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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

September 2, 2015

Back again!

evelyn @ 7:33 pm

Eyes a lot better. Maybe now I will actually see the priests who are conducting the weddings I play at!    Two more weddings coming up soon.

In the meantime, here’s something I picked up on Fr Z’s blog.



  1. Love it! Brilliant!

    Comment by Elvira — September 2, 2015 @ 8:58 pm

  2. After Vatican II when all the exhibitionists and amateurs jumped up out of the weeds, the idea seemed to be that anyone could write music and supposedly with the right motivation the music would automatically be good and worthy of inclusion in our worship of the Deity. Most of this stuff was merely Music Sandbox 101 and some of it not even that. But it was glorified because, unfortunately, much of it came from seminarians about to enter the priesthood or who were already in the priesthood or out of some convent. Of itself that was a stamp of approval.

    The problem with nearly all of this music is that it was written from the point of view of a soloist and not necessarily a good one either. Usually with guitar accompaniment because that was the instrument of the time which had taken over from the ukelele high school kids used at the beach following WW 2. All of this is to say that none of this could possibly be sung by large groups of people, meaning a congregation normally undirected, who would otherwise sing, since it was rhythmically too often far too complex. . . .apparently in an attempt to imitate jazz or rock music. Thomas Day made a good case about all of this in his book “Why Catholics Can’t Sing”. Naturally, his work was vilified by all those amateurs still in the ascendancy. So the man in the pew shut his book and simply did not sing. On top of this some would-be liturgists got the idea that everyone should be singing coming down the aisle for Communion. This notion was not only entirely impractical, but ignored the fact that each individual member of the congregation would be immediately threatened by such a procedure. . .which meant that they would not sing at all. That compounded the overall problem of the bad music the congregation was supposed to sing.

    Back in the 1960’s I had the opportunity to speak with some of the Oratorio priests who were singing very well as was their congregation and most of their singing derived from the better Protestant hymnals. I learned that they were ransacking the major sources of hymnology back then in preparation for printing a new hymnal [Collegeville] suitable for our Masses. And, later, they did. Even better ones have come out since, but we still have those who think secular music at any cost. The trouble there is that music has a spiritual power which can rival the Word in its effect on people. Bringing in cocktail lounge music introduces that spirit into the Mass. So we find ourselves in the position of transforming the Church into the outside world. St. Paul and others have argued just the opposite, that we should be out transforming the world rather than the world transforming us. That seems to me to be an excellent idea, but in many areas we have allowed the opposite to happen and secular music with its irregular rhythms and syncopation has been too often the big carrier. Good music intended for congregational participation must have a regular rhythm and normal phrasing so that the people can breathe. Those parameters have been too often ignored to the detriment of the Mass.

    Comment by George E. Klump — September 17, 2015 @ 4:23 pm

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