Series drawn from the document Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship (2007).

Have you wondered why, at mass, we take time to learn music before we sing it? Or why the Cantor sings (intones) something first, to give an example for all to sing? The cantor’s gesture of invitation is not “empty” but a cue for all to do their part. Intoning is an ancient custom, by which the simplest refrains are “taught by ear” so that we all can join together. Are you picking up your cue? The document Sing to the Lord guides us:

26. Singing is one of the primary ways that the assembly of the faithful participates actively in the Liturgy. The people are encouraged “to take part by means of acclamations, responses, psalms, antiphons [and] hymns. . . .” The musical formation of the assembly must be a continuing concern in order to foster full, conscious, and active participation.”