Western Musical Development

In the Western tradition an Italian Benedictine monk named Guido d'Arezzo (ca. 995-ca. 1049) revolutionized the teaching of music during the 11th century. He introduced the four-line staff and is credited with establishing the first six notes of the scale. These achievements made the teaching of music much easier. Another great musical innovation of the 11th century was polyphony—the putting together of two or more voices harmoniously. In the 1300s, the French composer Guillaume de Machaut (1300-77) wrote the first polyphonic Catholic Mass.

Many forms of classical music were created for church services. Most choral music in particular has been written for religious ceremonies. The principal form of such choral music is the mass, a series of pieces composed for a Catholic worship service. The earliest masses were written for small, unaccompanied choruses. Only later did polyphonic masses develop, at times accompanied by instruments. The requiem, which is a special mass composed for funerals, also frequently involves choral singing. Requiems russian choral music

Since the 19th century liturgical and devotional music has been composed by some of the great Russian composers. High points within this tradition include the setting to music of the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom by Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-93), as well as the Great Vespers of Sergey Rachmaninoff (1873-1943). Other secular composers who composed Byzantine choral music are Pavel Chesnokov (1877-1944), Dmitry Bortnyansky (17511825), and Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971). Stravinsky is well known in the West for his Firebird Suite and The Rite of Spring, but he is equally well known in Slavic lands for his musical rendering of the Our Father and for other liturgical music.

Sister Lucia Morales leading hymns during a bilingual Maundy Thursday Mass in Spanish and English at Saint Alexius Catholic Church in Beardstown, Illinois.

have been written by such composers as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91), Louis-Hector Berlioz (1803-69), and Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901).

A hymn is a song of praise, and most hymns glorify God. Since biblical times Jews have used the Psalms of the Old Testament in their services. Until the 1500s most Christian hymns were sung in Latin. In recent years many of these Latin hymns have been rewritten in vernacular, or local language, forms. They have also been joined by a completely new collection of hymns supported by guitars. These hymns have very much been developed to encourage a more active musical participation by the whole community of worshippers.

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