Text-Only

Breaking BreadOCP’s Rick Modlin explained the policy on Christmas carols for the resources Breaking Bread and Today’s Missal:

Lastly, in response to numerous customer requests, we have restored music notation to several traditional Christmas carols … that were shown as text-only in the 2015 editions. Please know that our decision to make carols text-only was for no reason beyond opening up room to add more songs.

I know I hardly look at the music on these, but what do you think? It would take even more room, but I expect a few people would sing four part music from the pews if they had the harmonizations included.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to Text-Only

  1. Liam says:

    4-parts? Isn’t the context text only vs melody+text? I think the background issue is that repertoire of religious carols heard on the radio or media is narrower than it used to be, so people may need more visual reinforcement because they lack strong experiential memory.

  2. Todd says:

    My own sense is that melody + text is a minimum. One colleague did get choir editions for the pews–he just wanted the people to sing, like they did with Lutheran and Anglican hymnals.

    And agreed on the narrower media repertoire. My survey suggests 15% and shrinking year to year.

  3. Mary says:

    Interesting. I’m in Ireland, and have people telling me they don’t know Once in Royal David’s City! or We Three Kings!

    • Liam says:

      We Three Kings is an American carol, not necessarily well known outside the USA.

      I would venture that Once in Royal David’s City is not particularly well known by most American Catholics, other than those who are familiar with its pole position in the Service of Lessons and Carols at King’s College, Cambridge. A good deal of the English repertoire is not particularly common in American Catholic parishes, which tend to work with a sadly truncated repertoire for practical reasons (commonly, there are many choristers traveling, and rehearsals are suspended, during the holiday period itself).

      One of the most distinctively American carols is I Wonder As I Wander. The oldest carol of Anglo-French North America, known in English as the Huron Carol, dates from the early 17th century but suffers in English metrical paraphrase.

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