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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Christian music is music that has been written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding Christian life and faith. Common themes of Christian music include praise, worship, penitence, and lament, and its forms vary widely across the world.

Like other forms of music the creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of Christian music varies according to culture and social context. Christian music is composed and performed for many purposes, ranging from aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, or as an entertainment product for the marketplace.

Contents

Worship services

The most prevalent uses of Christian music are at worship or other religious services. Most Christian music involves singing, whether by the whole congregation (assembly) or a specialised subgroup—such as a duet, trio, quartet, madrigal, choir, or worship band. It is frequently accompanied by instruments—such as an organ, piano, guitar, or other solo instrument, and occasionally by a band or orchestra—but some denominations or congregations still prefer unaccompanied or a cappella singing. One of the earliest forms of worship music in the church was the Gregorian chant. Pope Gregory I was acknowledged as the first person to order such music in the church, hinting the name “Gregorian” chant. The chant took place around 590-604 CE (reign of Pope Gregory I) (Kamien, pg. 65-67). The Gregorian chant was known for its very monophonic sound. Believing that complexity ruined the music, Gregory I kept things very simple with the chant.[1]

Instrumental accompaniment

In the West, the majority of Christian denominations use instruments of various types to accompany their worship. But some (such as some Exclusive Brethren, the Churches of Christ, the Primitive Baptists and the Free Church of Scotland) have historically not used instruments, citing their absence from the New Testament. During the last century or so several of these groups have revised this stance.

The singing of the Eastern Orthodox is also generally unaccompanied, though in the United States organs are sometimes used as a result of Western influence.

Instrumental music

Some worship music may be unsung, simply instrumental. During the Baroque period in Europe, the chorale prelude (for organ) was widely used, generally composed by using a popular hymn tune thematically, and a wide corpus of other solo organ music began to develop across Europe. Some of the most well-known exponents of such organ compositions include Johann Sebastian Bach, Dietrich Buxtehude, Georg Friedrich Handel, Francois Couperin, César Franck and Charles-Marie Widor to name a few. Up to the present time, various composers have written instrumental (often organ) music as acts of worship, including well known organ repertoire by composers like Olivier Messiaen, Louis Vierne, Maurice Duruflé,and Jean Langlais.

The church sonata (for orchestra and chamber group) and other sacred instrumental musical forms also developed from the Baroque period onwards.

Contemporary Christian music

Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) is the marketing, from the late twentieth century to the present day, in Western Christendom of various genres of music, often related to soft rock, for home-listening and concert use. It can be divided into several genres and sub-genres, although the dividing lines and relationships between music genres are often subtle, sometimes open to individual interpretation, and occasionally controversial. These genres (sometimes referred to as 'style') like other forms of music may be distinguished by the techniques, the styles, the context and the themes, or geographical origin. Specific subgenres of CCM may include (but are not limited to): Progressive Southern Gospel, Christian country music, Christian pop, Christian rock, Christian metal, Christian hardcore, Christian punk, Christian alternative rock and Christian hip hop.

Industry

Christian music is supported by a segment of the general music industry, which evolved as a parallel structure to the same. Beginning in the 1970s and developing out of the Jesus Movement, the Christian music industry subsequently developed into a near-billion dollar enterprise. By the 1990s the genre had eclipsed classical, jazz, and new age music, and artists began gaining limited acceptance in the general market.

Media

Today Christian music is available through most available media. Christian music is broadcast over the radio, television, or the Internet. Christian Albums and video recordings (CD, LP, digital download, DVD, etc.) have been increasingly more popular and have continued to increase in sales.

Music festivals and conferences

In the USA several Christian music festivals have been organized. They are common in the summertime and draw many different people, specifically those from organized groups such as church youth groups and campus groups. In addition to music festivals like those that are part of the Christian Festival Association, there are also many Christian conferences which focus more on speakers, but usually also have musical performances, especially for a Worship service.

The Ichthus Music Festival started in 1970. Today festivals are held annually around the world, and may draw upwards of 100,000 people.

Concerts

Like any musical group or act, many Christian musical artists perform concerts in concert halls, bars & clubs, or outdoor venues, as well as in Church-related venues. Sometimes it may be for pure entertainment, other times with the intention of witnessing (evangelizing by bearing witness of one's faith), and other times may be part worship as well.

See also

References

  1. ^ Kamien, Roger. Music: An Appreciation. 9th ed. New York, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008. Print.

External links

Suggested reading

  • Boyer, Horace Clarence, How Sweet the Sound: The Golden Age of Gospel Elliott and Clark, 1995, ISBN 0-252-06877-7.
  • Broughton, Viv, Too Close To Heaven - The Illustrated History Of Gospel Music, Midnight Books, 1996, ISBN 1-900516-00-4
  • Albert E Brumley & Sons, The Best of Albert E Brumley, Gospel Songs, 1966, ISBN na-paperback Amazing Grace
  • Darden, Robert, People Get Ready: A New History of Black Gospel Music Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005, ISBN 0-8264-1752-3.
  • Heilbut, Tony, The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times Limelight Editions, 1997, ISBN 0-87910-034-6.
  • Zolten, Jerry, Great God A' Mighty!:The Dixie Hummingbirds - Celebrating The Rise Of Soul Gospel Music, Oxford University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-19-515272-7.
  • Church Music in Catholic Encyclopedia
  • Enciclopedia Cecilia (in Spanish) Includes a Catholic Encyclopedia about music, wiki-style
  • Palackal, Joseph, Syriac Chant Traditions in South India

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Christian music is music that is written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding the Christian life, as well as to exist as a Christian alternative to main stream secular music.

Sourced

  • "The pipe, tabret, and harp here associate so intimately with the sensual heathen cults, as well as with the wild revelries and shameless performances of the degenerate theater and circus, it is easy to understand the prejudices against their use in the worship."
    • By Augustine, describing the singing at Alexandria under Athanasius.
  • "We have brought into our churches certain operatic and theatrical music; such a confused, disorderly chattering of some words as I hardly think was ever in any of the Grecian or Roman theatres. The church rings with the noise of trumpets, pipes, and dulcimers; and human voices strive to bear their part with them. Men run to church as to a theatre, to have their ears tickled. And for this end organ makers are hired with great salaries, and a company of boys, who waste all their time learning these whining tones."
    • Erasmus, Commentary on I Cor. 14:19
  • "Christian music doesn't require any thought at all! All you have to do is get crappy love songs and replace the word "baby" with "Jesus"."
    • -Eric Cartman, South Park

Unsourced

  • "All music written by a Christian should be as integrated as everything else done by a Christian."
  • "Gospel songs to me are about the mansion in the sky, and washed in the blood of Christ's crimson blood, songs that are filled with biblical wording that's no longer understood by a lot of people."
  • "I feel that Christian music is a subculture directed towards the Christians. It's not really being exposed to non-Christians and it's not really created for non-Christians, so non-Christians almost never hear any of this music."

External links

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