Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Liturgical Music

~from The New Liturgical Movement
Some of the music of the music one hears in parishes today makes me think of 1970s sitcoms. Other associations include the children's movie "Land Before Time." Or maybe Veggie Tales' "Silly Songs with Larry." If I were going to put a single-word description on much of the "new" music I've seen published by the mainstream in the last 10-15 years it would be: infantilizing. Now, please don't write, oh, but what about this piece and that piece? I'm speaking of a general tendency.

And there is a valid point here made by Dr. Mahrt, and he has made it many times. Many of the objections to chant that I've heard gravitate toward the observation that it just sounds too churchy for people, that it draws one into issues at the core of the economy of salvation and all its extraordinary drama, and not everyone longs to be part of that. But that is an objection that should carry no weight since it is really objection to the entire project of liturgy itself, which is inseparable from the longing touch eternity.
Some songs that make me run screaming from church: We are Called, God Has Chosen Me, Sing of the Lord's Goodness (which sounds like something from Jesus Christ Superstar), Center of My Life, I Am the Light of the World, and the most-dreaded Lord, Prepare Me to be a Sanctuary (which in a former church, the Music Director would recite the upcoming words into the mic while everyone is singing).


Adrienne said...

We have a new (not quite a year) "music director" for our 10:30 Mass. He does the Sanctuary song at every Communion strumming his guitar as he walks up to receive.

Now, he's advertising for a "percussionist" (he already has an electric bass) For him, it's all about performance and nothing to do with worship.

Argent said...

Ugh, I feel for you. I hope that liturgical dancers aren't on his radar screen.

Anonymous said...

Argent, Doesn't the Church have some kind of a watchdog system that kills this kind of liturgical abuse?
God bless you.

Tom in Vegas said...

For me, the single worst song in all of Christendom: How Great Thou Art. Before singing this song, a dedication should all ways be mentioned, "This one's for the imbeciles."

Anonymous said...

Have you seen Colbert dancing on the tune of The Lord the King( you tube)...It makes it now a lot easier to swallow, one of those day I might just dance it like he did, hopefully after my performance they won't sing it anymore. They would be too afraid.

Just for the fun of it, check the real lyrics of Faith of Our Fathers ( and the history behind the hymn) and compare it to the hymnal book of your parish...It is quite interesting...
a hint: faith of our mothers is NOT in the original.

The music played in the majority of the Raleigh Diocese parishes are horrendous, and are a calvary to endure along side with the liturgical rearrangment/abuses every Sunday. :-((

Brian Michael Page said...

I never liked How Great Thou Art either, and not just because they played it at my dad's funeral. To me, how can this "hymn of praise" be sung to such a horrid melody? Not to mention the vocal misinterpretations of those who have tried to sing it over the years. I've used it by request only at funeral Masses, and I NEVER use it on Sundays or Holydays.

A friend of mine, in fact, used to call it "Bathroom Music" (How Great Thou Fart).