Liturgical Music Terminology

Although music has no doubt been an important part of life for many cultures since antiquity, it was in the hands of the Western Christian Church that music underwent important developments that were to send it on a series of courses leading ultimately to classical forms and then on to influence today’s myriad of musical styles. It was in the hands of the church that musical notation was invented and then refined.

Doxology – This term refers to a short prayer or hymn of praise that extols the glory and majesty of God.

Prelude – An introductory performance or piece of music

that precedes a principal matter or event is called a prelude. It is oftentimes the music opening a church service or an introductory voluntary.

Interlude – This is a musical composition inserted between the parts of a longer composition or a religious service.

Postlude – This is the instrumental music played at the end of a church service or a performance.

Oratorio – It is a musical composition for solo voices, chorus, orchestra, and organ, to a religious text generally taken from Holy Scripture. The most prolific oratorio composers are Georg Freidrich Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach. The most famous oratorio ever written is Handel’s Messiah.

Chorale – This is originally a hymn of the Lutheran church sung by the entire congregation.

Spirituals – It is a term used for religious folk songs, usually of a

deeply emotional character, created and first sung by African Americans in slavery.

Hymn – It is a type of song, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer. It is commonly used both in private devotions and in corporate worship.

Magnificat – (latin) Mary’s song of praise saying, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” – Luke 1:46-55. incorporated into the liturgical services of the Western churches (at Vespers) and of the Eastern Orthodox churches (at the morning services).

Requiem – It is a musical composition with a theme of prayer for salvation and redemption commonly used in masses immediately preceding a burial, and on occasions of more general remembrance.

Contemporary church music – This is a genre of popular music defined by its lyrical content performed for many purposes, ranging from aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, or as an entertainment product for the marketplace. However, a common theme is praise, worship or thanks to God and/or Christ.


Article Written By Athena

Freelance writer since 2007 Content Provider Musician Educator Homeschooling WAHM

Last updated on 14-05-2016 55 0

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