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Questions about Easter Mass

Mark Ross 04 Apr 10 - 05:06 PM
olddude 04 Apr 10 - 05:16 PM
Jack Campin 04 Apr 10 - 07:17 PM
Joe Offer 04 Apr 10 - 07:27 PM
Mark Ross 04 Apr 10 - 07:43 PM
The Fooles Troupe 04 Apr 10 - 08:30 PM
katlaughing 04 Apr 10 - 09:18 PM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Apr 10 - 10:19 PM
Joe Offer 04 Apr 10 - 10:57 PM
The Fooles Troupe 04 Apr 10 - 11:17 PM
Joe Offer 04 Apr 10 - 11:32 PM
mousethief 04 Apr 10 - 11:36 PM
The Fooles Troupe 04 Apr 10 - 11:39 PM
Joe Offer 05 Apr 10 - 12:20 AM
The Fooles Troupe 05 Apr 10 - 12:29 AM
The Fooles Troupe 05 Apr 10 - 12:33 AM
Joe Offer 05 Apr 10 - 02:34 AM
The Fooles Troupe 05 Apr 10 - 03:27 AM
GUEST,leeneia 05 Apr 10 - 09:44 AM
The Fooles Troupe 05 Apr 10 - 10:01 AM
The Fooles Troupe 05 Apr 10 - 10:09 AM
The Fooles Troupe 05 Apr 10 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,leeneia 05 Apr 10 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,highlandman at work 05 Apr 10 - 03:52 PM
PoppaGator 05 Apr 10 - 04:45 PM
The Fooles Troupe 05 Apr 10 - 06:36 PM
Joe Offer 05 Apr 10 - 11:31 PM
GUEST,leeneia 06 Apr 10 - 09:56 AM
wysiwyg 06 Apr 10 - 09:59 AM
olddude 06 Apr 10 - 10:24 AM
Rapparee 06 Apr 10 - 10:34 AM
wysiwyg 06 Apr 10 - 10:53 AM
PoppaGator 06 Apr 10 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Wys cookie broken 06 Apr 10 - 01:02 PM
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Subject: Questions about Easter Mass
From: Mark Ross
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 05:06 PM

Just came back from the celebration. She Who Must Be Obeyed insisted that we go, I'm an atheist, so we found her a seat in a very crowded church and I observed from off to the side. Looking through the booklet that was provided to guide the uninitiated like myself through the ritual(English on the left hand page, Spanish on the right) I happened to notice that some of the hymns were in different keys, and sometimes different time signatures on the opposing pages.   Any ideas about this? I found it a little strange.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: olddude
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 05:16 PM

variations of different old hymns Mark, many churches also have folk Masses where the old hymns are taken up a notch for guitar and folk singing.


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 07:17 PM

Were they singing in English and Spanish simultaneously?


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 07:27 PM

I've heard prayers said in church in English and Spanish at the same time, and it doesn't work very well. Usually, bilingual Masses alternate between English and Spanish, and depend on people to read the part they don't understand.

Come to think of it, I think I have heard songs sung in different keys and different time signatures, all at the same time.

Many Catholic hymnals have a version of "How Can I Keep From Singing?" in 3/4 time, while the folkie version is 4/4. Our wedding was attended by half folkies and half Catholics, and "How Can I Keep From Singing?" just didn't work with that group.

Oregon Catholic Press, which has the corner on the market for Catholic church music on the West Coast, keys everything about two steps too high for normal human voices. Our pianist screams bloody murder about the choir director's demands that she transpose everything down all the time. We have an electric piano that transposes automatically, but our pianist prefers her own grand piano.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: Mark Ross
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 07:43 PM

No they were singing in English. They also have Spanish services, where I assume they use the right hand pages.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 08:30 PM

Pub Mass set to start new trend

City pub to host church service

Toowoomba - the Bible Belt-Buckle of Australia... Sigh...


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 09:18 PM

"Rather then us organise a lunch afterwards at the church, friends and family can enjoy a meal and a few drinks after the service.

"I enjoy a drink or two and so do a lot of people after church and I think some people will enjoy the more informal style Mass."

Jaysus! Bringing business to his friend's pub AND encouraging alcoholism! What'll they think o'next!


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 10:19 PM

"some of the hymns were in different keys, and sometimes different time signatures on the opposing pages."

Somebody was assembling the mass booklet and found the version with English words in one key and the version with Spanish words in another key. Xeroxed 'em, slapped 'em in.   Assumed it would not matter to the congregation, who follow the words and perhaps the note lengths, but pay no attention to key.

Time signature is much the same - the congregation sings it the way the choir sings it.

I assure you the choir and musicians all played in one key.

I have a friend who plays flute in church, and he says they can play Hymn A to Tune B, and nobody ever notices that the notes are all wrong. (This would not work in my church. We're Lutheran.)

Joe, I know what you mean. When are music publishers going to figure out that most Americans cannot sing high D and E?

Tell your screaming pianist about Noteworthy Composer. That is, if she can fake things.


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 10:57 PM

No, leeneia, our pianist is brilliant and is quite capable of transposing "on the fly" (except for complicated arrangements, which she likes to do in pencil) - but she does get frustrated with the choir director wanting a song moved up a half step right this instant. Grand pianos don't transpose as easily as guitars.
It's a pleasure to work with an instrumentalist like Annette. Unfortunately, her job demands have forced her to cut way back on her church music. She was a music major in college and music is her joy, but she has to make a living. Today was her last day playing with our regular choir.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 11:17 PM

"can play Hymn A to Tune B, and nobody ever notices that the notes are all wrong. (This would not work in my church. We're Lutheran."

As a one time Lutheran Pipe Organist, I can say that we sometimes had more than one 'traditional tune' to some hymns... :-)


"Tell your screaming pianist about Noteworthy Composer. That is, if she can fake things. "

Hmmmm.... does she practice.... No ... I'll just leave that....


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 11:32 PM

I dunno, I was pretty impressed with her ability to transpose at a moment's notice, without paper. When the choir director wants the alto part played louder and the entire piece up three half-steps, I thought that a pretty strenuous accomplishment. Is this something pianists do in their sleep?
She's the best darn pianist I've ever sung with.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: mousethief
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 11:36 PM

A hymn in Spanish might convey the same ideas as the "same" hymn in English, but you can't shove the Spanish words onto the English melody (or vice versa) -- the lines won't match up, accents and pauses in the wrong places. So the music on one side is going to be different from that on the other. Different music, potentially different keys.


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 11:39 PM

So the Air Force is flying low today Joe?   :-P

;-)


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 12:20 AM

I have one Catholic hymnal that has a lot of hymns I know well, translated into Spanish. Can't say I like those hymns very well. I much prefer the hymns that were originally written in Spanish.
So, Robin or somebody, please answer my question about the difficulty of transposing on piano...

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 12:29 AM

"difficulty of transposing on piano"

As a pianist - If you practice all your 36 scales (12 Major & 24 Minor!) every day to the extent that you don't have to think, then you have a basis. Of course, it helps to do all the arpeggios too, and the Hanon helps a lot to... :-)

You see, the black and white notes mean that the fingering for each scale is different. As every piano accordion player knows, jumping to a new set of bass buttons is easy, cause the same fingering patterns for the I IV V etc still work, but you have to put different fingers on different keys when playing the same tune - unlike a "Chromatic keyboard' accordion...

So the next step is practising the transpositions...

I knew an old 'music hall style' pianist - gone now, sadly - who could transpose anything by any number of semitones on the fly... she was about 90...


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 12:33 AM

"have to put different fingers on different keys when playing the same tune"

Also, the 2 & 3 lumps of black keys interfere, cause you are supposed (because of ergonomics) to only put certain fingers on certain keys, or else the 'roll under' of the thumb makes things damn awkward and slows you down... :-)


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 02:34 AM

OK, so Annette DOES have reason to get grumpy about the choir director's requests for immediate transposition, with accurate presentation of all four vocal parts AND the piano lines. When she gets grumpy, she gets very funny. She has a deliciously wicked sense of humor, a very good weapon for a church pianist to have. Hey, what's wrong with being a little wicked, even in church?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 03:27 AM

And thus the benefits of a Classical Musical Training over a 'Folkie Upbringing' to understand the Technicalities of Instrumental Technique are exposed...

:-P


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 09:44 AM

"Is this [transposing] something pianists do in their sleep?"

No, it varies with training and with invididual talents.

When I first started piano, I could transpose a song on the fly, but I lost the ability when my pieces grew more complicated. Since then, I have met pianists who can tranpose and others who can't.

I know a woman who couldn't improvise from chords on the piano even though she had lots of training. Yet when she took up harp, the improv came easily. Why? Variations in the brain, I suppose.

Personally, I think immediate transposition of multi-part music is too much to ask. (The demands of the choir director, rather than demands of the day job, may be the real reason she's leaving.)

At the church where I used to sing, the pianist paid no attention to the written accompaniments. She played the melody and used the chord symbols to fake the rest. Some people can do that, some can't. That's why I asked about Noteworthy (or similar) and faking. Given advance notice, Joe's pianist could prepare the melody and chords for the new key ahead of time.

But it seems to be too late for that.


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 10:01 AM

"couldn't improvise from chords on the piano even though she had lots of training. Yet when she took up harp, the improv came easily"

Ah - Funny that - always felt 'clamped' with the piano forte, but ok with the pipe organ, and funnily the harpsichord was easier too... :-)

Now the physical sound production is different with the different instruments, eg the piano is a percussion device (which can change volume by touch [force/impact changes] thru the keys), the pipe organ (and now I find the piano accordion almost like a 'chest-pipe-organ'!) is a wind instrument - effectively an on/off (no touch [sensitivity] control via the keyboard!) switch for the keys... the P/A uses bellows control, while the pipe organ uses additive/subtractive mixes of ranks of stops for volume, as well as 'swell boxes' - ranks of pipes in enclosed boxes with shutters to open.close that affect perceived volume.

'Electronic simulations' can only 'fake' so much of the pipe organ and P/A ... and not very much or very well if you have been properly trained on the real instruments (this includes 'midi-accordions' too!), but in spite of that, funnily enough those 'touch sensitive keyboard electronic pianos' ARE surprisingly 'adequate simulations' of a REAL piano forte. :-)


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 10:09 AM

Oh and the whistles, Appalachian dulcimer, hammer dulcimer, hurdy gurdy, auto harp, singing, etc, are all different - just because I can do certain technical things with some, doesn't mean I can do equally well with all technicalities with all the others.

And the P/As - I can do more easily on some of the smaller boxes, some things which are more physically difficult on some larger boxes.


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 10:12 AM

Ah - also, since the harpsichord is a plucked instrument, and thus percussive in nature, the 'faking' of electronic keyboards harpsichord simulations - if you switch off the touch sensitivity keyboard and just use the 'organ on/off switch' capability is surprisingly good.


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 12:37 PM

When I asked about faking upscreen, I was referring the improvising of an accompaniment using only chords. As in:

get started here


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 03:52 PM

Yes, the ability to do these technical tricks on keyboard instruments varies greatly.
As a long-time church musician, I can play parts accurately (usually) or transpose on the fly, but normally not both. (Some pieces are easy enough to do that but not many.) That's because when I am transposing, I am not reading all the notes like a normal keyboard player. I am reading the "chords" and melody from the staff, transposing en masse in my head, and faking it as if playing from a lead sheet. If I can keep up mentally I'll put in some of the passing notes that give the inner parts character. The result is actually quite good so long as nobody is trying to sing the written harmonies at the same time.
Abilities vary hugely. I have trouble sight reading choir parts from an open score. Yet I improvise readily. But then I have a colleague who has taught piano for years and can read amazingly. If you turn the book upside down on the music rack she'll play the piece right through backwards and reversed top-to-bottom!. But she finds improvisation a complete mystery, and can't tack a two-chord "amen" onto a hymn that doesn't have one, unless somebody pencils it in for her.
I know there are mental tricks for arbitrarily transposing while sight-reading the actual parts, but I have never mastered them.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 04:45 PM

I recently joined a choir (Episcopal) with a truly excellent director and an interesting modus operandi. Our practice sessions are quite brief, and seem to assume that we can read music. (Some of us can; some are, indeed, highly trained and accomplished vocalists.)

I can't really sight-read, but I can follow along and at least be able to tell if the next note is higher, lower, or the same as the previous. We'll run through a verse maybe twice, and then move on. Usually, when feel like I'll get it right the next time through, it turns out that there will be no "next time" during rehearsal; my next opportunity to get it right will come on Sunday. This usually works.

The director asked me a week or two ago if I could read the bass clef. My first reaction: "I can't really read at all." Then I realized that my relative ignorance and my lack of "perfect pitch" was actually an asset in this case: I CAN read the bass clef ~ every bit as well as I can read the treble.

By utilizing my instinctive (and imperfect) ability to harmonize, along with close perusal of the lowest notes on the sheet music, I can generally add an acceptable low-end harmony that differs from what the altos are doing. And when I feel unsure and doubt that I'll come out with any acceptable harmony, I can still effectively sing the main melody line in a deeper register than the other (mostly-female) voices.

Our bossman holds a doctorate in music and teaches at Loyola University School of Music, and plays in a variety of jazz/rock/pop ensembles after hours. He brings his wife along to the church-organist job; she's also on the music school faculty, plays the flute, sings, and sort-of co-directs. He's Irish-American and says he was "brought up anti-Catholic"; she's Jewish; they teach at a Catholic (Jesuit) university, and run the music ministry for an Episcopal church. It all seems to work out very well.

Yesterday's Easter service was quite an event. We were joined by a brass ensemble of music students: tuba, trombone, French horn, and two trumpets. They played an instrumental prelude and postlude, both original compositions by their teacher, our leader; and they accompanied the choir for the processional (entrance), communion and recessional (exit) hymns. The sound was unbeliveable, and inspired everyone (congregation as well as choir) to sing our very best.

Also, we had a baptism in the middle of the service; the four people being baptized were Spanish-speaking, so we had a bit of confusion stumbling through a bilingual ceremony, but I think it was all OK: "no-harm-no-foul."

A line or two of the script may have been inadvertently omitted ~ spoken neither in Spanish nor English ~ and perhaps another line or two was said twice, once in each language. However, I have absolute faith that the sacrament "took," and that the people truly got baptized. ;^)


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 06:36 PM

Ah leenia, so the Air Force did not go over YOUR head?


:-P


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 11:31 PM

PoppaGator, it sounds like you and I are about on the same level.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 09:56 AM

Sorry, Foolstroupe. I just don't understand your two references to the Air Force.

At my little home in River City, helicopters go over (hospital-bound), private planes putt-putt towards the old airport, and jets streak overhead heading for Kansas City International airport. Two days ago we had grackles in the birdbath. But no Air Force that I know of.
=============
Poppagator, your church music sounds very fine, but perhaps a little too challenging for the vocal foot soldier.

By the way, I have been singing in a large choir since 1991, and in that time I have heard only three people who can accurately read a line of vocal music. Many people think they can, but they wobble.

So don't worry that you aren't as expert as some. You are doing well.


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 09:59 AM

I find as an unpaid parish musician that quite often peeps' expectations of what we can or will do is far from our time or abilities or our sense of the ministry of music or of what we might need to provide it in our Lord's Name.

The main thing is, ANY music in church is cool. It's increasingly difficult to provide it, so it's helpful to appreciate what you have and who provides it, in any case.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: olddude
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 10:24 AM

Susan nailed it, if you want entertained stay home and pop in a CD, Most go to church not for the music ...A choir will practice their style and their hymns, they don't play it out of the hynn book, Mostly it is use for the congregation to follow the words, they follow the choir and their key ... I have Never seen an organist with the hymn book, they have their sheet music and it was arranged so the congregation can sing along with the words in the hynm book ... That book is suggestions musically and pretty much it.


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: Rapparee
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 10:34 AM

Play trumpet and you don't have to worry about singing. And you can hit high E with some ease -- even high F or G, with a good embouchre.


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 10:53 AM

Ezzackly, Danster.

For instance I have a pile of unanswerable requests of various musicly sorts, but what I really could USE is more help producing the books the peeps sing out of. I am getting SOME help now, but still more could be very useful. I also could use a CD-printer to put labels ON the CDs we can make available-- I'm using file folder labels because that is what I can do, by myself. But no-- what is wanted of us (or offered to us) is usually something quite "else"!

I did eventually get a comb-binder for making the books-- no more tennis elbow from stapling by the hundreds. The really nice thing was that a wonderful lady come forward who loves to run the binding machine-- takes the raw materials away and brings back finished books.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: PoppaGator
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 12:46 PM

We get plenty of better-than-average musical talent at St. Anna's. For one thing, we're in New Orleans (an important factor, in and of itself); also, since Katrina, the church has provided various services for local musicians:

http://www.stannanola.org/musicians_mission.php

As noted above, our husband-and-wife choir director team is somewhat more talented than absolutely necessary; some of the members are pretty highly qualified, too. We've had several working jazz singers, one of the fellows belongs to the local opera company chorus, and I just learned that one of the ladies once won an all-Ireland competition as an unaccompanied English-language singer. I feel like I'm getting away with something just to be allowed to hang with such distinguished company...


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Subject: RE: Questions about Easter Mass
From: GUEST,Wys cookie broken
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 01:02 PM

...I feel like I'm getting away with something just to be allowed to hang with such distinguished company...

You are! :~) But then, so are they.

~S~


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