About this blogger:
Veronica Brandt holds a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering. As editor, she has produced fine publications (as well as valuable reprints) dealing with Gregorian chant, hymnody, Latin, and other subjects. These publications are distinguished on account of their tastefulness. She lives in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her husband Peter and six children.
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“In all this mediaeval religious poetry there is much that we could not use now. Many of the hymns are quite bad, many are frigid compositions containing futile tricks, puns, misinterpreted quotations of Scripture, and twisted concepts, whose only point is their twist. But there is an amazing amount of beautiful poetry that we could still use. If we are to have vernacular hymns at all, why do we not have translations of the old ones?”
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (d. 1923)

Restoring Catholic Music in the Home
published 15 June 2013 by Veronica Brandt

LITTLE WHILE AGO another mother said she would like to teach her children good hymns but she had no idea where to start. She had a feeling that the music at her local parish was not enough and she could do better, but with no training she felt totally inadequate to the task.

My first reaction was – just go trawl youtube and see what you like. That’s what I would do. But I have twenty years or more experience of trawling through hymnbooks. Much of this music is totally new to most of the Catholic population. It’s like someone wanting to learn to swim and pointing to the ocean and saying “Go for your life! Heaps of water in there.”

But, on the other hand, taste in music is subjective, especially in what you sing at home. The whole point of hymns is to be an aid to prayer. If it works for your family, then go for it! Everyone in the house is going to have different favourites. By listening to their feedback, your own family’s style will emerge.

Keep fishing for new music too. The more you learn, the more you can learn. Music directors keep getting told to slow down introducing new music, but in the home that doesn’t matter so much. Your group is smaller and easier to manoeuvre than the average parish.

Something I realised I could do to help was to post a new hymn and chant each week. So far I’ve managed three weeks. I send out an email each Friday with the links. There’s also a little copywork sheet with a few words from the upcoming Sunday’s gospel (Extraordinary Form so far). See brandt.id.au if this appeals to you.

In necessities, unity. In doubtful matters, liberty. In all things, charity.