HIS PAST SUNDAY, my schola chanted the Introit from The Proper of the Mass for Sundays and Solemnities and it was absolutely beautiful. This collection of antiphons makes the sung Propers available to people with different levels of musical abilities. What a great contribution Fr. Samuel Weber has made to modern Church Music!
As artists, we have special appreciation for the beauty: beautiful music, works of art, architecture and of course, liturgical books. This is a hard-covered book with a simple, but nice, design on the cover. The book has about one thousand pages including a guide on reading chant notation. All the antiphons are printed very clearly and the prints are slightly bigger than the ones in the Graduale Romanum. Musicians are naturally attracted to beautiful things; and a beautiful chant book encourages singers to make use of the book.
It is very important to have beautiful liturgical books. The beauty of the books will draw people into the content of the book. It is more likely that people get interested in a nice book than missalettes with cheap paper and poor artwork. It is also more likely that singers would want to read from a chant book with clear printing than from a binder with hand-written scores.
That brings up another question: Is it better to have a hard copy of the book than a soft copy? I would say YES! It is true that technology allows us to bring many books with us on a phone, iPad, etc. However, there are also a lot of other data, games or messages on these electronic devices and they can distract us and take away the sacredness of the music. Reading from a hard copy of the book also avoid problems like “low battery”, “frozen screen”, and other technological errors.
This article is part of a series on Fr. Weber’s Book of Propers: