Monday, September 5, 2011

A Future for English Chant

Writing at the New Liturgical Movement, I provide some background that readers of this site already know and also some conditions today that are ripe for progress in a direction that might have been taken 40 years ago.

The new English Missal currently being rolled out throughout the world publishes more music than any previous edition of the Roman Missal. All of it is English chant - vernacular versions of traditional Gregorian chant. With this Missal, the Church has very wisely seen that if liturgical/sacred music is to have a future in the current environment, it will need to begin with the vernacular, not only for pastoral and pedagogical reasons but also because there is an inherent integrity associated with this genre of singing.

The Missal chants will cover the ordinary chants and dialogues of the Mass. This music is the foundational song of the new Missal. The International Commission on English in the Liturgy has given away sheet music for these chants and encourages their download and use. ICEL has also posted high-quality accompaniments.

It is a requirement that all pew hymnbooks now being printed including this Missal setting of the Mass. Many organizations such as the CMAA have posted tutorial and videos (see this page). For those of us who love sacred music and seek to teach it to a new generation, it is a fantastic thing for us to be able to say, with clarity and conviction, "this is the music that the Church desires for the ordinary form of the Roman Rite."Truly, this represents a sea change in what is arguably the most problematic area of Catholic liturgy today.

English chant is the great missed opportunity of the 1960s. REST THE REST
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