Essay about Religion’s Profound Effect on Musical Development

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Religion’s Profound Effect on Musical Development

Religion has been an important part of man’s life. Man has allowed religion to control and influence his life in many different ways, affecting both his behavior and his actions. So its not surprising that music, one of man’s earliest expressive forms, has also been influenced by religion. Religion has had an effect on man’s music all throughout history, from the early Egyptians to even now. 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
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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. “At first Gregorian melodies were passed along by oral tradition, but as the number of chants grew to thousands, they were notated to ensure musical uniformity throughout the western church” (Kamien 69). So it was church music that needed a musical notation system. This system is a great advancement in musical development. 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

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