Thursday, April 17, 2008

Concerning music and taste

Criticisms of some of the music at the papal liturgy have raised the cry of smallness against the critics. After all, isn't music a matter of taste?

I don't think it is. I think music is a matter of math and physics, and has a reality that we can't easily evade. I wrote up a handout for my students on this topic, and demonstrated musical concepts with a guitar and with the wonderful Scala microtonal program.

Perhaps you will find it interesting. I tried to post it here, but Blogger doesn't like math formulas. Here it is.


Susan said...

I saw your mentioning of the psalm on Amy Welborn. I concur wholeheartedly!

One of my problems with it - it was too darn complicated for a congregation to participate. Participation is important, right? (Debatable, I know) Well jeez louise, if a person can't remember the response how does that help? It was too long and too complicated. You shouldn't have to be a trained musician who can sight read music to sing the response.

The mix of Eucharist hymns was depressing. The first one, gospel style, was so good it got applause. Yes, we are singing about Jesus but really, it's all about ME and how I can croon!

ugh. I must stop. I was actually praying that the Holy Father would kindly mention that we do not applaud the choir - their job is to lift our spirits in prayer, not to lift our bodies in dance. (And then perhaps mention that the choir shouldn't sing hymns that cause one to do so.)

Susan said...

One more thing...
Here is my biggest problem with some of the music choices:
When I go to my pastor or my music director to kindly suggest other music, (like sacred music,) they can easily say, "But they played this at the Pope's Mass and he didn't say anything about it!"

Our chastisement is continuing...

Karl said...

Don't get discouraged: you wouldn't want your spiritual development held captive by liturgists, would you?