A while ago the Chant Café posted a link to an essay by Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo C.S.J. at the Catholic News Agency on Church Music and the Fad of Folk Style, the following week they published a sequel. The essays are rather disjointed: more like a collection of useful quotes for such an essay than the completed work. But they do contain some zingers.
‘Folk’ style in church music is amply represented in The Music Missal (OCP), a flimsy, unattractive, and disposable handbook, which enjoys widespread use and influence. It contains other music like Ordinaries of the Mass, Reformed Protestant hymnody, and Gregorian chants. In no way does this ‘folk’ style, a misnomer, resemble authentic folk music. Whereas genuine folk songs were written by the community and were transmitted by the oral tradition, this material has been written by individuals. Genuine folk songs have a simple, limited melodic range as well as simple rhythm with little or no accompaniment.
The guitar needs to be defended. It is a serious instrument, not to be trivialized. Belonging to the lute family, the guitar is first and foremost a solitary, gentle, soft-spoken plucked instrument with limited sonority. The lute and the lyra, the kithara and the harp are all related to the guitar (chitarra). These string families were used in ancient and biblical times to sooth and console their listeners. They can foster meditation and can even mesmerize audiences, but they were not meant to rev them up to a frenzy, whether in a concert hall or in church. Whereas classical guitar is difficult to master, elementary guitar requires a minimum of formal training, and it thrives on basic chords, strumming, thumping, and pounding.She quotes a reference in Benedict XVI's Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977 to "the disintegration of the liturgy" and comments:
Disintegration is not a pretty word, but Benedict XVI uses it to capture the liturgical crisis in the Church today. A thing deteriorates when its natural form is so disfigured that the purpose for which it was intended is no longer recognizable. It is not simply irreverent music. At issue is that the faithful have become ‘the church,’ an alternate church, and they are celebrating themselves through the folly of faddism.