Author Topic: Listening to Liturgical Music  (Read 308 times)

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Offline Hinterlander

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Listening to Liturgical Music
« on: March 20, 2015, 01:07:03 AM »
It is wrong to listen to liturgical music simply to have it on in the "background" whilst you go about your chores? 

Offline hecma925

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2015, 01:08:13 AM »
No.
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

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Offline Hinterlander

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2015, 01:11:56 AM »
How seriously did the Orthodox Bishops consider such questions after the innovation of new media?

On a related note, were there any controversies once it became possible to reproduce and print icons? I'm thinking here of the mass production and use of digitized pictures of icons for book covers, banners, etc.

I know, for example, that certain Native American tribes tell stories that they have fought to ensure have never been recorded or written down because of their sacred function within the traditional ritual life of the tribe.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 01:15:09 AM by Hinterlander »

Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2015, 01:12:33 AM »
I listen while I wait for something, or when reading the Scriptures.
Not everything I type or have typed in the past is reflective of the teaching of the Orthodox Church, or may not reflect my contemporary views on a subject. (4/6/2015)

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Offline hecma925

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2015, 01:18:37 AM »
On a related note, were there any controversies once it became possible to reproduce and print icons? I'm thinking here of the mass production and use of digitized pictures of icons for book covers, banners, etc.

I think the main issue with mass printing of icons is the lack of respect.  For example, a church bulletin typically has an icon printed on it.  These usually get thrown in the trash.

I think reproduction of icons is a good thing as not everyone can afford a fine-quality handpainted icon. 
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Offline gzt

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2015, 01:38:39 PM »
I'm not really a fan of this. Liturgical music is prayer, not entertainment, and not background. It should, at the least, be actively listened to. I'm really only comfortable with listening to it for didactic purposes - at the very least, learning the music and the services better. Mind you, I do a fair bit of listening to liturgical music, so I'm not putting that off at all, but that's because I'm actively trying to learn a lot of music.

Offline Timon

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2015, 03:08:48 PM »
Dont listen to liturgical music. Listen to uplifting secular music like Lady Gaga or Korn instead.

 ::)

Seriously, why would anyone object to listening to liturgical music? And why would people like Capella Romana record liturgical music, even the entire DL, and put it on a CD if it were wrong?
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 03:09:01 PM by Timon »
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Offline wgw

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2015, 03:37:23 PM »
Indeed, and it's worth noting I have albums produced by Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev and a host of monasteries.  If the Hegumen of Simonapetra, Archbishop Dionysius of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, and Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev all appear under "Artist" in iTunes, without any commentary or warning accompanying their album restricting it's use by the faithful, then I think it's OK to listen.

I have Orthodox liturgical music from diverse sources playing almost continually when I'm in my bedroom or my office, to help me maintain an attitude of constant prayer.  At night I like to sleep to a set of albums of Valaam Chant which are highly consistent and of sufficient duration to conduct me through the sleep cycle, so that even when unconscious I can be noetically edified, if that is possible.

I dislike dreams by the way; anything that is likely to suppress dreaming, good or bad, or at the very least influence it in a divine direction, is helpful.

Offline Alxandra

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2015, 03:45:09 PM »
I play Orthodox liturgy music all the time. I don't think it is wrong because we should always try and have the Holy Spirit in our homes :)
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Offline gzt

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2015, 03:47:32 PM »
I'm certainly not saying it is wrong to listen to liturgical music. I am saying they are not entertainment or background music. This is also my personal opinion. Note that I listen to a lot of liturgical music: recordings of live services, staged performances and studio recordings as part of my musical and liturgical education. I am certainly not listening to them all, score in hand, making notes, I'm not demanding that level of educational attention to justify listening. This is also my personal opinion.

I also don't think a lack of an instruction manual means they are expected to be used for any purpose.

Offline wgw

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2015, 03:52:58 PM »
But we are told to pray without ceasing.  And continuously listening to liturgical music, especially when I am in great distress over worldly affairs, keeps my mind focused on things above, that is to say, on prayer.  And I believe these bishops and hegumens allowed themselves to be recorded so that heir music could be used as an aid to piety.  Which is what I believe Alexandra uses it for, and what I use it for as well.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 03:55:49 PM by wgw »

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2015, 03:53:11 PM »
I remember back in the 80s, long before the market was flooded with recordings, being told unequivocally that watching services on TV, however attentively, does not count as participation. It is just better than whatever other thing one could have playing at the time.

I wouldn't put on liturgical music of any kind (and I do listen to music from other traditions, even other religions) while doing housework, but I find it quite grounding when I'm reading or writing. Creativity does come from the Spirit, after all.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 03:53:44 PM by Arachne »
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Offline wlee4048

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2015, 04:00:16 PM »
Being from a Protestant background and new to Orthodoxy I find the music to reverent and scriptural.  It sure beats the loud "rock concert" music that has become the norm in many of the churches today.  I will listen as I pray and go to sleep at night.  I found it making me at peace in the evening. 

Offline wgw

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2015, 04:07:56 PM »
I don't think anything I do while the music is playing is housework, so there is that.  For housework I usually fall back on my vast collection of military music, which provides a useful beat without contaminating me with the vast amount of revolting, vile hideousness that exists in pop music, which I'm so allergic to I automatically tune it out.  I've listened to only 2 minutes of MTV in my life and that was because my beloved Maren was doing chores to it.  I believe I've programmed myself to tune most of it out automatically, so when I'm in the grocery store, though I'm aware of it, it only hits my mind as a sort of annoying din, like someone running a faucet.  And yes, my utter contempt for pop music is way over the top; it predates my conversion to Orthodoxy and exists largely for aesthetic reasons.  But fortunately this was a rare case where my quirks seemed compatible with my new religion, at least from the perspective of Bishop Alexander Mileant of blessed memory, who wrote a charming polemic entitled "On the Rock Music."

But I believe listening to liturgical music at all times could be beneficial in terms of piety.  Before I had a prayer rope I used to time saying the Jesus Pryaer by the duration of certain Lenten chants of Syriac and Byzantine origin.  But this was suboptimal as it seemed to promote the visual imagination, which I believe should be deactivated as much as possible when saying the Jesus Prayer, while avoiding using it as a mantra.  Looking at an icon seems to be of benefit; you don't want visual imagery but you don't want to start meditating on the syllables in a mantric manner as then your mind is in neutral and you're not paying attention to the meaning of the words, and you're no longer praying but merely meditating.  At least that's the guidance I've received.  However a monk at St. Anthonys did advise the use of the Jesus Prayer to stop nightmares, and otherwise blessed me; I had severe nightmares during my stay until that moment.

Offline mike

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2015, 05:24:23 AM »
What about attending concerts of liturgical music? What about organising such concerts in churches?

Offline wgw

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2015, 05:55:15 AM »
Again, bishops do this routinely as a matter of course.   These often feature noted choirs, such as the Mount Lebanon Choir, which excels in Arabic Byzantine Chant, and Capella Romana, which requires no introduction.  I myself am rather fond of the Yektarinberg Municipal Choir and the Moscow Patriarchal Choir, as well as the Choir of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Paris.   If anyone says these concerts are wrong, they are setting themselves in opposition to the majority of Orthodox bishops worldwide, who view these concerts as opportunities for evangelism, pan-Orthodox fellowship and ecumenical outreach.  Many people have been converted to Holy Orthodoxy through hearing our sacred music, and these concerts promote it.

Offline mike

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2015, 05:59:02 AM »
If anyone says these concerts are wrong, they are setting themselves in opposition to the majority of Orthodox bishops worldwide

so what?

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2015, 06:25:05 AM »
Piety demands obedience to our bishops with heresy being the only real exception, and that's a nuclear option.  If you want to charge your bishop with heresy for having concerts in the temple, and separate yourself from communion with him, be my guest, but I would weep for you, really.  There are like 90 more valid reasons to object to our present bishops and I personally ignore them at least to the extent of all canonical patriarchs of the Eastern and Oriental communions, and almost all hierarchs, as well as most Old Calendar and Old Believer bishops, and a large number of Episcopi Vagantes, many Roman Catholic bishops and some Anglicans.  In the canonical Orthodox churches though, I can think of precisely three bishops I have a problem with, one of whom is the uncanonical patriarch of the canonical Church of Eritrea, whose monks are trying to oust and replace with the imprisoned legitimate patriarch.  I would receive the Eucharist from any canonical bishop in my communion; assuming for a moment that I was Oriental Orthodox, I would not receive from the Eritrean intruder, whose name escapes me, but I would receive from the monks and other clergy who he was imposed upon by the government.*

So only in a life or death matter, such as the gravest of heresies, is dissent from our bishops acceptable.  If one of our bishops took the approach of the Episcopalian Bishop James Pike, and began attacking the Holy Trinity, or icons, or promoting gay marriage, or daring to ordain a woman, I would break communion with any bishop who did not break communion with him following a proper canonical process, or rather his patriarch, if he managed to avoid being deposed, like Bishop James Pike (am I allowed to call him a heresiarch on this forum because he was a non Orthodox prelate who went a step further and denied the Trinity?) whose influence with the media intimidated his brother bishops into not trying him for heresy. 

But as far as bishops organizing, and in many cases not only attending, but participating in, Orthodox concerts, even if Indisagreed with the practice,,which I see no grounds for, I see nothing in the Pedalion (granted I'm no canonist; I may have overlooked something) or the ecumenical councils that would forbid this.  As long as such concerts are done decently and in order (no rock concerts in the temple, or blasphemies like the "Plague Mass" celebrated in 1990 in the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC) I can see no possible objection to them by anyone who retains a sense of focus on their own sins and humbly submits the,selves to the ordinary jurisdiction of their ruling diocesan bishop in accordance with Holy Tradition, reserving separation or other disobedience only for the gravest possible misconduct on the part of the Hierarch.  And I can't think of any bishops in recent years who managed to get away with such misconduct, although I'm not as rigorous as some.

Offline mike

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2015, 06:27:57 AM »
Piety demands obedience to our bishops with heresy being the only real exception, and that's a nuclear option.  If you want to charge your bishop with heresy for having concerts in the temple, and separate yourself from communion with him, be my guest, but I would weep for you, really.  There are like 90 more valid reasons to object to our present bishops and I personally ignore them at least to the extent of all canonical patriarchs of the Eastern and Oriental communions, and almost all hierarchs, as well as most Old Calendar and Old Believer bishops, and a large number of Episcopi Vagantes, many Roman Catholic bishops and some Anglicans.  In the canonical Orthodox churches though, I can think of precisely three bishops I have a problem with, one of whom is the uncanonical patriarch of the canonical Church of Eritrea, whose monks are trying to oust and replace with the imprisoned legitimate patriarch.  I would receive the Eucharist from any canonical bishop in my communion; assuming for a moment that I was Oriental Orthodox, I would not receive from the Eritrean intruder, whose name escapes me, but I would receive from the monks and other clergy who he was imposed upon by the government.*

So only in a life or death matter, such as the gravest of heresies, is dissent from our bishops acceptable.  If one of our bishops took the approach of the Episcopalian Bishop James Pike, and began attacking the Holy Trinity, or icons, or promoting gay marriage, or daring to ordain a woman, I would break communion with any bishop who did not break communion with him following a proper canonical process, or rather his patriarch, if he managed to avoid being deposed, like Bishop James Pike (am I allowed to call him a heresiarch on this forum because he was a non Orthodox prelate who went a step further and denied the Trinity?) whose influence with the media intimidated his brother bishops into not trying him for heresy. 

But as far as bishops organizing, and in many cases not only attending, but participating in, Orthodox concerts, even if Indisagreed with the practice,,which I see no grounds for, I see nothing in the Pedalion (granted I'm no canonist; I may have overlooked something) or the ecumenical councils that would forbid this.  As long as such concerts are done decently and in order (no rock concerts in the temple, or blasphemies like the "Plague Mass" celebrated in 1990 in the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC) I can see no possible objection to them by anyone who retains a sense of focus on their own sins and humbly submits the,selves to the ordinary jurisdiction of their ruling diocesan bishop in accordance with Holy Tradition, reserving separation or other disobedience only for the gravest possible misconduct on the part of the Hierarch.  And I can't think of any bishops in recent years who managed to get away with such misconduct, although I'm not as rigorous as some.

Dude...

Offline gzt

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Re: Listening to Liturgical Music
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2015, 04:46:01 PM »
What about attending concerts of liturgical music? What about organising such concerts in churches?
These are generally attended for a purpose broader than entertainment and are certainly not going to be listened to as background or mood music.