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The Role Of Music (Singing) in The Catholic Liturgy

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The Role Of Music in The Catholic Liturgy

Role Of Music (Singing) in The Catholic Liturgy you Should Know

Singing is a powerful way of uniting a group of individuals into a single body. The singing of the national anthem at a sports event, for example, can unite thousands of strangers in a stadium into a single body, standing together in a common gesture of respect and honor.

Similarly, communal singing during the mass has a way of gathering the many individuals present and making them into a visible expression of what our faith proclaims: that we are one body, united in Christ, offering a single prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God.

“The musical tradition of the universal church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this preeminence is that, as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of solemn liturgy.” The composition and singing of inspired psalms, often accompanied by musical instruments, were already closely linked to the liturgical celebrations of the old covenant. The church continues and develops this tradition.

Historical Of Development of Music

The historical development of music in christian worship is intimately connected with the history of liturgy on the one hand and with the general history of music on the other. Until the late middle ages there was no systematic history of music except that related to the liturgy. After that time, in addition to liturgical music, religious music that was not intended primarily for public worship can also be found.

Such music, then, is a part of the history of liturgical music. There is no doubt that the early Christian communities simply continued the musical practices of the Jewish synagogues that they had been accustomed to attend. Liturgy of the word which was the synagogue practice, served as the model. Readings from scripture were followed by psalm singing.

At least the differentiation between the roles of the cantor and congregation was a clear one. The cantor was also permitted a kind of improvised, charismatic song of joy. It must be remembered that the Jewish synagogues in the diaspora had already adopted the Greek language, and Hellenistic musical practices could also have made inroads into the traditional chants.

Charismatic song associated with Alleluia

The improvised, charismatic song associated especially with the Alleluia- continued in Christian worship, although the dangers of pride and theatricality are often alluded to. A distinction in this regard between the roles of cantor and deacon is often difficult. In the west, it was Gregory who took the song from the deacon.

The general musical practice, however, was of the litany or refrain type. After verses of the Psalms sung by a cantor, the congregation into two groups for alternating verses of the psalms; Basil maintains that this practice was not unique to his region. Various sources for the origin of this practice are given, with being cited as the originator of the practice in west, hence the liturgy.

Development of free melody and poetry

Although the Eastern church had developed free melody and poetry as a part of the liturgical service (especially St. Ephraim), the west was slower to adopt such a practice. After the time of Ephraim, melody became a structural part of divine office in addition to psalms and biblical lessons.

The first allusion in the west to the manner of Psalm singing, which was to become the standard medieval practice, namely the taking over of the responsible refrain into the antiphonal or alternating style, is found in Spain in early fifth century.

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