Guy L. Beck
This chapter discusses the theoretical and practical dimensions of music in Hinduism, including the philosophy of sacred sound (Nāda-Brahman), the aesthetics of rasa (“taste”), the rise of Saṅgīta (music) as a component of pūjā (worship) and early drama, the Sanskrit musical treatises of Bharata and Dattila, the development of rāga (melodic pattern) and tāla (rhythmic cycle) from early scales and Sāma-Gāna (Sama-Veda chant), musical instruments, bhakti (devotion), and various classical and devotional genres of Bhakti-Saṅgīta, including Kriti, Dhrupad, Khyāl, Haveli-Saṅgīta, Samāj-Gāyan, Bhajan, and Nām-Kīrtan, within southern (Carnatic) and northern (Hindustani) traditions. Music is essential to Hindu mythology, where divine beings perform and instruct humans in the gentle art that facilitates both enjoyment (bhukti) and liberation (mukti). Prevalent in sacrifices, temple rites, domestic worship, sectarian movements and films, music is invariably part of Hindu worship in India or the Diaspora.
This chapter discusses music in Jewish contexts from the Bible until the present day. Music in Jewish religious life historically and at present includes cantillation of the Bible, the chanting of prayers, and synagogue song. Various forms of liturgical music developed among Ashkenazic Jews (Jews who lived in Europe) with nusach, modal chanting of prayers that was led by the chazzan. The artistically embellished prayer known as chazzanut is a unique musical and liturgical development. Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews (Jews whose heritage is in the Mediterranean and Middle East) adopted a range of musical styles from their surroundings. The adaptation of a known song in this region to religious poetry is known as piyyutim, a well established practice for hundreds of years. Comments on modern trends on a variety of issues conclude this chapter.
Frank Burch Brown
Religious uses of music are highly varied, manifold, and yet selective. Some traditions, such as Islam, are wary of employing music in worship. By contrast, the Christian Mass can sometimes be musical throughout. Music’s powers, often regarded religiously as God-given, have much to do with its intimate connection with emotion. Music is involved in trance or in mystical states, and engages in acts of prayer, proclamation, and praise. It functions communally to establish religious identity. When combined with specific Christian teachings, music can also function sacramentally. Since antiquity, moreover, music has been associated with mathematical order and harmony, tuning the soul to the divine and to the cosmos. In all these ways music appears able to transform, and not merely reflect, religious perceptions and experience.
Music, a source of motivation, well-being, entertainment, and survival in diverse lives of African Americans, has afforded them experiences of signifying their humanity amidst horrific oppression, while engaging in creativity, worship, and rituals of celebration. Rooted within African traditions, where sacred and secular are one, some African American musical genres are more fluid, engaging a tension between how people label and use music. This music shares common traditions and attributes. Using themes of poetry, praise, power, protest, philosophy, and politics, this analysis of African American sacred and secular music: (1) introduces the socio-historical, cultural, cosmological origins and terminology of this music; (2) examines selected musical typologies, from antebellum Spirituals to hip-hop and contemporary classical African American music that foregrounds tenets of so-called sacred and secular music; (3) explores a religious/spiritual impact of these cultural artifacts; and (4) concludes with a literature review of scholarship regarding African American sacred and secular music.