In addition to my usual interest in all things liturgical and musical, I have recently decided that I am going to back to grad school, to the University of Michigan for a Master of Music in Church Music.
I was originally reluctant to do so because one of the things I wanted to study in particular is the general topic of liturgy and music and practical application to Catholic parishes, and I would not really get to do that as much as I want at a public university.
However, it seems that I will have the option to do some independent study to fulfill some elective credits in this area, so I have already begun to note books and articles which could serve as scholarly resources on this topic.
An interesting one that I noted recently appears in the most recent issue of the GIA Quarterly (Spring 2009,) an article by Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB, on the recent liturgical document, "Sing to the Lord."
In it, he summarizes several official documents from the past century, including their successful (or not) implementation, and the general history of the "liturgical renewal" and active participation.
(He also references a couple times his most recent book from 2007-which I would love to read particularly in my graduate studies, "Sacred Music and Liturgical Reform," rather pricey and long [at least 500 pages,] but it is all online on googlebooks.)
I find Fr. Ruff particularly interesting, since he was instrumental in my initial introduction to Gregorian Chant.
Several years ago, I started singing in a small schola (that only lasted in that form for a school year,) at St. T, and since our director had taken an intensive course in semiology from Fr. Ruff, she directed us from the Graduale Triplex and the ancient neumes. She spoke highly of him, and I learned a bit about that method of interpreting chant, long before I ever knew anything about the Old Solemnes style!
I had the opportunity to very briefly introduce myself to him at a conference a few summers ago, and after I told him my connection to him, he laughed and said, "So you're kind of like my granddaughter?!"
Anyhow, the more immersed I become in these Catholic cultural/liturgical/musical/opinionated style wars, especially after reading his article I think that he has got something right. He brings up some of my unanswerable questions, but mostly I love that he admits and discusses the difficulties of implementing this idealistic liturgy that the "ultra-traddies" push for--and even whether or not their interpretation of what "the Church says" is actually what the church asks! (In one of the footnotes-which I almost missed, but that was probably partly his intention ;-) he mentions "Msgr. Schuler's misinterpretation of Musicam Sacram regarding the polyphonic Mass ordinary," discussed in his book on p. 533-535. tee hee.)
He brings up several other issues, which are just fascinating to me. He begins to provide an explanation for why Vatican II seems to have been so badly interpreted and implemented (regarding Sacrosanctum Concilium,) by saying, "As revolutionary as the liturgical constitution was, it is marked throughout by a certain balance between tradition and innovation. Some consider this uneasy balance to be a political compromise between the many competing positions of the bishops, or even an incoherent bringing together of contradictory positions. Perhaps this feature of the constitution explains the existence of such divergent positions in the years since Vatican II..."
Another favorite issue of mine that he plainly discusses, is just "HOW pastorally feasible is it to give primacy to traditional repertoires?" Perhaps another should-be-obvious reason why SC did not receive faithful implementation.
He also states earlier, "It is rather difficult to stimulate congregational singing in Latin." This sentence is so key, but the traditionalists simply will not admit that this is a problem, but I have found from my own personal experience that IT'S TRUE! Even people who consider themselves "liturgically-conservative Catholics," while the don't mind and even enjoy listening to someone else sing in Latin, they simply do not want to sing it themselves! WHY? and then why does the Church tell us they should? I think Fr. Ruff might have some of the answers, but I'm beginning to be skeptical about other camps which will remain nameless. (like, places and people who don't seem to live in the real world, with real Catholics sitting in the pews...)
hmmm hmm so much to learn and study, so little time...