[Pt. I Proj.2]- Research point 1.1: The Mass- history, form, structure, text and music.

RESEARCH POINT 1.1: THE MASS

Research point 1.1: The Mass

Religious music has long been a highly active area for composers and has prompted some of their highest achievements. Due to its importance in the Catholic church the Mass has been one of the most prolific of religious musical forms, inspiring choral music from the Fourteenth Century to the present day. 

*Find out about the ongoing history of the musical Mass.

*Mass form and structure.

*The texts which appear in it and how the music fits with the religious service, among other things.

*Listen to Masses from different points in history. You may use this list as a starting point: Machaut, DuFay, Byrd, Victoria, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Bruckner, Stravinsky, James MacMillan, Karl Jenkins. 

*Write a brief article of around 500 words in your listening log about the connection of music with religion. Mix in your personal views with what you have discovered through research. 

RESEARCH POINT 1.1 ANSWER

*Find out about the ongoing history of the musical Mass.

THE ROMAN RITES and Anglican/Lutheran (brief history)

St. Augustine says rightly, “Singing is for one who loves,” and there is also an ancient proverb: “Whoever sings well prays twice over.”

To properly understand the development of the Mass we have to trace it right back to its origins in Hebrew chanted prayers and religious ceremonies. The Christian Church’s hymn book is derived from the King David’s Psalms from the Old Testament. These psalms were delivered in an articulated ‘semi-spoken’ style with strong emphasis on the text. The psalms were used during worship and sacrifice in the Temple of Jerusalem, later adapted by Christians into the Eucharist Liturgy. This Jewish music tradition was later influenced by Greek- Roman ritualistic music. The text was to be sung in Latin from the 4th until the 20th Century (it was mandated). The Roman Catholic Church however saw to limit and purge the ‘pagan’ music influences best they could. The limitations of what the Roman Catholic Church would allow as sacred music eventually distilled into the creative solution we now know as Gregorian Chant. St. Gregory the Great compiled and preserved the tradition of these Chants out of which polyphony eventually developed. It was in the Renaissance that the ‘Ordinary’ of the Mass was set to music. The first settings were in Plainchant (one voice). By the 9th Century Plainchants were elaborated on by Tropes (new bits of music and text added to the original melody) and eventually Organum developed. Organum was a combination of two melodies. Some of the earliest notated examples of Organum can be found in The Winchester Troper manuscript from the 11th century. Léonin and Pérotin , composers of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris,  wrote and Organum compilation ‘Magnus Liber Organi’ in 1200.

Around 1300 polyphony developed. The first polyphonic Ordinary Mass is Guillaume de Machaut’s Messe de Notre Dame. In the 14th Century a secular style developed, favouring a fast-moving ornate treble melody with a slow moving (often instrumental) bass line. The Ordinary became increasingly popular throughout the 15th and 16th centuries. The main proponents of the Era, John Dunstable and Guillaume Dufay both favoured ‘descant’ dominated plainsong and Dufay wrote the first Cantus Firmus based Ordinary (using a pre-existing fixed melody line). In the 1520’s the Flemish composer Josquin des Prez innovated the Mass and invented the Parody Mass- borrowing secular music on which to base the Ordinary and standardising polyphonic imitative writing.  Giovanni da Palestrina became the master of imitative polyphony and is generally considered the high point in this type of music. As this polyphony developed and became more complicated and ornate, the text also became less intelligible. This unintelligibility of the text together with the excessiveness of the music was eventually deemed a distraction by the Roman Catholic Church and they decided to ‘reign in’ the music for the benefit of the message. This decision was made at the Council of Trent in 1545–63.  Palestrina’s music has been labelled stile antico, whereas the (solo) style from the 17th Century onwards is considered stile moderno. Composers have since then continued setting the Mass to music applying the techniques of their specific eras. Bach, Scarlatti (Opera style), Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, Gounod, Bruckner, Stravinsky, Poulenc, Byrd, Vaughan Williams, Britten and even Leonard Bernstein have all written masses. Not all these masses were written to accompany an actual service, but rather to be performed in concert.  

The Anglican and Lutheran Mass:

The Anglican mass (communion service) is based on the Roman Rites but is sung in English from the Book of Common Prayer.

The Lutheran mass consists of the Kyrie and Gloria from the Roman Rites.  


THE EASTERN RITES (brief history)

Byzantine Chant:

Contrary to what the name suggest Byzantine chant is not really Byzantine in origin, but most likely derived from a mixture of Hebrew and Syrian chant. Syria had a substantial early Christian congregation which came to influence the music and Mass of the Greek speaking Eastern Roman Empire. The Hebrew temple rituals likely gave rise to monophonic parts of the chant whereas the Syrian tradition is largely seen as responsible for introducing both the oktōēchos and the antiphonal singing (choir against choir) into the Eastern Rites. Syrian chants were very likely themselves influenced by Turkish music and bears a resemblance to music from Asia Minor.

Several types of hymns are used in the Eastern Rites; troparion (short stanzas or repeated refrains), kontakion (sung religious poems), kanon (nine odes based on the nine canticles of the early Eastern Church) to name a few. These are performed at different saints’ celebrations and at different times of the day.

The chants were at first transmitted through oral traditions, then vague ‘notated’ instructions mainly indication the rise and fall of the melody line emerged in Alexandria, Egypt. The first ‘proper’ notation (neumatic) has been dated back to the 10th century. Neumes from the late 12th century are still in use to day and notate interval relationships rather than absolute pitch, with a tonal centre (or key) given at the start. The ‘key’ or mode is called a ēchos. There are eight in total, referred to as oktōēchos. They function slightly differently to our keys in that they consist of groups of melodic formulas that are used to make up melodies. These formulas form the base around which the singers loosely improvise. The kernel usually remains recognisable although the chant is allowed to stray pretty far. The chanter position was inherited and passed down from father to son.

The text was set to one of these formulaic traditional melodies, which were tweaked to fit better with the text. Some of the fixed ‘melodies’ where for the start of the chant whereas some were reserved for the end. The transitional passages where sometimes written by the composers rather than being traditional.

Some of the hymn books are; the Heirmologion, the Sticherarion, the Psaltikon and Asmatikon and the Akolouthiai. They contain model stanzas for hymns, solo and choral parts and chants for specific occasions such as Vespers, Matins and liturgies.

Well known composers/poets are St Romanos Melodos (6th century), John of Damascus (645-749), Kasia (9th century nun), John Koukouzeles, John Glydis, and Xenos Koronis (13th– 14th century).



*Mass form and structure. The texts which appear in it and how the music fits with the religious service, among other things.

FORM/STRUCTURE/MUSIC of THE ROMAN RITES

I am going to focus on the Roman Rites, it’s form, structure, text and interaction with the music since it is the Latin Mass which has influenced Western Art Music the most. The Anglican and Lutheran Mass traditions which have influenced English composers such as Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten is originally also derived from the Roman Rites. There is a handful of composers who have been influenced by the Byzantine Chants (via the Eastern Orthodox Mass) such as Sir John Taverner, Arvo Part and others. I’ve therefore included a very brief introduction to these chants. Since my family is originally from Serbia and therefore of a Greek Orthodox tradition, I have had some personal experiences of this musical style and I am very fond of it. When time permits, I will do some in depth research into these chants and write a separate entry on them.

* The Roman Rite Mass’s form and structure

The Mass Ordinary generally keeps its form, structure and text (see next section) the same irrespective of the date and occasion, apart from rare instances, such as during Lent or a Requiem Mass. The Mass Proper follows the Liturgical Year and changes according to the feasts.


The Ordinary the sections are as follows;

I Kyrie (Greek text) – usually sung by choir or whole congregation. In the Middle Ages (in Roman Rites) the text of the Kyrie was interpolated (troped) with texts relating to feasts of specific saints currently celebrated.

II Gloria (Latin text) – usually sung by choir or whole congregation. Used for most celebratory masses (but not requiems or votives) and Sunday masses (apart from during Lent and Advent).

III Credo (Latin text) – usually sung by choir or whole congregation. Sunday masses and solemnities

IV Sanctus (Latin text, apart from Hosanna which is a Hebrew word) – usually sung by choir or whole congregation. Benedictus can be considered a part of the Sanctus but is often placed after the consecration.

V Agnus Dei (Latin text) – usually sung by choir or whole congregation.

V1 Benedictus or Ite, missa est (Latin text, apart from Hosanna which is a Hebrew word). Benedictus can be considered a part of the Sanctus but is often placed after the consecration. Ite, missa est is always sung at the end of the Mass.


The Mass Proper follows the Liturgical Year and changes according to the feasts.

I Introit (Latin text). Is the entrance antiphon for the Eucharist. It contains a psalm and a spoken or sung section of Gloria Patri. The words of the psalm were usually sung by a solo singer, then later by two sections.  The form is usually antiphon- verse- antiphon-doxology (Gloria Patri hymn)-antiphon.

II Gradual (Latin text). Is a hymn or chant historically chanted at the step of the altar as a single response (fluctuating between two pitches) with a solo verse (of a wider range than the response), in the style of a highly decorated, melismatic Gregorian chant. The melodies were usually derived from a set of ‘stock melodies. Early on Graduals were composed as Organum.

III Offertory (Latin text) Sung during Eucharist whilst bread and wine are placed on the altar and alms are collected. Historically the Priest would say a silent prayer over the Offering, or he would sing a Offertory Chant or responsorial psalm (priest would repeat the refrain whilst a soloist sung the verses).  

IV Communion (Latin text) A recitative psalm sung during the actual Eucharist (communion). Originally sung by the Schola Cantorum as an antiphon with a psalm, interrupted by the Pope. The texts is generally from the gospels (apart from on occasions such as Advent when more ‘prophetic’ texts are used). The text is generally delivered in an extremely dramatic style.



*The texts which appear in it and how the music fits with the religious service, among other things.

TEXT of THE ROMAN RITES

* The texts which appear in the Mass (Ordinary)

1. KYRIE

Kyrie eleison.
Christe eleison.
Kyrie eleison.

(Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy)

2. GLORIA

Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Et in terra pax
hominibus bonæ voluntatis.

Laudamus te; benedicimus te;
adoramus te; glorificamus te.
Gratias agimus tibi
propter magnam gloriam tuam.

Domine Deus, Rex coelestis,
Deus Pater omnipotens.
Domine Fili unigenite Jesu Christe.
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei,
Filius Patris.

Qui tollis peccata mundi,
miserere nobis.
Qui tollis peccata mundi,
suscipe deprecationem nostram.
Qui sedes ad dextram Patris,
O miserere nobis.

Quoniam tu solus Sanctus,
tu solus Dominus,
tu solus Altissimus, Jesu Christe.
Cum Sancto Spiritu
in gloria Dei Patris.

Amen.

(Glory be to God in the highest.
And in earth peace
to men of good will.

We praise Thee; we bless Thee;
we worship Thee; we glorify Thee.
We give thanks to Thee
for Thy great glory.

O Lord God, Heavenly King,
God the Father Almighty.
O Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son.
Lord God, Lamb of God,
Son of the Father.

Thou that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer.
Thou that sittest at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy upon us.

For thou only art holy,
thou only art the Lord,
thou only art the most high, Jesus Christ.
Together with the Holy Ghost
in the glory of God the Father.

Amen.)

3. CREDO

Credo in unum Deum;
Patrem omnipotentem,
factorem coeli et terrae,
visibilium omnium et invisibilium.

Credo in unum Dominum Jesum Christum,
Filium Dei unigenitum,
Et ex Patre natum ante omnia sæcula.
Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine,
Deum verum de Deo vero,
Genitum non factum,
consubstantialem Patri:
per quem omnia facta sunt.
Qui propter nos homines,
et propter nostram salutem
descendit de coelis.
Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto
ex Maria Virgine: et homo factus est.

Crucifixus etiam pro nobis
sub Pontio Pilato,
passus et sepultus est.
Et resurrexit tertia die
secundum Scripturas.
Et ascendit in coelum:
sedet ad dexteram Patris.
Et iterum venturus est cum gloria,
judicare vivos et mortuos:
cujus regni non erit finis.

Credo in Spiritum Sanctum,
Dominum, et vivificantem:
qui ex Patre Filioque procedit.
Qui cum Patre et Filio simul
adoratur et conglorificatur:
qui locutus est per Prophetas.

Credo in unam sanctam
catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam.

Confiteor unum baptisma,
in remissionem peccatorum.

Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum
et vitam venturi sæculi.

Amen.

(I believe in one God;
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only begotten Son of God,
begotten of the Father before all worlds;
God of God, light of light,
true God of true God,
begotten not made;
being of one substance with the Father,
by Whom all things were made.
Who for us men
and for our salvation
descended from heaven;
and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost,
of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.

He was crucified also for us,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
and was buried.
And on the third day He rose again 
according to the Scriptures:
and ascended into heaven.
He sitteth at the right hand of the Father;
and He shall come again with glory
to judge the living and the dead;
and His kingdom shall have no end.

I believe in the Holy Ghost,
the Lord and giver of life,
Who prodeedeth from the Father and the Son,
Who with the Father and the Son together
is worshipped and glorified;
as it was told by the Prophets.

And I believe in one holy
catholic and apostolic Church.

I acknowledge one baptism
for the remission of sins.

And I await the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come.

Amen.)

4. SANCTUS

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.
Osanna in excelsis.

(Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory.
Hosanna in the highest.)

5. AGNUS DEI

Agnus Dei,
qui tollis peccata mundi,
miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei.
Dona nobis pacem.

(Lamb of God,
Who takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God.
Grant us peace.)

6. BENEDICTUS

Benedictus qui venit
in nomine Domini.
Osanna in excelsis.

(Blessed is He that cometh
in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.)


* The texts which appear in the Mass (Proper)

1. Introit

Antiphon Rorate Caeli from Isaiah 45:8:

Rorate, cæli, desuper, et nubes pluant justum: aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem.

(Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just: let the earth be opened, and bud forth a Saviour.)

Verse from the beginning of Psalm 18:2:  

Caeli enarrant gloriam Dei et opera manuum ejus annuntiat firmamentum

(The heavens shew forth the glory of God, and the firmament declareth the work of his hands.)

Doxology:

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

(Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.)

Antiphon Rorate Caeli from Isaiah 45:8:

Rorate, cæli, desuper, et nubes pluant justum: aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem.

(Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just: let the earth be opened, and bud forth a Saviour.)

2. Gradual

The text of the Gradual varies depending on the feast and there is a whole book of chants to pick from. The form is usually ABA and responsory with a repeated Refrain.

3. Offertory

Dominus vobiscum Et cum spiritu tuo Oremus

Offertory antiphon (pick one of many from the Offertoriale. Or the Schola can sing a polyphonic motet or chant, after singing the Offertory antiphon.

Suscipe (Receive)

Orate fratres suscipiat (Pray, brethren)

Per omnia saecula saeculorum (Through all ages of ages)

Priest sings Preface;

4. Communion

Sursum Corda  (lift up your hearts) (or Preface)

Priest: Dominus vobiscum.

People: Et cum spiritu tuo.

Priest: Sursum corda.

People: Habemus ad Dominum.

Priest: Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.

People: Dignum et iustum est.

(Priest: The Lord be with you.

People: And with your spirit.

Priest: Lift up your hearts.

People: We lift them up to the Lord.

Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

People: It is right and just.


The Anglican and Lutheran Mass:

The Anglican mass (communion service) is based on the Roman Rites but is sung in English from the Book of Common Prayer.

The Lutheran mass consists of the Kyrie and Gloria from the Roman Rites.  



*Listen to Masses from different points in history. You may use this list as a starting point: Machaut, DuFay, Byrd, Victoria, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Bruckner, Stravinsky, James MacMillan, Karl Jenkins. 



*Write a brief article of around 500 words in your listening log about the connection of music with religion. Mix in your personal views with what you have discovered through research. 

500 Word Article; RELIGION AND MUSIC

After spending a substantial amount of time trying to research the origins of both the Mass and religious music in general, it becomes increasingly obvious that the difficulty in finding a point of origin is due to the fact that music seems to have always been present at religious or spiritual gatherings and has formed a part of ritualistic behaviour since time immemorial. Not only have the Judeo-Christian/Muslim traditions used song in their worship, but the same is also true for the Hindu and Buddhist Traditions who use chants and mantras as part of their prayers and rituals. Music, singing, chanting and invocations are also used by Native American Tribes, along with drumming and dancing. The same holds true for most spiritual traditions across Africa and Polynesia. Aside from a few recent groups, such as the Quakers, I have not been able to find many religions which do not include any music in their practice. Perhaps it is because music is one of the most emotionally expressive means at our disposal, or perhaps it is because of its ability to induce a ‘supernatural’ experience … science has also shown that words set to a melody are much more memorable than either melody or text are separately. There is something about the way our brain is wired which makes it predisposed to remembering lyrics set to melodic and rhythmic patterns, the mantra like effect lodges itself effortlessly in the long-term part of our memory. Songs are in fact one of the few things that even people with Senile Dementia or Alzheimer’s will be able to recollect. What better way to disseminate a message and convey stories or historic events? Participating in music is also a very social behaviour. We engage and share in it as a group. The inclusivity and connectedness reinforce the sense of belonging to the same tribe. I’d go as far as to say attending a major concert, be it traditional, pop, rock, jazz or classical, is the closest thing modern society has to a religious experience. It is a setting in which a collective ‘trance like’ state is considered completely acceptable and even desirable. Loosing yourself in the music, letting go of any inhibitions and feeling a part of the tribe whilst worshipping the only modern-day prophets we still have. In this context spiritual, otherworldly experiences are common and not frown upon. There are no sceptics or non-believers at a gig. We are all converted and saved. It is one of the truly cathartic, shamanistic and magic experiences we still allow ourselves. Music and religion are still as interconnected as ever and for many music has become our religion.

To quote my friends the band ‘The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’;

‘I fell in love with the sweet sensation
I gave my heart to a simple chord
I gave my soul to a new religion

Whatever happened to you, rock ‘n roll?
Whatever happened to our rock ‘n roll?
Whatever happened to my rock ‘n roll?’