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Music, ecclesiastical

(7,037 words)

Author(s): Kremer, Joachim | Sparn, Walter | Fischer, Michael | Petzoldt, Martin | Totzke, Irenaeus
1. IntroductionThe term ecclesiastical or church music encompasses all music that is heard within Christian churches. This purely functional sense implies no musical genres or stylistic properties. The abundance of manifestations of music in the Catholic (see below, 5.2.), Protestant (see below, 5.3.), and Orthodox churches (see below, 5.4.) precludes an absolute definition valid across the whole of history. Using the term “spiritual music” makes matters no easier, for spiritual music need not be liturgical. The term “religious music” has only added to the general confusion since instrumental music became an object of increasingly intense admiration in the late 18th century and music came to be understood as a “religion of art” in the 19th (Kunstreligion). The best way of achieving definition in terms of the function of music seems to be to equate ecclesiastical music with “liturgical music.” This also reveals the highly problematic nature of the distinction between “sacred” and “secu…
Date: 2020-04-06