Changes to MCI music in 2019

It’s been twelve full years since the new Divine Liturgy books were published and distributed, and fifteen years since the MCI began regularly distributing music for liturgical services.  With that in mind, I am planning on making a few changes in the coming year.

Communion Hymns – starting in 2005, the MCI distributed music for liturgical Communion Hymn of the day using a full assortment of the various Cherubic Hymn melodies, in order to help cantors and congregations learn them.  But we are long past that point, and so in the New Year, the MCI will only print the TEXT of the Communion Hymn(s) of the day, allowing the  cantor free choice of which melody to use. The exception for now will be a few feast days where the green book has a very specific seasonal melody to use; for now, these will be left in the propers.

Remember that the Cantor’s Companion has a table of ALL the Communion Hymns, and where they can be found in the Divine Liturgies book to each of the different Cherubic Hymn melodies.  You can also use this handout.

Vespers – the current MCI Vespers books were prepared in 2005-2006, and don’t always match the texts, music and rubrics in  our 2007 Divine Liturgies book and 2010 Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts book.  In the coming year, ALL the MCI Vespers books will be getting a much needed revision to match official texts and  correct various typos and infelicities which have been noted over the years.  Stay tuned!

The Hymnal Project – this will continue through 2019, and with luck a draft will go to the Music Commission next Fall.  Watch the blog!

The Harmonization Project – as part of our work toward chant and church music revitalization, in January we will be launching a project to make available harmonized (3- and 4-part) settings of plain chant and spiritual songs, along with materials to help teach and learn choral singing in church.

New music – there is at least some music which we might fruitfully introduce, now that most parishes are used to what is in our Divine Liturgies books (after ten years, I can’t call them new!).  For example, there are settings of the Cherubic Hymn into English which might be added to our repertoire, as well as complete collections of all the Communion Hymns set to each melody. This will probably be a project for later in the year, but I would welcome your thoughts and suggestions.

Online classes – these will continue.  The introductory courses in liturgy and church singing can be taken for free, and I am adding one in the history of our chant.  The remaining courses follow a regular schedule, and can be completed in two years from beginning to end, at a cost of about $35  per month.  Classes on reading in church, the liturgical year, and music for the Great Fast start on January 7.  See the classes page for more information.

As you can see, we have a lot going on – but the goal here is the glorification of God through the singing and worship in our parishes.  Christ is born!

4 thoughts on “Changes to MCI music in 2019”

  1. Jeff,
    Is there any plan to revise the Divine Liturgy book and publish a new edition that is much more user friendly? For example, the table of contents is a joke. As you may know all of us priests have had to make up a complete table of contents so our people can use the books. In the Propers for feasts there is no musical notation for the Glory be …now and ever. Why not make it complete rather that force the cantor to flip to some other page to find the musical notation? The Divine Liturgy section (p 11 – 94) needs much revision to make it complete and user friendly to visitors who are not familiar with our Divine Liturgy. The old pew books had a section notation in red at the upper right corner of every facing page and the upper left corner of every opposite page so you could easily flip through the book to find the section you want. This should have been included in the current Divine Liturgy books. Finally, if a new edition of the Divine Liturgy book is ever contemplated involve all the priests in the revision process, which was not done when the current book put together. I will be happy to receive your comments. God bless.

    1. Dear Father,

      I don’t know of any plans to publish a new edition. As you suggest in your last line, it would probably need to have support of a good fraction of the clergy to be successful, so you might consider working with other priests in your eparchy, and your representative on the Inter-Eparchial Music Commission, to place it before the bishops.

      I do agree it deserved a better table of contents (I suspect the expectation was that the ribbons would actually be used to keep track of the tone and feast). The MCI published a table of contents (to be printed on one sheet, folded, and taped or glued into the book) in 2010, so if there was a need for every priest to do that, it was a long time ago.

      We also prepared and distributed sheets, which can be laminated, with just the music for “Glory.. now and ever…” at the kontakion. Since there are only eight tones to be memorized, and the music always matches that start of the kontakion on the next line, I think the argument for adding 30-40 pages to the book just for the “Glory…now and ever…” is weaker. ALSO, when feasts are combined, it would be incorrect anyway, since the cantor needs to sing “Glory…” and “Now and ever…” instead.

  2. Please, oh please, continue printing out the music for the communion hymn. Not all of us cantors are professionals (or even semi-pro), I am a humble amature cantor and, quite frankly, need all the help I can get (yes, even after all these years). I also feel it is very beneficial for the rest of the congregation to have the music to follow along. Anything that encourages participation should be provided. Cantoring is a joy but it can also be overwhelming at times, especially for those of us who are isolated from other churches and cantors and are ‘out there on our own’. I do my very best with God’s help and grace (and also Fr. John Russel) but I also need your help and I appreciate all the help you do provide.
    Thank you so much for your time and talent that you give.
    Susan Papp Karsiotis
    1909 Lilias Dr. Oregon, Ohio 43616
    419-698-2688

  3. I am also new, I find the music included for Communion Hymns useful, too. I am grateful for all music written out. We are using the handouts a lot, which avoids flipping around or even obviates page announcements.

    One idea for the communion hymn melody assignment would be to continue to include music, but add a rubric like “or cantor’s choice of melody,” or some such.

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