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Latitude with words of psalms and other sacred music QUESTION from Louis Melahn April 25, 2000 I would like to know how much latitude a composer has in setting the words to the parts of the Mass. In particular, must he adhere to the words of the psalm or sacred text, or is he allowed to change the phrasing a little so as to fit better the meter of the music? As a test-case, I am thinking in particular of a whose opening words are Glory to God in the highest, / Sing glory to God! / And peace to his people, / Peace on earth. Would such an alteration be allowed? Thank you.
ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on April 25, 2000 Dear Louis,
Thank you for your question.
The latter is true. You needn't stick verbatim to the text but you mustn't distort the text so-as to change the meaning either. I can't recall offhand where I read this but I'll post the document when I locate it.
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