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Question Title Posted By Question Date
Mass Settings and Word Changes Cody Saturday, September 14, 2013


When someone is composing a Mass setting are they allowed to add words to fit the music? If such a thing happened, would a bishop be able to licitly approve it?

Question Answered by Mr. Jacob Slavek

Dear Cody,

Words cannot be CHANGED at all to fit the music...  this means that words cannot be added that are not ALREADY THERE.

This does *not* mean that words cannot be repeated to fit the music.  We see words and phrases repeated quite often, and this has all been approved since it adds beauty to the music and helps emphasize certain key ideas in the texts.

So basically no words can be added that are not already there, and no words may be OMITTED at all.  Also, the words cannot be repeated or rearranged in such a way that the meaning is changed.

Finally yes the bishops may licitly approve musical arrangements, as long as the text of the prayers is unchanged.  If there are any words that are added that are not in the original text, or if any words are omitted, or if the meaning of any phrase is changed, then the bishops cannot approve it without first submitting the work to Rome.

Mr. Slavek

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