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Monday, 14 September 2009


After a long weekend, a looooong weekend, I am engaging in some reflection.

I am a scofflaw.

I am a criminal.

We are singing a certain Mass.

This is a setting we, (for despite what I was told were my duties, I cannot make unilateral decisions,) choose to use, it has found favour with divers denizens of the 'rish.

And while given my 'druthers, we would be introducing a Gregorian ordinary, I am not musically or liturgically ashamed to be singing and playing this one to my God.

Now, I have a stack of lovely, (relatively) expensive, sturdy(surprisingly, in light of how shabby and flimsy much published Catholic liturgical music is,) cantor/choral/organ copies of this Mass ordinary.

Originals, those of you loft-dwellers with toner for blood will understand, and be shocked to know. (I have a MD acquaintance who never programs anything written before the youngest member of her choir was born, but whose choir hasn't laid a finger on a purchased piece of music since... well, before I was born. Shh.)

I acquired them after great difficulty, but that is not really pertinent.

What is pertinent, is that they are not usable.

I knew they would not be, (I already had one,) but I purchased them, (with my own, not 'rish money,) as a CYA strategy, morally speaking.

I haven't covered anything legally speaking.

But since the odds of a successful musical outing using these copies would be nil,
(unless the choir's program said, Stand at the ready, and when the celebrant says either "As we prepare... ask for pardon and strength," or, "Coming together...full of gentleness and compassion" or "My brothers and sisters...to mind our sins," we wait 5 seconds and if he doesn't launch into "Together, I confess to...." then I will play first five notes of the Kyrie, but for the love of pete don't sing it because the cantor will have to look at another page and sing an invocation recto tono, and then we'll sing that "Lord, have mercy" but if the priest isn't confiteor-phobic we'll sing it as written, but that top line is the congregation melody so your staffs are the next two down, printed in identical type-face and note size, so as you turn the page which you have to do every four measures the way this thing is laid out, make sure your eye goes to the correct staff...
and I can pretty much guarantee that even if the program were that detailed, it would go virtually unread; and that's not even getting into the
Agnus, Sing "verse" 1 and then skip the next page, and sing verse 3, but with the same words as verse one rather than "Bread of Angles, You take away..." or "Basket of Goodies You take...," or "Rainbow Buddy....", oh and then skip the next 6 choices and go to that last one,
and there are not enough hours in the day or paperclips in the loft to go through all the originals and mark them so that people would have even a 50/50 chance of singing as I intend, I choose to defy the law and---

Oh no! Make copies of choral music!

That's right, mark and arrange a single copy, consolidate these user-unfriendly, multi-page-turn-requiring movements of the Ordinary of the Mass onto single pieces of paper, (and STILL enlarge the print considerably,) and make photocopies.

Come and get me, Copper!

I'm sorry, I'm in a snotty mood about the laws governing these things, having been told in a wide-ranging discussion recently, by people who seem to know, that SINE NOMINE, published in 1906, is still under copyright.

Cui bono?

(Besides Mickey, for instance, Mr Bono...)

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