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henrikhankhagnell
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« on: May 12, 2011, 04:18:01 PM »

today i went to a roman-catholic mass with a man playing guitar and people singing so called charismatic songs. this really upset me.
what do you think about it?
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HabteSelassie
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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2011, 04:45:48 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

As a guitar player I have nothing against it.  The guitar is a versatile yet natural instrument, the sounds it makes are purely organic.  It is my bias as a player, but I feel then that this natural resonating source of the sound makes the guitar no less distinguishable as a hymnal instrument then the pipes or the harp.  So I'd say it is fine, and I have indeed seen several Roman Catholic parishes who use the guitar for their hymnals.  What is the harm of the guitar for hymnal? Its not like they used it for the Liturgy like the organ in some seedy Southern Baptism service Wink

In the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church we have this very same kind of debate going on over the past two decades since the electric keyboards were introduced into some churches for hymnals.  Again, these are not used during the Divine Liturgy which is purely vocal/choral (non-instrumental), but for the hymns sung afterwards which have traditionally been accompanied by musical instruments for well over a thousand years!  So what was all the fuss about? Within the Ethiopian tradition, the instruments take on theological significance. So the strings of the Bagana come to symbolize the hair of the Virgin Mary which was the glory of Her covering, and the neck of the Bagana also symbolized the spine of the Virgin which is to say, Jacob's miraculous ladder into heaven in which the angels of God ascend and descend from heaven towards earth.  In this way, both the Virgin Mary and also the music from the instruments have come to serve as this same bridge, like Jacob's ladder, sublimely from earthly to divine.  Just as the Cathedral builders felt that stained glass shifted natural sun light into divine light, so to do the Ethiopian fathers teach that the hymnal instruments of the Ethiopian tradition are also means of transcending the earthly towards the heavenly. So naturally, more conservative of the contemporary fathers find the use of instruments other than these Church instruments to be unlawful.  However, I would beg to differ and many churches already have, and why as a musician I am a purist so I find the use of Caseo keyboards to be rather distasteful compared to the acoustic instruments they are mimicking, nonetheless I see no theological harm in it.  The Ethiopian fathers did not invent the Bagana or the Krar or the Masenqo, the traditional Ethiopian instruments, rather they in time came to develop these wonderful poetic, symbolic and theological explanations and meanings behind these instruments.  In time, the same meaning could be applied to other instruments that gain usage.  Of course, again as a purist, I suppose it would be much easier to apply the kinds of theological imagery of the Ethiopian instruments to the natural guitar rather than the synthesized keyboards Smiley




stay blessed,
habte selassie
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henrikhankhagnell
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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2011, 05:44:52 PM »

What is the harm of the guitar for hymnal?
in western christianity the human voice and the organ are the traditional instruments. why break a great tradition that actually worked? gregorian chant (and simmilar chants) are one of the best things with western christianity. 
what if the coptic church would use a drumset instead of hand cymbals? i don't think we shuld be against our ancient holy tradition.

here's a lutheran answer:http://www.allexperts.com/user.cgi?m=6&catID=956&expID=116955&qID=4977161
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2011, 06:32:30 PM »

I think it's fine in a Catholic context, though I wouldn't want to see it in an Orthodox one.
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henrikhankhagnell
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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2011, 07:01:12 PM »

I think it's fine in a Catholic context, though I wouldn't want to see it in an Orthodox one.
Huh Huh Huh
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HabteSelassie
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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2011, 07:22:48 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

What is the harm of the guitar for hymnal?
in western Christianity the human voice and the organ are the traditional instruments. why break a great tradition that actually worked? Gregorian chant (and similar chants) are one of the best things with western Christianity.  
what if the coptic church would use a drumset instead of hand cymbals? i don't think we should be against our ancient holy tradition.


A) Nonsense, in the Western tradition there are many many different instruments used in Hymnal music, I think you are mixing up hymns and the Divine Liturgy proper.  Neither do the Ethiopians or the Roman Catholics use the musical instruments for Divine Liturgy proper, rather the musical instruments are used in Hymns (songs to be sung for popular praise and devotion).  

b) Actually, if in time contemporized instruments entered into the Coptic worship I would have no problem with that, the cymbals were merely the contemporary instruments of the early Church period, acclimatized for Christian worship, but lets not pretend these instruments were invented solely by priests or for Church music, rather the Church adopted the musical technology of their time.  Realistically, what is difference then from doing the same thing today and adjusting our instruments today for those of the past? I can appreciate the theological underpinnings and also as a musician myself appreciate the traditionalism and perpetuation of culture, however we shouldn't get caught up on it. Further, the guitar itself is precisely a modern instrument whose origination is in the evolution of lutes and harps which were the Hymnal instruments of medieval European Christendom (pre-Protestant) so if anything, the guitar fits just fine into the scheme.  In the same logic, the cymbals on a modern drum kit are very much the modern evolution of the same original cymbals of the East which are used in the Coptic Church, so really, what is the harm?

I can play on my guitar all the same scales and melodies which are played for the traditional Ethiopian Hymns (Mezmur) played on the Bagana and the Krar, and in fact because of the acoustic guitar they naturally sound very similar.  Personally, I would love to bring my guitar for the hymns to replace this Caseo keyboard, not because I disagree with the theology of the keyboard or the guitar, but because in all honesty it just sounds better and feels more natural and in line with tradition, as the traditional Ethiopian instruments are vibrating strings resonating on wooden sound boxes, the prototype for the modern guitar Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: May 12, 2011, 07:27:16 PM by HabteSelassie » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2011, 07:38:55 PM »

I think it's fine in a Catholic context, though I wouldn't want to see it in an Orthodox one.
Huh Huh Huh

Two different groups, two different worship styles. I don't know what Roman Catholic masses were like back in the old days, but as for the contemporary services I've been in... it seems to me that a guitar would fit right in. Certainly it'd fit in just as well as an organ.
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2011, 08:39:31 AM »

today i went to a roman-catholic mass with a man playing guitar and people singing so called charismatic songs. this really upset me.
what do you think about it?

You are the victim of a post-Vatican II Mass abuse. The least you could do is never go back and to find a Novus Ordo Parish or, even better, a Traditional Catholic Church with a Latin Mass.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2011, 08:40:28 AM by TristanCross » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2011, 11:13:36 AM »

I remember listening to old radio show dramas during Christmas time and remember hearing the story of the history of the song "Silent Night." Basically a priest wrote it as a poem and wanted to make it into a church hymn. But the organ was broken so when they were coming up with the music behind the poem, they created it specifically for the guitar.

Now I don't know how true that really is.  But the priest, Joseph Mohr, was pre VII.  Does anyone know about this?
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« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2011, 01:58:03 AM »

Before I start please realise, my brethren, that much of what folks are seeing going on in the West is NOT AT ALL what is supposed to have happened. Behind the scenes there is a quiet war going on. The council documents were abused by progressivists. They are also being abused by hard-liners who have no love for the Church. Many of us are stuck in the middle... looking helpless.

God will fix it. He always does. Let us think of the iconoclasm that happened in the East so long ago, and yet it is a painful memory to bear. Satan seeks nothing more than rid the world of the Eucharist, by doing harm to the priesthood and the Church, and the dignity and decency of our wives and daughters, who are meant to be daily reminders of the Blessed Virgin Mother of God.


With that said... the guitar is an aberration within the confines of the Most Holy Sacrifice. That is a fact. It became at once widespread. We are blessed that it is now disappearing. These 40 years after the last council have been a severe trial for many Catholics. We now have a good and holy shepherd who is strong. It is clear, to all but the most hard-hearted, that Christ finds the traditional liturgy used in the West to be a pleasing child of His, and it is seeing quite a revival. The Son of God has many children and we thank Him for it.

Catholics are generally bothered about it as much as anybody. Many loathe it. Many seek to only chant the Psalms and Canticles, which are too often replaced by music professionals who think they know what is best.

Much of the proper chant settings are available here: http://www.renegoupil.org/


"Tra le Sollecitudini" was issued by His Holiness Saint Pius X in 1903.

He reminds us that purely vocal music is the most appropriate, but that he can't force the faithful to give up organ music. Catholics are asked to limit the use of it to support the voice if used at all.

Someone in this forum said that organ music is the tradition in the West. This is not entirely accurate. It is a custom. It has grown in the last 500 years or so due to the influence of Classicalism. I must confess that many Catholics do not like organ music, especially as it is popularly employed. The traditional music of the West is chant. Gregorian chant is not the only form. I am very edified by Roman Chant (rarely heard). The chant employed is dependent upon the rite. Domincans use Domincan chant, Mozarabics use Mozarabic chant, et cetra.

Returning to and considering my words on the guitar as an aberration. I will not damn anyone to hell for using it but certainly do not find it particularly edifying. It is tragic that the insertion of pro-fane music has made it's way into God's holy temples. Pro-fane music can be good or it can be bad. But, either way, it is pro-fane and so it's home should be kept to our everyday secular life.

One might consider a proper use of the guitar to be (for example) the many Spanish and Portuguese charrangos composed in honour of Our Blessed Mother. Such a use of the guitar is honorable and it carries devotion to His Mother beyond the temple and out into the world of those who do not know her embrace.


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« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 02:14:10 AM by James Joseph » Logged
sainthieu
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« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2011, 11:14:58 AM »

James Joseph:

I like the cut of your jib.
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« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2011, 04:27:12 PM »

I remember listening to old radio show dramas during Christmas time and remember hearing the story of the history of the song "Silent Night." Basically a priest wrote it as a poem and wanted to make it into a church hymn. But the organ was broken so when they were coming up with the music behind the poem, they created it specifically for the guitar.

Now I don't know how true that really is.  But the priest, Joseph Mohr, was pre VII.  Does anyone know about this?

That story is accurate.
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