Saturday, August 20, 2011

Missal chant accompaniments available now

You can find them all at the ICEL chant website.

You need to send this link immediately to your pastor, your director music, any singers you know, or any other Catholic you know who is involved in the parish or monastery. Just trust me on this: this needs to be distributed far and wide and immediately. Thanks for your help here.

However, I can't post this without a warning. Accompaniment is not needed and not necessarily desirable. In real life, accompanied can slow down the chant to the point where it doesn't sound like chant at all. It can end up sounded schmaltzy and out of character. It is of course possible to accompany chant and not cause distortion but such ideal circumstances rarely present themselves. Indeed, accompanied chant can be the worst enemy of genuinely sung liturgy.

The new Missal gives all parishes and religious houses a chance to really sing - as in: use the human voice to produce the music. The voice alone! Accompaniment can too easily and too quickly become a crutch that prevents the development of authentic singing skill and conviction.

That said, these accompaniments are truly outstanding, adhering only to the mode of the piece. And there are indeed conditions under which they could be helpful and even essential, in particular when the acoustic of the space makes it impossible for the human voice to carry.