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Tra Le Sollecitudini - Instruction on Sacred Music - Pope St. Pius X (November 22, 1903)

The seminal document on the revival of church music, and Gregorian Chant in particular.  It lays out principles for sacred music, which must be holy, true art, and universal.  It states that, “Gregorian Chant has always been regarded as the supreme model for sacred music” and that, “the more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savor the Gregorian form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes.”

Encyclical Musicae Sacrae - Pope Pius XII (December 25, 1955)

This document picks up on and expands upon what is found in Tra Le Sollecitudini.  It emphasizes the importance of Gregorian Chant and sacred polyphony.

Instruction De musica sacra et sacra liturgia - Sacred Congregation for Rites (September 3, 1958)

This is a curial document which takes the principles of Musicae Sacrae and puts them into practical guidelines.  It gives specific protocols for music to be used in different forms of Mass and other liturgies.  As the last document governing music issued prior to Vatican II, it offers the most recent guidelines for the use of music in the Extraordinary Form.

Tra Le Sollecitudini (November 22, 2003)
Chirograph of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II for the Centenary of the motu proprio

On the 100th anniversary of Pope Pius X’s Tra Le Sollecitudini, Pope John Paul II issued this document emphasizing the importance of this seminal work.  It reiterates Gregorian Chant as “an element of unity in the Roman Liturgy.”

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