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Monday, 7 June 2010

"One Small Step for a Liturgical Musician, One Giant Step for Liturgical Music"

...or so one imagines Dom Neil Alden Armstrong saying, in his role as chantmaster.

Gary Penkala, (of CanticaNova, the first place you should check when you want to buy appropriate Catholic liturgical music,) offers not one, but TEN of those "small steps.":
  1. Jubilate Deo — Start with Jubilate Deo before [anything else]...
  2. Dialogues — Encourage (and help) your priests to sing the dialogues of the Mass, particularly when the new Mass translation is introduced. [emphasis supplied]
  3. Children — Teach chant to children... they have many fewer hang-ups about singing Latin than adults do — in fact, they enjoy the challenge tremendously!
  4. Teens — Teach teens chant. ...
  5. Adult choirs — These groups should have an ample repertoire of chants, from the In paradisum sung by the Funeral Choir to the Te Deum sung by the Festival Choir at the church dedication. ...
  6. Basic Mass — If your parish doesn't already know it, teach them the so-called Missa primitiva, introduced in this order over a period of several years:
    • Agnus Dei XVIII
    • Kyrie XVI
    • Sanctus XVIII
    • Pater noster
    • Gloria VIII
    • Credo III
  7. Seasonal chants — Sing some chants that will last a whole season. Some easy ones: Veni Emmanuel for Advent, Parce Domine for Lent, Alleluia for Eastertide.
  8. Repetition — Learn pieces that can be repeated often, not only within the liturgical season, but from year to year....
  9. Organ music — Play organ music based on chant....
  10. Patience & Praise — Perhaps the most inportant advice in this article is this: Be extremely patient with the choir, the congregation, the priest and deacon and Praise them abundantly....

With these small steps begin your journey toward the ideal of "principal place" of chant in the Mass. Once chant is comfortable and accepted, scholas can begin the work of actually singing the Mass, rather than singing at Mass. The Propers (Introit, Gradual, Alleluia/Tract, Offertory and Communion) can once again be recognized as the music that belongs to the Roman Rite and belongs in the Mass itself.

Go read the details and begin that ascent up the Holy Mountain.

And BUY something.

Terrific site, Canticanova, really a treasure.

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