Sacred Music In The Middle Ages

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Music can be traced all the way back to 500 B.C. when Pythagoras experimented with sounds and discovered tones can be formed from plucking strings. During the Middle Ages is when music began to be considered a gift from God. A common way to praise and worship our God was through music; this is how sacred music came about. Soon later, sacred music eventually was overcome by secular music, which is more along the lines of crusades, dancing, and love songs and less of the more religious and spiritual theme that sacred has. There are several different types of sacred music. The most common ones being the Gregorian Chant, Organum, Mass Ordinary, and Renaissance Motets. According to our book, the Gregorian Chant “consists of melody set to sacred …show more content…
Kamien explains, “for the unity of Christendom was exploded by the Protestant Reformation led by Martin Luther.” Luther started the Reformation in 1517 by presenting his “95 Theses”, which were a list of concerns he had about certain practices of the Church. He felt as if that church music should be less about giving hearing pleasure and more of “inspiring religious contemplation.” In response, the Church decided to ignore Martin Luther’s comments, but it was too late, as his idea’s already reached all of Europe. Many started to think the music had lost its purity. Luther was then asked to withdraw his list and then expelled from the church when he refused to do so. To retaliate, the Church starts their own reform called the Counter- Reformation. This reform proved the power of music and its ability to affect the hearts and minds of those faithful to the Church. Through everything, one of the most important Renaissance composers Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina stayed dedicated to his music and the Church. His music “included 104 masses and 450 other sacred works; it is best understood against the background of the Counter-Reformation.” For decades and even still to this day, his music is being used as models of church music because of its “calmness and otherworldly

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