60. A great part of the liturgical texts are composed with the intention of their being sung by the priest celebrant, the deacon, the cantor, the people, or the choir. For this reason, the texts should be translated in a manner that is suitable for being set to music. Still, in preparing the musical accompaniment, full account must be taken of the authority of the text itself. Whether it be a question of the texts of Sacred Scripture or of those taken from the Liturgy and already duly confirmed, paraphrases are not to be substituted with the intention of making them more easily set to music, nor may hymns considered generically equivalent be employed in their place.[GIRM 53, 57]
An interesting comment that might spark debate in the propers-only crowd. Are the propers part of the body of “liturgical texts”? The footnote is illustrative here. GIRM 53 refers to the Gloria. Number 57 to the responsorial psalm (and readings) being substituted out for non-biblical entries.
So we are left with the open-ended challenge of setting biblical psalms to non-chant music that might suggest some flexibility. The US bishops have long permitted psalms to be edited or paraphrased–and common practice as the psalm became part of the Catholic music presentation in North America. I think there’s a good discussion to be had on the merits of using good psalm translations as given for the liturgy. But we know the new Grail texts have already been tinkered with. So what does that say about the importance of the received inspired text in the liturgy?
61. Texts that are intended to be sung are particularly important because they convey to the faithful a sense of the solemnity of the celebration, and manifest unity in faith and charity by means of a union of voices.[Cf. POPE JOHN PAUL II, Apost. Letter Dies Domini, n. 50] The hymns and canticles contained in the modern editiones typicae constitute a minimal part of the historic treasury of the Latin Church, and it is especially advantageous that they be preserved in the printed vernacular editions, even if placed there in addition to hymns composed originally in the vernacular language. The texts for singing that are composed originally in the vernacular language would best be drawn from Sacred Scripture or from the liturgical patrimony.
Good. We’ve been on this track at least since the St Louis Jesuits. One confirmation from the new CDWDS on the implementation of the reformed liturgy.
Comments on music, friends? Have at it.