Mass Parts

Annotated plan of the MassThe sung parts of the Mass can be divided into:

  1. Commons - short little bits like "Amen" and "Et cum spiritu tuo"
  2. Ordinaries - Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei - I tend to add the Credo in the category though the Credo settings are usually separate
  3. Propers - Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory and Communion

As well as these parts, you can also sing extra hymns or motets for the Offertory and Communion antiphons, much like the Four Hymn Sandwich Low Mass.

The Commons are mostly easy and always the same - though there are some parts that have Ferial and Solemn variations. One really cool thing is the tune for the Amen changes during the Canon of the Mass. Outside the Canon it has just two notes, but inside the Canon it gets an extra note on the second syllable.

The Ordinaries keep the same words (except a slight change in the Agnus Dei for Requiem Masses and Holy Thursday) but there are many different settings to choose from. About 18 Gregorian Chant versions as well as extra Ad Libitum settings. There are six Gregorian settings for the Credo. And then there are Polyphonic settings from the Renaissance and Classical settings and even Contemporary settings.

The Propers are like the Readings - they change from day to day. The official Gregorian chant settings are in books like the Graduale Romanum and the Liber Usualis. There are a few simplified versions like Chants Abreges and the Graduale Simplex or you can use a Psalm Tone - see Benjamin Bloomfield's fantastic Psalm Tone Tool.

Here's a run down of the parts of a Sung Mass (Missa Cantata) aimed at someone transitioning from a Low Mass to singing a Sung Mass:

A Link to my Video on Youtube

You can download a copy of The Basic Plan of the Mass from an hymnbook project I've been working on.