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 mall unifying force at the time, unified any 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” (Examine 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 he 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 Hildebrand of Binge, 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” (Kamala 67). The credit for developing Gregorian chant music, also known as plainchant, goes to Pope Gregory the first. In reality, Gregorian chant had evolved over many centuries from Jewish synagogues. The Gregorian chant was basically the main type of music in the medieval period. Gregorian chants were monophonic In nature and were used by the Catholic Church to add an otherworldly quality to the mass. Chant survived and prospered In monasteries and religious centers throughout the chaotic years of the early middle ages, for these were the places of greatest stability and literacy” (Medieval Music). Gregorian chant was the only type of music that was generally accepted by the church. All instrumental musical pieces were rejected by the church because of its idea that they were more secular in nature. The church had the power to, and usually did, censor secular music that It found to be objectionable. This caused the development of possibly, many other types of music to be hindered. F chants grew to thousands, they were notated to ensure musical uniformity throughout the western church” (Examine 69). So it was church music that needed a musical notation system. This system is a great advancement in musical placement. For many years the church’s music was predominantly monophonic in texture. Eventually the church started to drift away from the monophonic texture of music and added a second voice to its chant. “Monks in monastery choirs began to add a second melodic line to Gregorian chant.
In the beginning, this second line was Improvised, not written down; it duplicated the chant melody in a different pitch” (Examine 74). This type of music is called organ and is a drastic change in the music of the Catholic Church. Organ is polyphonic in texture and was more melodic. This was a major change for the church because the music now had more melody and was more attractive than the original chants. Another cause of the creation of organ is the creation of many schools for polyphonic music. Schools such as the school of Notre Dame of polyphony and SST.
Martial School of organ were Just some of them. These schools, especially the school of Notre Dame, became “the center of musical creative activity throughout the thirteenth century” (Medieval Music). It was here that many great composers learned to compose polyphonic music. Liturgical drama was also created in the middle ages. Liturgical drama was basically a drama based on liturgical text. In its original form, it may represent a survival of Roman drama with Christian stories–mainly the Gospel, the Passion, and the lives of the saints–grafted on.
Every part of Europe had some sort of tradition of musical or semi-musical drama in the middle ages, involving acting, speaking, singing, and instrumental accompaniment in some combination. Probably these dramas were performed by traveling actors and musicians. (Medieval Music) After some time however, the church lost a lot of its influence due to unforeseen resistances. The Hundred Years’ War, the bubonic plague, and problems resulting from a time when there was more than one pope had been a blow to the church. This turmoil weakened the church and allowed more secular music to come about in the late middle ages.
The weakening of the church is due to a combination of the general moral and atmosphere of the people during these times, the numerous deaths caused by both the Black Death, and the Hundred Years’ War, and the confusion of the people, which caused people to lose faith in God and the church. More secular USIA came about because of the loss of control of the people and not having enough strength to suppress the secular woks. The composers of the early medieval period were mostly anonymous. This is because the people of the time were expected to worship God in the best way they can.
So those who can compose music were expected to compose and not take credit for it, because it was God that allowed them to have the skill. However, there were a few composers that were not anonymous. Composers such as Guileful De Mach, one of the best composers of the time, rote many pieces under the service of royal families. He wrote both secular and sacred music. Muscat’s most well known sacred piece the Notre Dame Mass. Her convent. Approximately eighty compositions survive, which is a far larger repertoire than almost any other medieval composer.
Among her better known works is the Ardor Virtue (“Order of the Virtues” or “Play of the Virtues”), a type of early oratorio for women’s voices, with one male part – that of the Devil. It was created, like all of Hilliard’s music, to be performed by the nuns of her convent. The text of her compositions uses a form of modified medieval Latin unique to Hildebrand, for which he created many invented, conflated and abridged words, while the music itself is monophonic, designed for limited instrumental accompaniment (usually Just using hurdy guard drones), and characterized by soaring soprano visualization. Hildebrand of Binge) She was the first woman composer from whom a large number of works came about. She mostly wrote sacred songs which are monophonic in texture. Only n the late twentieth century did she achieve any recognition for her work. The Catholic faith in the medieval era hinders most of the secular music development. It does this by censoring and rejecting most of the secular works. This aspect and power of the church makes the music of this time period mainly Christian music.
The hindrance of the music probably had a negative effect overall because it slowed down the development and possibly even destroyed potential styles of music. “Dating from approximately 1450-1600, the Renaissance period in history was a time of transition in the arts, literature, religion, science, and philosophy. Although looking forward to modern thought, this period also revived the ancient Greek and Roman cultures” (Renaissance Period). The Catholic Church had lost some of its Influence and power because of the bubonic plague, the wars, and the deaths of hundreds, which all took place in the medieval period.
The spreading and teaching of humanism also made the church weaker. Humanism is the focus on the earthly life instead of the divine, where human aspirations and goals are put above that of the church. This was also the period of the reformation. The reformation is when people of the church such as Martin Luther were not happy with the church. So they formed their own church and became known as Protestants. There was also a battle of sorts teen the new Protestant church under Martin Luther and the Catholic Church. There were also other separations from the church which weakened it even more. Undoubtedly one of the major threads was forged by Henry VIII of England when he declared his realm independent of Rome, establishing his own Church of England and thereby beginning the trend whereby the Catholic Church ceased to be able to provide a supra-national force of unification” (Renaissance). With this decline in the church’s power it allowed a more room for composers to create new types of music and more secular works without it being suppressed. This allowed different kinds of music to develop. However “The church remained an important patron of music, but musical activity gradually shifted to the courts” (Examine 81).
Even though the church Nas weaker it still had influence and power. To make the church stronger however, and to counter the move toward Protestantism, important members of the Catholic Church met at the Council of Trend. There they decided to go back to Gregorian chant and the monophonic texture from the middle ages. They also created a more militant ruling of the remaining Catholic countries. This later has a great effect on the music There are two main types of sacred music in the Renaissance. The motet and the mass and they are very similar. The Renaissance motet is a polyphonic choral work set to a sacred Latin text other than the ordinary of a mass. The Renaissance mass is polyphonic choral composition made up of five sections: Keri, Gloria, Credo, Sanctum, and Gangs Die” (Examine 82). “The motet which originated in the religious music of the thirteenth century, quickly moved out of the church and into the courts of the nobility, becoming the dominant form of secular music in the fourteenth century”(Music). This is also nether influence of the church and religion. The composers of this time still made religious music.
One renowned composer Sequin Desired for example, is possibly one of the best. He wrote numerous amounts of masses and motets. “Joaquin dominated the musical world of his time, not only on account of his learning, skill, and originality, but because of his singular ability to bring together the many streams of contemporary musical practice” Joaquin Desired). He also possessed a strong ability to take a Latin text, study it, and then compose many dramas and musical pieces. He was a very devoted Christian who influenced a great deal of people.
One of those people for example is Martin Luther, who says: God has His Gospel preached also through the medium of music; this may be seen from the compositions of Joaquin, all of whose works are cheerful, gentle, mild, and lovely; they flow and move along and are neither forced nor coerced and bound by rigid and stringent rules, but, on the contrary, are like the song of the finch. (Examine 83) Joaquin Des Prep is still influential today. His music is still played and recorded today because of his ability to portray emotion in such a Nay that is still loved by many.
His musical pieces were mostly about religion. He rote such compositions as Eave Maria 0. Virgo Serene, and many more that dealt with religion as its theme. “Among the most important Italian Renaissance composers was Giovanni Periling De Palestinian who devoted himself to music for the Catholic Church” (Examine 85). Palestinians most famous mass was his Pope Marvelous Mass. Palestinian gained popularity for the amount of compositions he made. Palestinian left hundreds of compositions, including 104 masses, 68 offertories, 250 motets, 45 hymns, psalms, 33 magnificent, litanies, 4 or 5 sets of lamentations etc. T least 140 madrigals and 9 organ receiver (however, recent scholarship has classed these receiver as of doubtful authorship; Palestinian probably wrote no purely instrumental music). His Missal sine nominee seems to have been particularly attractive to Johann Sebastian Bach, who studied and performed it while he was writing his own masterpiece, the Mass in B Minor. (Giovanni Periling De Palestinian) His compositions present a very Nell balanced and beautiful vocal part that is very harmonious. Palestinians Music is still performed today and is becoming a model of polyphonic music of the
Renaissance time period. The Renaissance was a very important time because this is when the church first lost some of its power. So this allowed more secular works to be made and new styles to be explored. The composers in this period helped give future composers study material and compositions to start from. The Baroque period is a period of growth developments. “The militant Catholicism of the Counter-Reformation, which stretched into the seventeenth century led to the development of religious baroque as the earliest permutation of baroque style” (The Enlightenment).
Many of the religious art ND music done in this time period were used to stop the spread of Protestantism. ‘The Counter-Reformation was a strong reaffirmation of the doctrine and structure of the Catholic Church, climaxing at the Council of Trend, partly in reaction to the growth of Protestantism” (Catholic Reformation). During this period the Catholic Church used its power to control the countries that were still under its Jurisdiction. During the early seventeenth century an artist or musician had almost no other choice but to paint religious scenes and compose church music.
Other subject matter was insider heretical, and there was scant financial support for artists outside the church. Religious baroque was thus forced upon the artists of the age by the Catholic authorities, which demanded that Catholic art meet the Protestant challenge head on. (The Enlightenment) The Catholic Church Counter-Reformation doctrine had an enormous effect on the music produced, and played during the Baroque Period. Most of the sacred, or religious, music of the Baroque was written specifically to be performed as part of a church service, whether Catholic, Lutheran or Anglican.
The ironical sacred form during the Baroque period, as in all other periods of European music, was the musical setting of various liturgical rites known as “Masses”. But the Baroque also had sacred musical forms which were particular to that time, especially the sacred cantata and the sacred oratorio. (Baroque Music Part Two) One influence of religion in the Baroque era has to be the oratorio. “An oratorio is a large musical composition for orchestra, vocal soloists and chorus. It differs from an opera in that it does not have scenery, costumes, or acting” (Oratorio).
Oratorios are usually written for biblical themes. An oratorio can be about the life of Jesus, the creation of the Nor, a life of a prophet or saint, or any other theme in the bible. During the Baroque era there were many composers who were greatly influenced religion. Among them are Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach, and George Frederick Handel. They were some of the best composers of this era. These composers in one way or another were influenced by religion in some part of their lives and have composed musical pieces based on the Christian religion that will live on for many years to come.
Antonio Vivaldi was a composer who was originally a priest. He took holy orders at the age of about twenty-five, but poor health caused him to leave the ministry after a Hear” (Examine 126). Vivaldi composed operas and fine church music in his career. He Nas an inspiration for Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach took Vivaldi music and improved upon them as he saw fit. George Frederick Handel was a very talented composer. He wrote many secular pieces and operas, but in the end, found his best work as the oratorio.
His oratorio’s found more success than any of his operas. “His best know work in this genre, Messiah, has been performed continuously and in many countries around the world. Perhaps more than any other piece in European musical tradition… ” (Adam). His Messiah is based on the life of Christ, from the beginning to the end. This piece has given him great success and fame. Even after Handel’s death the Messiah grew in Christmas season. He was considered to be one of the best composers of his day to Germany.
The wide range of expression at his command is shown not only in the operas, with their rich and varied arias, but also in the form he created, the English oratorio, where it is applied to the fates of nations as well as individuals. He had a livid sense of drama. But above all he had a resource and originality of invention, to be seen in the extraordinary variety of music in the pop. 6 concertos, for example, in Inch melodic beauty, boldness and humor all play a part, that place him and J. S. Bach as the supreme masters of the Baroque era in music. Bubonic) Johann Sebastian Bach is considered one of the best composers in history, if not the best. Bach is considered one of the best composers for many reasons. A master of music he contributed a new aspect to almost every genre that he composed for and he composed music for every genre except opera. He also had a great Imagination which allowed him, to take other composers music and improve upon them. He was considered to be so important in the Baroque period that his death marked the end of the period. Bach wrote many types of religious and secular music.
He was very devoted to the church. Gary Adam says that, “Bach was a very religious man, so religious that he thought music to be a sacred expression of Joy. In his own thinking, Bach considered all of his compositions to be sacred, even if they were never intended to be performed in church. ” He was a Lutheran and wrote many church pieces in Leipzig, where he held the position of municipal Experimentalist, here he wrote about 295 cantatas. One of Bach’s best known cantatas is his Cantata NO. 140 Waste AUP, ruff nuns die Stemmed written in 1731. Later vocal music owes much to these cantatas, from the exquisite, delicate miniatures of Romantic period song-cycles to the grandiose choral exaltation of the closing movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony” (Baroque Music-Part Two). Bach’s music still has an influence on us today. He wrote many cantatas, arias, fugues, and concertos that are still played today. Bach was greatly influenced by religion. Most of his works were made for its use in the church. He glorified God as best he could and in his works it can be seen that Bach had a true passion for religious music.
The Baroque period, through the Catholic and Protestant churches were important in furthering the musical development of the coming years. Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederick Handel, Antonio Vivaldi, and other such composers were important in helping other musicians such as Beethoven to develop their own music. Many of Bach’s cantatas and Handel’s Messiah are done because of the influence of religion on their lives. This influence on them eventually affected other musical composers in he later centuries as well. Today religion is still affecting different genres of music.
We still have composers rutting music based on religious text or singing glory to God. However religion’s impact is clearly not as strong as it was in the middle ages, renaissance or baroque periods. We can vividly see this in the presence of Death Metal bands, such as Dark Disciple or Cannibal Corpse, who sings about some of the most gruesome stories about murder and death, or the Hip Hop music genre which generally raps about prostitutes, sex, drugs, and murder as well. Nonetheless there are still some religious Electric bands. These bands are still influenced by religion.