone know chapter and verse?

festivaltrumpet
Posts: 105
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:47 pm

Re: technology and CDs and such.......

Post by festivaltrumpet »

nazard wrote:And keep music live. I think a vatican directive tells us to. Does anyone know chapter and verse?


I too had been given to understand that karaoke machines were explictly banned from worship. I am unable to find a directive more recent than 1958:
The use of automatic instruments and machines, such as the automatic organ, phonograph, radio, tape or wire recorders, and other similar machines, is absolutely forbidden in liturgical functions and private devotions, whether they are held inside or outside the church, even if these machines be used only to transmit sermons or sacred music, or to substitute for the singing of the choir or faithful, or even just to support it.
De Musica Sacra


Any priest advocating recorded music during the communion procession is failing to grasp the function of music at this time. Where is the formation? Where is the leadership from the bishops?

oopsorganist
Posts: 769
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 9:55 pm
Location: Leeds

Re: technology and CDs and such.......

Post by oopsorganist »

Uh oh.
Well it seems to be creeping in around here. Actually I do know there is use of advanced technology including music backing tracks during some services by up bods ...... pm could give details. I was jarred at the time but could not think why it jarred.

It is the norm for our primary to use pre recorded tapes but gladly they have stopped singing along to themselves singing along ...........the recorded peri -pianist is an improvement ...... ten children singing along to a recording of the whole school singing was always uncomfortable ........now it seems to me to be just plain wrong.

I confess I feel hurt. Again it is dificult to see why.

This morning I arrived half an hour before Mass to set up to find the sound of the Three Priests belting out. I was upset but other people thought it was OK for PP to play this... it's his new toy they said. He finished reading his office? and went in to the vestry clutching the remote control in his hand. It was switched off only just before the bell rang for Mass.

There is a jarring interface between high operatic professional music and what a congregation produces. That was the first problem. Also it is ringing in your head affecting your hearing.

Even my fellow musician said this morning, "Oh well we can just play his Carol CD before the Vigil at Christmas so we won't need to get anything ready". If there is one thing that is sadder than me up there playing carols pre Vigil and no one singing, it will be playing a CD of carols and no one singing.

It seems to me that most people will actually prefer this.

So then they can play the bleeping thing during the Vigil Mass too as far as I am concerned.

The battery will get lost, the CD will get scratched, or lost...... when that happens the church will be silent.
uh oh!

User avatar
musicus
Moderator
Posts: 1605
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2003 8:47 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: technology and CDs and such.......

Post by musicus »

Well, if it were me, I'd find another parish. I don't say that lightly, and I have only ever done it once, but honestly...

Is there no support from your diocese? No liturgical adviser or commission? Would your PP tolerate an SSG workshop about celebrating the liturgy worthily? * (I hope I am not the only one who, following these extraordinary developments, isn't feeling the urge to get in the car right now and come and help your people to value you, themselves and the Sacred Liturgy.)

I forget who it was, but I recently heard someone say something like it is better to aim high in life and miss, than to aim low and achieve it. Your PP is aiming SO low!

* OK, I guess I'm offering, but others may be nearer.
musicus - moderator, Liturgy Matters
blog

alan29
Posts: 1166
Joined: Fri May 27, 2005 8:04 pm
Location: Wirral

Re: technology and CDs and such.......

Post by alan29 »

Another symptom of how music is seen as a background thing, to be talked over, chopped up and shopped to.
Time to move on, I feel.
Alan

Gabriel
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 7:06 pm
Location: London

Re: technology and CDs and such.......

Post by Gabriel »

If I remember correctly I think the Order of Christian Funerals (c. 1990) makes reference to playing recorded music.

I think an aspect of what is going on here is 'aural wallpaper' - silence is a vacuum to be filled with sound, preferably nice ones.

I once visited a church where a CD was playing before Evening Mass filling the church with pleasant noise. What I found disturbing was that the CD was, I think, the monks of Ampleforth singing Compline. So we had the sound, at special church volume of almost indistinct, of a liturgy being celebrated while we prepared ourselves to celebrate the liturgy.

Music from this perspective is meaningless, its purpose is to provide sound. This attitude flows over into the understanding of music in the liturgy - it is not integral, it is an add-on which does not give or enhance meaning. We have music to satisfy the needy musicians.

There are a number of sub topics here:
    recorded accompaniments in the liturgy to accompany singing
    specific recorded music played with purpose in a liturgy
    unspecific recorded music played outside (or within) a liturgy

There is also a larger question of how we construct meaning from music - but not today.

However, though in nearly all cases I would prefer live music or silence to recorded, I have appreciated in some French 'tourist' churches the playing of recorded sacred music. I think because it did assert what the purpose of the building.
Another blog

User avatar
mcb
Posts: 887
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2003 5:39 pm
Parish / Diocese: Our Lady's, Lillington
Contact:

Re: technology and CDs and such.......

Post by mcb »

festivaltrumpet wrote:I am unable to find a directive more recent than 1958

There's this from the American bishops (so I suppose it doesn't count as a directive) in Liturgical Music Today (1982):
RECORDED MUSIC

60. The liturgy is a complexus of signs expressed by living human beings. Music, being
preeminent among these sings, ought to be "live." While recorded music, therefore, might be
used to advantage outside the liturgy as an aid in the teaching of new music, it should, as a norm,
never be used within the liturgy to replace the congregation, the choir, the organist or other
instrumentalists.

61. Some exceptions to this principle should be noted, however. Recorded music may be used to
accompany the community's song during a procession out-of-doors and, when used carefully, in
Masses with children.[56] Occasionally it might be used as an aid to prayer, for example, during
long periods of silence in a communal celebration of reconciliation. It may never become
substitute for the community's song, however, as in the case of the responsorial psalm after a
reading from Scripture or during the optional hymn of praise after communion.

62. A prerecorded track is sometimes used as a feature of contemporary "electronic music"
composition. When combined with live voices and/or instruments, it is an integral part of the
performance, and therefore, is a legitimate use of prerecorded music.

Paragraph 61 is disappointing, since it more or less concedes that there can be a place for recorded music. To my mind it's an abomination with no grounding in liturgical principles or liturgical history.

I'm hardly ever in a position to get to mass at my home parish, but I've found myself avoiding it altogether since the parish priest started playing Celtic mood music to cover the communion procession.

User avatar
mcb
Posts: 887
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2003 5:39 pm
Parish / Diocese: Our Lady's, Lillington
Contact:

Re: technology and CDs and such.......

Post by mcb »

More or less the same in Sing to the Lord, a year ago, again from the US bishops:
Recorded Music
93. Recorded music lacks the authenticity provided by a living liturgical assembly
gathered for the Sacred Liturgy. While recorded music might be used advantageously outside the
Liturgy as an aid in the teaching of new music, it should not, as a general norm, be used within
the Liturgy.

94. Some exceptions to this principle should be noted. Recorded music may be used to
accompany the community’s song during a procession outside and, when used carefully, in
Masses with children. Occasionally, it might be used as an aid to prayer, for example, during
long periods of silence in a communal celebration of reconciliation. However, recorded music
should never become a substitute for the community’s singing.

User avatar
sidvicius
Posts: 231
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2004 12:12 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: technology and CDs and such.......

Post by sidvicius »

We use recorded music during the annual reconciliation mass as described above. It works well enough, but I don't see why we couldn't use real musicians, other than for the usual reasons that no-one is available from an already small musical core. In the church where I grew up it was normal to sing along to a reel-to-reel tape recorder but I get the impression people were just generally more inclined to sing along back then.

JW
Posts: 850
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:46 am
Location: Kent

Re: technology and CDs and such.......

Post by JW »

Do I sense a power struggle going on here? If there is, the parish priests will win because they are the parish priests. There have always been battles between certain priest and musicians, and now the technology has come along, they can extend their control to the music. Mind you, the way things are going a priest will be a rare being indeed before long! Be patient!!!
JW

oopsorganist
Posts: 769
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 9:55 pm
Location: Leeds

Re: technology and CDs and such.......

Post by oopsorganist »

JW you are very perceptive.
But it is not between me and the PP. I do what he asks of me, even if I do exercise a little artistic licence occasionally, he does not mind that, or what I do........he does like things to be live...but.....

The struggle goes on around the Vigil Mass. This is where I think he needs help. He is attacked often... ambushed and over ruled! There is schism in the parish so sad, and also some struggling Evangelism...... all a bit wierd!

But I think with our CD player there could be opportunities. If I was more skilled I could take them...
....... maybe I can subvert the Three Priests by scratching the CD sh! and replacing with some Bernadette Farrell, Wild Goose, Gospel style whatever ....... if the recorded music relates to the season, the message, then nothing to fear... but this is a different kind of planning, isn't it, and I don't know what resources I will find......and how much I will end up spending to counter the Three Priests?

... what kind of backing tracks are out there I wonder?

But still , the ghost of that neighbouring and more impressive parish singing along to CDs .......

.........but I fear I wil be a victim of the battle, a casualty.... I don't need any grief within my music, I need to be sustained too........each conflict is a wound if you are not well trained and confident!

I heard last night the most beautiful music... local Anglican school... such singing. ... ah well.....
uh oh!

dunstan
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2004 2:42 pm
Location: Rugby, Warks
Contact:

Re: technology and CDs and such.......

Post by dunstan »

Will the next step be adding a trailer for next week's mass during the recessional hymn? :lol:

Returning to the subject in question, here come my Grumpy Old Man credentials: I would prefer silence to, well, anything to "aid" the silence; I prefer unaccompanied singing to karaoke hymns. And using sacred chant as "ambient music" in church - two wrongs make it still wrong, it's not magically "in context" just because of the location.

As for amplification in small churches, I was dead set against it in our 100 seater church. But we paid a lot of money to get someone with good references, and I am now convinced. You don't notice that it's amplified sound at all, just that you can hear it clearly, and that our more elderly parishioners can also hear. And when reading, you feel that rather than having to project your voice with volume, you project your attention and eye focus around the congregation.
It's not a generation gap, it's a taste gap.

User avatar
musicus
Moderator
Posts: 1605
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2003 8:47 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: technology and CDs and such.......

Post by musicus »

dunstan wrote:You don't notice that it's amplified sound at all, just that you can hear it clearly, and that our more elderly parishioners can also hear. And when reading, you feel that rather than having to project your voice with volume, you project your attention and eye focus around the congregation.

Precisely; which is why it is worth paying for quality and not worth paying for anything less. If you notice the amplification then it's not as good as it should be.
musicus - moderator, Liturgy Matters
blog

Post Reply