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Religious music

From Academic Kids

Religious music (also sacred 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 some inspiration from their religions. Many forms of traditional music have been adapted to fit religions purposes or descended from religious music. Johann Sebastian Bach, considered one of the most important and influential European classical music composers, wrote most of his music for the Lutheran church.

Religious music often changes to fit the times; Contemporary Christian music, for example, uses idioms from various secular popular music styles but with religious lyrics. Gospel music has always done this, for example incorporating funk, and continues to do so.

Monotheism and tonality, all tones relating and resolving to a tonic, are often associated, and the textures of European homophony, equated with monotheism, may be contrasted with Asian heterophony, equated with poly or pantheism. Navajo music's cyclic song and song-group forms mirrors the cyclic nature of their dieties such as Changing Woman.

Kirtan originated in the Hindu tradition as loving songs sung to God. It is also one of the pillars of Sikhism and in that context refers to the singing of the Sacred Hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib to music. The Sikh 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.

Contents

Religions


Christian music

There is virtually no record of the earliest music of the Christian church except a few New Testament fragments of what are probably hymns. 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.

Being Jewish, Jesus and his disciples would most likely have sung the psalms from memory. However, without a centralised music industry, the repertoire of ordinary people was much greater 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 synagogues in the first century.

Jewish music

The earliest synagogal music was based on the same system as that in the Temple in Jerusalem. According to the Talmud, Joshua ben Hananiah, who had served in the sanctuary Levitical choir, told how the choristers went to the synagogue from the orchestra by the altar (Talmud, Suk. 53a), and so participated in both services.

Muslim music

Islamic music is Muslim religious music sung or played in public services or private devotions. The classic heartland of Islam is Arabia and the Middle East, North Africa and Egypt, Iran, Central Asia, and northern India and Pakistan. The indigenous musical styles of these areas:

have shaped the devotional music enjoyed by contemporary Muslims.

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, a healing woman from Uganda who organized resistance against German colonialists. The British later led efforts against nyabinghi, classifying 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 and Peter Tosh.

Sephardic music

Sephardic music 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 for religious songs and Ladino.

Shinto music

Shinto music (神楽) is ceremonial music for Shinto(神道) which is the native religion of Japan. It is related to Gagaku(雅楽) or old festival music. Taiko has also been used.

Related articles

Religious music
Buddhist - Christian - Hindu - Jewish - Muslim - Native American - Rastafarian - Shinto - Zoroastrian
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