REVIEW: St. Antoine Daniel Gregorian Chant Ordinaries (and Fr. Z rants)

At what became my home parish back in my native place, on Saturday mornings there was always a modest sung Mass in Latin, with incense and Gregorian chant. 

People would file into the chapel and take from a basket to the left of the door a copy of the Kyriale (if they didn’t have one of their own).   A small schola, just three or four of the larger Sunday group, would sing the Propers.

The whole congregation sang the Ordinary.  Before Mass the director of the choir would simply announce which Mass setting was to be used, ("Today we are singing Mass IV.") and people simply sang it. 

Over the years many people no longer needed to use the Kyriale: they knew the chants by heart. 

Want to talk about congregational singing?  This was no assembly being hounded by an arm waving  wanna be American Idol contestant with a mic.  Over one hundred people singing chant: blue collar workers and old ladies, students and execs, women religious, children and a scattering of seminarians on a stealthy foray from what we called "The Hole" just to learn and recharge batteries.

Growing up as a Lutheran, I remember the congregation singing in four part harmony from a hymnal.  Can’t Catholic congregations can’t sing a one part Gregorian chant setting from a Kyriale

This is not rocket science.  Chant is not hard.   Singing Gregorian chant can and should be entirely normal for a parish.   The Council said that Latin was to be retained (SC 36) and that the faithful should be able to sing and speak the parts that pertain to them (SC 54).  Gregorian chant should have pride of place (SC 116).

Are we going to pretend the Council didn’t mean what it promulgated?

In this time when people are reassessing the Second Vatican Council through a hermeneutic of continuity, in this time when people are stressing fidelity to the Council in the face of a resurgent traditional worship, Gregorian chant must be more widely embraced. 

With a biretta tip to NLM I visited a site designed to help people learn to sing Gregorian Chant Ordinaries for Holy Mass.
Saint Antoine Daniel Gregorian Chant Ordinaries

The site is beautifully designed.  You can  listen to recordings of each of the chants in the Kyriale, which is a small book published my Solesmes and which contains these settings (Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, Agnus Dei). 

Since the Kyriale simply numbers these settings with Roman numerals, it could be hard for newbies to figure out which setting to use for which Mass, and also how to sing them.  Appropriate recommendations are made for which Mass setting to sing for different seasons or feasts.  For example, if it is a Sunday of Advent you should use Missa XVII and can use Credo IV

The site is very well designed and easy to navigate.  They provide mp3s of the individual pieces sung both by an individual and a schola.  The schola versions are, I believe, mostly from recordings, such as those made by the monks at Solesmes.   It looks like they will eventually have a YouTube link.   This is a site under construction.  You can also download the musical score with the Gregorian chant notation and also for organ accompaniment.

The site could be useful for both people who want to sing chant for both the older, traditional form of the Roman Rite as well as for the Novus Ordo. 

Let us not forget that Gregorian chant really is the official music for the Novus Ordo.  Hopefully more and more priests and parish music directors will come to realize that and use sites like these to bring Gregorian chant to their congregations.

Finally, on the site in question there is a description of who St. Antonie Daniel was and why his name was chosen for the site.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. kenoshacath says:

    This is a wonderful site! Our choir is learning the Mass of the Angels:

    Thank you Father!

  2. VivaLaMezzo says:

    “This is not rocket science. Chant is not hard. Singing Gregorian chant can and should be entirely normal for a parish. The Council said that Latin was to be retained (SC 36) and that the faithful should be able to sing and speak the parts that pertain to them (SC 54). Gregorian chant should have pride of place (SC 116).

    Are we going to pretend the Council didn’t mean what it promulgated?”

    Actually, yes… yes we are. When we brought these very issues up to our priest we were told that we were interpreting the documents too literally. We were told that we needed to be more faithful to the “Spirit of the Council”.

    I have a great respect for our priest and all priests, so I didn’t feel like it would be proper to argue. However, I was/am ridiculously frustrated. Articles like this bring it all bubbling to the surface. Forgive me if this sounds like whining or sour grapes.

    Please pray for our priest, our parish, and my family. Mostly, pray that I will be able to wait in joyful expectation for God’s Will to be done. It is almost Advent afterall…

  3. chonak says:

    St. Antoine Daniel is one of the North American martyrs; all the music projects of “Corpus Christi Watershed” (a non-profit group) are named for them. Their site for responsorial psalm settings is named for St Noel Chabanel; their site for recordings of chant propers is named for St Isaac Jogues.

  4. FrCharles says:

    Thanks for the resources! In my own religious life and ministry I have tried to raise this issue in a couple of contexts. My experience of the trouble is not the (false) idea that chant is somehow difficult or obscure, or that resources aren’t available. My experience is that the prior issue is the problem: getting pastors or superiors to recognize that to sing the actual texts of the liturgy is the norm, rather than engaging in this alleged creative activity of kludging up the ‘four song sandwich’ to poignantly match the readings. In other words, in the circles in which I live and minister, this practice of substitution is so ingrained as the regular procedure that many, clergy especially, don’t even believe you when you try to explain it as something apart from the ordinary Roman rite. They claim to have never even heard of such a thing.

  5. Melania says:

    You were certainly blessed to have a home parish so steeped in chant. I would certainly have liked to be a member of that Saturday congregation.

    The Antoine Daniel site is a great resource. Thanks for pointing it out. I’ll send the link on to people I know would be interested.

  6. gloriainexcelsis says:

    Those of us in a Trad parish are blessed to be able to sing antiphonally with the schola and choir at High and Solemn High Masses. We sing the Asperges or Vidi Aquam and responses as well. There is Lux et origo for Paschal season, De Angelis, Cum Jubilo (for the Blessed Mother), Orbis Factor for Sundays throughout the year, number XVII for Advent and Lent Sundays. There is a Kyriale in the back of the 1962 Missal, so for those who aren’t familiar, there is the music (albeit in square notes). From the volume put forth by the congregation, I’d say that at least half of those attending are singing with no problem. The organ helps out, making it easy to follow. This is a very mixed parish, with a lot of filipino and Mexican families. The filipinos know just about everything from memory. They are so faithful in attending and singing along with Sunday Vespers and Compline when we have it after an evening Mass. In any event we are a very “singing” parish.

  7. Henry Edwards says:

    Gregorian chant should have pride of place (SC 116).

    In an article entitles “Vatican Changes the Rules” in the Nov. 12 issue of The Wanderer, Jeffrey Tucker points out a new more literal translation of SC 116 in the norms

    for the participation of choirs in (Novus Ordo) Masses at St. Peter’s:

    “3. The liturgy is celebrated in the Latin language, according to the Roman Rite. Gregorian chant has first place. The guest choir is expected to chant the Ordinary of Holy Mass in alternation with the Musical Chapel of the Basilica.”

    Jeffrey says that “pride of place” is too vague and has led to confusion, that “The word first works here. First place.

  8. Fr. Z,

    Your description at the beginning of your post, of the chant number being announced, and people having learned them by heart after time, was one of the things that I found heart-warming when I first found Assumption Grotto.

    Fr. Perrone’s 7:30am daily Mass, now an EF high Mass, is still done this way (the rest are low Mass or Latin Novus Ordo).

    You are so right about congrational singing with chant. It’s so conducive to interior worship, as well.

  9. Fr_Sotelo says:

    A beautiful site, especially for people like me who do not read music very well and need to hear the melodies from someone who knows what they are doing.

    In another part of the blog where Fr. Z mentions Pope Paul’s promulgation of the Novus Ordo, Nathan asked what the liturgy might look like in a hundred years. I replied to him:

    “My personal belief is that the Novus Ordo will still be the dominant rite of the Church, the Tridentine having failed to overtake it in popularity with both the average and devout Catholics.

    However, I think, the revival of the Tridentine Mass will still be a turning point in the life of the Church, which will bring about a revival of the Novus Ordo to have more EF characteristics: chant, Latin, ad orientem prayer, devotion, and more latreutic (latria) or verticle prayer into the liturgy.”

    Part of this turning point is the mission of this website. Funny how it is called “watershed” since that means turning point (even though the sites’ founders base their prayer on the blood and water from the Heart of Christ).

  10. Sid says:

    A fervent AMEN to singing the Kyriale! And a warm THANK YOU for the link.

    For those who wish a cd, the series L’annee liturgique en Chant Gregorien, Vol. 8 has most of the Kyriale recorded. Does anyone else know of another complete Kyriale recording?

    Another question: When a schola is present, may the people join the schola in singing the Kyriale parts? I once attended a Society church — and the Mass was very well done — where an edition of the Kyriale was in the pews, the Mass number was posted, but only the schola seemed to sing.

  11. Mike says:

    You know, I have never brought something like this to my pastor, and I am frankly afraid to. Our parish is steeped in Broadway Liturgy, replete with spotlight applause for soloists and general applause at the end of every Mass. I think our pastor would look at me, a non-musician–as a man from Mars, frankly.

    That’s sad. I don’t agree with some of SSPX’s views, but they seem to have sound liturgical points.

  12. In view of the words of Pope Paul VI on the eve of the Novus Ordo taking effect, as reproduced in your Zcasts, it’s not surprising that the Council should have been disobeyed on the question of chant.

  13. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr Z,
    You remember too. Catholic congregations used to sing the traditional chants without being tortured. They knew them by heart. Even the children knew them. IN LATIN. It was EASY. That kind of setting allowed you to worship in a way that’s very difficult now. Going to the N.O. now is a bit like having to enjoy dinner while sitting on a bowling lane at the alley (music included), and I think that’s the motivation. These liturgists have it in their heads that God is some sort of community organizer who hates reverence, faithfulness and solitude. How wrong they are!!

    And in the protestant churches I attended before I became Catholic, people sang gloriously, often in 3 or 4 parts. They knew the songs by heart and barely needed the old threadbare hymnals. It’s worship after all. And it’s not hard, it’s easy when you don’t have idiotic liturgists changing the words all the time!!

    The question of what the mass will look like in 100 years has been raised. There are a couple of things that will go into that:
    a) The powers-that-be won’t want to admit that they screwed up royally for 50 years–in keeping with history–so they won’t. The new mass will be worked around til a version of the TLM sits on top of the burned remains of the NO, just for saving face. But over time, it will become totally unrecognizable as the NO, within the structure, the parts will be incinerated and replaced with parts consonant with tradition.

    I think the Church in Rome has finally learned something from V2: To wit, if you make yourself mundane in an effort to fit into modern life, you will be mundane and the people will regard you that way, even if you never fit into modern life because you’re not constituted that way.

    The Church is a hard-headed old gal. There’s a lot of political nonsense that always goes on in the Church, but when Rome learns a lesson, she doesn’t forget it. So I expect repairs will be undertaken and they will be successful with respect to the church herself. How successful they will be with laypeople I don’t know. How successful they will be in restoring the dignity and purpose of religious orders, I also don’t know, although this will be the least promising of the three repair efforts.

  14. Henry Edwards says:

    Fr. Sotelo: “My personal belief is that the Novus Ordo will still be the dominant rite of the Church, the Tridentine having failed to overtake it in popularity with both the average and devout Catholics.”

    I wonder whether in looking to the future you may into the language of the past — Novus Ordo versus Tridentine — thereby missing a key Benedictine point and (I believe) his principal intent. In particular, the cable TV style emphasis on “which will win” is a wrong question that gives a wrong answer.

    I’ve fairly recently come to think that he regards the OF and EF Masses as not merely juridically (as Fr. Z emphasizes) but actually forms of the one and same Roman rite. And this is the point that provides both continuity with the past and proper orientation to the future.

    I suspect that the EF of the future will look pretty much like it looks now in the TLM community I attend (though it make now look different in others). Both interior and exterior “active and conscious participation”, with the congregation joining singing both the dialogue responses and the Ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, etc) and the Pater Noster (this last possibly being an influence of the OF that most of our members are also devoted to). And likely with the scripture readings in the vernacular — at least in low Mass — rather than first in Latin at the altar and then repeated in the vernacular at the pulpit.

    I suspect that the more flexible OF will range from beautifully hieratic vernacular to largely Latin like an OF Mass I recently attended — ad orientem, Roman vestments, bells and smells, the congregation singing the responses and Ordinary in Latin just as at a TLM. I suspect some there thought it was a TLM.

    So what I’m suggesting is a fully harmonious and pretty seamless coexistence between different forms of our glorious rite. With no one still consciously thinking OF versus EF. Just varying degrees of ceremony and solemnity of celebration of the Mass of the Roman rite, depending on the liturgical occasion.

    Ranging perhaps (for instance) from and entirely vernacular read Mass resembling the present OF on ferial days to an all or largely Latin Mass resembling the present EF solemn high Mass on solemnities like the Christmas and Easter vigils.

    But whereas I think you’re preoccupied with a question of passing interest and import, I agree you’re correct in thinking that a large majority of Masses (and people attending them) will be of the less formal or ceremonial (a la OF type), and that those who consistently prefer the high ceremonial (a la EF type) will always be a small minority.

    But, most important, in that happy day of the future, any thought of EF versus OF (or, worse, Novus Ordo vs Tridentine) will seem sooo very retro. It’ll just be the Mass of the Roman rite, with different forms of celebration for different occasions, with many or most people drifting back and forth between them, without any conscious thought of “different forms”. Which all my reading of Benedict/Ratzinger leads me to believe is his intent and hope.

    And also you’re surely correct that Summorum Pontificum is the starting point in the evolution from here to there.

  15. catholicmidwest says:


    The TLM’s culture and the NO in general have changed during the 40 years since V2. It is true that most trad congregations don’t sing, but rather leave it to a choir or a soloist. There is often a thread of defiance in this also. Trads, especially those who don’t remember for themselves how it used to be, don’t like to admit the changes but it’s true. Officially, you are perfectly welcome to sing the peoples’ parts (as long as you listen and harmonize), which are everything except the priest’s parts. Your missal will let you know which are which. This is how it was done before V2.

    High masses (Christmas, etc) and funerals used to have choral pieces done by choirs, but they also had all the usual service music (much of it chant or chant-like) which the people always sang. Some other masses were completely sang by the congregation, even when there was a choir in the loft singing with them. Many masses had no choir in the loft and the congregation did all the singing. There was no “song leader” because there didn’t need to be one if there was an organist and people who knew the mass (which was everyone present, even the kids–having listened to it all their lives).

    BTW, the choir NEVER sat in the front of the church. That’s what choir lofts are for. Churches used to be built for acoustic properties without microphones. Choir lofts improve the sound and volume of any choir without making it blare. Music isn’t supposed to rouse the dead and confound the living. On the contrary.

    Most Catholics have never seen a working choir which is a shame. Being in a choir is work. Not only do you have to know the music, and practice it with a voice made fit by exercise, but when you sing together you listen and work to harmonize and make the parts work together. It probably has to be done to understand how it works. Being in the choir together allows you to do this work and blend the sound into chords so that it projects above and down on the people, so what they hear is not so much individual voices or noise, but MUSIC!

  16. catholicmidwest says:

    Singing, thus, sounds like a lot of work, but once it’s learned (which is not hard–even for chant), it’s a pleasure to do and a pleasure to hear. Not only that, but it’s easily learned in childhood along with riding a bicycle and learning to add. Adults are supposed to know some of this already, which is a problem now because they don’t and will have to learn it as adults if they want to hear it. It always makes things more complicated and frustrating when people have to learn things as adults, rather than as children. (Think riding a bicycle, learning to read, learning a language, skipping rope, playing a violin, learning manners.)

    We destroyed a multi-generational skill set when we changed the mass, and it will take a while to get it back if that direction is taken. But with a little bit of persistence, we can pick up the ball without any trouble in a generation or two. The longer we wait, the later it will be.

    The sound of choirs has been conspicuously absent for 50 years and the world has been poorer for it. Choral music is the sound of civilization and faith. It has great power.

  17. kenoshacath says:

    With all due respect Fr. Sotelo, the Tridentine Mass has been time-tested for nearly 1400 years. With all the common liturgical abuses that have occurred in the Church the last forty years, I do not see how the Novus Ordo can remain dominant. It has proven to fail us time and time again. (Kumbaya or its like should never have made it into a Catholic Church.)

    If we are trying to emulate the TLM (chant, Latin, devotion, etc.), it would make perfect sense to promote only that which God is already pleased with. The Tridentine Mass is not broken, so why not use it exclusively? Why are we fixing the broken Novus Ordo when we already have a Perfect Sacrifice in the Roman Rite? Are we looking to draw/keep more folks in the Church by keeping the Novus Ordo? Forty years of Catholic history tells us this has not been effective. The Novus Ordo test has failed.

    ” . . . the Tridentine having failed to overtake it in popularity with both the average and devout Catholics,”

    Let us recall that “many are called, but few are chosen.”

    Be assured that the Tridentine Mass will never fail its people. It will be our saving grace.

  18. Henry Edwards says:

    Sid: When a schola is present, may the people join the schola in singing the Kyriale parts?

    In recent years, I’ve attended lots of TLM’s in several different areas. Most are like the one I regularly attend on Sundays. Whereas in pre-Vatican II days, the typical parish had several low (recited) Masses and a single high (sung) Mass, the typical TLM community now is smaller and has only a single Sunday Mass, typically in my experience a sung high Mass, even in a smallish TLM community.

    The choir or schola alone sings the propers — Introit, Gradual/Allelulia, Offertory and Communion antiphons — that vary from one Sunday to the next; these are more complex chant and generally require practice aforehand. Most or all of the congregation sings the dialogue responses and the ordinary — the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei — the fixed parts with simpler chants that become ingrained so people can sing them without much conscious effort.

    Although in the immediate pre-Vatican days, I generally attended the Sunday high Mass in a fairly large church with a good choir, the Mass I attend every Sunday now is generally more glorious in both sight and sound than the pre-Vatican II norm. So from my vantage point, there’s merit to the standard quip that the TLM has benefited more from Vatican II than has the Novus Ordo. But, seriously, I suspect it’s actually true that the typical bishop must go to his local TLM to see the “active participation” trumpeted by Vatican II actually realized in his own diocese.

  19. catholicmidwest says:


    I disagree when you say that the TLM now is more glorious. I don’t think it is. It’s more “high-brow” and it may suit your tastes better but there is nothing more glorious than a church overflowing with happy Catholics and their families, and a choir of youngsters singing chant WELL that they learned in grade school and consider normal religious music!! That’s what I remember.

    I don’t like the partisanship that occurs in either camp, the NO or the TLM. I don’t like the fact that people don’t know how to sing anymore and I don’t like the fact that they think it’s hard. I don’t like the fact that most people in this culture, INCLUDING CATHOLICS, have turned into illiterate philistines when it comes to the subject of religion. Is that clear enough?

  20. Susan the Short says:

    I belong to a Polish parish, which is very reverent Novus Ordo. We have bells and incense at every Mass, the priest is in the confessional EVERY DAY (hears something like 7,000 confessions per year).

    Latin has been introduced a bit at a time. We chant the Sanctus, Agnus Dei in Latin. After weekday Masses, we chant the Salve Regina. (Sundays it’s always Marjo Krolowo Polski….Mary Queen of Poland)

    At weekday Masses, Father is introducing the Pater Noster in Latin. When we have a critical mass (no pun intended) of folks who can sing it in Latin, it will be introduced into the Lord’s Day Masses.

    Brick by brick…

  21. Gregorian chant is one of the issues of “mutual enrichment” between the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form in the Pope’s ‘motu proprio”, I believe, as well as the singing by the congregation of the Ordinary of the Mass (which in the OF has been developed widely). May this be so and continue to develop. There is nothing quite like having a congregation sing the Credo or Gloria with great gusto!

  22. Henry Edwards says:

    there is nothing more glorious than a church overflowing with happy Catholics and their families

    Admittedly, this was a pretty special occasion – our community’s first solemn high Mass, with a diocesan-wide orchestra and choir singing Mozart’s Coronation Mass.

    and a choir of youngsters singing chant WELL that they learned in grade school and consider normal religious music!!

    But most of the girls in this picture of our children’s choir taken 2 or 3 years ago – the boys are now altar servers – were in the choir loft for our “normal” missa cantata last Sunday, probably not realizing how “high brow” the Mass ordinary, propers and Latin motets were, no doubt seemed quite normal to them.

  23. catholicmidwest says:

    Too bad it’s only a few of the Catholics in the whole diocese, huh?

  24. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    May I also recommend “The Parish Book of Chant”, a lovely little book with chant for both forms of the Mass, complete with English instructions for both reading the notation and pronouncing the Latin, all for the low price of $14. Its well worth the money. I even know one brave Choir leader who gifted it to his Pastor in an attempt to introduce some chant into the Masses (as I left the area not much later, I do not know how it went).

  25. Sacristymaiden says:

    I was also going to recommmend “The Parish Book of Chant,” but Salvatore_Giuseppe beat me to it. It is a GREAT little book–mostly sold in hardback for what I have seen–and has a perfect basic repitoire to start on. The “notes” are easily legible, and everything is clearly labeled, and there is also a section on the names and functions of the “notes” and numes. We bought a lot of these little books when we went to the Gregorian Chant Workshop in Salinas earlier this year. As a member of a choir, I can attest that though they are perhaps not as extensive in content as a Kyriale, they are nontheless extremely helpful and are worth every penny.

  26. Oneros says:

    “My personal belief is that the Novus Ordo will still be the dominant rite of the Church, the Tridentine having failed to overtake it in popularity with both the average and devout Catholics.”

    Sorry, but apples to oranges.

    In my experience, the issue is entirely the linguistic one.

    Catholics dont particularly prefer the Novus Ordo text and rubrics to the Tridentine text and rubrics…they prefer vernacular to Latin, plain and simple.

    And the bishops try to use this as proof that Catholics dont like the Old Rite.

    It’s just not true. If you had a nice hieratic vernacular version of the Old Rite ala the Anglican Missal…many devout Catholics would prefer it.

    And, when the Novus Ordo is “dressed up” like the Old Rite with Latin and ad orientem, etc…most Catholics cant tell the difference from the Old Rite, but generally are hesitant because of the Latin. The only people who really like Latin “dressed up” Novus Ordos…are the kind of people who would prefer, at that point, just using the older text.

  27. catholicmidwest says:

    You may well be right, Oneros, particularly when you speak of American catholics. Americans in general are language-phobic. We tend to speak only one language: American version English (which has entertainment and business packages but fewer words than the standard version). A growing proportion speak Spanish, but only because a growing proportion of the country is ethnically Spanish.

    I’m not apologizing for the language phobia among most American catholics because I think it’s a problem and not necessary. But it does exist. The bad-mouthing after V2 did a lot (more than anything else) to make this situation the norm for catholics here. Catholics in the US all used to manage Latin just fine.

    I’m not sure if this trend you speak of is true elsewhere, where people master several languages and have no need to be afraid of Latin on that account. I understand that there are other issues (associated with history) in Europe and Latin America. I’ve heard that Latin is more well-received in Asia than anyone might guess, but then most Asians speak several languages on a daily basis and Latin would be just one more. Big deal, right?

    PS It is true that Catholics can’t usually tell the difference between the NO said in Latin and the TLM. And if you took an old St. Joseph missal and used the page facing the Latin as the mass, many Catholics would be delighted. In fact, I can’t tell you how many comments to that effect I’ve heard in the past few years, when people can’t understand how the translations could take as long as they do.

  28. catholicmidwest says:

    It’ll be interesting to see how the new translations (which will receive Rome’s approval in April) will be accepted. My guess is that they’ll be snapped right up by most laypeople, even though some lay minister types & political nuts may drag heels. But if the translations are prettier and more reverent and clergy do a halfway decent job with them, laypeople will love them.

    The bishops may be all about explaining why they took so long, why they’re different after all this time, how they could have been wrong about all the crap they’ve been spouting for decades, yada, yada, yada. Most laypeople won’t care. If they’re better, they’re better and that’ll be that for most people. They’ll be happy.

  29. jppelt says:

    Speaking of Gregorian Chant, is there a Catholic effort akin to Ancient Faith Radio? I find Orthodox Chants/Prayer very relaxing and only wish I could find a similar podcast for Gregorian chant. Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

    Peace and Grace,

  30. Mitchell NY says:

    It is so true, given a lifetime of hearing Chant people will eventually get the hang of it. But it has to start. People are just too afraid to start. It has got to be done. It is the Music of the Church and not to hear it at all is worse than hearing it in its’ not so perfect beginnings. People do catch on if given the opportunity and the belief that this will NOT change. Otherwise they wait it out, figuring change, or change back will occur with a new Priest or musical director. It must be written in stone so that those desiring the hymns and banal music we so often hear can go pound sand.

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