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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"Indeed I might add that although unfamiliar with it myself, the Extraordinary Form expressly reminds us that Mass in either form is not merely a communion meal but a ritual of love, a sacrifice at Calvary, by which, for you and for me, yes, here and now, Jesus Christ lays down his life."
— Most Rev. Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth

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Does Polyphony “Fit” Ordinary Form Masses?
published 11 July 2017 by Jeff Ostrowski

URING THE SACRED MUSIC SYMPOSIUM, I described how to painlessly add polyphony to the Ordinary Form by “sneaking it in” with choral extensions. So much information was shared during our conference—from 7:30am until 9:30pm each day, literally—that I wasn’t able to spend sufficient time explaining.

Therefore, I’ve created this video:


REHEARSAL VIDEOS for each individual voice await you at #4884.
As always, the PDF score can be downloaded there, too.


If you desire an Mp3 version of this video, click here.


IF YOU DON’T HAVE enough voices to do the example above, consider the following: Guerrero “Iste Sanctus” (#5294); Palestrina Short (#6482); Palestrina Longer (#6995); Guerrero “Beata Mater” (#3347, #3661, #3579); Durieux (#4638); Palestrina “Impleta sunt” (#5053, #5054); Brudieu (#4327).

The Mass setting in the video is from Victoria’s Officium Defunctorum. This is a famous piece, and I was too scared to “vandalize it” by transposing it up a whole step—but my choir will most likely do so. Fr. Victoria’s work is based on the Requiem KYRIE, so I could have chosen the plainsong accordingly, but only if we were singing it for an actual Requiem. Despite what some assert, these are not rigid rules that can’t be changed. For example, most editors choose Mode II for Allegri’s Miserere Mei, but the actual music is based on the Tonus Peregrinus. Indeed, Sanctus VIII was taken verbatim from O Quam Suavis Est; but does that mean Sanctus VIII can only be sung on feasts where that Antiphon is employed? I think not.

I recorded all the voices for the above video except the third section, which was recorded by volunteers at Sacred Music Symposium 2017. Can you hear the difference? Listen closely to the richness in the third section, which begins at the 2:17 marker.

Don’t expect the congregation to understand immediately when they are supposed to sing. It will take at least a year before they begin to understand. At the Symposium, we spoke of the importance of using the same structure every Sunday for a long time before the good fruits become evident. That is why I would never dream of introducing the propers at OF Masses unless the congregation had a book such as the Isaac Jogues Pew Lectionary, which has 100% of the propers in Latin and English. I repeat: it takes years to reintroduce authentic liturgy, because our people have been robbed for half a century.