One of the things that has been lost since the implementation of the New Order of the Mass by Paul VI in 1970 is silence. This, of course, is not something that was supposed to happen. In fact many documents speak of the need to have silence in the Liturgy.
What has opposed this silence is a false notion of what is meant by full, active and conscious participation. For starters, active is a lousy translation of actuosa, which we can see from cognates is more in line with English words actual or actualized than active, which comes from the Latin word activus, not actuosus.
This bad translation leads to the misunderstanding that participation on the part of the Faithful is to be full of activity. What happens, then, is that there is constant motion -- especially singing (more on that...). The lectors tend to go through the readings non-stop -- beginning the Psalm as soon as the Deo gratias is said, etc. There is no time of reflection given. The return of silence is awkward to people at first, but becomes a great part of the hermeneutic of continuity. Ironically, this is one of the reforms desired by the Council. Many of us have experienced Low Mass at which the readings are proclaimed in such a way as to indicate they are something to get through rather than a substantial part of the Mass. True, the Gradual (and its counterpart, the responsorial Psalm) and Alleleluia are supposed to be resonses to the Word of God proclaimed, and as such, by their nature, follow upon the Epistle in a more immediate manner. However, some slight pause for reflection is also good. The irony is, that many of these kind of reforms never made their way into practice in the Church!
The Offertory (or as they call it now, prepartion of the Oblation is generally silent as well. But, because of the mistaken notion of participation, one frequently hears, "Father, I want to say Blessed be God forever." They can't stand silence. It's deafening to them! Some how they feel as though they are participating in the Sacrifice better if they speak those words. The truth is, the best way for them to participate in the Sacrifice is to be silently offering themselves along with the Host.
This, of course, relates to the disorientation of the liturgy. You see, if the people can see all that is happening on the Altar, they will feel drawn to watch and to listen to the words and make responses, all of which distracts them from full, active (actual) and conscious participation because they are not entering into prayer as deeply, but rather stay at the superficial level of making responses. Because of the nearly universal taking of the option to say the prayers aloud (even when there has been a song at the offertory, which means the option doesn't exist), Priests who desire to say the prayers in silence are looked upon as somehow cutting the people off.
While we're at it, the horrible translation of the offertory prayers into English adds another reason to say them silenly -- the ability then to pray them in Latin.
About the music - As is quoted in a document on liturgy that a friend of mine is perfecting, St Pius X reminds us that in the Catholic liturgical tradition, we don't see at Mass, we sing the Mass. To often people want to use music as a way to be active in their worship. Frankly, they often just want to be like their Baptist neighbors by singing lots of hymns at church. In the case of the Offertory of the Ordinary Form, there is no assigned antiphon, but an appropriate hymn that is theologically rich could assist in participation in a proper way. A good choir that is able to sing motets, or a good organist who can play solo pieces, can add much to the ability of the Faithful to enter more deeply into the mysteries they are celebrating. This, while not being silence per se, is a way that allows the people to reflect.