Liturgy Music Definition Essay

The Musical Quarterly

Description:The Musical Quarterly, founded in 1915 by Oscar Sonneck, has long been cited as the premier scholarly musical journal in the United States. Over the years it has published the writings of many important composers and musicologists, including Aaron Copland, Arnold Schoenberg, Marc Blitzstein, Henry Cowell, and Camille Saint-Saens. The journal focuses on the merging areas in scholarship where much of the challenging new work in the study of music is being produced. Regular sections include 'American Musics', 'Music and Culture', 'The Twentieth Century', and an 'Institutions, Industries, Technologies' section which examines music and the ways it is created and consumed. In addition, a fifth section entitled 'Primary Sources' features discussions on issues of biography, texts, and manuscripts; reflections on leading figures; personal statements by noted performers and composers; and essays on performances and recordings. Along with discussions of important new books, MQ publishes review essays on a wide variety of significant new music performances and recordings.

Coverage: 1915-2012 (Vol. 1, No. 1 - Vol. 95, No. 4)

Moving Wall: 5 years (What is the moving wall?)

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ISSN: 00274631

EISSN: 17418399

Subjects: Music, Arts

Collections: Arts & Sciences III Collection, JSTOR Essential Collection, Music Collection

Liturgical music originated as a part of religiousceremony, and includes a number of traditions, both ancient and modern. Liturgical music is well known as a part of Catholic Mass, the AnglicanHoly Communion service (or Eucharist), the LutheranDivine Service, the Orthodoxliturgy and other Christian services including the Divine Office. Such ceremonial music in the Judeo-Christian tradition can be traced back to both the Temple in Jerusalem and synagogue worship of the Hebrews.

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 of particular denominations.

Roman Catholic church music[edit]

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.[1] Contemporary Catholic official church policy is expressed in the documents of the Second Vatican CouncilSacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy promulgated by Pope Paul VI on December 4, 1963 (items 112–121); and most particularly Musicam sacram, 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, Vittoria, 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 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 ecclesiasticalmodes, or the modern major or minor keys. Gregorian chant is warmly recommended by the Catholic Church, as both polyphonic music and modern unison music for the assembly.[1]

Prior to the Second Vatican Council, according to the motu proprio of Pius X (November 22, 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.".[1] This was expanded upon by Pope Pius XII in his motu proprio Musicae sacrae.[2]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Wilson-Dickson, Andrew (2003). The Story of Christian Music: An Illustrated Guide to All the Major Traditions of Music in Worship. Oxford: Lion. ISBN 978-0-7459-5119-5. 

External links[edit]

Musical notation in a 14th-century English Missal
Two pages of a psalter in Baeza Cathedral
Monteverdi's Missa da cappella a sei voci; Kyrie


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