Interview with Jeffrey Tucker about liturgical music

The Church’s sacred music played an important role in my conversion, when I was a young man.  There is a great deal of work to do.

But perhaps just as in the spring rivers will thaw and log jams start to break up, we are getting to a point where young people are going to take the reins from the chronologically advanced who are frozen in their outdated and mainly false ideas of what the Second Vatican Council wanted for music in our worship.

Our friend Jeffrey Tucker managing editor of the quarterly journal Sacred Music and the blog Chant Cafe, was interviewed in the National Catholic Register.

The piece is quite long, but here a couple passages that caught my eye.

Singing the Mass

The editor of Sacred Music talks about current trends in liturgical music, his conversion to the faith through Gregorian chant, and what to expect from the new Missal.

BY TRENT BEATTIE

Q: What are the most common misconceptions about sacred music in the mind of the average Catholic?

TUCKER: I’m not entirely sure that the average Catholic is as confused as the nice people who attempt to provide music in our parishes from week to week. If you ask the average Catholic what kind of music is integral to our liturgy and ritual, most will mention Gregorian chant. They are right. The music of the Church was taking shape around the same time as the books of the Bible were being chosen; the faith and its music grew up and took shape together. Just as Scripture continues to speak to us today, the music of the faith speaks to us as well.

I find it striking that most non-Catholics imagine that our services are dominated by the kind of chant heard in movies and television. But the truth is that we do not hear it in our parishes. Why not? The musicians have not had their responsibilities explained to them. They do not know that the Church has assigned a specific and brilliant piece of music for every part of the Mass throughout the liturgical year. Not one in one hundred Catholic musicians know this. They’ve never heard of the Graduale Romanum, which is the music book of the Roman Rite. They’ve never been told that there are ideals that extend beyond a weekly game of English-hymn roulette.

People who do know about chant are often afraid of it because the notation is different and the language is different. The rhythm is different too. So it is with the rest of Catholicism. What we do is different from what the rest of the world does. We understand the need to train in doctrine and morals, but somehow we think that such training should not be necessary for liturgical music.

We have to realize that our music is of a special type, so it makes special demands on the musician. We should not permit any music to be used in Mass without some consciousness of what it is supposed to be about, any more than we should tolerate homilies that teach ideas contrary to the faith.

[...]

Q: What do you say to people who think that ”contemporary” or rock music is necessary to attract young people to Mass?

TUCKER: So far as I can tell, the only people who really argue this way are old people. It’s true that plenty of young people are not interested in true liturgical music, but those same people are not interested in Catholicism either. How do we draw people to the faith? By lying about it and substituting false teaching? I don’t think so. The faith draws people when it is not ashamed of itself and when it has the ring of truth.

It is the same with liturgical music. Church music uses free rhythm that always points upwards in the same way that incense is always rising. This assists our prayer. Secular styles of music, in contrast, use rhythms that elicit temporal thoughts and emotions. Rock music points to nothing outside of itself, so it does not belong anywhere near the liturgy.

We are living in times of transition, and young people seem to know this even more than older people. I don’t think there is any doubt where that transition is headed: People are discovering the sacred music tradition. If you look around at the Catholic music world, you quickly find that this is where the interest and energy is. This is the future.

Technorati Tags: , ,

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, The future and our choices and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Interview with Jeffrey Tucker about liturgical music

  1. Konichiwa says:

    Gregorian chant is powerful, and I believe that it is very significant to helping people get in touch with the spirit of the Liturgy.

  2. capchoirgirl says:

    Yes, chant notation is different, and hard to read, even if you can read music. But at my parish, the choir knows chant (our director taught us to read notation, etc.) and if *we* know it, then the congregation can just echo back what we sing to them, gradually learning it by heart. It’s not hard to catch on. How many people can chant the “Agnus Dei” and don’t even really remember “learning” it?
    What we need are great music directors, who can teach the choirs/cantors the chant, who can then bring it to the people.
    Chant is an integral and unique part of our Catholic identity.

  3. TNCath says:

    “Q: What do you say to people who think that ”contemporary” or rock music is necessary to attract young people to Mass?”

    Jeffrey Tucker writes, “So far as I can tell, the only people who really argue this way are old people. It’s true that plenty of young people are not interested in true liturgical music, but those same people are not interested in Catholicism either. How do we draw people to the faith? By lying about it and substituting false teaching? I don’t think so. The faith draws people when it is not ashamed of itself and when it has the ring of truth.”

    How true this is! These aging “youth directors” and “liturgists” who think making the Mass more “relevant” still means “guitar Masses” and rock bands. I think a lot of these comes from some of the high school retreat programs such as “Search for Christian Maturity” and “Lifeteen,” which, if you look at their websites, are these anachronistic throwbacks to the 1970′s, which misrepresent Catholic liturgy as entertainment and Catholic life as “warm fuzzy feel good about yourself” theology. Some fall for it; most see right through it.

    The students I have contact with who are interested in Catholicism have already experienced the “pop culture church” in their experience with the mega-churches of the protestants. These kids are drawn to the Catholic liturgy by Gregorian chant, reverence, the link to the past, the Pope, and yes…LATIN!

  4. TJerome says:

    Mr. Tucker is always a must read. Interesting how converts to the Faith recognize the real and true in our Catholic Church whereas many cradle Catholics walk blindly through life without recognizing that realness and truth. Thanks for posting this, Father Z. Happy New Year, Tom

  5. I dunno…for some reason, I find chant notation easier to follow than modern notation (though I have no formal musical training, and I’d be hard pressed to explain the theory behind chant notation, and all that I know I picked up by experience).

    One thing about chant — and I’m sure it’s part of the purpose of chant — is that it is an aid to the memory. The Mass parts set to chant are easier to remember.

    And by the way, English and chant don’t mix. English and chant dance very clumsily together. Just stick to the Latin.

    Miss A., O.P.

  6. albinus1 says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how many “music ministers” who insist that young people can’t possibly relate to Gregorian Chant will insist with equal fervor that today’s young people will be excited and attracted by … bad pseudo-folk music from the 1970s.

    Yes, the Millennial Generation can’t be expected to connect with timeless Gregorian Chant, but they must feel an instant affinity for … the St. Louis Jesuits. (/sarcasm)

    Thomas Day’s Why Catholics Can’t Sing is brilliant on the whole subject of post-Conciliar Catholic liturgical music.

  7. Andy Milam says:

    Kudos Jeffrey, Kudos….

  8. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    “So far as I can tell, the only people who really argue this way are old people. ”

    Burn. Double burn.

  9. Thomas in MD says:

    While I agree in principle with Mr. Tucker, I think he is overly sanguine about the confusion of the average Catholic regarding litugical music. I think most Catholics under the age of 45 have probably NEVER heard Gregorian chant in a liturgical setting, and the majority have only heard it in movies–and as a consequence don’t even know they have heard it. Before I (age 43) got interested in liturgy –as a result of being a Classics major who was curious to hear Latin so went to a TLM– [Similar to my own experience. - Fr. Z] I wouldn’t have associated chant with the Mass if you played it for me; I would have just thought is was some old medieval music. I never even associated Mozart’s “Requiem” with the liturgy because I had no clue that the pieces were prayers. That is how bad the catecheses of the average Catholic actually is. They might like classical music or chant, but don’t even know it is liturgical music because at the most fundemental level, they don’t know what the Mass is. Sorry to be such a cynic, but that is the situation for my generation especially in my unnamed diocese.

  10. templariidvm says:

    Though I DO look forward to the increased use of chant in my parish, I honestly don’t believe that ONLY “old” people are enthusiastic about other types of music. Last year, I went with my eldest son to a Life Teen mass at our parish. A very large percentage of those present were singing with full-throated joy to the music blared by the rock band. I did not recognize my parish! ( I normally sing with our Sunday morning adult choir.) My son and I, both, had difficulty assuming the proper attitude of prayerfulness as the cacophony raged. After the final song (I don’t think the term “hymn” would apply to it), nearly half of the congregation (of approximately 500 people) paused to clap for the musicians. The congregation seemed to truly enjoy the concert/mass. My son was horrified, even at 16 years old, that such music was allowed during our liturgy.

    My point is that I believe there is more of a “battle” ahead then Jeffrey states. I read Chant Cafe often and I agree with the need to bring Gregorian Chant back to pride of place. This is another place where we cannot assume that because we are “right”, that all but the felt-bannered liturgists will willingly join our bandwagon. By nudging it into our liturgies though, bit by bit, we can accustom our congregations to the sound, splendor and – most importantly – prayerfulness of chant. For many parishes, babysteps will need to be the way forward.

  11. dad29 says:

    The musicians have not had their responsibilities explained to them. They do not know that the Church has assigned a specific and brilliant piece of music for every part of the Mass throughout the liturgical year. Not one in one hundred Catholic musicians know this. They’ve never heard of the Graduale Romanum, which is the music book of the Roman Rite. They’ve never been told that there are ideals that extend beyond a weekly game of English-hymn roulette.

    That is the case in these days.

    But in the formative days of the Revolution here in the US, (roughly 1965-1975) church musicians were told, authoritatively, that ‘all that Chant stuff’ was no longer desirable at Mass. Partly, I suppose, because of the language issue (thus, the famous war between Mgr. Schuler and Mgr. Schmitt over “English Chant”.) Of course, those who were trained in that time period became ‘trainers’ later on, and thus today’s ignorance described by Mr. Tucker.

    It is also the case that even then (the early/mid 1960′s-’70′s) very few church musicians actually used Chant regularly, and many who did did so frightfully. Funereal-dirge-paced Chant, off-pitch, ignoring text while singing–you name it, it was there–these, too were factors.

    So in the end, given the iconoclasm and general turmoil of the period, (plus the de facto abolition of Latin in the Mass), Chant disappeared.

  12. dad29 says:

    I should add that there WERE those (Mgr. Schuler the pre-eminent) who ‘knew the score’ about the Council’s directives. [Today, 30 Dec. was Msgr. Schuler's earthly birthday. He would have been 90.]

    But in many Dioceses, they were simply driven out, either by Bishops or parish pastors. It was not merely mal-education of musicians; it was pervasive, extending through seminaries and “musicians’ conferences.”

  13. eulogos says:

    I really think the AVERAGE Catholic in the US has never heard of Gregorian chant although he has probably heard a few snatches of it in a movie. If they have heard of it, what they would say is “Some kind of thing monks did in the middle ages.”
    The liklihood of hearing any Gregorian chant in my local parish is about as remote as that of establishing a colony on the moon. Perhaps both will happen someday.
    I went to a wedding once where the groom had found a priest who could chant the mass and hired a choir to sing Gregorian chant. My husband said that it was as if some angels had come down from heaven to this little church in Northern Pennsylvania. I agree. This was the first, and last, time in my 38 years as a Catholic that I have ever heard Gregorian chant except on a record.
    Susan Peterson
    Susan Peterson

  14. Tradster says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with the comments about Gregorian chant and pray it will become commonplace again. However, I think what is sadly overlooked in the debate are the wonderful pre-conciliar Catholic songs. Just look at how a congregation suddenly comes alive (especially the older folk) to belt out “Tantum Ergo” or “Holy God We Praise They Name” or “Immaculate Mary” (even the Ave’s). Those songs stir the feelings of true Catholicism that lie dormant during the modern lounge music or rock music. While I love Gregorian chant, my point is that it isn’t our only option to replace the garbage in our liturgies today.

  15. Nathan says:

    Mr. Tucker hits the nail on the head in the interview, especially in the reaction of young people to “youth” music. I think Mr. Tucker has hit on another important piece in the “why is music in Catholic churches in America so atrocious?” puzzle in his many articles on the tyranny of copyrighting sacred texts and music. One could argue that organic development of the Roman liturgy is well neigh impossible when a bureaucratic body ferociously defends the copyright of both the English texts of Holy Mass and the proclaimed translation of Holy Scripture, as currently exists in the English-speaking world.

    As for the music itself, it is in the interests of the big Catholic music publishers (GIA, OCP) not to promote the Graduale Romanum and to encourage the Disney-Broadway-Lion King-style silliness so common in parishes. Chant and traditional music are in the public domain, so the publishers cannot limit the reproduction and use of that in the way that they control the rights and subsequent profits from the tripe.

    It’s pure speculation, but I wonder if so much of the “inclusive” language put on traditional hymns in GIA and OCP are so they can copyright and control those texts as well.

    In Christ,

  16. Ed the Roman says:

    There is certainly much good pre-conciliar hymnody, as well as pre-conciliar tripe.

    But I think that to the extent that we correct the Deforms in the Wake of Vatican II, chant and polyphony will end up dominating.

  17. cwillia1 says:

    There is too much emphasis on pushing Gregorian Chant at the high end of the aesthetics scale and too little focus on first principles of music in the liturgy. The mass should be sung – all of it except the homily, all the time. To achieve this we need a simple, universal, vernacular chant system and cantors who can sing the people’s parts of the ordinary until they learn it and also the propers. They do not need to be professional musicians. Stressing Gregorian Chant is backwards. It requires a trained schola. It requires people to accept Latin. It would displace the current styles of music at the 1030 am mass and do nothing for the 730 am mass. Once people learn to chant the mass in English, there will be some interest in Gregorian Chant on special occasions as resources permit and some interest in Latin for the ordinary.

  18. templariidvm says:

    We must set a goal in order to reach it. The steps to reach the goal are only determined once the goal has been set.

  19. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    “cwillia1 “and I have had completely different experiences, apparently. It’s quite true that the propers are harder than most untrained choirs can sing, but this shouldn’t be an obstacle to introducing chant. Start with the ordinaries. The homeschool choir I teach once a month is learning Missa Orbis Factor, and a Gloria. We will soon start learning either Credo 1 or Credo 3. We have used a chant Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei for three weeks running in the parish where these cherubs sing. Eventually, with the choir director’s permission, I will teach the entire parish to use the Latin “mysterium fidei”. One mom has asked me to teach them about Vespers. The kids aren’t brilliant musicians, and so I haven’t tried to teach them stuff so far above their ability level. They’re learning to READ the chant, and do quite well at it.

    As to teaching the propers: before we can do this effectively, we must change several things. 1) We must move choirs from “down front”; 2) we must gradually wean people off the “four-hymn sandwich”; 3) We must help them understand that “active participation” DOESN’T mean that they have to do everything, all the time; 4) We must choose good hymns to sing at Communion, getting them to focus on Christ, not on each other!

    For the sake of success, don’t shove too much vocabulary down the throats of the willing but uncertain. They will learn (perhaps imperfectly) to appreciate what they have been missing, and come to realize that it HELPS them get what they have needed for all these years.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

    Chris

  20. dad29 says:

    To achieve this we need a simple, universal, vernacular chant system and cantors who can sing the people’s parts of the ordinary until they learn it and also the propers. They do not need to be professional musicians. Stressing Gregorian Chant is backwards. It requires a trained schola.

    You should read the interview at the link. CMAA is currently assembling an English-language chant book.

    We will differ on other parts of your response.

  21. Ed the Roman says:

    Re accepting Latin, the only clear words against it that I have heard in my parish were from a now deceased retired assistant pastor and one of the deacons, also a man of a certain age. The Lambillotte Panis Anglicus, Latin in four parts, is always well received.

  22. Luvadoxi says:

    Wasn’t it Pope Paul VI who put out a booklet called Jubilate Deo? I have it, from EWTN. Why in the name of all that’s sacred don’t we just use that? Those chants would be easily learned by everyone by constant repetition….

  23. benedictgal says:

    The sad thing about the music geared for youth is that it’s just secular pop stuff with religious lyrics. It’s kind of like that South Park episode where Cartman decided that he and his friends were going to be a Christian rock band. They would get a rock song and then put Jesus’ name on it in the lyrics. Sadly, it’s the same concept.

    Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff in OCP’s Spirit and Song is just as bad, if not worse. When I leafed through Spirit and Song, I was dumbfounded to see that the old R&B song, “Lean on Me” was included as the last song. It was bad enough to see Protestant P&W songs like “Shine, Jesus, Shine” and “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High” in the mix. It’s even worse to hear these choirs sing “I Can Only Imagine” for Holy Communion. The song seems to totally disregard the reality that we stand in the very presence of God during the Mass, especially at the moment that we receive Him in Holy Communion.

  24. Supertradmum says:

    Thank you for sharing this excellent interview. And, it is so hopeful. Gregorian Chant is not difficult to teach or to learn. Many of us oldies learned it in early grade school, sang motets, many different Masses and so on. We loved it.

    How can we get through to those who do not understand the horror of Christian rock music? Last year’s National Youth Conference in Kansas City presented some of the worst music for youth I have ever heard. Why is this even allowed?

    Let us pray for the moral and beautiful resurgence of Gregorian Chant.

  25. templariidvm says:

    I have often thought that Christian rock and even some of the SLJ music might be better applied to a “teen room” for coffee and donuts after liturgy. If they want to listen to or even sing that kind of music OUTSIDE of the liturgy, I have absolutely NO problem with that! It can be fellowship time! When I first started being a cantor for weddings, a mentor – and very good priest friend – helped me greatly. He recommended that I tell people who wanted songs from movies or plays during their wedding, that the reception would be a WONDERFUL time to play such music. Simply because “I” find a particular song uplifting does not make it appropriate for the liturgy. As with nearly everything regarding the Roman Catholic Church, there is tradition and the magisterium to guide us. We have but to follow.

  26. Tony Layne says:

    Speaking as a musician who’s had to try to explain standard musical notation, I just don’t see how teaching people to read neumes can be any harder than teaching the myriad conventions of modern written music … especially when it comes to the fact that a single note or chord can be “spelled” two or three different ways! People who are confused by the enharmonic “black notes” are ready to throw in the towel when you introduce double-sharps and double-flats; I remember the bafflement I had the first time I encountered a tenor clef.

    Without taking anything away from Latin chant, I wouldn’t say that English can’t be chanted. It would be truer to say that neither the lame-duck nor what I’ve seen of the new translation lend themselves to the regular “pulse” of plainsong.

    I have a lot of respect for Jeffrey Tucker, and I believe he’s right in saying that kids are musically open to more than just what’s on the Top-40 stations right now. It’s the liberal dinosaurs who wanted folk and pop in their worship back in the ’60s and who project their idealized young selves into the wants and needs of the Gen-Y youth. Although Nathan has a point: the music publishers have an interest in keeping us dependent on the pablum they churn out. However, they only have as much power as the pastors and parish music ministers give them; convert the pastors and music ministers, and you force the publishers through the lever of demand to adjust what they supply.

  27. thecrazedorganist says:

    It isn’t ignorance that’s keeping chant out of this parish… Things are so bad that I was threatened with a “poor annual performance review” for “causing dissension and disunity” after I had a very public and neutral conversation with fellow parishioners on Facebook about the propers, and how they would be a most suitable alternative to the heretical 80′s mood music we continue to sing at Masses. I was told that since the “[insert name here] hymnal was published with ecclesiastical approbation” I should keep my trap shut and “ridiculous opinions” to myself or be fired, and that I had “hitched the cart to the wrong horse.” Sad thing is, I was hired here to bring a “fresh perspective” to the music program.

  28. benedictgal says:

    @thecrazedorganist: Just because a hymnal claims to have ecclesiastical approbation, that does not necessarily guarantee its orthodoxy. Sing to the Lord was approved by the USCCB, yet, it has several flaws in it, especially where it concers additional tropes for the Agnus Dei.

    I contacted the CDWDS about some of the questionable Mass settings from the publishing house in the Pacific Northwest (both English and Spanish). I also told them about some of the questionable songs in the hymnals. I have been requested to send the questionable material to the CDWDS. They also said that the USCCB should have carefully examined these settings and the music. Sadly, it’s an issue of a serious lack of quality control.

  29. lizfromFL says:

    Oh my. @benedictgal, I agree. I have heard “Lean on Me” at Mass as well, complete with clapping. As the Communion hymn. But what takes the cake is “Both Sides Now’ I believe it is a Joni Mitchell song (???) during Communion. AND our Archbishop was at that Mass; it was in celebration of our parish’s 60th anniversary. By comparison, I do not see the gripe people have with “On Eagle’s Wings” or “You are Near.”

    I have never heard chant live at Mass. I am 35 yrs old.

  30. AnAmericanMother says:

    I guess everything’s relative, and it depends on where you are. I’m thankful for our very orthodox/traditional parish and our brilliant (and extremely patient) music director.
    I didn’t encounter Gregorian chant until my 40s, when we converted. Learning the notation was NOT difficult, and in some ways the system is more informative and intuitive than staff notation. I particularly like the sol-fa method for finding the key, something I had never encountered before . . . . what a help that is for folks without perfect pitch! (Thanx and a hat tip to the inimitable Mr. Jeffrey Tucker and his wonderful seminar this past year!) And I had never been exposed to solfege either, although I used to sing by the fa-so-la method (Sacred Harp), which is just different enough to throw you for a loop.
    If you’re going to chant in English, the Anglican system is better adapted to English (and it changes the pronunciation in specific ways to make it work). We chant our English psalms with . . . Anglican chant (although we don’t call it that! :-D )
    But I agree that we’re going to have to institute changes gradually. More traditional hymns, introduction of more chant, use of motets . . . advance carefully on all fronts is probably the best method.
    And a question: Would somebody please explain to me why the proponents of “modern” music are so hostile to any introduction of chant or polyphony? They aren’t even willing to compromise or coexist, it seems. Why can’t they at least share?

  31. benedetta says:

    There is a quite natural inclination in the soul for beauty, which by and large so many parishes ignore. Go to any suburban large bookstore chain and find multitudes of art books, architecture coffee table books, and witness the best-selling, Cloister Walk book and Chant cd of 1994. People look elsewhere to satisfy this yearning quite often. Yet these do not, in and of themselves, ultimately supply experiences of prayer and communion though as with so much of life we are able to catch a glimpse. Where I am recently a concert was presented of sacred music, the word reverence was even used to advertise it, at a local college. Yet in the sphere where one expects the sacred there is so much performance and the experience of sacred prayer much neglected. Still there are many hopeful aspects for the future which shine out in this interview.

  32. gambletrainman says:

    A while back, when all the extreme changes were taking place, especially in dioceses run by ultra-liberal bishops, our pastor at the time said that had these extreme changes been tried, say, in the 12th or 13th centuries, even the general laity would have the bishops’ and priests’ heads on a pole, because they would not stand for these radical changes, but, because, for the last 100 years or so, we have had very holy popes, bishops and priests, the laity had been accustomed to a new attitude, “Because the Holy Father (or Bishop So-and-so, or Father Whatever) says we must do it, then it must be good for us”. When the changes came about, some of the people, including priests, did not like the changes, but, feeling they had no recourse, did as they were told. Over time, they got used to the “new” way of doing things—guitar music, communion in the hand, hugging and kissing during mass, etc.

    Now, because Pope Benedict says that the older form was never technically abolished, people are starting to take a fresh look, not only at the “old Mass”, but even Gregorian Chant is taking on a “new look”, so to speak. And, to the surprise of the liberal bishops, it is not only the older people who are showing an interest in the beauty of the “old Mass” and chant, but the younger generation is catching on. The changes did not happen overnight, and the change back to the proper devotion to (or celebration of) the Sacred Liturgy will not happen overnight, but in time it will come

  33. thecrazedorganist says:

    @benedictgal: I completely agree. It’s quite likely that Cardinal _ (or an overworked secretary) thumbed through the book and said “Meh, looks ok.” The thing that confuses me most is that multiple and conflicting heresies are presented side-by-side. One hymn denies the divinity of Christ, the next denies His humanity, one hymn espouses consubstantiation, the next transfinalization, the next transignification…

    Sadly, I have to just keep my head down and keep on playing the organ. 40-hour-a-week jobs that can feed a family aren’t a dime a dozen these days :(

  34. kbf says:

    This was a trurly superb piece.

    Jeff’s work has been inspirational and becausde of that, I started writing a few submissions for the Chant Cafe from a UK perspective. He’s also somehow convinced me to be a regular contributor at the Chant Cafe blog.

  35. @cwillia1

    There is too much emphasis on pushing Gregorian Chant at the high end of the aesthetics scale and too little focus on first principles of music in the liturgy. The mass should be sung – all of it except the homily, all the time. To achieve this we need a simple, universal, vernacular chant system and cantors who can sing the people’s parts of the ordinary until they learn it and also the propers. They do not need to be professional musicians. Stressing Gregorian Chant is backwards. It requires a trained schola. It requires people to accept Latin.

    Interestingly, the work to produce a “vernacular chant system” that doesn’t require a trained Gregorian schola has already been done. At my Anglican Use parish we use the Anglican Use Gradual, which has the introit, gradual, alleluia, offertory and communion chant for every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation (and a few other saints’ days) of the church year: simple chants in “Elizabethan” English. At our parish, these chants are sung at every Mass, along with choral settings of the Ordinary, along with the dialogs, Gospel, Preface, and Our Father. And we are a small parish. The AU Gradual, could, however, be used at any Roman Rite parish, as it follows the revised calendar of the Roman Rite.
    There is also an American Gradual, by Bruce Ford, which has these chants in contemporary English, using modern music notation (although the chants are based on the more difficult chants in the Roman Gradual. On top of that, Dr. Paul Ford produced By Flowing Waters, an English translation of the Simple Gradual (or Graduale Simplex), the creation of which was mandated by the Second Vatican Council. Dr. Ford’s web site is a work in progress, where he proposes to host examples of all the chants recorded there as mp3s, so that learning these simpler chants is that much easier. By Flowing Waters also has a Kyriale, or collection of Mass Ordinary chants.
    Also of note is the fairly recent publication of the Mundelein Psalter, a version of the Liturgy of the Hours with the psalms and responsories and prayers set to music (and with a vastly superior selection of hymns that actually takes note of the official hymns in the Post-Conciliar LotH).
    The real problem is education…and miseducation. But the resources are now widely available to help.

  36. Jayna says:

    “a weekly game of English-hymn roulette”

    There is without doubt no better way to describe this. I would very much like to send this piece to the parish “liturgist,” but the fallout would be substantial.

  37. cwillia1 says:

    Steve,

    I imagine we do have simple, vernacular chant systems – especially from the Anglican tradition. What is missing is the universal part. I was a fundamental mistake to adopt a vernacular mass without a mandatory, vernacular chant.

    Once the mass is chanted everywhere, many people will be disposed to Latin chant – at least for special occasions.

  38. Pingback: RECENT POSTS | Fr. Z's Blog – What Does The Prayer Really Say?