There are criteria for music during the liturgical action.
It must be sacred and it must be art.
That is, the idiom of the music should be sacred – not blatantly secular – it must present sacred texts and it must be artistic, both as a composition and by performance.
Idiom is a little hard to describe, but it has to do with connotation. For example, certain instruments and styles of music invoke smokey jazz night clubs or summer parades. Those are connotations which shift very slowly. Other music or instruments, such as pipe organ, instantly makes you think of church.
Some people think that beauty is in the ear of the listener and that you cannot dispute tastes in music. I disagree. Some music really is better.
Another thing which complicates discussion of sacred music for liturgy is the issue of "active participation". The shallow, false understanding of "active participation" which has been dominant for so long convinced most people that the congregation has to be doing stuff or otherwise they are not being "active". So, as far as music is concerned, people weren’t to listen, they were to sing! And sing everything. Listening was "passive". That is wrong, of course, for listening is tremendous active. It is active receptivity.
Still, the result of the false notion of music and participation resulted in a dumbing down of music. Music became a mere tool to spur participation (incorrectly understood) rather than an "integrating part" of the liturgical action: prayer itself.
To get everyone to sing, music had to be in the vernacular and it had to be simplistic. People with the wrong idea of participation and no serious musical preparation started pushing out catchy junk inspired by the Campbell soup jingle or Gilligan’s Island theme. Musical garbage for the lowest denominator.
Stuff everyone can sing!
Thus was the door to our treasury of sacred music slammed shut.
To spur the singing of this rubbish, even more people were co-opted into doing stuff, song leaders and combos, etc., were pushed up to the front of the church because doing stuff and seeing it being done was now the point of participation in the less and less sacred action.
Here is a little poll question.
Where is your band or music combo or choir situated in your church.
It is possible that in some places with more than one Sunday Mass you may have a band in front for one Mass and a choir in the loft for the other. Or, the choir is up top in the loft for most Masses but then there is the single "contemporary" or "youth" Mass.
But for the most part, where are they?
Where’s the liturgical band/choir?
- Tucked away (in the choir loft or out of view) (56%, 420 Votes)
- In full view (up front or close to the sanctuary) (44%, 329 Votes)
Total Voters: 749