Music and Meaning in the Mass
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As musicians, we routinely witness — and personally experience — the powerful influence music has over our bodies, emotions, and minds. As parish musicians, our task is to wield this power in service of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus on the altar. Indeed, your music, by speaking to humanity in a language deeper than words, can save our world by drawing souls to Christ where He most longs to encounter them — in the Eucharist.
Nothing can spark and fan the flames of desire — of longing, love, awe, and reverence — quite like music can when it is skillfully directed to the task.
That’s why I’ve written Music and Meaning in the Mass — to guide you carefully through the principles that help draw congregants into active participation in the Mass.
Rather than advocating any particular musical style in the liturgy, I offer this book as a means of enlivening your Eucharistic devotion and elevating your awareness of the theological realities of the Mass, particularly with regard to the function of the musical responses. Some of the topics I cover in these pages include:
Why music is capable of conveying meaning — even without lyrics
The three principles that will ensure that your musical choices accord with the truth of the sacred texts you sing
The four keys to choosing an entrance hymn that draws congregants into active participation
A three-step miniature “examination of conscience” for musicians
How the musical choices we make impact a congregation’s willingness to sing together in church
How an instrument’s ability to sustain multiple notes directly impacts the participation of the faithful
Why instrumentation matters (it’s not a matter of taste, but of functional features)
As a parish musician, you possess the match that can be struck to ignite hearts in a unique and potent way. With this book as your guide, you can use your music as never before to awaken in others a desire to welcome, receive, and console Jesus on the altar with a new and vibrant love.