With a composer’s ear, the author tried to document the expression of faith and joy for a community. As he dealt with a vast subject, he has drawn boundaries to limit the discussion. What will appeal the most to the readers is the ways the Christian Community found during the ages and in different parts of the World to worship. In The Bible, we can sense that music has an immense power to penetrate where all the other forces fail and it resonates in every age. It is said that folklore is to the Natural World, music is to humanity. Music’s importance was sidelined earlier, but recently the situations are changing. For the last thirty years, Music Therapy is evolved as an effective technique to treat mainly psychological treatments.
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Early Christian writers understood the integrated pattern of music. Music synchronized with God’s creation. Music also addresses fundamental issues, and all the religions of the World have used music for the same purpose. To communicate emotion, music is sometimes better than language. In Christian music, the melody is used wonderfully for the same. This has been successfully dominated both Western Classical and popular music since the seventeenth century. The Western Classical tradition earlier believed that music is strictly a product of European culture, but Christian Music has derived many influences from Oriental music, even of the barbaric music.
The earliest music in The Bible is less but can be found in instances. Short lines, rigorous movements, simple texts are some aspects of the music in The Old Testament. Shir and Isharim are two of the musical instruments. Music was an indispensable part of Jewish life; the women participated in dance and music. In the temples, there was an official body of trained musicians. In the Bible, there is a description of musicians in the Solomon Temple. In the book Ecclesiasticus, there is the mention of twelve singers, with lyres and other instruments. Singing was part of the daily offering. Music is a kind of open expression. It is mainly impulsive as the music therapists say.
In The Book of 150 Psalms, there are instructions to the priests about the appropriate works on each day of the week, and music features there prominently. The precise form of singing in Psalms may be doubtable, but many things can happen. It was like a solo singer sings first then others repeating etc. A general feature of Hebrew poetry is it does not have rhythm, but the influence is too strong to be neglected even today.
The synagogue became the place to worship afterward. The style of worship there was based on the temple worship model, so there was plenty of scope for music, psalms. The chanting was based on a single note. This is called Ekphonesis. At that time music had little scope for a spontaneous approach. Actually, it was symbolic, God’s authority, power was represented by music. The two most important abilities of music, the ability to process and symbolize complex thoughts, have profoundly affected the nature of Christian Music.
Christians started to make hymns for the praise of God. Christianity began to spread. They intermingled with different cultures, so the music had also mixed evidently. In the Middle Ages, psalms, hymns were practiced, psalms were popular. The efforts of Pope Gregory are still remembered in Gregorian chant, which may be called the richest of all Christian Music.
Wilson-Dickson, A. (1992). “The Story of Christian Music” (pg: 7-32). Fortress Press: Minneapolis, MN.
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