Monday, August 22, 2011


Sacred music has its beginnings with King David playing his harp. He is known to be the first to write sacred music, some of which still today is used in churches  and temples. King David played for King Saul, the first king of Israel. King David would eventually become the second King.

As I have referred to in previous posts, song and music play a significant role in religions as song and music can be very inspirational, if not for the words, for the melody. Classical  composers would be commissioned to write music for the church in Europe such as Johann Sebastian Bach. Choirs were introduced in churches in Europe. In the Christian churches Gregorian Chanting was common, while in the Eastern churches Byzantine Chanting was more common. 

Chanting goes goes back to the ancient religions. In Hindu Temples in India, Holy or sacred music is called Carnatic music. They have the Pujari (Priest) chant the Archaka, or otherwise known as praying. The musical instruments commonly used in a Hindu Temple  ceremony include, but not limited to the Nadasaram (a flute like instrument) and the Harmonium which in appearance looks like a small piano.

The harmonium is used in classical, semi-classical, and devotional music. Just to name a couple of the instruments used. 

In the ancient tradition of Judaism and Greek Orthodoxy the "conservative" forms of these religions do not use instruments in their ceremonies  or liturgies. Only voices and in the both religions, only male voices.

As to Greek Orthodoxy, this is because when one enters the Church, one enters the celestial world where there are no three dimensional objects such as statutes and there are only voices, generated by the gift God bestowed us.  Heavenly made, not man made!

Only the "Old Calender followers" still follow these traditions. 

In  main stream Orthodoxy, there are pipe organs which accompany a choir composed of male and female singers. Pipe Organs have been used in churches from the 14th century. In the Catholic Church Guitars are used as part of the service. 

I encourage you to view the video below for a short Orthodox chant with a byzantine icon of the birth of Christ:

In North America especially in the south in the "Bible Belt" including Texas where the Baptist Christian church is prevalent, Gospel hymns and songs are the main activity of the day in church. You cannot even imagine a service without a choir singing  their heart out and using their hands in inspiration. 

Below is a video from the world renown Soweto Gospel Choir.

The Native Americans believe that the flute is a sacred instrument and that the spirit of the tree from which it was made projected through the flute. The flute has been used in prayers by our first people.  It is considered a sacred instrument.

I am in favor of any conduit that brings you closer to our creator. When certain sounds are heard whether from Mother Nature, song or instrument give you goose bumps, ~~ that is the energy and power from above that can take you from your worries of everyday life and inspire you to open your heart and become one with all. From the time of King David to the time of Soweto Gospel choir combined with ancient chanting one thing is constant, we are inspired to love and give to our fellow man for the betterment of all!

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