Nothing in the GIRM, rubrics, or tradition (that I know of) requires the congregation to sing "Amen" more than once at any point in the Mass. Yet today every Catholic pewsitter knows that the IMPORTANT part of the Mass ISN'T the words "This is My Body" but when you have four chords and sing "A-A-MEN, A-A-MEN, A-A-A-MENNNN" and then repeat it. I've even heard catechists say that THAT is the point where the bread becomes the Body. Oh, and the scores for these "Great Amens" always have FFF as the closing dynamic. This HORRIBLY imbalances the Mass!Sorry to be corny, but I just have to say "Amen" to that. It is true - the "Great Amen" is not de fide definita, it's prominence in many modern sung Masses is entirely due to the particular views of some liturgists. It is perfectly OK to ditch it and just sing a little "Amen".
So when your priest sings "Through him, with him, in him" to the simple tone, just respond on the same note he used as the reciting tone: "Amen." If he uses the solemn tone (with the slurs on some syllables), respond according to the pitch he ends on "A-me-" and then move up a whole tone "-en." It's all so simple, no one can object to it if it's done routinely, and it makes SUCH a difference in how the Mass is perceived by the congregation.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
Just sing a little "Amen"
Jeffrey Tucker has an excellent post entitled "Ditch the Great Amen". I must confess that this has been a subliminal annoyance to which I have not paid all that much attention. He quotes Gavin at Musica Sacra who says: