Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Lord, Open Our Lips: Musical Help for Leaders of the Liturgy

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Lord, Open Our Lips: Musical Help for Leaders of the Liturgy

Article excerpt

Lord, Open our Lips: Musical Help for Leaders of the Liturgy. Complete music book and three CDs. New York: Church Publishing Incorporated, 1999. 112 pp. $37.95.

This set of CDs and the accompanying book of music for sung liturgies is a valuable idea. It was designed to serve as a learning tool for clergy and lay people who may not be comfortable with chant. For those with limited resources, or for anyone reluctant to ask a colleague or church musician for help, this offers the opportunity to learn chant patterns at one's own pace and at one's own convenience. Whether we read music or not, it is often easier to learn by ear, and that is one of the main reasons why this is a worthwhile project for Church Publishing.

However, while I support the intention behind these recordings, I did not like them at all. It was not enough to preface the book with "The music was intentionally recorded in a `non-performance' context by people who actually lead the liturgy." I understand that most clergy and lay people are not trained singers, but if this aims to teach by example, why not choose voices that someone would actually want to imitate? The fact is there are leaders of liturgy out there doing this well. How were these people chosen?

If you don't like to chant to begin with, this isn't going to help. …

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