Christ, His disciples, and Paul and Silas used music in worship (Mt 26:30; Acts 16:25). Pliny* the Younger wrote to Trajan (see Persecution of Christians, 3) that the Christians sing a hymn to Christ as God. Ch. fathers speak of Christian song. Ambrose* helped develop ch. music. Gregorian* music became standard.
A. M. T. S. Boethius* regarded music as part of mathematics and an instrument of philos. with ethical influence. Polyphony developed throughout the Gothic Period (ca. 1200ca. 1450). The Renaissance rejected some things in Boethius and F. M. A. Cassiodorus* but continued to stress the scientific aspects of music. As music flourished at courts it suffered in chs.
Under leadership of M. Luther good music flourished among his followers. In line with the doctrine of the universal priesthood of believers he encouraged singing of hymns by the cong. as well as the choir (see Luther, Hymns of). Luth. students of theol, were required to study liturgics, ch. music, and hymnology. Luther rated music next to theol. and made knowledge and appreciation of good music an important requirement for pastors and teachers. He regarded it as an aid to worship that helps present the Word and express reactions of the worshiper. In course of time the Luth. Ch. came to be known as the singing ch. with a rich musical heritage. See also Chant; Chorale; Chorale Prelude; Hymnody, Christian, 56; Luther, Liturgies of; cf. WA 35; WA-Br 5, 639; WA-T 3, 636, No. 3815.
Other 16th-c. Luth. leaders (e.g., P. Melanchthon,* J. Bugenhagen,* N. Selnecker,* J. Walther,* G. Rhau*) also adopted attitudes toward ch. music that allowed for progress and helped prevent obsolescence.
The Luth. heritage of hymns includes versions of parts of the liturgy (e.g., Agnus Dei: O Christ, Thou Lamb of God; Gloria in excelsis: All Glory be to God on High; Nunc dimittis: In Peace and Joy I Now Depart; Sanctus: Isaiah, Mighty Seer, in Days of Old).
Distinctions bet. ch., concert, secular, and folk music were rarely, if ever, made until the 16th c., when Reformed groups and the Council of Trent* raised points of difference. For hymn texts the Reformed (including Puritans and Pietists) required Bible texts (sometimes versified, e.g., by T. Beza* and C. Marot*). The E Orthodox Ch. and Angl. Ch. also have important schools of music.
Legislation of the Council of Trent was directed against the nonliturgical character of some ch. music, curtailment and unintelligibility of liturgical texts, and use of nonchurchly vernacular songs in ch. The 1903 motu proprio of Pins X (see Popes, 30) est. norms of holiness, true art, and universality for liturgical music and recommended Gregorian chant, classical polyphony, and approved modern compositions but disapproved the use of instruments, except the organ, in ch. In RCm choirs are a lower clergy; in the Luth. Ch., choirs are a part of the cong. Vatican II's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, ch. 6, contains a short code of sacred music.
Composers of Luth. ch. music include H. L. (v.) Hassler,* H. Schutz,* J. S. Bach,* J. L. F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy,* H. A. Distler,* Ernst Pepping (b. Duisburg, Ger., 1901; works include Spandauer Chorbuch; Choralbuch). WEB
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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