church music. 1 Music intended for performance as part of services of worship. With few exceptions, music is essential to the ritual of every religion; the singing of prayers and portions of Scripture is part of Judaeo-Christian tradition, and a large number of melodies for specific parts of the liturgy were embodied in the medieval collection of church music called Gregorian chant. Additional musical settings of liturgy from later times to the present have added to the liturgical repertory. Such customary interpolations in the service as the motet, chorale, and hymn have achieved an integral place in many church services. This is also true of the Anglican anthem and was at one time true of the Lutheran cantata. See anthem; antiphon; cantata; chant; chorale; hymn; Mass; motet; plainsong. 2 Music intended for performance in a church outside the regular worship service. This may include works taken from the repertory above as well as music of religious content, e.g., oratorios or sacred cantatas and instrumental music that is not specifically secular in nature. See cantata; carol; oratorio.
See E. Routley, Twentieth-Century Church Music (1964); E. H. Fellowes, English Cathedral Music (5th ed. 1969); E. Dickinson, Music in the History of the Western Church (1902, repr. 1970); R. C. Von Ende, Church Music: An International Bibliography (1980); C. Page, The Christian West and Its Singers: The First Thousand Years (2010).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.