About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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“In spite of what it is currently called, the music of these songs is not modern: this musical style is not new, but has been played in the most profane places and surroundings (cabarets, music halls, often for more or less lascivious dances with foreign names). The people are led on to rock or swing. They all feel an urge to dance about. That sort of “body language” is certainly alien to our Western culture, unfavorable to contemplation and its origins are rather suspect. Most of the time our congregations, which already find it hard not to confuse the crochets and the quavers in a 6/8 bar, do not respect the rhythm; then one no longer feels like dancing, but with the rhythm gone to pieces, the habitual poorness of the melodic line becomes all the more noticeable.”
— Unnamed choirmaster (Northern France) circa 1986

Reason #6634 "Sing To The Lord" Was Not Submitted To Rome For Approval
published 17 December 2013 by Jeff Ostrowski

THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH is “dashing, but supremely witless.”

157. The proper or seasonal Responsorial Psalm from the Lectionary for Mass, with the congregation singing the response, is to be preferred to the gradual from the Graduale Romanum. When the Latin gradual is sung in directum (straight through) by choir alone, the congregation should be given a vernacular translation.

First of all, the author seems not to understand the structure of the ancient Gradual chant. While it’s true the entire first section can be repeated after the verse, and this was specifically allowed by the 1908 Editio Vaticana, it’s never sung this way. (One exception is the Gradual for St. John the Baptist owing to textual reasons). The author seems to think it can resemble a Responsorial Psalm — it can’t! — a typical error made by people lacking experience with Gregorian chant. Furthermore, let’s suppose a Latin gradual is sung with its response … should the people then not be given a translation?!!

More importantly, the first half is totally bizarre. They assert that the Resp. Psalm is “preferred” and cite (in a footnote) the Introduction to the Lectionary. However, they fail to cite the higher document (Sacrosanctum Concilium) which says Gregorian chant is preferred. And what about tradition? Why should something invented in 1968 be preferred to the immemorial tradition of the Catholic Church?

They might argue “because it matches the readings better.” We’ve discussed many times how facile that assertion is. However, let’s pretend they’re correct about the importance of “matching the readings.” Does a Seasonal Responsorial Psalm (see above) really match the readings better than the Gradual? The correct answer is: “For someone who knows absolutely nothing about the Word of God, yes!”


A few hours after I posted this article, I happened to read the following:

6628 Pro

This is according to the Learn-a-new-word-see-it-within-24-hours theory!

Editor’s Note:   While Sing to the Lord (2007) was a tremendous improvement over the now defunct Music in Catholic Worship (1972) and Liturgical Music Today (1982), it has been the recipient of serious criticism. To put it bluntly, experts in Sacred Music have “torn it to shreds” because of basic errors in musical terminology and other inaccuracies. When Sing to the Lord is revised, we hope that specialists in sacred music will be consulted to help avoid such misstatements.