GILH 280-284: Final Musical Considerations

Our last post on the text of the GILH.

280. Even when the hours are recited, hymns can nourish prayer, provided they have doctrinal and literary excellence; but of their nature they are designed for singing and so, as far as possible, at a celebration in common they should be sung.

Hymnody is a priority for singing, not just because of the nature of the artistic genre, but because hymns offer a nourishment for the spirit.

281. The short responsory after the reading at morning prayer and evening prayer (see GILH 49) is of its nature designed for singing and indeed for congregational singing.

282. The responsories following the readings in the office of readings by their very nature and function also call for their being sung. In the plan of the office, however, they are composed in such a way that they retain their power even in individual and private recitation. Responsories set to simpler melodies can be sung more frequently than those responsories drawn from the traditional liturgical books.

Sing the responsories, if you can; they’re designed, in part, for that usage.

283. The longer readings and the short readings are not of themselves designed for singing. When they are proclaimed, great care should be taken that the reading is dignified, clear, and distinct and that it is really audible and fully intelligible for all. The only acceptable melody for a reading is therefore one that best ensures the hearing of the words and the understanding of the text.

284. Texts that are said only by the person presiding, such as the concluding prayer, can be sung gracefully and appropriately, especially in Latin. This, however, will be more difficult in some languages, unless singing makes the texts more clearly audible for all.

That finishes it. Any last comments before we delve into the Rite of Penance?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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5 Responses to GILH 280-284: Final Musical Considerations

  1. FrMichael says:

    Thanks for the GILH review. Looking forward to the Rite of Penance.

  2. Rob F. says:

    I second FrMichael’s thanks.

    It’s a little late, and little bit off-topic, but I thought I might mention that now, in the last week of ordinary time, in the 2nd edition of the Liturgia Horarum, which has not yet been translated into English, there is an option provided that did not exist in the 1st edition.

    The option is to sing the Dies Irae instead of the assigned hymn at the Office of Reading, Morning Prayer, and Evening Prayer. As far I can tell, this favorite hymn had been banished from the Roman Liturgy for 16 years. It is now restored as an option for 1 week of the year. Of course, now it has also returned to the rite by way of Summorum Pontificum.

  3. Todd says:

    More accurate to say the Dies Irae is a sequence, like Lauda Sion. I think it’s a better fit for the last three or so weeks of ordinary time than the funeral Mass.

  4. Liam says:

    Apparently, one can indeed licitly use the Dies Irae as a sequence in the postconciliar funeral Mass. The sequence was not suppressed and is merely optional, not forbidden.

  5. Todd says:

    Plus, one can bring out any choral setting of it and sing it at Mass in November.

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