Nearly all religious traditions have reserved a special place for sacred music. Whether it is music accompanying a ritual or purely for devotional purposes, music composed for entire congregations or for the trained soloist, or music set to holy words or purely instrumental, in some form or another, music is present. In fact, in some traditions the relation between the music and the ritual is so intimate that to distinguish between them would be inaccurate. The A to Z of Sacred Music covers the most important aspects of the sacred music of Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and other smaller religious groups. It provides useful information on all the significant traditions of this music through the use of a chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, appendixes, and hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries on major types of music, composers, key religious figures, specialized positions, genres of composition, technical terms, instruments, fundamental documents and sources, significant places, and important musical compositions.
Sacred music traditions vary profoundly from one religion to the next. Even within the Christian faith, one can hear a wide variety of music among and within different denominations. Catholics, mainline Protestants, and Evangelicals have all developed unique traditions. Many people are not exposed to multiple faith experiences in their upbringings, which can make exploring an unfamiliar sacred music style challenging. Because of this, singers and teachers regularly encounter religious singing styles to which they have not yet been exposed. In So You Want to Sing Sacred Music, multiple contributors offer a broad overview of sacred singing in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Evan Kent, Anthony Ruff, Matthew Hoch, and Sharon L. Radionoff share their expertise on topics as diverse as Jewish cantorial music, Gregorian chant, post-Vatican II Catholic music, choral traditions, and contemporary Christian music. This plethora of styles represents the most common traditions encountered by amateur and emerging professional singers when exploring sacred performance opportunities. In each chapter, contributors consider liturgical origins, musical characteristics, training requirements, repertoire, and resources for each of these traditions. The writers—all professional singers and teachers with rich experience singing these styles—also discuss vocal technique as it relates to each style. Contributors also offer professional advice for singers seeking work within each tradition’s institutional settings, surveying the skills needed while offering practical advice for auditioning and performing successfully in the world of sacred music. So You Want to Sing Sacred Music is a helpful resource for any singer looking to add sacred performance to their portfolio or seeking opportunities and employment where sacred music is practiced and performed. Additional chapters by Scott McCoy, Wendy LeBorgne, and Matthew Edwards address universal questions of voice science and pedagogy, vocal health, and audio enhancement technology. The So You Want to Sing series is produced in partnership with the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Like all books in the series, So You Want to Sing Sacred Music features online supplemental material on the NATS website. Please visit www.nats.org to access style-specific exercises, audio and video files, and additional resources.
Ferdinand III played a crucial role both in helping to end the Thirty Years' War and in re-establishing Habsburg sovereignty within his hereditary lands, and yet he remains one of the most neglected of all Habsburg emperors. The underlying premise of Sacred Music as Public Image for Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III is that Ferdinand's accomplishments came not through diplomacy or strong leadership but primarily through a skillful manipulation of the arts, through which he communicated important messages to his subjects and secured their allegiance to the Catholic Church. An important locus for cultural activity at court, especially as related to the Habsburgs' political power, was the Emperor's public image. Ferdinand III offers a fascinating case study in monarchical representation, for the war necessitated that he revise the image he had cultivated at the beginning of his reign, that of a powerful, victorious warrior. Weaver argues that by focusing on the patronage of sacred music (rather than the more traditional visual and theatrical means of representation), Ferdinand III was able to uphold his reputation as a pious Catholic reformer and subtly revise his triumphant martial image without sacrificing his power, while also achieving his Counter-Reformation goal of unifying his hereditary lands under the Catholic church. Drawing upon recent methodological approaches to the representation of other early modern monarchs, as well as upon the theory of confessionalization, this book places the sacred vocal music composed by imperial musicians into the rich cultural, political, and religious contexts of mid-seventeenth-century Central Europe. The book incorporates dramatic productions such as opera, oratorio, and Jesuit drama (as well as works in other media), but the primary focus is the more numerous and more frequently performed Latin-texted paraliturgical genre of the motet, which has generally not been considered by scholars as a vehicle for monarchical representation. By examining the representation of this little-studied emperor during a crucial time in European history, this book opens a window into the unique world view of the Habsburgs, allowing for a previously untold narrative of the end of the Thirty Years' War as seen through the eyes of this important ruling family.
This book offers an account of the sacred music written by Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725) in Rome, a city where the composer lived and worked for many years throughout his career. Using archival research, Luca Della Libera provides an overview of Scarlatti’s life and activities in Rome, addresses his connections with the institutions and patrons of the city, and analyses his Roman repertoire in comparison to the sacred music of other contemporary composers, demonstrating its unique characteristics. An appendix includes transcriptions of the archival sources connected with Scarlatti’s activity in Rome. The first major publication in English to address the sacred music repertoire of one of the major composers of the Italian Baroque, this book offers new insights into Scarlatti’s work and a valuable resource for researchers in musicology and early modern studies.
John Merbecke (c.1505–c.1585) is most famous as the composer of the first musical setting of the English liturgy, The Booke of Common Praier Noted (BCPN), published in 1550. Not only was Merbecke a pioneer in setting English prose to music but also the compiler of the first Concordance of the whole English Bible (1550) and of the first English encyclopaedia of biblical and theological studies, A Booke of Notes and Common Places (1581). By situating Merbecke and his work within a broader intellectual and religio-cultural context of Tudor England, this book challenges the existing studies of Merbecke based on the narrow theological approach to the Reformation. Furthermore, it suggests a re-thinking of the prevailing interpretative framework of Reformation musical history. On the basis of the new contextual study of Merbecke, this book seeks to re-interpret his work, particularly BCPN, in the light of humanist rhetoric. It sees Merbecke as embodying the ideal of the 'Christian-musical orator', demonstrating that BCPN is an Anglican epitome of the Erasmian synthesis of eloquence, theology and music. The book thus depicts Merbecke as a humanist reformer, through re-evaluation of his contributions to the developments of vernacular music and literature in early modern England. As such it will be of interest, not only to church musicians, but also to historians of the Reformation and students of wider Tudor culture.