Religion’s Profound Effect on Musical Development Essay

Religion’s Profound Effect on Musical Development Essay

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Religion’s Profound Effect on Musical Development

     Religion has been an important part of man’s life. Man has allowed religion to control and influence his life in many different ways, affecting both his behavior and his actions. So its not surprising that music, one of man’s earliest expressive forms, has also been influenced by religion. Religion has had an effect on man’s music all throughout history, from the early Egyptians to even now. So it is only natural that Western music should also have been affected by religion. Western music, and its development by composers, has been strongly influenced by the Christian religion, especially in the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods. The music in these periods laid the foundation for all the different types of music we enjoy today.
     During the Medieval period the Catholic Church had an enormous amount of power and control over the people of that time. The Medieval period began with the collapse of the Roman Empire around the year 450. Then with much of Europe in disarray, the Roman Catholic Church, the main unifying force at the time, unified many cultures together. “All segments of society felt the powerful influence of the Roman Catholic Church. In this age of faith, hell was very real and heresy was the gravest crime” (Kamien 63). The church controlled everything and it was of greatest importance in this period. “Very little non-Christian music from this period survived, due to its suppression by the Church and the absence of music notation…” (History of Music). The enormous Gothic Cathedrals and churches demonstrate how powerful and important the church was. The amount of physical labor put into each one shows the devotion of the people to God and the church in the medieval time period. Life in these times revolved around the church so it makes sense that the music of this time also revolved around it. The composers of this era were often involved with the church. They were usually priests, monks, or nuns. For example Hildegard of Bingen, a nun from Germany, who, wrote many musical pieces and other forms of art.     
     “For over one thousand years the official music of the Roman Catholic church had been Gregorian Chant, which consists of melody set to sacred Latin texts and sung without accompaniment” (Kamien 67). The credit for developing Gregorian chant music, also known as plain...


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...l development whether we want to believe it or not. From the beginning it has influenced music in different ways. It has pushed composers to produce certain types of music, censored secular and other types of music that it objected to, and inevitably has had an everlasting effect on what type of music we listen to today.

Works Cited
"Baroque Music-Part Two." 12 July 2005 .
Boynick, Matt. "Georg Friedric Handel." Classical Music Pages. 1 Feb. 1996. 13 July 2005 .
"Catholic Reformation." Wikipedia. .
Daum, Gary. "Chapter 12 The Baroque Era (1600-1750)." Georgetown Prep. 1994. Georgetown University. 12 July 2005 .
"Giovanni Pierluigi de Palestrina." Wikipedia. .
"Hildegard of Bingen." Wikipedia. .
"History of Music." Algebra.com. 12 July 2005 .
"Josquin Des Prez." Wikipedia. .
Kamien, Roger. Music: An Appreciation. 5th ed. New York: Lyn Uhl. 63-149.
"Medieval Music." Wikipedia. .
"Music." The End of Europe_Middle Ages. 1998. University of Calgary. 14 July 2005 .
"Oratorio." Nationmaster. 12 July 2005 .
"Renaissance." Cunnan. 10 July 2005 .
"Renaissance Period." Art for Ears. 10 July 2005 .
"The Enlightenment (1600-1790)." SparkNotes. 17 July 2005 .

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