Religious music
Religious music is music performed or composed for religious
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 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
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

 have been adapted to fit religions' purposes or have descended from religious music. There is a long history of Christian 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...

. Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

, considered one of the most important and influential European classical music composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

s, wrote most of his music for the Lutheran church. Religious music often changes to fit the times; Contemporary Christian music
Contemporary Christian music
Contemporary Christian music is a genre of modern popular music which is lyrically focused on matters concerned with the Christian faith...

, for example, uses idioms from various secular popular music
Popular music
Popular music belongs to any of a number of musical genres "having wide appeal" and is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional music, which are typically disseminated academically or orally to smaller, local...

 styles but with religious lyrics. Gospel music
Gospel music
Gospel music is music that is written to express either personal, spiritual or a communal belief regarding Christian life, as well as to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music....

 has always done this, for example incorporating funk
Funk is a music genre that originated in the mid-late 1960s when African American musicians blended soul music, jazz and R&B into a rhythmic, danceable new form of music. Funk de-emphasizes melody and harmony and brings a strong rhythmic groove of electric bass and drums to the foreground...

, and continues to do so.

Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 and tonality
Tonality is a system of music in which specific hierarchical pitch relationships are based on a key "center", or tonic. The term tonalité originated with Alexandre-Étienne Choron and was borrowed by François-Joseph Fétis in 1840...

, all tones relating and resolving to a tonic
Tonic (music)
In music, the tonic is the first scale degree of the diatonic scale and the tonal center or final resolution tone. The triad formed on the tonic note, the tonic chord, is thus the most significant chord...

, are often associated, and the textures of European homophony
In music, homophony is a texture in which two or more parts move together in harmony, the relationship between them creating chords. This is distinct from polyphony, in which parts move with rhythmic independence, and monophony, in which all parts move in parallel rhythm and pitch. A homophonic...

, equated with monotheism, may be contrasted with Asian heterophony
In music, heterophony is a type of texture characterized by the simultaneous variation of a single melodic line. Such a texture can be regarded as a kind of complex monophony in which there is only one basic melody, but realized at the same time in multiple voices, each of which plays the melody...

, equated with poly
Polytheism is the belief of multiple deities also usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own mythologies and rituals....

 or pantheism
Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

. Navajo music
Navajo music
Navajo music is music made by Navajos, mostly hailing from the Four Corners region of the Southwestern United States and the territory of the Navajo Nation...

's cyclic song and song-group forms mirrors the cyclic nature of their deities such as Changing Woman.

Christian music

The earliest Christian or Jewish notion of a song devoted unto God, was mentioned in the whole chapter of Exodus 15, where the Israelites returned from Egypt, and had seen what God had done once they crossed the river (and Pharao's armies where destroyed in the river).
The musical notes where lost just as every of the old psalms.

A Christian view point of 'Sacred Music' is to be fully inspired by the Holy Spirit, to bring forth musical tones and words (sometimes accompanied by musical instruments); in honor and reverence to God.
Many Christians consider sacred song to be a spontaneous revelation, opposite to a song that is sung over and over again.

'Sacred music' or Sacred song is also known in Christian circles as 'Inspirational music', 'Free Worship', 'Free Flow' and 'Prophetic song'; they are very close connected to Free worship inspired by the Holy Spirit in 'Tongue language'; which is basically the singing of speaking in Tongues or otherwise known as 'rivers of the spirit'.

There is virtually no record of the earliest music of the Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 church except a few New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 fragments of what are probably hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

s. Some of these fragments are still sung as hymns today in the Orthodox Church, including "Awake, awake O sleeper" on the occasion of someone's baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

. Another early hymn is the Phos Hilaron
Phos Hilaron
Phos Hilaron is an ancient Christian hymn originally written in New Testament Greek. Often referred to by its Latin title Lumen Hilare it has been translated into English as Hail Gladdening Light or O Gladsome/Joyous Light. It is the earliest known Christian hymn recorded outside of the Bible...

 (Greek for "Gladsome Light") which was part of the Liturgy of the Hours morning prayers (matins) in the early Christian Church. It is a hymn describing the morning light.
Being Jewish, Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 and his disciples would most likely have sung the psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

 from memory. However, the repertoire of ordinary people was larger than it is today, so they probably knew other songs too. Early Christians continued to sing the psalms much as they were sung in the 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...

s in the first century.

Hindu music

Kirtan or Kirtana is call-and-response chanting or "responsory" performed in India's devotional traditions. A person performing kirtan is known as a kirtankar. Kirtan practice involves chanting hymns or mantras to the accompaniment of instruments such as the harmonium, tablas, the two-headed...

 originated in the Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

In Hinduism Bhakti is religious devotion in the form of active involvement of a devotee in worship of the divine.Within monotheistic Hinduism, it is the love felt by the worshipper towards the personal God, a concept expressed in Hindu theology as Svayam Bhagavan.Bhakti can be used of either...

 tradition as loving songs sung to God. The songs are called 'Bhajans' in which one invocated Hindu Gods and this can be a song or repetition of the same hymn which is called 'Dhun'. When people sit together for Hindu Music this is called 'Satsang'. Where group of people first invocate Ganesha and then Shiva, followed by Devi bhajans. progressively they sing bhajans for Krishna and other deities.

Art of Living Foundation actively promoted interfaith satsangs to enable people to understand the deeper and spiritual aspects of Hindu music for people across the world. Some of their famous singers are Vikram Hazra, Nitin Limaye, Sahil Jagtiani.

Sikh music

Kirtan is one of the pillars of Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

 and in that context refers to the singing of the sacred hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib
Guru Granth Sahib
Sri Guru Granth Sahib , or Adi Granth, is the religious text of Sikhism. It is the final and eternal guru of the Sikhs. It is a voluminous text of 1430 angs, compiled and composed during the period of Sikh gurus, from 1469 to 1708...

 to music. Sikhs place huge value on this type of singing and a Sikh is duty bound to listen and/or sing Guru-kirtan as frequently as possible. Sikhs also have 'Dhadi Varaan' which use the Dhad sarangi
Dhad sarangi
The dhad is a small hourglass-shaped drum of the Damru style. Held in one hand, it is struck on either side, with the other hand holding the skinned sides vertically or horizontally...

 to sing about Sikh history.

Jewish music

The earliest synagogal music was based on the same system as that in the 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...

 in Jerusalem. According to the Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, Joshua ben Hananiah
Joshua ben Hananiah
Joshua ben Hananiah was a leading tanna of the first half-century following the destruction of the Temple. He was of Levitical descent , and served in the sanctuary as a member of the class of singers . His mother intended him for a life of study, and, as an older contemporary, Dosa b. Harkinas,...

, who had served in the sanctuary Levitical
In Jewish tradition, a Levite is a member of the Hebrew tribe of Levi. When Joshua led the Israelites into the land of Canaan, the Levites were the only Israelite tribe that received cities but were not allowed to be landowners "because the Lord the God of Israel himself is their inheritance"...

 choir, told how the choristers went to the synagogue from the orchestra by the altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

 (Talmud, Suk. 53a), and so participated in both services.

Sephardic music
Sephardic music
There are three types of Sephardic songs—topical and entertainment songs, romance songs and spiritual or ceremonial songs. Lyrics can be in several languages, including Hebrew for religious songs, and Ladino....

, the music of Spanish Jews, was born in medieval Spain, with cancioneros being performed at the royal courts. Since then, it has picked up influences from across Spain, Morocco, Argentina, Turkey, Greece and various popular tunes from Spain and further abroad. There are three types of Sephardic songs — topical and entertainment songs, romance songs and spiritual or ceremonial songs. Lyrics can be in several languages, including Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 for religious songs and Ladino
Judaeo-Spanish , in Israel commonly referred to as Ladino, and known locally as Judezmo, Djudeo-Espanyol, Djudezmo, Djudeo-Kasteyano, Spaniolit and other names, is a Romance language derived from Old Spanish...


Rastafarian music

Nyabinghi music is the most integral form of Rastafarian music. It is played at worship ceremonies called grounations, which including drumming, chanting and dancing along with prayer and smoking of ritual ganja. Nyabinghi probably comes from an East African movement from the 1850s to the 1950s that was led by women who militarily opposed European imperialism. This form of nyabinghi was centered around Muhumusa
Muhumusa, was a feared leader of the east African Nyabingi cult which was influential in Rwanda and Uganda from 1850 to 1950. She organized armed resistance against German colonialists and was eventually detained by the British in Kampala, Uganda, from 1913 to her death in 1945. Muhumusa was said...

, a healing woman from Uganda who organized resistance against German colonialists. The British later led efforts against nyabinghi, and classified it as witchcraft through the Witchcraft Ordinance of 1912. In Jamaica, nyabinghi was appropriated for similar anti-colonial efforts, and is often danced to invoke the power of Jah against an oppressor. The connection between the religion and various kinds of music has become well-known due to the international fame of musicians like Bob Marley
Bob Marley
Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley, OM was a Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician. He was the rhythm guitarist and lead singer for the ska, rocksteady and reggae band Bob Marley & The Wailers...

 and Peter Tosh
Peter Tosh
Peter Tosh, born Winston Hubert McIntosh , was a Jamaican reggae musician who was a core member of the band The Wailers , and who afterward had a successful solo career as well as being a promoter of Rastafari.Peter Tosh was born in Grange Hill, Jamaica, an illegitimate child to a mother too young...


African-Caribbean music

Rastafarian music is not the only kind of religious music in the Caribbean. Religious sects have their own musical styles, though they vary from island to island.
Obeah is a term used in the West Indies to refer to folk magic, sorcery, and religious practices derived from West African, and specifically Igbo origin. Obeah is similar to other African derived religions including Palo, Voodoo, Santería, rootwork, and most of all hoodoo...

 and Myal as well as Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 sects associated with revivalism are common in Jamaica. These styles have also influenced Jamaican dances
Culture of Jamaica
Jamaican culture represents a rich blend of cultures that have inhabited the Greater Antilles island, Jamaica. The original Taino Settlers, followed by their Spanish conquerors , all made major contributions...

The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

, and Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

 in particular have also developed African-influenced musical styles that are used in religious rituals associated with Santería
Santería is a syncretic religion of West African and Caribbean origin influenced by Roman Catholic Christianity, also known as Regla de Ocha, La Regla Lucumi, or Lukumi. Its liturgical language, a dialect of Yoruba, is also known as Lucumi....

, Vodou, and Espiritismo
Espiritismo is the Latin American and Caribbean belief that good and evil spirits can affect health, luck and other elements of human life....


Shintō music

Shintō music
Shinto music
Shinto music is the ceremonial and festive music of , the native religion of Japan. Its origin myth is the erotic dance of Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto which lured Amaterasu from her cave.-Kagura:...

 (神楽) is ceremonial music for Shinto (神道) which is the native religion of Japan. It is related to Gagaku
Gagaku is a type of Japanese classical music that has been performed at the Imperial Court in Kyoto for several centuries. It consists of three primary repertoires:#Native Shinto religious music and folk songs and dance, called kuniburi no utamai...

 (雅楽) or old festival music. Taiko
means "drum" in Japanese . Outside Japan, the word is often used to refer to any of the various Japanese drums and to the relatively recent art-form of ensemble taiko drumming...

 has also been used.

Buddhist music

Buddhist music
Buddhist music
Buddhist music is music created for or inspired by Buddhism and part of Buddhist art.-Honkyoku:Honkyoku are the pieces of shakuhachi or hocchiku music played by wandering Japanese Zen monks called Komuso. Komuso played honkyoku for enlightenment and alms as early as the 13th century...

 is music for Buddhist ceremony or meditation, most often taking the form of sutra
Sūtra is an aphorism or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual. Literally it means a thread or line that holds things together and is derived from the verbal root siv-, meaning to sew , as does the medical term...

 recitation. Many believe that Buddha himself wrote the music for his people to play.

Zoroastrian music

Zoroastrian music
Zoroastrian music
Zoroastrian music is a genre of religious music that accompanies religious and traditional rites among the Zoroastrian people.Although, certain ancient Zoroastrian traditions show a negative approach towards Zoroastrian melodies such as the pre-Islamic pastorals and minstrels, Zoroastrian music has...

 is a genre of music that accompanies Zoroastrian traditions and rites.
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

See also

  • 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....

  • 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...

  • Gospel music
    Gospel music
    Gospel music is music that is written to express either personal, spiritual or a communal belief regarding Christian life, as well as to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music....

  • Liturgical music
    Liturgical music
    Liturgical music originated as a part of religious ceremony, 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 , the Lutheran Divine Service, the Orthodox liturgy and other Christian services...

  • Music and politics
    Music and politics
    The connection between music and politics, particularly political expression in music, has been seen in many cultures. Although music influences political movements and rituals, it is not clear how or even if, general audiences relate music on a political level...

  • Secular music
    Secular music
    Secular music is non-religious music. "Secular" means being separate from religion.In the West, secular music developed in the Medieval period and was used in the Renaissance. Swaying authority from the Church that focused more on Common Law influenced all aspects of Medieval life, including music...

  • Spiritual (music)
    Spiritual (music)
    Spirituals are religious songs which were created by enslaved African people in America.-Terminology and origin:...

  • World Sacred Music Festival
    World Sacred Music Festival
    The World Festival of Sacred Music brings together performers from every corner of our planet for a week of artistic show in Fes, Morocco's ancient holy city. It was first held in 1994.-Los Angeles:...

External links

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