Canonical Hours, Liturgical Music, polyphony, Second Vatican Council, the Divine Office, the Mass, the Ordinary, the Proper
Musicologists study liturgical music. Lay music has existed for a long time. There have been troubadours, trouvères and minnesinger who wrote and sang humble songs. However, the development of polyphony, intertwined voices, was achieved by the composers of madrigals and sacred music. These compositions are the birthplace of harmony and counterpoint.
The Mass, or Eucharist, is the “central act of worship” (see Mass, Wikipedia) in the Catholic Church. But Monks living in monasteries also observe the Canonical Hours as determined in the Rule of Benedict, which has now been used for 1,500 years.
The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), convened by Pope John XXIII, introduced the use of the vernacular in Mass, formerly said in Latin. Benedictines, the order founded by Benedict of Nursia (c. 480 – 543 or 547 CE), were not affected by this change. It was decided that they would continue to use the Liber Usualis, a book of Latin-language Gregorian chant, compiled by the monks of the Abbey of Solesmes, France, during the 19th century.
Monks celebrate Mass, but they also observe the liturgy of the Hours, called Canonical Hours, or the Divine Office. (See Canonical Hours or the Divine Office in RELATED ARTICLES.)
The Ordinary and the Proper
Mass has components used every day. These constitute the “ordinary” of the Mass. Masses, however, may also include the “proper,” components added on special days or occasions, such as a Requiem Mass, a Mass for the Dead.
- Epiphany: Balthasar, Melchior & Gaspar (6 January 2013)
- Liturgy as a Musical Form: the Hours and the Mass (7 December 2012)
- Components of the Mass as a Musical Form (19 December 2011)
- Liturgy as a Musical Form (15 December 2011)
- Canonical Hours or the Divine Office (19 November 2011)
Yesterday was Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas. Epiphany commemorates the visit in Bethlehem of the kings of Orient.
The above posts were updated, but the links do not always lead to the correct site. Would that links did not disappear. Videos are sometimes removed, but links should remain.
There is a degree of repetition in the above-listed posts. I try to write my posts as though no one had read former posts on the same subject and therefore repeat what was said earlier.
Wishing all of you a fine weekend.
Good Food Everyday said:
Beautiful post !
Thank you very much. Medieval illuminations are stunning. The blue is crushed lapis lazuli and the gold, real gold.
Ironically, musicologists all over the world know the Mass in a wealth of details. They also learn Gregorian chant. I had to write a paper describing the daily life of a Benedictine monk a thousand years ago. It was difficult, but there is a Benedictine Abbey where I live, so the monks helped me out and let me use their library. The “Rule of Benedict” is an online document and one can buy the “Liber usualis.” It contains Psalms. The wealth of the Church of France was confiscated during the French Revolution, monasteries destroyed, monks turned into civilians or killed, but French Benedictines rewrote the “Liber usualis” from bits and pieces. At any rate, sacred music is now a musical form and part of the world’s cultural heritage. It’s quite a story!
Thank you for writing. Micheline
off-topic, avec ta permission, of course:
“Je suis Charlie”: qui est à l’origine de l’image et du slogan que le monde entier reprend par solidarité
Je n’en sais rien Mélanie, mais l’image et le slogan font le tour du monde. Les gens ont raison de s’indigner. Les frappes ne viendront jamais à bout des terroristes, mais nous avons commencé à faire du progrès. Ces gens se prennent pour les martyrs d’une méchante Amérique, mais ce sont des assassins. Si tu arrives à éclaircir ce mystère, il faut tout nous raconter. Le journal vient d’arriver: à la une et la page entière.
En toute amitié,
I love the illustrated manuscripts, they’re always so beautiful. I like Gregorian chants as well. I find that music very soothing. Many thanks for stopping by my blog, I appreciate it.
They are old illustrated manuscripts but gorgeous. The internet provides us with treasures. Thank you for writing. I’ll drop by again.
Christy Birmingham said:
I am coming back to this one and going to check out some of the links you have kindly provided us!
You are exactly right! The history of music of the Mass is “quite a story!” As a musicologist and music professor (now, retired), I was really surprised and delighted to see your post on the Mass. Although my area of interest focuses on a much later period (17th-18th century), your article reminded me of a major topic of classroom discussions I have had with many students: In the prehistoric world of ancient Greek mythology, music was considered as a divine entity with magical powers; but what had the greatest effect on the development of Western art music in the middle ages, however, was Greek theory rather than Greek practice, such as the close union of music and poetry. Your article is excellent.
Musicologists need to know the Mass, Marian Hymnology, etc. There was a demand for liturgical music and composers obliged. I did not know Mass well until I took courses in musicology. You’re right. According to the Greeks, music was too powerful.
Thank you for writing.
It seems my response disappear. There was a large demand for liturgical music as polyphony developed. It’s a fascinating topic.