Monday, 22 July 2013

An amazing chant generator - and an associated rant

Bara Brith posted the other day about this chanty psalm tone propers pdf-creating tool. You get various options - trad Mass, novus ordo, full propers, psalm-toned (choose any mode) and other things that as a non-musician I don't understand. You can generate a page for any Mass and send it to a pdf (more options there.) If you want to use English, you can type in the translation and it will generate sensible copy.

Quite amazing! I think we might be using this ...

Having wanted simply to share this with you, I am afraid I can't resist drawing a moral lesson. Well OK it is a bit of a rant. Some guys have done this chant tool for the benefit of the whole Church. You don't have to pay them or ask their permission to use it. What they have done is an act of charity.

Recently Pope Francis issued an encyclical letter on Faith. The website version was a bit of an improvement in that it was given on a white background and there were social media icons to share a link to it. Later there was a pdf version which was not really much use as it was the Libreria Editrice Vaticana edition of the text in a small format booklet of 88 pages. There was also a print button if you wanted to print out 27 pages of A4.

Brandon Vogt spent his own time to make available free of charge e-book formats of the encyclical so that people could put it on their Kindle etc. Anyone can do this in a few minutes with the requisite know-how but Brandon saved people the trouble and did it into several e-book formats, not just the one he uses. Then he made the files available online. These were all acts of charity.

Fr Z took the (considerable) time and trouble to read the whole thing out, record it and post it as a sound file so people can listen to the encyclical in the car or whatever. This was also an act of charity.

Guess what? Both were reprimanded by the copyright holders, the Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Brandon Vogt has actually had to take down the e-book copies, having been accused of "stealing from the Pope." Fr Z has the text of the letter he received from the LEV.

Brandon Vogt has responded with a very fine article which probably answers any questions you or your friends might have (including some of the really nitpicking legal positivist ones that make you want to throw a chair out of the window): Free the Word: Why the Church Needs to Release Her Teachings to the World.

I am serenely confident that Fr Z will not be sending lawyers after me if I reproduce a classic saying of his without even asking his permission. Despite valiant efforts in some quarters, in the Vatican it is still "yesterday's technology tomorrow."
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