Advice and Materials – Music for the Liturgy

A discussion continues to take place in the Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council, turning around the axiom of the interpretation of participatio actuoso and the implications this has for the substance and style of liturgical music. During the complex period since the Council, limited investment was made in Catholic music compared with other Christian denominations.

However there have been real signs of recovery in the United Kingdom. The Dioceses of Brentwood, Liverpool and Westminster have shown significant commitment to good liturgical music over many years. Other dioceses are following, sometimes leading from a cathedral music department, and sometimes from diocesan resources. The Bishop of Leeds has written of “the right of all Catholics to experience good music and liturgy in their own church.” In recent years, our Diocese has taken a bold national lead in an ambitious renewal of liturgical music, working in conjunction with Catholic primary and secondary schools to develop strong foundations for the next generation. This work flows from the Cathedral into schools and over time into parishes. Three centres of regional excellence are now developing in West Yorkshire at Leeds Cathedral, St Joseph’s in Bradford, and St Patrick’s in Huddersfield.

Catholic liturgical music has a bright future, but it is contingent both on the resources for an educational programme to rebuild and reinvigorate and on faithfulness to what the church teaches about the place and purpose of music in the liturgy.

 

Practical Guidance

For Sunday Masses, the following is offered as some practical guidance for parish musicians:

The form of music requiring no instruments or specialist singers is both most easily obtainable and most important liturgically. It should take precedence over the requirement to sing Mass settings and hymns. This comprises the Gospel Acclamation (Alleluia except in Lent when Praise to thee, O Christ is sung) and the dialogue between priest and people in the Eucharistic Prayer (Preface dialogue, Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation, Doxology and Amen). Practically speaking, if the priest does not sing then it is impossible to fulfil this primary role of liturgical music: attention and assistance must therefore be offered. A celebrant at Mass may sometimes try to sing too loudly in a well meaning attempt to energise his flock. A gentle dialogue with people is often the best way encourage a meaningful response.

If the ordinary of the Mass is to be sung, a good place to start is with an understanding of the teachings of the church in liturgical music.

The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services. (Sacrosanctum Concilium)

Chant is therefore something we are asked to take seriously and value in its distinctiveness to Catholicism. Some well intentioned attempts have been made to substitute vernacular words for the original text, both at the time of the reformation in Europe and more recently in the 1960s. By and large, these adaptations have not gained widespread use, many considering that the flow of the chant is dependant of the rhythms of the original text and that the transcendental nature of this distinctive Catholic music is lost in translation.

The responsorial psalm is usually sung at Mass as part of the Liturgy of the Word, in dialogue between a cantor and congregation. If a hymn or two is included at Mass, it should be chosen with reference to the appropriateness of the liturgical season, with a scriptural (or scripturally based) text and accompanied at a pitch and tempo designed to encourage singing. The Preparation of the Gifts is not usually an appropriate place for a hymn. A choir or instrumental piece is often used instead at this half way point in the Mass.

All Souls' at Leeds Cathedral
Tuesday 2nd November
𝟱.𝟯𝟬𝗽𝗺 𝗠𝗮𝘀𝘀 (𝗦𝗲𝗻𝗶𝗼𝗿 𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗹𝘀' 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗖𝗵𝗼𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗹𝗮𝗿𝘀)
Requiem, Duruflé

All Saints' at Leeds Cathedral
Sunday 31st October
𝟵.𝟭𝟱𝗮𝗺 𝗠𝗮𝘀𝘀 (𝗖𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗿)
𝟭𝟭𝗮𝗺 𝗦𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗺𝗻 𝗠𝗮𝘀𝘀 (𝗦𝗲𝗻𝗶𝗼𝗿 𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗹𝘀' 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗖𝗵𝗼𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗹𝗮𝗿𝘀)
Gaudeamus, Gregorian
Messe Solennelle, Vierne
Jubilate Deo a8, Gabrieli
Allegro risoluto, Vierne

Here's some lovely feedback just in from a school's music lead in Leeds (1/3):
'I cannot compliment your Choral Director enough; The children are so excited when they come in on a Wednesday morning for the lessons and are bouncing off the walls after.

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20 hours ago

Diocese of Leeds Music
Internationally acclaimed accordionist Valerie Barr joined our Keyboard Studies Programme team in September, rolling out accordion teaching and our brand new whole class melodica programme. "𝘐 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘴𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘢 𝘴𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘦𝘢𝘮 𝘰𝘧 𝘰𝘶𝘵𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘯𝘴. 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘸𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘴𝘤𝘰𝘱𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘫𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘢𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘢 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘣𝘶𝘻𝘻 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘥𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬. 𝘉𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘩𝘪𝘨𝘩 𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘤 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘨 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘓𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘴 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘢 𝘫𝘰𝘺 𝘴𝘰 𝘧𝘢𝘳." ... See MoreSee Less
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24 hours ago

Diocese of Leeds Music
All Saints' and All Souls' at Leeds CathedralSunday 31st October (All Saints')𝟵.𝟭𝟱𝗮𝗺 𝗠𝗮𝘀𝘀 (𝗖𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗿)𝟭𝟭𝗮𝗺 𝗦𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗺𝗻 𝗠𝗮𝘀𝘀 (𝗦𝗲𝗻𝗶𝗼𝗿 𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗹𝘀' 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗖𝗵𝗼𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗹𝗮𝗿𝘀)Gaudeamus, GregorianMesse Solennelle, VierneJubilate Deo a8, GabrieliOrgan: Allegro risoluto (Symphony 2), VierneTuesday 2nd November (All Souls')𝟱.𝟯𝟬𝗽𝗺 𝗠𝗮𝘀𝘀 (𝗦𝗲𝗻𝗶𝗼𝗿 𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗹𝘀' 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗖𝗵𝗼𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗹𝗮𝗿𝘀)Requiem, Duruflé ... See MoreSee Less
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Back in September, five new full time staff joined our team as we expanded our provision in schools across the Diocese, we're so delighted to have them on board! Will is one of our new Choral Directors, working with schools and choirs in Leeds, Harrogate and Ripon."𝘖𝘯 𝘮𝘺 𝘧𝘪𝘳𝘴𝘵 𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘋𝘪𝘰𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘓𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘴, 𝘐 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘪𝘮𝘮𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘸𝘦𝘭𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳-𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘤 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘧𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘴, 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘴 𝘢 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘰𝘯 𝘨𝘰𝘢𝘭 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘩𝘪𝘨𝘩-𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘤 𝘦𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘵𝘶𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘴𝘴 𝘠𝘰𝘳𝘬𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘳𝘦. 𝘔𝘺 𝘧𝘪𝘳𝘴𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘭𝘧-𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘮 — 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘰𝘭 𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘦𝘹𝘵𝘳𝘢-𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘳 𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘪𝘳𝘴 — 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘳𝘦𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘣𝘰𝘵𝘩 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘧𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺, 𝘥𝘶𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘺 𝘵𝘦𝘢𝘮'𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘥𝘦𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘤 𝘦𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘮𝘮𝘦𝘴 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘦𝘷𝘦. 𝘐 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘸𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘦𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘦𝘥𝘭𝘺 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘋𝘪𝘰𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘓𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘴 𝘔𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘤 𝘋𝘦𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘧 𝘫𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘶𝘴: 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘥𝘢𝘪𝘭𝘺 𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘭𝘦𝘨𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘪𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘷𝘰𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭 𝘥𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘰𝘱𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘨 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦.” ... See MoreSee Less
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As we get to half-term, a huge thank you to all our colleagues; they've worked so hard in schools, with keyboard pupils and with choirs so far this term, and well done to all our choir members too!Here's some lovely feedback just in from a school's music lead in Leeds:'I cannot compliment your Choral Director enough; The children are so excited when they come in on a Wednesday morning for the lessons and are bouncing off the walls after. They sing beautifully (so beautifully, I have decided to start a school choir to help compliment the teaching) but they improve their confidence which is an immeasurable thing for a young child. We recently had a parents evening and most of the parents mentioned to me their child's love for singing, this has never happened to me before at any school and I know it is down to your singing sessions.'Happy half-term! 🎶🎵🎵🎶 ... See MoreSee Less
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Today at Leeds Cathedral:𝟭𝟬𝗮𝗺 𝗚𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗦𝗵𝗲𝗽𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗱 𝗦𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝗰𝗲with school groups from the Schools Singing Programme𝟱.𝟯𝟬𝗽𝗺 𝗠𝗮𝘀𝘀 (𝗦𝗲𝗻𝗶𝗼𝗿 𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗹𝘀' 𝗖𝗵𝗼𝗶𝗿)Qui habitas, GregorianMissa XVI, GregorianTerra tremuit, BárdosAnima Christi, Frisina ... See MoreSee Less
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