Requiem Mass Hymns
Holy all,

I have to plan a Traditional Requiem Mass. Can I get some quidance on hymns please?



I don't know much about Requiem Mass hymns, but I would suggest Salve Regina as one of the hymns if the person had a strong devotion to Mary.
The chants of the Requiem are the most appropriate setting for a Requiem.

The Offertory is the full Responsory style which used to be found throughout the Liturgy, and is quite long. Sung correctly and in full chant, it takes the entirety of the Offertory, so no hymn is necessary here.

The Communion antiphon is also quite uniquely structured and lends itself well to repeating with interspersed Psalm verses (see the Versus Psalmorum et Canticorum (PDF)).

If that's insufficient for music, my preference has always been to take other chants from Matins of the Dead out of the Liber Usualis. Some of these Responsories are hauntingly beautiful.

You have, of course, assigned music for the absolution of the body (Libera Me) and procession out with the body (In paradisum). Aside from a long communion line, I can't see a good place for additional music.

In general I've always avoided any kind of added hymns at Requiems, since the liturgy itself is very carefully structured, and I've never wanted to distract from it. I once directed Lobo's Versus est in luctum, during a long communion for a funeral Mass, but that was about as adventurous as I've ever gotten. I think the more sober, the better, since this is a very unique liturgy, and it really speaks mostly for itself, without added music. In fact, the silence which is natural is an important part, too. It adds to the theme of a peaceful rest.

You should note, as well, that the liturgical law of the Church (applicable to the traditional form of Mass) forbade the use of any instruments, including organ. The only was only allowed if necessary to help sustain the voices (i.e. they were too weak to be able to carry the tune without the organ). So if you do choose to add pieces, the organ ought to be completely silent. It's in keeping with the Church's law and penitential character of the liturgy.

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