A Maß is the standard German measure of beer - one litre. Usually it is served in a Stein but some more trendy places (and anywhere outside Bavaria) prefer serving beer in a glass. The alternative to this is the halb- (or girly-) Maß, a half-litre.

Variations on this exist in the forms of a Radler - Half beer and half "Sprudel" (carbonated orange juice) - and the ever-so-popular beer and a shot, usually in the form of schnapps.

Originally billed simply as, "A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers," Leonard Bernstein's Mass stirred up great controversy when it debuted September 8, 1971 in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The force behind the controversy was the show's content itself -- showing one man (the Celebrant) struggling greatly with maintaining his spirituality and faith amidst a congregation that thoroughly questions and mocks the validity of their church.

The basic structure or the play is deceivingly simple: A Roman Catholic Mass. The heart of the libretto is taken from the Catholic liturgy; however, Bernstein and Stephen Schwartz add the words of members of the congregation, lapsed or otherwise. Paul Simon even contributed a couplet as a gift to Bernstein:

Half of the people are stoned and the other half are waiting for the next election
Half of the people are drowning and the other half are swimming in the wrong direction
The score intertwines rock/blues and choral elements (a la church polyphony), illustrating well the confusion between ancient, sacred values and modern philosophy and advancements. The stage setting dissolves in and out between the Celebrant alone with his simple, pure faith (characterized in a piece called "A Simple Song," one of several musical themes that recur throughout the show) and abject chaos -- at the most turbulent point in the show, the entire cast, company and orchestra mill about on stage. (During the Prefatory Prayers, an entire marching band appears on stage... I suppose this falls somewhere in the middle.)

Mass is not one of Bernstein's most popular works today, although some pieces, especially the Prayer for the Congregation (Almighty Father) and Gloria Tibi, remain in use by small ensembles for their rich choral quality. Others, such as "Things Get Broken", "World Without End" and "God Said", while interesting to the ear, are less known (heresy?). The show, in all, is, according to Bernstein, not meant to denounce faith, but rather to ask each person who experiences it to explore his or her spirituality further, in light of the pressures that modern times place upon those who simply believe in something beyond themselves.

(Final moments, entire cast and orchestra sings)
Almighty Father, incline thine ear
Bless us and all those who are gathered here
Thine angel send us
Who shall defend us all
And fill with grace
Us and all in this place

The Mass has ended. Go in peace.


I recently learned that the ending above, though provocative in its way, was not the original intention of Mr. Bernstein. Much of the music of Act II involves the reincorporation of elements and themes from practically every song in the first act and top of the second ("Things Get Broken," the penultimate piece of the show, is essentially 14 minutes of warped adaptations of the preceding tunes). Though Bernstein was a crafty composer, he actually merely ran out of time to devise new material, and he was forced to reuse his material to complete the show. The show had barely been rehearsed by the time opening night rolled around. In that light, the show could be an even greater accomplishment.

CST Approved

Mass is a fundamental property of the Catholic Church - a measurement of how much...

psst - you were supposed to do a physics writeup

Ok... Take 2...

Mass is one of the fundamental properties of matter. Mass is a measure of the amount of matter in an object or a measure of the amount of inertia it has while in motion (and the amount of force that is necessary to act upon it to change this). Unless you have been in space or diving where the effects of gravity are gone or reduced, you are familiar with the weight of something rather than its mass. The weight of an object is the force of gravity acting upon the mass.

Before going too far, people are often confused with the units of mass and weight - especially between the metric world and the English units world.

On Earth, something that weighs 100 pounds has a mass of 3.11 slugs in English units. This something also weighs 444.80 newtons, and has a mass of 45.38 kg.

(Theoretical physics follows)

While we 'understand' to some very sketchy level with lots of hand-waving and funny symbols on the chalk board what gravitation is, and how quarks in a proton stick together and protons stick together in an atom, and energy is transmitted, the 'cause' and 'reason' for mass still confuses physicists to a great deal more than other facts of the universe.

The Standard Model in physics works on established masses (energies) of fundamental particles. From this, the mass of everything up can be understood. However, the Standard Model also says that there is another part to the universe that has not been observed - a field that is (almost) indistinguishable from empty space and permeates all space. It is believed that when a particle interacts with this field it acquires mass. This field is named after Peter Higgs of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

The best analogy of how this Higgs field works can be thought of as...

Picture a noder gathering where all the noders are uniformly spread about (the Higgs field). Nate starts walking through the area and noders are all clustering around him - as he moves, the closest people cluster around him. This clustering is 'mass' - it makes it harder for Nate to move around he has some momentum in the group - its harder to stop this mob from moving, and once stopped it is harder to get it moving again.

The Higgs particle would appear in noder-Higgs field as a rumor where suddenly there is a cluster of noders whispering to each other, but no actual person moving through. This whispering cluster moves through the area and is the same type of thing expected to be seen as the Higgs boson would be a clump in the Higgs field.

While this has not been directly observed (only hints of it have been seen) there are two significant pieces of evidence that the Higgs boson does exist. Quantum theory predicts its existence along with that all particles spend some time as combinations of all other particles - including the Higgs boson. This changes how they interact in measurable ways that have been well verified. Other studies have shown that theories for how other particles act only are consistent if the the Higgs boson exists. However, these are only indirect results and not proofs. However, in the last days of the Large Electron Positron collider at CERN, there was a particle with a mass of about 115 GeV (180 proton masses) that had the characteristics of the Higgs boson. This was not certain, but it was "enhancement above background of less than three standard deviations" (and better than two). The odds that this finding was noise is 1 in 250 (though still too uncertainty to be claimed as a discovery - that needs an odds of error less than 1 in 1,000,000).

The question of what causes mass is still open.


Mass (?), n. [OE. masse, messe, AS. maesse. LL. missa, from L. mittere, missum, to send, dismiss: cf. F. messe. In the ancient churches, the public services at which the catechumens were permitted to be present were called missa catechumenorum, ending with the reading of the Gospel. Then they were dismissed with these words : "Ite, missa est" [sc. ecclesia], the congregation is dismissed. After that the sacrifice proper began. At its close the same words were said to those who remained. So the word gave the name of Mass to the sacrifice in the Catholic Church. See Missile, and cf. Christmas, Lammas, Mess a dish, Missal.]

1. R. C. Ch.

The sacrifice in the sacrament of the Eucharist, or the consecration and oblation of the host.

2. Mus.

The portions of the Mass usually set to music, considered as a musical composition; -- namely, the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Credo, the Sanctus, and the Agnus Dei, besides sometimes an Offertory and the Benedictus.

Canon of the Mass. See Canon. -- High Mass, Mass with incense, music, the assistance of a deacon, subdeacon, etc. -- Low Mass, Mass which is said by the priest through-out, without music. -- Mass bell, the sanctus bell. See Sanctus. -- Mass book, the missal or Roman Catholic service book.


© Webster 1913.

Mass (?), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Massed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Massing.]

To celebrate Mass.




© Webster 1913.

Mass, n. [OE. masse, F. masse, L. massa; akin to Gr. a barley cake, fr. to knead. Cf. Macerate.]


A quantity of matter cohering together so as to make one body, or an aggregation of particles or things which collectively make one body or quantity, usually of considerable size; as, a mass of ore, metal, sand, or water.

If it were not for these principles, the bodies of the earth, planets, comets, sun, and all things in them, would grow cold and freeze, and become inactive masses. Sir I. Newton.

A deep mass of continual sea is slower stirred To rage. Savile.

2. Phar.

A medicinal substance made into a cohesive, homogeneous lump, of consistency suitable for making pills; as, blue mass.


A large quantity; a sum.

All the mass of gold that comes into Spain. Sir W. Raleigh.

He had spent a huge mass of treasure. Sir J. Davies.


Bulk; magnitude; body; size.

This army of such mass and charge. Shak.


The principal part; the main body.

Night closed upon the pursuit, and aided the mass of the fugitives in their escape. Jowett (Thucyd.).

6. Physics

The quantity of matter which a body contains, irrespective of its bulk or volume.

Mass and weight are often used, in a general way, as interchangeable terms, since the weight of a body is proportional to its mass (under the same or equal gravitative forces), and the mass is usually ascertained from the weight. Yet the two ideas, mass and weight, are quite distinct. Mass is the quantity of matter in a body; weight is the comparative force with which it tends towards the center of the earth. A mass of sugar and a mass of lead are assumed to be equal when they show an equal weight by balancing each other in the scales.

Blue mass. See under Blue. -- Mass center Geom., the center of gravity of a triangle. -- Mass copper, native copper in a large mass. -- Mass meeting, a large or general assembly of people, usually a meeting having some relation to politics. -- The masses, the great body of the people, as contrasted with the higher classes; the populace.


© Webster 1913.

Mass, v. t.

To form or collect into a mass; to form into a collective body; to bring together into masses; to assemble.

But mass them together and they are terrible indeed. Coleridge.


© Webster 1913.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.