Please help us with music

Dane on May 22nd, 2016 | 89 comments

Dear Community Members with Musical Talent,

We have an opportunity to dramatically improve the quality of Divine Office by improving our music. In our efforts to procure permissions for all of our music we are finding that there is a wealth of beautiful music in the public domain, but few recordings exist. Its really no surprise that a Church over 2000 years old would have masterpieces in the public domain. These beautiful hymns presents an opportunity to bring back lost treasures.

Most of these public domain hymns are relatively simple as they were intended for worship by religious communities, not choirs. If you are that person or you know of someone or group such as a high school, college, church choir, etc. that can record music then please help us out.  We may also be able to show you how to make this into a fundraiser for your organization, just ask us about it.

Any liturgical hymns suitable for the Liturgy of the Hours where we have permission to use the music text and recordings is welcome, but here are a few favorites. Please contact us at [email protected] or using one of our

We maintain a list of hymns suitable for the Liturgy of the Hours and in the public domain here

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission by Surgeworks, Inc for the Divine Office Catholic Ministry. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2019 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

89 thoughts on “Please help us with music

    • Hello, it’s 95% because you missed one question, under Tell us about you, Country. Thank you for your patience with the questionnaire. I know it can be annoying but I hope you will find solace in the idea that your effort helps us and the community we serve. God bless!

  1. Rehearsal recordings

    Some Schola rehearsals are recorded, primarily to allow the director and singers to hear the progress being made with new repertoire. Selections from the resulting recordings are available for download here, to give some idea of the Schola’s repertoire and style of performance.

    We emphasise that these are recorded rehearsals, not final performances and still less studio recordings.

    Aiblinger Scapulis suis
    Aichinger Regina caeli
    Factus est repente
    Ambrosian chant Christus vincit
    Anerio Crux fidelis
    Anon. Angelus ad virginem
    Herrick’s Carol
    Arcadelt O Lord, my God to thee
    Blow Be merciful unto me O Lord
    Byrd Ave verum corpus
    Alleluia! Cognoverunt discipuli
    Ego sum panis vivus
    Cannicciari Missa in a: Agnus Dei
    Missa Phrygia: Agnus Dei
    Ford Almighty God who has me brought
    Gibbons Almighty and everlasting God
    Gounod Ave verum corpus
    Gregorian chant Missa XVII: Kyrie and Agnus Dei
    O Emmanuel
    Hodie Christus natus est
    Missa I: Kyrie (Lux et origo)
    Visionem quam vidistis
    Audi benigne conditor
    Hosanna filio David
    Pange lingua … corporis
    Victimae Paschali laudes
    Veni Sancti Spiritus
    Lauda Sion
    Gumpelzhaimer Domine, refugium
    Guerrero O Domine Jesu Christe
    Hassler Missa Secunda: Gloria and Agnus Dei
    Missa III: Gloria and Agnus Dei
    Handl (Gallus) Natus est nobis
    M.Haydn Tenebrae factae sunt
    Tristis est anima mea
    Josquin Tu solus qui facis mirabilia
    Lassus Miserere mei Domine
    Jubilate Deo
    Domine convertere
    Loosemore O Lord increase my faith
    Lotti Missa VII: Gloria and Agnus Dei
    Missa III: Agnus Dei
    Marenzio Et respicientes viderunt
    Monteverdi Missa a 4: Agnus Dei
    Morales Peccantem me quotidie
    Dominus meus
    Morley Nolo mortem
    Palestrina Missa Quam pulchra es: Agnus Dei
    Miserere nostri Domine
    Vere languores
    Missa Lauda Sion: Agnus Dei
    Sicut cervus
    Adoramus te Christe
    Missa Aeterna Christi munera: Kyrie, Gloria and Agnus Dei
    Lauda Sion
    Perkins Psalm 30 (Good Friday)
    Psalm 103 (Pentecost)
    Psalm 138 (St John the Baptist)
    Psalm 89 (23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time)
    Psalm 121 (Christ the King)
    He is the image of the unseen God
    Psalm 50 (1st Sunday of Lent)
    Psalm 32 (2nd Sunday of Lent)
    Psalm 22
    Psalm 21 (Palm Sunday)
    Agnus Dei in C minor
    Psalm 115 (Holy Thursday)
    Psalm 103 (Easter Vigil)
    Canticle of Moses
    Psalm 41 (Easter Vigil)
    Psalm 117 (Easter)
    Loquebantur variis linguis
    Psalm 147 (Corpus Christi)
    Psalm 49 (10th Sunday in Ordinary Time)
    Philips Ave verum corpus
    Praetorius En natus est Emmanuel
    Purcell Alleluia
    Saint-Saens Ave verum corpus
    A.Scarlatti Justitiae Domini
    Ad te domine levavi
    D.Scarlatti Messa Quatuor vocum: Agnus Dei
    Tallis Bone pastor
    Trad. Quem pastores laudaverunt
    Coventry Carol
    Tye Laudate nomen domini
    O come ye servants of the Lord
    O Holy Spirit Lord of Grace
    Cibavit illos
    Anon. (Typp?) Agnus Dei de cantu feriali
    Viadana Adoramus te Christe
    Missa sine nomine: Agnus Dei
    Victoria Quicumque Christum quaeritis
    O vos omnes
    O quam gloriosum
    Missa O quam gloriosum: Gloria and Agnus Dei
    Benedictus Dominus
    Ave Maria
    Sepulto Domino
    Zuccari Dextera Domini

    • J+MJ… actually there are lots of hymns found in youtube- the Glory and Praise vols.1,2,3, and the Bread, Blessed, Broken. we (in the convent) use or sing songs from these books for our hymns in our Prayers and for the holy Mass. …+++

  2. How come you can’t just go to a Catholic Church choir and ask them to sing the hymns you need? If you put out a mass email to all the churches in the USA, I’m positive that choirs would be ecstatic to sing a hymn to be used on this site. I think it would be awesome to hear a different choir or singer on these hymns. Also, why aren’t the hymns in the back of the CP book used? Seems like you should be able to use those without much difficulty? Maybe I’m blind to the whole copyright thing.

    • Hi Tod,
      We *have* asked church choirs by asking all of you our community. We are getting a little support, but not nearly enough. Please ask your own parish if they have recorded music or would record music for us. We will provide full attribution and are even willing to pay some reasonable stipend.

      Most all of the hymns in Christian Prayer are copyrighted. I am very frustrated that publishers have copyrighted these songs, but it is what it is and we can’t use those hymns without permission, which usually means we have to pay royalties and we have to track and report usage, which takes us away from the important work of our ministry.

      I am very encouraged by sheet music we have found in the public domain, which are direct translations from the original latin hymns for the Liturgy of the Hours, but it is still time consuming and expensive to create recordings.

      • I understand now about the copyright difficulties. It’s a shame that this interferes with the ministry of trying to get people to pray. I didn’t realize it was so complicated.

        I read some of the other comments/complaints on the Message Board, and I have to agree that this site should attempt to retain the traditional hymns as best as possible. With that said, I very much enjoy the music that I hear on this site. Without the music, I would probably just say the hymns that are in the LOTH, not sing them. But saying the hymns that are in the LOTH or CP is better than singing non-Catholic hymns, IMHO. This is a Catholic ministry, and should have Catholic content. But it’s not my site, and I don’t run or pay that much for it or the App, so I guess my opinion really doesn’t make that much of a difference. At the end of the day, if you find a site that does a better job than what these folks are doing, then you should use it. Other than that, this is the best there is.

  3. Please check this out-http://www.scripturesongsforworship.com/

    they have free music to download from King James version – I emailed the Lady before I saw she has a whole website of lovely music- Please check them out! Mayda

    • Thank you for sharing this site. I visited and it is all copyrighted, but they do make it available for personal use and church use so they might allow us to use it. I have two concerns with it, it is scripture based, but doesn’t “feel” Catholic and it is very contemporary so many in our community wouldn’t like having it as part of liturgy. I enjoy listening to the music, but would it would be difficult to fit it in. Thank you for helping the search.

      • I’ll keep trying- I asked or musical director but got no reply yet.
        BY the way some of the bickering among users here is childish and disgusting. It is offensive that : the Holier than Thou attitude would permeate our community.
        The commandment was LOVE in case some of you forgot.
        For this you pray for the virtues? for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit? To jump and tear apart your neighbor after the Lord forgave your debt?
        Is this the way the humble servants, the poor in spirit, the followers of the meek and humble Son of God should behave?
        Go on make it all about Religion, forget it’s all about Jesus-refuse to compromise and forget the plank in your own eye.
        You are right were you are supposed to be- do pray and praise Him all day because you sure need it……… .

  4. The Pange Lingua tonight in Vespers was beautiful. I don’t know the music rules but I do know that God loves non Catholics and they are His people too. We Catholics must beware of arrogance and smugness

  5. Tradition is not wearing your grandfather’s old hat.
    Tradition is having and giving life; tradition is a new baby.
    Ever increasing love… Ever increasing understanding.

  6. First I did not mean to start such a huge discussion on music and what is and is not Catholic. I am grateful for what this group is doing with this website. I should have been clearer with my opinion. Let’s try this again. Today, (5-28-16), morning prayer hymn was beautiful. It just wasn’t the words, but the music itself. The music set the mood for the prayer and was done by the same artist that I wrote about in the beginning. When I first remarked about “Catholic” music, the hymn for that day, I felt was wrong . I felt the music itself was setting the wrong tempo for praying morning prayers. I liked the words, but the music itself, it seemed was not appropriate. It seemed that I was at a concert instead of praying. The hymn used for that day I would not have used, but today was a good selection and the artist was very talented. I will continue to pray for this group and the awesome work they are doing. I really do appreciate what you do and thank you for your time and talent. I apologize if I offended any of the group involved. May God bless you, Mother Mary watch over you and your Guardian Angels guide you.

    • Hi James,
      Thank you, so much, for explaining in the way that you did. I think I understand, and your reply was so gracious. Being someone so new to the whole Catholic thing, I really did need an explanation of what those terms meant. I do understand the feeling of the right “tone” for prayer. I understand the longing for something authentic, since Catholicism reaches so deep into such a rich and living history, which is one of its most majestic beauties. So please bear with me for a question. And honestly, thank you for being so gracious! If we take all the argumentative tone away and I am just here as a brand new student trying to understand – is there something that makes songs “Catholic”? Like one person even used the word “heretical.” What is everyone meaning when they say that?

  7. While it’s true that everyone has a right to have an opinion on how “Catholic” something needs to be (I still haven’t heard anyone explain the rules for that), what concerns me and why I have written is that I have been in the position before of creating something that takes huge time and effort and people just criticize and everyone has their own ideas of what you should be doing until it is impossible to proceed. I cannot see how that can be godly behavior when someone is offering you a huge huge gift of their time and effort. It seems like the lack of love and gratitude would make all your prayers moot anyway. There is more to prayer than just the words.

  8. Hello Dane and co-workers, Thank you for this precious ministry and website, which I have followed for a number of years now. It is great that so many people are commenting about the music. I thought I would say how very much I enjoyed listening to the hymn ‘My Lord and My God’ by Anthony Carnesi [Friday Morning Prayer]. The lyrics were nonsensical initially, but this has now been amended. I think the lyrics are very appropriate to the Friday Liturgy. May I say that another firm favourite of mine is ‘How Can I Keep from Singing’ by The Choir of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church. Neither of these artists seems to make their music available commercially, so thank you for enriching our Liturgical prayers with these contributions. Also, along with James and others, may I say how much I also enjoy the more traditional hymns and chants translated from the Latin that have featured from time to time on this website. More of St Thomas Aquinas’ hymns and chants, for example, would be a wonderful idea. I hope to be able to contribute in a month or two, when I have some spare money. I will pray for your ministry. Joan.

  9. The Thomas Aquinas College Choir has a lovely repertoire of hymns, nearly all in the public domain. Some have been professionally recorded and I would be happy to make them available for your use if you are interested. We would ask, though, that there be some credit given to the College choir. I’d be happy to upload some samples for you. Please let me know. Best regards, Anne Forsyth, Director of College Relations, Thomas Aquinas College http://www.thomasaquinas.edu

      • Perhaps you have figured this out, but the Thomas Aquinas College choir is unbelievably talented. I also think they are a perfect fit with DivineOffice.org. But that’s for you to decide.

        I pray (I just did!) that you can make an agreement with them, and that your musical challenges should be met in full.

        They really are that good!

        Best wishes.

      • I have heard them before and I am overjoyed. Please pray that this can happen. If it does happen we will do our best to provide Thomas Aquinas College with tremendous benefit to bless them for allowing this relationship.

    • Chloe,
      I appreciated all that beautiful music. But, it is all under copyrights and so, sadly, we can’t use it. You have been one of our greatest supporters and for that I am more grateful then ever.

      May God always bless you and keep you!

  10. Morning prayer hymn “My Lord and my God” by Anthony Carnesi also has many nonsensical words and typos.
    Fri. 8th week, Morning prayer.

  11. I did some research and am I wrong in concluding that the singer anthony carnesi is the anthony j carnesi who passed away in 2005. Apparently he was Catholic and he is definitely talented. However, I have to state again that during these prayers we should stick to more traditional hymns.

    • James,
      Interesting fact, the present English versions of the 1970 LOTH hymns contain almost none of the authentic texts (there are a few exceptions). In our search to find low or no royalty hymns we have discovered a wealth of pubic domain hymns that are direct translations from Latin. If you look at the link on our site for the hymns we are working on you will see great music coming. Check it out here Hymns needed. Give us a few weeks to get our recordings worked into the Hours.

      • Hi Dane,
        I have a quick question for you… or maybe a couple. I absolutely adored the song that played at Sext today. I felt worship even though I couldn’t understand the words. Is that a “Catholic” song? I also read some of the lyrics you posted to hymns… those are powerful too. So here are my two questions. What is the process of running down licensing for songs. And if I were to try to help with that, how do I know if a song is “Catholic.” Like, there is a playlist on YouTube that says something like “289 Catholic songs for worship”… would those be Catholic in whatever sense Nathan and James are looking for? Are they “hippi” songs. How do I tell what is Catholic? Maybe I can help if I knew the rules. Also, I know there is too much going on to worry about it right now, but just out of interest (no pressure) will there ever be listings for Matins and Lauds? Thanks! -Kelley

      • Rainshadow,
        You know how through adversity we sometimes soar to new heights? It feels like that is happening to us. We thought our hymns were beautiful and traditional, but they were only beautiful. The hymns have not been the hymns meant for the Divine Office. We hope to bring back the true hymns belonging to this liturgy. We need help recording or locating the text and especially the recordings of actual hymns for the breviary. If you find actual recordings or links you let us know by sending it to [email protected]. Its possible that your “289 Catholic songs for worship” are useful, but if you search for the lyrics for each song you are likely to find it is copyrighted. The general guideline is that a song enters the public domain 95 years after it is published or 70 years after the death of the author.

        Also, we do have the text of Matins and Lauds. Just scroll to the bottom of most any page for a link for each of the 7 prayers of each day.

      • Hi Dane,
        Thank you for your reply, but I am puzzled. I can see the prayers listed through Compline, but not the midnight or the three AM ones. Am I looking in the wrong place? I’m often awake in the night and I know a lot of monks etc even wake up just to do them (wow!). I have a book for them which is cool, but I do love the audio for the songs, since I do not know them. It would be very comforting in the night.

      • Rainshadow – Matins and Lauds are now called Office of Readings and Morning Prayer. [I think that is right, but I may have them reversed.]

  12. I absolutely love this website. Thank you for all that you do. However I was disappointed on the opening hymn (5-26-16). To me it was the furthest thing from a Catholic hymn as you can get. If it was Catholic I would say Hippie music. Is there a reason as to why once in awhile the hymns stray off course. Thanks again and God Bless

    • And, oh my! , today’s (5/27) Morning hymn was full of typos and nonsensical words. It is nice that people are apparently responding to your request to transcribe lyrics, but *please* give a cursory edit before uploading them!

    • Office of Readings on May 27: Old Rugged Cross is a Methodist hymn. By the writer’s own description the hymn is about a person’s experience and not about adoration of God. Honestly I’m just about done with this website. Between the heretical hymns, hippie vibe, and (sometimes) over-wrought readings that are distracting at best (or designed to get attention). I think this site is designed for older people who really loved all the changes of the 60s and 70s, those who are wrapped up in eccumenism, and those who are more feelings-based. That’s fine– my fault for for trying to stick it out too long. You can read this as an attack on the creators, but it’s not. I think it’s great for others. And for the Protestants on this site, this might be a good transition, but just be clear about what is and is not Catholic on this site.

      • Wow, is this kind of thinking in the Catholic church too? It makes me sad. Why is the only “right way” YOUR way? How does that song not glorify Jesus Christ specifically? How does that song represent “hippies”? It’s the kind of thing my grandparents listened to.. (They were not hippies). Can you tell me specifically what it is that makes a song “Catholic”? Maybe you could help round up some licences for songs you approve of???? As I said, I feel saddened by your comments, and discouraged.

      • NathanE ,… Do you know that Jesus Christ died for people who are not catholic ? And that there are going to be other Christians in heaven who are not catholic ? You are not God , you know . If you do have these narrow minded , judgmental beliefs , perhaps you could keep them to yourself , so as not to discourage other Christians ? By the way , Pope Francis is ecumenical .so perhaps you could humble yourself enough to learn some thing from him .

      • Every now and then we get visitors to this blessed site who criticize and complain. I will keep you in my prayers, Nathan. I get the feeling that there is something else you are struggling with. Be at peace.

      • Hello NathanE,I agree with you 100%! We have our right to speak out too. There are times I can not use this site. The songs are not Catholic and t he music just doesn’t suite the office of the day. The chant on Vespers1 and Sunday is not a nice sound. There are problems with this site and I think they need to face up to it. They beg us for our money,but they won’t give us the true Catholic Divine Office.I am not a watered down Catholic. There are wonderful Catholic hymns this site could use.Thank you for standing up for us!

      • As I will also pray for you, Chloe, that you not usurp God’s role by claiming to know — and passing judgment on — what is in another’s mind; it reeks of a holier-than-thou smugness that is quite unpleasant. Also, you might keep in mind that a site that is currently attempting to obtain official Catholic permissions will likely be more successful at that if their texts and hymns adhere to formal Catholic doctrine and traditional LotH format; as such, it is a blessing that users call attention to pieces that do not meet that standard.

      • lg72xx,
        Pardon me for replying to you with this because I replied to James with almost the same, but it is an interesting fact that the present English versions of the 1970 LOTH hymns contain almost none of the authentic texts (there are a few exceptions). In our search to find low or no royalty hymns we have discovered a wealth of pubic domain hymns that are direct translations from Latin. If you look at the link on our site for the hymns we are working on you will see great music coming. Check it out here Hymns needed. Much of the music you are hearing now is temporary, but it is ALWAYS Catholic in theology even if it comes from other faith traditions. God speaks through many musicians, not just those who are Catholic. In a few weeks you will start to hear hymns that are more true to our Catholic tradition then any you can find available today. Just give us a few weeks to get our recordings worked into the Hours.

      • A lovely sentiment, MoiraJean, but perhaps you are unaware that this site defines itself as a Divine Office CATHOLIC ministry (see column on left side of page). To choose non-Catholic hymns, etc., whether accidentally or in the spirit of ecumenical efforts is no more appropriate for a Catholic ministry than would be a priest replace his Sunday Mass with a Baptist order-of-service and telling the congregation that it was all fine, because Jesus is still the focus.

      • Yes, thank you Dane. I actually have no concerns about the music (I usually do the hymn from my Breviary or one from our Gather hymnal, if I don’t “know” the one posted…since I don’t play the audio), other than my earlier comment about all the typos in the one this morning. But I am concerned by the way some users pounce on those who request traditional pieces; for those of us who pray the LotH in fulfillment of our commitment (I am a Benedictine, for example) an important sense of worldwide community comes from knowing we are adhering to the traditional words spoken/sung by many as one. (for example, someone’s recent request that Psalm 95 be used as the regular daily Invitatory, even though the other few (Ps 100, etc) are “acceptable substitutions” by doctrine.

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