Religious Music: Sacred Style and Holy Service

  February 16, 2021   Read time 2 min
Religious Music: Sacred Style and Holy Service
The use of music in sacred places and events is not limited or restricted to a particular place, person, cult or worldview. Religious music is a specific style in the domain of music recognized by many. Music adds a sense of holiness to the atmosphere and sets the scene for sacred service.

That music had very early admission in the sacred rites of the Egyptians and Hebrews, has been already shewn ; and that it likewise constituted a considerable part of the religious ceremonies of the Greeks and Romans at all times, is certain, from testimonies, and descriptions of those ceremonies, still to be found in the most respectable writers of antiquity. Dionysius relates that Dardanus, upon consulting the Oracle concerning his settlement, among other things, had this answer relative to the custody of the images of the Gods: " Remember to establish in the city, which you shall build, perpetual worship to the Gods, and to honour them with safeguards, sacrifices, solemn Dances and Songs' Indeed there remain. no proofs that any other language except poetry, through the vehicle of music, had admission in the Rituals or Liturgies of the Pagans. All the prayers, thanksgivings, and praises offered up to their several divinities, were Songs and Choruses, accompanied by musical instruments, and generally, by Dancing, or at least by a solemn March and by Gestures. " If Music," says Censorinus, " had not been acceptable to the immortal Gods, a Tibicen would certainly not have assisted at every prayer in their temples." Horace calls music a friend to the temple', and says, that " The guardian gods of Numida are to be appeased by incense and music." Maximus Tyrius calls it " The Companion of Sacrifices." And according to Proclus, the very avenues of the temple were furnished with music. " When they approached the altars and temples they sung, and the tibia played in the recess." It has already been observed that Plato was such a friend to temple music, as to wish that no other should be heard either by gods or men. And it appears that in all nations the first public use of music has been in the celebration of religious rites and ceremonies. Tacitus informs us, that the ancient Germans used to sing the praises of their Gods Teuton, or Tuisto, and Mannus, in verses, with which they likewise recorded the most memorable events in their history.

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