Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I'm taking the liberty of stealing this material from one of the message boards that I frequent. I won't mention the poster's name here. While some of the "bad creativity" points listed here may be an exaggeration in a good number of parishes, some of it, sadly, is accurate. There is a small number of parishes that have exercised the "good creativity" points as well - some occasionally (high feasts), some regularly (even Sundays of Ordinary Time).

Here goes... (with snarky remarks in blue)

Holy Mother Church gives us all we need to do the music at Mass.

She gives us a book of Gospels for the Deacon to chant from.
She gives us a Missal for the Priest to chant from.
She gives us the Graduale Romanum for the choir to chant from.
She gives us the Kyriale for the congregation to chant from.

If we all just chanted our parts, we'd be doing so well.

But then we need to get creative.

Good Creativity:
Oh I see CHANT X is the proper for the Offertory this weekend. I think I shall use the setting by Byrd rather than the setting from the Graduale at MASS X, since we have such a competent choir at MASS X. The chant from the Graduale will be used at MASSES Y, Z and A since there is no choir.

Bad Creativity:
I don't know what a Graduale Romanum is, or I just don't care about propers. I think we'll do a song about how we're all bread and we all eat each other during the Offertory this weekend.
(While we don't need cannibalism at Mass, we certainly don't need Hawaiian nose-humming songs, e.g., "Song of the Body of Christ" and similar ilk, either. The proper chants can be sung to a simpler form if need be - maybe a Psalm Tone for starters, work your way up to the Tozer or Koch and Green books as a primer - then wean in some Graduale stuff.)

Good Creativity:
During the Veneration of the Cross, we'll chant the proper Improperia, but then we'll have more time, so we'll do a motet by Palestrina - because after all, Sacrosanctum Concilium tells us we should use polyphony.
(Adoramus Te, Christe, et benedicimus Tibi, quia per Sanctam Crucem Tuam redemisti mundum - sounds really nice. Let's do it! Oh, many readers of CV I'm sure know this, but for those who don't, the "Improperia", or "Reproaches", begins with the words "My people, what have I done to you? Or in what have I offended you? Answer me!")

Bad Creativity:
The Improperia are anti-Semitic. Instead, we're going to sing a song about crosses to the tune of Gilligan's Island. After that, we'll get out our steel drum and sing O Sacred Head Surrounded with bongos.
(Bongos???!!! Arrrrrgh!!! An effect similar to this thrashing of the Exsultet???)

Good Creativity:
Why would we need to have anything sung or played during the Passion? We're already doing the ideal and chanting the Passion, so there's nothing else musical that needs to be done.

Bad Creativity:
The Passion is long and boring. If I don't ring bells or sing hymns during it, the congregation will likely fall asleep. Especially since Father SoandSo is such a boring reader. We could never sing the Passion because that would make it too long. And boring. Now where are those butterflies...?

Good Creativity:
We've been chanting the same "Thanks be to God" / "Deo gratias" response to "Christ our Light," / "Lumen Christi" for years and everyone knows it. Let's add an organum in the choir singing down a 5th to add some spice to the chant.

Bad Creativity:
Chant is boring. We should sing Farrell's Christ Be our Light instead of the chant. In fact, we should just use Farrell's Christ Be Our Light instead of the Exsultet. It's in the Missalette. And everyone knows everything in the Missalette is good and holy and the best option available.
(Oh yes. Why is all this missalette material good? Because GIA, OCP, and NaPalM all say so, and they hold pride of place over Holy Mother Church! Oh, and never mind "Christ Be Our Light" either. Let's do the bongo-laden, Survivor-motifed Exsultet instead - the one I mentioned earlier!)

Good Creativity:
Let's elongate the Offertory proper at the Offertory during the Easter Vigil by having an organ toccata on its melody first. This way Father will have plenty of time to incense the altar and gifts.
(I'm actually partial to full-organ fanfare after the singing. I'm a sucker for plein jeu during incensing!)

Bad Creativity:
Incense makes people cough. We shouldn't use it and instead we'll have dancing girls in the aisles.
(But they carry bowls of smoke too. Have you ever seen those Masses at the Los Angaleez Sacreligious Mis-Edu-ma-cation Congress? Truthfully I'd rather cough incense from the priest's thurible than barf over liturgical prancing?)

Good Creativity:
Of course we're singing the Sequence to the traditional chant mode. We'll be adding in some organum chant to add some variety.
(Click here for a top-notch example of what the poster means!)

Bad Creativity:
Sequences are long and boring. Instead we're just going to sing the Celtic Alleluia many, many times.

(Grab ye beer mugs and rock ye barstools and raise your bloody drunken voices in song!)


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