"Plucked" instruments not allowed at certain Masses?

This is a question for a history buff. I have a friend who is a music major and semi-lapsed Catholic (who once, incidently, was studying to be a priest in the past) and he brought this up to me tonight. He said, in his studying, he read about a certain Mass done toward the end of the Renaissance Period where there would be a procession around the body of a saint. (He couldn’t remember the name of the type of Mass so if someone knows this that would be helpful also.) In the music scores for these Masses, it was stated that it was to be done by a consort of musicians but was not to be played on any instruments that were “plucked” or on which something was struck to make the music – i.e. harp, lute, harpsicord, zither, etc. He has looked extensively in music history references and cannot find any reference as to why this would be the case. He said that music of that time didn’t generally specify specific instruments so it is odd that these manuscripts would have these instructions.

If anyone can be of any help on this I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks so much and God bless, Jen

Just a week or two ago – while attempting to research another issue – I ran across a fundie website that preached “voices only” music in church. Although I wasn’t interested in this topic, it appeared there is a lot of info out there on music relating to church. Surprising info, at least to me.

Start here: newadvent.org/cathen/10657a.htm


Thank you, Jim, very much. Your reference didn’t give me any specific answers to my questions, but it gave me a better idea of what was going on at the time period. I’ll have to question my friend further and see if I can nail down what kind of Mass the music he saw was written for and continue from there. Thanks again very much. I appreciate it very much.

God bless, Jen