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Dear Noel (mjolnir),

I'm inclined to think that some of your revision - of my admittedly fairly preliminary draft of an article - isn't appropriate to the topic: this should primarily be to describe the catholic Latin mass, but also to explain the features of composed mass settings - liturgies in other languages and of other churches (e.g. the Anglican, Episcopalian, or Lutheran) should only be mentioned if they shed light on some significant feature of the Roman rite.

We really need separate pages for the Anglican and Lutheran rites, where a discussion of the alternate form of the penitential rite in the BCP service - or the translated position of the Gloria - might legitimately go; as it stands its inclusion here adds nothing to an understanding of the Latin mass, and only serves to make an already long article even more unwieldy. So eventually, my comment about the Lutheran Missa (Kyrie + Gloria) should be moved elsewhere.

Also, again for brevity, translations should go on the appropriate pages - if there isn't a page for the Asperges, then there should be! (I too broke this rule, by giving a translation of Messe de Notre Dame)

Rest assured that when I have time ( that's going to happen any time soon!...) I will revise the article for brevity. The aim was for this article to cover as much as possible without undue verbosity.

On an utterly pedantic note, I meant what I said about the B minor mass of Bach! - whilst it has come down to posterity as a complete mass setting, Bach composed it in 4 discrete sections at different times of his life, and in the following chronological order, if memory serves:

  1. Missa [= Kyrie + Gloria]
  2. Sanctus [significantly, without Osanna]
  3. Symbolum Nicenum [= Credo]
  4. Osanna, Benedictus, Agnus Dei, and Dona nobis pacem.

i.e. in no sense can the B minor mass be considered a typical mass cycle (size alone would deny it!): Bach eventually wrote enough material to turn a Lutheran Missa (No. 1) into a complete Latin mass (Nos. 1, 3, 2, and 4) after a period of some 20 or more years. The facsimile reflects this, there being four separate MSs for the four parts of the work, and some later revisions.

(Philip) --Pml 07:46:46, 2006-04-04 (PDT)

OK. Your page, your choice. While I would argue that there are enough Lutherans, both formerly and now, and more recently enough Anglicans, who use the term "Mass" to mean substantially the same thing as Roman Catholics, that information on Lutheran and Anglican variants are as appropriate. The 1979 Book of Common Prayer of the U.S. Episcopal Church, Common Worship, the currently authorized alternative Service Book of the Church of England, The Lutheran Book of Worship, used by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the predecessor, used by the churches which merged to form that body, The Service Book and Hymnal, all contained with a few exceptions, most of the ordinary and proper elements of the Roman Catholic Mass, in appropriate order, so that a complete discussion of the music for those rites is going to contain much the same material as a discussion of the Roman Catholic rite. I'd argue that it is a wise use or resources to post the common material once, and discuss the variants on separate pages.

I had been thinking about adding similar material to what you did, but as part of a larger construct, "Liturgical Music", which would contain introductory material, and a link to a set of pages devoted to the devoted to the "Western Rite" one subset of which would discussing the rites and music of the Office, a second the rites and music of the Mass, and a third other liturgical rites, and extraliturgical material, which would include music often today used for liturgical purposes, which would not have been used for those purposes at the time it was written; for example, some of the Motets of Palestrina (I'm thinking specifically of the 30 based on the Song of Solomon) were not composed for liturgical use, but a few have found their way to that use today. Similarly, the Weelkes, "Hosanna to the Son of David" was likely composed for private entertainment during Lent, as it does not correspond with any litrugical practice or text in use in England at the time it was composed.

Parallel to the "Western Rite" pages, I would leave room for Eastern Rite pages, though I would defer to someone else to provide even the outline! My knowledge of the subject is pretty much limited to knowing that there should be a page for it, and lacks too much to proffer any more than the blank page.

Regarding the Bach Mass in b, while I would admit that you are substantially correct that it was not necessarily composed in order, or at one time, I would submit that for all but the most informed Bach Specialists, the statement that the setting is a missa brevis will be misleading, as I don't think there has been a published edition in two hundred years which did not include the whole cycle. And I confess, that I don't know enough about Bach to be able to conclude that, even though he wrote the B-minor over an extended period, and out of order, that this was not a happenstance. I know a living composer who recently completed a full Mass, which he had intended form the beginning as a full cylcle, but which he composed out of order, because as he considered the texts to see what music would fit them, he perceived the music to the various clauses out of order. I'm not at all sure that some of the other great settings of the Mass were not composed out of order, as well. I would be more surprised to learn that Victoria (to choose one example) picked the Motet he used as for a theme of each parody mass, and then composed each entire setting in order, than I would be to learn that he was walking one day, humming the melody from some motet, and it occurred to him that that bit he had just hummed would be a wonderful setting for some phrase of the creed, or gloria, and then set about to compose first the movement, and then the other movements of the mass.


Hi Noel,

re: your comment - "more recently enough Anglicans, who use the term "Mass" to mean substantially the same thing as Roman Catholics" - don't mention it too loudly; here in Australia we have possibly the most feral diocese in the Anglican communion, which appears to regard the rest of Australia's Anglicans as schismatic heretics, and who talk loudly about "the Lord's supper" (whenever they do bother to mention it at all) rather than "mass"! I would strongly agree that German/English/other language masses should be discussed separately of the Latin mass, since there is way too much individual variance to keep the overall content simple. I also think there is already too much content on this page discussing just the Latin mass for easy assimilation, and it's pushing the lists of composers too far down the page as a result.

The point I didn't emphasise enough previously is that these pages really should concentrate on the how the musical form is determined by the liturgy - there are plenty of resources elsewhere, including Wikipedia for example - for readers to learn about the liturgy as the primary focus. This is ChoralWiki after all, so I think it quite natural to put the cart (the musical setting) before the horse (the liturgy the music is intended for) in this instance.

Certainly, a liturgical music article might be a worthwhile article in this respect, covering the role of music in Christian, Hebrew, Islamic, and other liturgies; the entry for Christianity would have stub entries for the Western and Eastern rites, which would then provide links to separate pages describing the role of music in the major churches: e.g. Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran etc for the West, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox etc for the East; and then, on the Roman Catholic page, an overview of the main rites (the Mass, the monastic offices including Vespers)... you can see what a can of worms this opens - we need lots and lots of new pages, rather than trying to cover this all on the Mass page :)

For brevity, I think it better to split material rather than lump it together (possibly confusingly).

Back to Bach - I was referring to the "Missa" separately of the "Mass", and this distinction was not clear in my first draft, so although you were right to edit it, I would like to find a way to restore this point provided I can find the best way to express it. I'm perfectly sure that for most of Bach's cantatas the works were composed in a very brief span of time immediately prior to performance, using whatever materials were convenient to hand, e.g. re-using suitable prior works if an aria here or a chorus there was appropriate - and I like your point about Victoria taking one of his motets and composing a parody mass at the one time rather than piecing it together gradually. It would be nice to know *when* Bach realised that he could take the bits and pieces he'd already composed and make an entire mass from the "Missa" - or whether the plan was always there from the start, and he *intended* to write bits of it as occasion demanded over the course of his career - but unfortunately we don't know. I think this clearly sets the B minor aside from almost every other mass setting we might care to consider :)

--Pml 18:52:48, 2006-04-04 (PDT)

I am well aware of the notions, which would be repudiated by most Anglicans, of the Archbishop of Sydney, I agree that he is not among those that would be likely to use the word Mass.

I agree with your aim to keep the pages as simple as possible; that was the goal of my hierarchical scheme: "antiphon" is a term which is used in discussing the Mass, and discussing the office, so I would submit that a general discussion of it should not be on either page, but on a third, with the discussion in the Mass pages being related to how it specifically relates to the Mass, and the related to its discussion in the office placed on that page.

I think it is reasonable and proper to provide in the Choral WIKI just enough information to assist the choirmaster or informed chorister in placing the music in a proper context. Thus, the main page for the Mass might well be mostly links to the New Advent Site, to the WIKI site, &c. And their probably needs to be more than one page for the Latin Rite, too; despite the efforts of the current people in Belgium and the Vatican to convince people otherwise, while much of the Mass according to the Latin Rite Mass is similar in most times and places, at times the differences are significant, and some differences are greater than others. Thus, I suggest that it is useful to use "Mass" as a category of Liturgical music of the Western Rite, and as they are developed, to include in the same category, material on the pre-reformation English uses, the Italian "operatic" settings, and the choral masses of the Church of Sweden. I think there does need to be a page for a discussion of the office, which would include both the sub-pages for Monastic and cathedral uses, since there is music already on the website intended for these useages.

As to your use of the Bach b minor as an example, I agree that the point you were trying to make is at least partly valid, I just think for a variety of reasons (which I've already laid out), that the Bach b minor was not the best choice for an example. I think I remember that the five voice mass setting by Mogens Pederson (cf. might be a better example.