Jump to content

Praise And Worship


jeffpugh

Praise and Worship  

212 members have voted

You do not have permission to vote in this poll, or see the poll results. Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

Recommended Posts

Good point, Abercius. Especially the whole thing about emphasis on the beat. Naturally, it's there in music when it comes to phrasing, but I think you're speaking about the extra emphasis that popular music likes to use. I asked my music teacher (at a "Catholic" school) what his opinion is on why the mass should have the traditional music, and he gave along the same lines. He was able even to describe music fit for the liturgy even without having to make a reference to the lyrics. In fact, he explained his opinion while emphasizing that he wasn't talking about lyrics. Now, I'm not too sure about his faith life, but he gave a pretty good point that the music brings solemnity and focus, mainly because of (what I understood as) a relationship with God. These composers had a relationship which music was a medium of their dialogue. Just the music alone. Coupled with the lyrics, the music was suitable for prayer because it was a product of prayer: prayer was put into it so that "double praying" could come out of it. After that, we started talking about chant and stuff and the development of our modern harmony from that :). It's amazing stuff. I think we decided that not many people have been exposed to this traditional music and so they fluff it off as something outdated. But hey, we can also look at it this way. Some of the "folky mass" guitar music is from the 70s and stuff, so how would that all be relevant to kids? It might as well be from 500 years past because it's not part of their lifetime. Besides, there is a little more inspiration in something that was written by a guy who wrote for the Church so he could put bread on the table. These people had some experience. :D

My two cents. I welcome some friendly dialogue from all parties.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(I read over this post once more and found that to the reader who is not in the room here with me I might sometimes sound a bit polemical and even defensive. Please understand that I do not mean any of this in that way. There are no attacks here!)


Hello Nadezhda,

I think some of the trouble you were having with connecting the dots in my argument comes from the fact that you are approaching my statements from a performer's perspective, not necessarily a theological musicological perspective. Believe me, in my discussions with dozens of people on this very topic I have encountered many very similar misunderstandings. Do not despair however!

When I speak of the "kind" of music, I am [b]not at all[/b] speaking about the elementary technical aspects of the music (the key, the notations on the page, etc.), just as I am [b]not at all[/b] speaking about the text (I will come back to the text in a moment). I am talking about the music's aesthetics. This is a very important distinction and must be firmly understood and stuck to before we proceed with any sort of argument. I find that performers are often obsessed with technical detail and mastery, but are often clueless about musical aesthetics. This is like having a student of literature who is obsessed with the grammar of John Donne, but has no idea about the aesthetic beauty of his poetry.

This is why our educational system is so defective: basic philosophy is no longer part of a student's curriculum. For a musician to be ignorant of the philosophy of music is simply unthinkable to me, yet it is rampant I am afraid.

Anyway, back to the argument. You say the following:

"I'll be honest-I'm not sure how you are supporting the shallowness claim. What is shallow about an acoustic guitar?"

Read that section of my post again. It has nothing to do with guitars, it has nothing to do with drums, it has nothing to do with amplifiers or microphones or anything like that. The fact that "he is arguing against guitars" flashed into your mind when you read my argument is the exact reason why you did not understand my claim about 'praise and worship' music's shallowness. In all fairness, I did not get into the deep philosophical and musicological connections between these shallow elements and 'praise and worship' style music because that is beyond the scope of an internet board post. That is why I am writing a thesis on the topic.

Yet let me make an appeal to common sense for a moment. Is a musical style that is birthed in things like the hippie movement or the gigantic corporate music industry machine really something that is infused with courage, fortitude, charity, temperance, or anything saintly? No, this music is designed for (and is successful in) satiating base and shallow desires in its listeners. Are people madly flocking to Churches to get their fill of virtue? No, they are not. People madly flock to Hollywood, to strip clubs, to fast food and to everything that is bad for them and gives them their quick fix. This music is part of that system. It is designed to give that quick fix that everyone in our society seemingly cannot do without.

Once again, that is just common sense. Anyone who steps back for a moment, just a moment, and looks at things objectively will see this to be true.

Back to guitars, any argument against using them in the Mass would have to deal with incorporating the issue of timbre into the musical aesthetic argument. I am afraid that is way beyond the scope of an internet board, or even that of being a mere section in a thesis. It is a thesis in itself.

"I believe the words are as important as any melody. There is little point in singing an entrancing arrangement if the words are ridiculous."

I think you are misunderstanding me again. In arriving at the heart of a matter, one must first identify what that heart is and then hold all other variables constant. Lyrics are variable (as I said in my first post) because sometimes they are good, sometimes they are just so-so, and sometimes they are downright awful. Since the text is a variable, it would be pointless to make that a matter of argument. One person would say "I have heard songs that had terrible lyrics." The other person would then say, "But I have heard songs that had great lyrics." That is not an argument. That is just two people throwing facts at each other as they might throw stones at one another. Believe me, I have heard "arguments" like that before.

"I find the simplicity of many modern lyrics preferable to grandiloquent phrases of the past."

Now this is where we start to arrive at some real and serious problems. This is no longer simply you misunderstanding me, this is revealing a central misunderstanding of what the Mass is, what humanity is, and what Christianity is. I think a particular quotation from C.S. Lewis strikes to the heart of this matter. Please read the quotation, it is really worth it:

[quote]The Solemne is the festal which is also the stately and the ceremonial, the proper occasion for pomp -- and the very fact that pompous is now used only in a bad sense measures the degree to which we have lost the old idea of 'solemnity'. To recover it, you must think of a court ball, or a coronation, or a victory march, as these things appear to people who enjoy them; in an age when every one puts on his oldest clothes to be happy in, you must re-awake the simpler state of mind in which people put on gold and scarlet to be happy in.

Above all, you must get rid of the hideous idea, fruit of a widespread inferiority complex, that pomp, on the proper occasions, has any connection with vanity or self-conceit. A celebrant approaching the altar, a princess being led out by a king to dance a minuet, a general officer on a ceremonial parade, a major-domo preceding the boar's head at a Christmas feast -- all these wear unusual clothes and move with calculated dignity. This does not mean that they are vain, but that they are obedient; they are obeying the hoc age which presides over every solemnity...The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is not proof of humility; rather it proves the offender's inability to forget himself in the rite, and his readiness to spoil for every one else the proper pleasure of ritual.[/quote]

Did you especially catch that part at the end there "...the offender's inability to forget himself in the rite...". This is what is at stake here: this is not about preferences. Preferences put oneself in the forefront. So worship becomes about you. This is idolatry.

Dislike of "grandiloquent phrases of the past" is also something very shocking. The greatest treasures of human achievement have all been "grandiloquent" (Bach's Mass in B Minor, St. Peter's Basilica, Virgil's Aeneid, etc.). To have a dislike of such things (this is the testimony of tradition) does not mean there is a problem with them, rather the problem is with those who dislike them. If someone comes up to me and says "I don't like Bach. Nope, he is too grandiloquent for me. I really like Britney Spears, though! She is so cool, lol!" I would say (forgive me that I would dare to make such a controversial statement) that this person is probably wrong and that he or she needs to change.

This is where we must come to a cross-roads. The question is [b]not[/b] "will the Mass have me?" The question is "Will you have the Mass?"

'I've gotten the most benefit out of songs that I can actually relate to...Bach's Masses are stunning, but 'Shout to the North' has more applicability to me."

Once again, we have [b]you[/b] at the center here. This is not a qualifier for radically changing the Mass. The Mass is not about how anyone feels.

Addressing the fact that you benefit the most from songs you can "relate" to, I would encourage you to try for one moment to relate to Bach. This involves stepping outside of all preconceived notions (such as "old" or "classical" music). Simply approach it as music. This is a huge difference between the the Catholic Church and the rest of the world. The rest of the world wants to look at things just like itself so that it can feel comfortable. The Catholic Church gives us not things that are like ourselves: it gives us archetypes (great art, great music, the saints, ahem....THE LORD HIMSELF). We are not meant to look around ourselves and be happy. We are meant to look up in awe and amazement at that which transcends us and bathe in the joy that arises from that.

I think I have said enough!

God bless,

Philip

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote name='aalpha1989' post='1411261' date='Oct 29 2007, 06:55 PM']Hope you don't mind that i've been showing everyone and their mom (actually mine) this post. I think it is really good and hits the exact point i've been trying to make to people but couldn't find the words (or the logic). i'm hesitant to bring it to my youth minister, but am showing my closer friends who attend lifeteen masses (gosh i hate going to those....good thing we have a good TLM in the area)....

anyway thanks for the enlightenment! i hope to read your thesis....[/quote]

Sure thing,

And feel free to refer them to me if they have any questions.

God bless,

Philip

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I put no. I think that praise and worship music should be saved for praise and worship sessions. I love praise and worship, it really helps bring me to an intimate relationship with God, but I think it kind of detracts a bit from the mass. God isn't the warm fuzzies. I'd rather have traditional songs at mass so that I'm not swept away by anything else except the Eucharist. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think praise and worship type music is perfectly acceptable. In fact, I think many of them beat the heck out of more traditionally styled church music. I think if I hear "Now Thank We All Our God" one more time, I'm gonna barf.

You seem very dismissive of the textual content... why is that? Would you rather a hymn expressing the great oneness of humanity with the world to the tune of Mozart's Requiem than, say... "Holy is the Lord"?

To me, it seems like the ability of the congregation to participate is directly proportional to how simple the music is. It seems like your argument is saying that simple=shallow. I disagree with that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of the elements in these arguments are waaay over my head, so what I say will probably be a lot less sophisticated, haha; but I've been on both sides of this debate. I've sung at a "Teen Mass" before, I'm part of a youth evangelization group that goes around doing things like confirmation retreats, and we use praise and worship music. I'm also from a parish where we use very traditional music and hymns, and I wish there were more parishes throughout the country that used more traditional music.

Anyway, my thought on this subject was this; I think a few of you have commented on the fact that more traditional music like that from Bach and other composers have been written in a spirit of prayer and in a very Catholic culture. However, the vast majority of the praise and worship music we're speaking of here is not Catholic, and was not written with a Catholic spirituality or in light of the great solemnness of the Mass. Looking at it from this angle, would it be appropriate to use it in the Mass?

Just my two cents. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote name='scardella' post='1411573' date='Oct 30 2007, 02:06 PM']I think praise and worship type music is perfectly acceptable. In fact, I think many of them beat the heck out of more traditionally styled church music. I think if I hear "Now Thank We All Our God" one more time, I'm gonna barf.

You seem very dismissive of the textual content... why is that? Would you rather a hymn expressing the great oneness of humanity with the world to the tune of Mozart's Requiem than, say... "Holy is the Lord"?

To me, it seems like the ability of the congregation to participate is directly proportional to how simple the music is. It seems like your argument is saying that simple=shallow. I disagree with that.[/quote]

"In fact, I think many of them beat the heck out of more traditionally styled church music. I think if I hear "Now Thank We All Our God" one more time, I'm gonna barf."

There are good examples and bad examples of any kind of music. Your observation here adds nothing to the discussion. If I hear one more logical fallacy used to support 'praise and worship' music at Mass, I am going to barf.

"You seem very dismissive of the textual content... why is that? Would you rather a hymn expressing the great oneness of humanity with the world to the tune of Mozart's Requiem than, say... "Holy is the Lord"?"

I am "dismissive" of textual content because I am conforming to the rules of logical debate. I have already spelled out this matter in detail: 'praise and worship' music can have good lyrics, so-so lyrics, and bad lyrics. This makes it a variable. When making an argument one must find the elements that do not vary, and one must hold the variables constant. [b]As I said before[/b] just throwing around examples of songs that have good lyrics and others that have bad lyrics is not an argument. Furthermore, I am making an argument about the aesthetics of music; to rave about lyrics would be to digress from my argument and would be to insert Red Herrings all over the place.

"To me, it seems like the ability of the congregation to participate is directly proportional to how simple the music is."

First we are ignoring what "worship" is. Worship is not something that causes nice feelings in the worshipers; Worship is something that is designed to be fitting for God himself, and is then offered to God himself.

"It seems like your argument is saying that simple=shallow. I disagree with that."

Straw man fallacy. I never said this, I never insinuated it, I never thought this nor have I ever supported this in any of my statements. I never said that 'praise and worship' music's shallowness comes from its simplicity. Perhaps it is simple-mindedness, but not aesthetic simplicity. Gregorian Chant is about as simple as one can get, and I am guessing you know that I am not opposed to Gregorian Chant.

Your statements did not at all address anything that I have said in my posts. I would like to know how you would answer the points that I bring up instead of reading misrepresentations of my arguments and appeals to your taste for evidence.

God bless,

Philip

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote name='Excelsior1027' post='1411610' date='Oct 30 2007, 03:12 PM']Some of the elements in these arguments are waaay over my head, so what I say will probably be a lot less sophisticated, haha; but I've been on both sides of this debate. I've sung at a "Teen Mass" before, I'm part of a youth evangelization group that goes around doing things like confirmation retreats, and we use praise and worship music. I'm also from a parish where we use very traditional music and hymns, and I wish there were more parishes throughout the country that used more traditional music.

Anyway, my thought on this subject was this; I think a few of you have commented on the fact that more traditional music like that from Bach and other composers have been written in a spirit of prayer and in a very Catholic culture. However, the vast majority of the praise and worship music we're speaking of here is not Catholic, and was not written with a Catholic spirituality or in light of the great solemnness of the Mass. Looking at it from this angle, would it be appropriate to use it in the Mass?

Just my two cents. :)[/quote]


Excelsior,

You make an excellent point here, and if your style could be called "a lack of sophitication", it only helped in make your point (which is a strikingly clear point) clearer.

Let me be the first to make the distinction between outreach and worship. As a tool for outreach to youth, I think 'praise and worship' music is perfectly acceptable. Yet I would add that I would expect youth to be taught (alongside their 'praise and worship') greater things and be reared to eat meat instead of just milk.

God bless,

Philip

Link to comment
Share on other sites

SMM

Here's some stuff that I don't think anyone has addressed (if they did, I missed it)

Oh and let me preface with saying that I did youth ministry for 10 years. I used tons of P & W music with the kids. Never ever ever at mass.

It can be all summed up as "its not liturgical" and here are the reasons why

1. Liturgical music will have scriptural references. Very little of P & W is directly scriptural. Much of it is how one feels about God

2. Liturgical music is communal. It is focused on the 'we". Much of P & W is focused on the personal relationship.

3. And I can't stress this one enough. No mass is ever supposed to be focused on the event or group. No mass ever. Not a wedding, funeral, baptism, youth mass, etc. never ever ever. The primary focus is always the Eucharist. And all should be welcome to that celebration.

Why is this? Because when we go to mass, we are going to mass (literally) with all the people who went to mass before us. We are going to (literally) the Last Supper. Every time

And of course there is no P & W music that is focused on the Eucharist.

I can't tell you how many brides were po'ed because I wouldn't play a particular song at "her" wedding. But the fact remains the same. It is about the Eucharist. Anything else that is happening is a distant second.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks so much everybody for this. Phillip, I enjoy your arguments because it has a technicality that I can relate to, though I think we'd have to put our heads together to make it a little more simpler if I am to translate your speculations to my group (I know it's not going to be easy).

hot stuff, I also thank you for that great insight. It really hits the nail on the head, and I was wondering if I could use that list when it comes down to debating w/ my friends?
Heh, maybe I should get all my youth ministry pals here on Phatmass. :detective:

Maybe I'll bring it up at the next meeting when I list my sources :mellow:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I say that we examine the appropriateness of each song on a case-by-case basis.

And I believe it was our own Fr. Cappie that said in another thread something to the effect that even Gregorian Chant was contemporary at at one time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote name='Norseman82' post='1411687' date='Oct 30 2007, 05:28 PM']I say that we examine the appropriateness of each song on a case-by-case basis.

And I believe it was our own Fr. Cappie that said in another thread something to the effect that even Gregorian Chant was contemporary at at one time.[/quote]

This is not an argument about the time in which something was written, it is an argument about musical aesthetics and their philosophical and theological implications. Please read my posts thoroughly if you want to hear the other side.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I see that many people make generalizations about music in the liturgy and frankly don't even seem to look at the right stuff. I'm glad I put up this topic now. I it's become more clear to me what my objective is, and what I'm aiming to say. But the next question is, will people get it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

philip

i have a question. let's say you attend a mass that so happened to have some contemporary praise and worship music during the mass. whether its the entrance song or whatever. i honestly have no idea how that wuold happen in real life, but thank God for hypotheticals...

but lets say you attended one of these masses. would it bother you that people are so engaged in the mass with these contemporary songs in the background or being sung?

like would you sorta have a glance around the room and tell yourself "God, why are they doing this... i am so disgusted?"

i am trying to gauge your reaction to this scenario...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...