Monday, October 15, 2012

To Chant, to Sing, or to Do Nothing at All

These are some awesome excerpts from Jeffrey Tucker's essay on chanting versus singing.  He writes about it from the priests perspective, but his comments apply to the whole community being asked to chant.

"Our culture treats the notion of "singing" as something done by specialists, entertainers, recording artists, pop superstars, and all for the sake of delighting the audience.  American Idol.  That is what singing is...  The priest notes "I'm not a singe.  Believe me, you don't want to hear my voice.  I can't carry so much as a simple tune.  Therefore I will not sing the liturgy.  I'm sparing you the pain."

"You know what is awful?  This whole mistaken view of what singing is tends to be reinforced by pop music at Mass.  Pop music encourages the performance ethos.  Music with a beat reminds us of recording stars.  Jazzy chords and head-swaying sensibilities push the idea that singing is only for those who want to be loved and admired for their great talents."

"There ought to be a different word for what the priest [and the congregation] is actually asked to do.  He is not being asked to become a star or to entertain anyone.  He is not seeking a channel on Pandora or looking to sell downloads on iTunes.  He is not trying to win a competition.  In the church's conception of the singing a priest [and the congregation] does, there is not a very great distance in physics between speaking and singing.  His singing really amounts to speaking with a slightly different kind of voice, one with a pitch that takes it off the ground and out of the realm of conversation and puts the words to flight.  It is a simple shift that makes a gigantic difference in how the words come across."

1 comment:

  1. Love it! I just recently started practicing simple chanting with my kids. I am hoping that we all become more comfortable with it so that by the time they are older it is not at all a foreign concept.