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.

Tune into ⁦@BBCRadio3⁩ tomorrow evening to hear our accordion tutor ⁦@valerie_barr⁩ playing in the ⁦@BBCPhilharmonic with ⁦@LudovicMorlot⁩, accompanying ⁦@SampsonCarolyn⁩ in a wonderful piece by Dutilleux. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0013jr4

Our Director of the Schools Singing Programme @thomas_leech - together with @StPaulsLondon OBE Organ Outreach Fellow @tom_daggett - spoke at the @_cathedralmusic conference today about access, partnerships and excellence growing from sustained foundations in church music.

Today at Leeds Cathedral
The Baptism of the Lord
𝟵.𝟭𝟱𝗮𝗺 𝗠𝗮𝘀𝘀 (𝗖𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗿)
𝟭𝟭𝗮𝗺 𝗦𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗺𝗻 𝗠𝗮𝘀𝘀 (𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗹𝘀 / 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗹𝗮𝗿𝘀)
Dilexisti, Gregorian
Missa Sancti Nicolai, Haydn
Asperges, Gregorian
Quem pastores laudavere, Praetorius
Ave verum corpus, Mozart

Huddersfield Youth Choirs with Bradford Catholic Youth Choir perform the sacred Christmas Carol Guadete, from Piae Cantiones. Arr. Keith Roberts.
A live recording from Huddersfield Town Hall, December 2021 as part of Kirklees Organ Concert Season.

https://youtu.be/WYf4DOXwCww

Thanks for featuring! We've loved hearing the other choirs in your digital Advent Calendar as well...🎶🎵🎵🎶

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The Diocese of Westminster has joined the National Schools Singing Programme, an initiative designed to enhance music programmes for children educated in Catholic state schools.In his message, Cardinal Vincent said,‘I thank the Hamish Ogston Foundation for giving young people in the Diocese of Westminster the opportunity to participate in the National Schools Singing Programme. 'Making music allows us to give joyful praise to God, reminding us that all beauty comes from God and takes us to God. Singing builds team work and makes us attentive to each other. I am sure it will help our young people to know the beauty and joy that music gives to our everyday lives.’Find out more about the NSSP at www.nssp.org.uk/ ... See MoreSee Less
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We are delighted to welcome David Grealy to the department as Assistant Cathedral Organist.After taking a first-class honours degree in music from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, he has held prestigious appointments at Westminster Cathedral, St Bartholomew's (Anglican) Church, Dublin, and St Mary's Pro-Cathedral, Dublin. In 2017, he completed a master's in organ performance at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz, Cologne, and worked as a church musician in the Catholic Parish of St Peter & Paul, Ratingen.Before joining the Diocese of Leeds Music Department, David was based in Dublin, where he was in regular demand as a performer and accompanist.We look forward to a long and happy association with David! ... See MoreSee Less
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This Sunday at Leeds Cathedral (9th January):The Baptism of the Lord𝟵.𝟭𝟱𝗮𝗺 𝗠𝗮𝘀𝘀 (𝗖𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗿)𝟭𝟭𝗮𝗺 𝗦𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗺𝗻 𝗠𝗮𝘀𝘀 (𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗹𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗹𝗮𝗿𝘀)Dilexisti, GregorianMissa Sancti Nicolai, HaydnAsperges, GregorianQuem pastores laudavere, PraetoriusAve verum corpus, Mozart ... See MoreSee Less
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Cathedral Organist David Pipe plays Messiaen’s wonderful La Nativité du Seigneur this Saturday at 7.15 pm in Leeds Cathedral. Free admission with a retiring collection to support Leeds International Organ Festival 2022! ... See MoreSee Less
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