Liturgical music

Liturgical music

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Liturgical music originated as a part of religious ceremony
Ceremony
A ceremony is an event of ritual significance, performed on a special occasion. The word may be of Etruscan origin.-Ceremonial occasions:A ceremony may mark a rite of passage in a human life, marking the significance of, for example:* birth...

, and includes a number of traditions, both ancient and modern. Liturgical music is well known as a part of Catholic Mass, the Anglican Holy Communion service (or Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

), the Lutheran Divine Service, the Orthodox
Orthodox Christianity
The term Orthodox Christianity may refer to:* the Eastern Orthodox Church and its various geographical subdivisions...

 liturgy
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

 and other Christian services including the Divine Office
Liturgy of the hours
The Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office is the official set of daily prayers prescribed by the Catholic Church to be recited at the canonical hours by the clergy, religious orders, and laity. The Liturgy of the Hours consists primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns and readings...

. Such ceremonial music in the Judeo-Christian tradition can be traced back to both Temple
Temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

 and synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 worship of the Hebrews
Hebrews
Hebrews is an ethnonym used in the Hebrew Bible...

.

The qualities that create the distinctive character of liturgical music are based on the notion that liturgical music is conceived and composed according to the norms and needs of the various historic liturgies
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

 of particular denomination
Religious denomination
A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity.The term describes various Christian denominations...

s.

Roman Catholic church music


The interest taken by the Catholic Church in music is shown not only by practitioners, but also by numerous enactments and regulations calculated to foster music worthy of Divine service. Contemporary Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 official church policy is expressed in the documents of the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

 Sacrosanctum Concilium
Sacrosanctum Concilium
Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, is one of the constitutions of the Second Vatican Council. It was approved by the assembled bishops by a vote of 2,147 to 4 and promulgated by Pope Paul VI on December 4, 1963...

, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy promulgated by Pope Paul VI on December 4, 1963(items 112-121); and most particularly Musicam sacram
Musicam Sacram
Musicam Sacram is the title of an instruction on Roman Catholic Sacred Music issued by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship on March 5, 1967, in conjunction with the Second Vatican Council....

, the Instruction on Music In The Liturgy from the Sacred Congregation for Rites, on March 5, 1967.

While there have been historic disputes within the church where elaborate music has been under criticism, there are many period works by Orlandus de Lassus, Allegri
Gregorio Allegri
Gregorio Allegri was an Italian composer of the Roman School and brother of Domenico Allegri; he was also a priest and a singer. He lived mainly in Rome, where he would later die.-Life:...

, Vittoria
Tomás Luis de Victoria
Tomás Luis de Victoria, sometimes Italianised as da Vittoria , was the most famous composer of the 16th century in Spain, and one of the most important composers of the Counter-Reformation, along with Giovanni da Palestrina and Orlando di Lasso. Victoria was not only a composer, but also an...

, where the most elaborate means of expression are employed in liturgical music, but which, nevertheless, conform to every liturgical requirement while seeming to be spontaneous outpourings of adoring hearts (cf. contrapuntal
Counterpoint
In music, counterpoint is the relationship between two or more voices that are independent in contour and rhythm and are harmonically interdependent . It has been most commonly identified in classical music, developing strongly during the Renaissance and in much of the common practice period,...

 or polyphonic music). Besides plain chant and the polyphonic style, the Catholic Church also permits homophonic or figured compositions with or without instrumental accompaniment, written either in in ecclesiastical modes
Musical mode
In the theory of Western music since the ninth century, mode generally refers to a type of scale. This usage, still the most common in recent years, reflects a tradition dating to the middle ages, itself inspired by the theory of ancient Greek music.The word encompasses several additional...

, or the modern major or minor keys. Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form of monophonic liturgical music within Western Christianity that accompanied the celebration of Mass and other ritual services...

 is warmly recommended by the Catholic Church, as both polyphonic music and modern unison music for the assembly.

Prior to the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

, according to the Motu proprio
Motu proprio
A motu proprio is a document issued by the Pope on his own initiative and personally signed by him....

 of Pius X (22 Nov. 1903), the following were the general guiding principles of the Church: "Sacred music should possess, in the highest degree, the qualities proper to the liturgy, or more precisely, sanctity and purity of form from which its other character of universality spontaneously springs. It must be holy, and must therefore exclude all profanity, not only from itself but also from the manner in which it is presented by those who execute it. It must be true art, for otherwise it cannot exercise on the minds of the hearers that influence which the Church meditates when she welcomes into her liturgy the art of music. But it must also be universal, in the sense that, while every nation is permitted to admit into its ecclesiastical compositions those special forms which may be said to constitute its native music, still these forms must be subordinated in such a manner to the general characteristics of sacred music, that no one of any nation may receive an impression other than good on hearing them." This was expanded upon by Pope Pius XII in his Motu Proprio
Motu proprio
A motu proprio is a document issued by the Pope on his own initiative and personally signed by him....

 title Musicae Sacrae

See also

  • Liturgy
    Liturgy
    Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

  • Ephrem the Syrian
    Ephrem the Syrian
    Ephrem the Syrian was a Syriac and a prolific Syriac-language hymnographer and theologian of the 4th century. He is venerated by Christians throughout the world, and especially in the Syriac Orthodox Church, as a saint.Ephrem wrote a wide variety of hymns, poems, and sermons in verse, as well as...

  • Contemporary Catholic liturgical music
    Contemporary Catholic liturgical music
    Contemporary Catholic liturgical music encompasses a comprehensive number of styles of music for Catholic liturgy that grew both before and after the reforms of Vatican II...

  • Church music
    Church music
    Church music may be defined as music written for performance in church, or any musical setting of ecclestiacal liturgy, or music set to words expressing propositions of a sacred nature, such as a hymn. This article covers music in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. For sacred music outside this...

  • Christian music
    Christian music
    Christian music is music that has been written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding Christian life and faith. Common themes of Christian music include praise, worship, penitence, and lament, and its forms vary widely across the world....

  • Religious music
    Religious music
    Religious music is music performed or composed for religious use or through religious influence.A lot of music has been composed to complement religion, and many composers have derived inspiration from their own religion. Many forms of traditional music have been adapted to fit religions'...


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