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Participation Post for “Music and Spirituality” | Week of 4/22-4/29

To receive participation points for this unit, please leave a comment on this post with your responses to the questions asked in the lecture videos for Music and Spirituality. Like with blog posts, you are also expected to leave a substantial comment in response to one of your classmates. You can access the lecture videos on this Youtube playlist or from the course schedule. Lecture videos are uploaded on Wednesday evenings. Participation comments are due by Wednesday 4/29 at 11:59pm.


  1. Come up with a few ideas about what makes music sacred. For example: Location? Purpose? Style? Message?
    Do you need music needs to have religious text in order to be sacred?

    Well first, obviously music being sacred can be defined differently by each person. I personally consider sacred music to be traditional music with purpose of a religious factor. Specifically, there are different types of music that connect people together and that goes without saying for religious people and how they can connect to certain music, in this case, sacred music. It starts at a very young age and how you are exposed to that type of music, if you go to church when you were young, you will be exposed to “sacred music” and understand that as the definition. So, I believe sacred music is just traditional music for that ethnic group, music created a long time ago that is used to kickstart the ethnicity or expand it like how Mevlevi Sema Ceremony used music to connect the ceremony together spiritually and setting the mood. Then newborn music can follow along, creating similar forms of that sacred music by using similar musical elements and instruments. With religious text, you can introduce more culture and tradition to the music by creating a unique aspect of the music via the religious text or whatnot. However, you don’t NEED the text to identify something as sacred music in my definition as stated before.

    • Hi! I totally agree with how you started your post, that is definitely true that sacred music is defined differently by everyone. I think that can be based on the ethnicity/culture/religion of the person. I also like that you included that the sacred/religious text helps connect the music to the culture which makes it sacred. That is a very good point that I did not think of! The connection to the culture is definitely a part of the sacredness of the music.

    • I agree with where you mentioned that sacred can have different meanings for different people. I also like the fact that you included how religious text helps introduce more culture and transition to the music. I think that is an interesting point made.

    • I agree with your ideas on introducing culture and tradition in music because a lot of it can enhance our spiritual beliefs involving our culture. A lot of the sacred musical pieces can be passed down within a family’s culture and they’re able to create a more unique aspect via the religious text. I liked how you were able to combine your ideas to connect them together to show a good definition in terms of sacred music.

    • I agree with you and I like how you talked about what sacred music really is and what you would define it as. I also really liked how you mentioned that for everyone it is very different. I feel like you made a lot of interesting points throughout your whole paragraph. It was a brief and short but very informative type of summary.

    • I find it interesting how you mention that “when you were young you will be exposed to sacred music”. Because when were younger our parents brought us to their place of worship for us to grow and get to know with them.

  2. 1.Come up with a few ideas about what makes music sacred? Location?Purpose? Style? Message?
    2.Do you think music needs to have religious text in order to be sacred?
    I think the message and purpose of the music makes it sacred. For example, in my religion, Judaism, almost all of our sacred music and songs come from sacred texts. Because the music involves words that God or a holy prophet said, it is considered a piece of sacred music. On the Sabbath especially, many people sing special songs of Psalms which is considered a sacred text. In addition, when I think of sacred songs, prayers and blessings come to mind. Many of the blessings and prayers we say are said in the form of a song. One example that comes to mind is the Grace After Meals. The Grace After Meals is a group of blessings thanking God for the food we just ate. Most people have tunes for those blessings which makes it a sacred song. The purpose of these blessings and prayers are to thank God or to express our love to God. Those purposes give the music the title of sacred music as well. Based on my opinion and my religion, I don’t think songs that are instrumental or without sacred text can be considered sacred music. I think the definition of a piece of sacred music can only be if there is sacred text because through the text we can see the purpose and the message. Without the text, it is difficult to know the exact purpose and message of the music.

    • Hi Sophia! I like how you mentioned that on the Sabbath you sing songs of Psalms which are sacred texts. I thought that was a great example to show which pieces are sacred. Although I had a different opinion on if texts make something sacred or not, you gave great example of texts in our religion that show how sacred certain blessings and prayers are, like the Grace After Meals. Great post 🙂

    • Hey Sophia, I also agree that songs that are instrumental or without scared text can not be considered sacred music! I personally believe scared songs are sacred due to their connection with g-d, instead of a spirit. I liked how you used the example of the Grace After Meals, because I chose to write about “Lecha Dodi” and they are both related to Shabbat 🙂

    • Hi! I thought you gave great examples like the grace after meals. I also share similar values and agree with your opinion on what makes music sacred.

  3. I think there are a lot of aspects that make music sacred. For example, the location that music is played can have a large impact. I think music that is played in places of worship or prayer, such as a synagogue, church, or mosque can be considered sacred. Houses of worship are considered holy as this is a place where one connects to either god or deeper aspects. The purpose of a piece of music has a large impact as well. If the purpose of the piece is for a way to put one into a state of mindfulness and deeper connection, then it can be considered a sacred piece. Pieces of music can be made with specific lyrics or melodies that can connect one’s body to their mind, allowing one to feel certain deeper emotions, especially if higher presences are mentioned. Music has a large impact in the way it makes one feel, as well as their mood. The style that music is portrayed can be in a way can make one feel more connected either through lyrics or melody. The message that a piece of music can have on one is so powerful and strong. A message through music has a certain way of impacting people as it can reach one’s deepest emotions and have a profound impact on their feelings as music can really have an influence. I personally don’t think that music needs to have a religious text in order to be sacred, as one can feel emotion just from melodies or harmony. Additionally, I think that certain songs that might not be considered “religious” or “sacred” texts can still have deeper meanings about life and humanity, and could therefore still be considered sacred, despite the lack of specific religious text.

    • I like that you included houses of worship along with the churches and such, because although I don’t particularly believe in god or anything, it does have a meaning to listen to music in locations like those. I’d also like to agree with your opinion that music doesn’t need to have a religious text within it to be sacred.

  4. 1) Come up with a few ideas about what makes music sacred. For example: Location? Purpose? Style? Message?
    Sacred music is usually sung in places of worship. That can be in a synagogue, mosque, church, etc. The purpose of sacred music is to thank g-d and express one’s love and appreciation towards him. Specifically in Judaism, those who follow traditional Jewish rights, do not employ musical instruments as part of the synagogue service. If they do, it is done after the day of rest (Shabbat) for celebrating purposes. One example of a song that Jews sing is “Lecha Dodi”. This song is performed vocally without any instruments because of the time it is obligated to sing. It is sung generally in a synagogue before Shabbat starts, so the use of instruments is not efficient. The message of this song is that we as Jews, have to welcome Shabbat. Not only welcome it, but treat it as if it were a bride. Brides are significant because in a wedding, she is the center of attention and that night would not be possible without her. Everyone should prepare and make this night different from any other nights of the week.

    2) Do you think music needs to have a religious text in order to be sacred?
    In my opinion, I believe music needs to have a religious text in order to be sacred. The definition of sacred according to Google is “connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration”. One can find it hard to connect to g-d without text. The text helps guide us as to what we should say to g-d, whether that is thanking him or repenting for our past actions. One taking away the words of a song and only leaving the instruments, may say the song is spiritual. Yes it can be spiritual, and people can feel the presence of a higher power through that, but spiritual and sacred have two different meanings. A spiritual person is someone whose highest priority is to be loving to oneself and others due to the reason that we are all equal. That does not necessarily have to include g-d unlike the idea of sacredness.

    • It was interesting to see your point of view on whether if music had to have religious text in order to be considered sacred since I had said it didn’t. I like how you backed up your claim clearly stating the reasons why, also with the definition of sacred.

  5. I think the purpose/motive behind the song and the lyrics are some of the many things that can make music sacred. I believe that the purpose/motive for the song’s creation is one thing that makes music sacred because it holds representation of the message the song is trying to convey. I also believe that lyrics are another factor that makes music sacred because they express the meaning behind the song and what kind of story it is telling. Listeners can relate to the song by taking the lyrics into understanding.

    I do not think that music needs to have a religious text in order to be sacred. Lyrics in songs can be talking about God or about religious purposes without having it be “religious”. There can be songs that are for different religions and also for praising different Gods without directly mentioning religious terms.

  6. 1. I suppose in every part of the world they have a sacred music, so it could be based upon location, for example if it’s a historical piece of music with a long and ancient background in that area, it holds meaning for the people who live there. If it has a purpose, for instance, mass music for churches, which also counts as a message for the believers of god who gather there for prayer, to always believe in him and humble one’s self before him. If there has to be something said about the specificities of style for sacred music, I think it should stay in one mindset, for a specific use or purpose and only for that. For instance, if it’s a piece of sacred church music, they would only sing it for religious purposes, etc.
    2. In my opinion, I don’t think that music needs to have religious text to be regarded as sacred, as long as it has a purpose in someone’s eyes and they deem it sacred to them, in a way it is to them. It may not be “sacred” to people who don’t know of its particular significance to the person involved, however it has a specific meaning towards them which makes it so. Even without having any religious text or significance embedded into the piece of music, it can hold an impact that is profoundly different for every person who listens to it. On the other hand, traditionally a piece of music is only considered sacred when it’s been blessed with an archaic history, that extends back to god, or some other holy figure, that is worthy of worship, in which it becomes tradition to express in song during mass. In other words, as long as it’s old enough, it could be considered sacred, and worth protecting for the future generations.

    • I agree I think that as long as someone is seeing the purpose of the song as being sacred then it is. I like that you mentioned the archaic history. Typically what’s considered sacred has some direct link to god. I also think that the style of sacred music is hard to generalize because of the diversity of religions.

  7. There are a lot of aspects that can make music sacred. I think that the location plays a role in it being saved. If it’s used in a house of worship or if it’s played at a religious event. The purpose also determines if music is considered to be sacred. For example, if the purpose is to share a message from holy scripture. This would definitely qualify the music as being sacred. Sometimes songs are used as a form of prayer.
    I personally don’t think that music needs religious scripture to be considered sacred. If music is used as a part of prayer even without the scripture it’s sacred. I think that without the scripture included it would be harder for people outside of the region to identify it as sacred. Since it wouldn’t include context unless it’s being paired with a religious act that they can see. Most religious music that I have heard included some sort of scripture.

  8. Many different things can make music sacred. I do believe that location does play a role in terms of a church, places of worship, religious events, and groups of people who sing together worshiping. Sacred music’s purpose is to worship in a more joyful way with others. Many rituals also are composed of sacred music. Different sacred musical pieces have different purposes in terms of prayer, a funeral, Sunday mass, and even to just strengthen one’s faith. I think that sacred music has a style in terms of influence on people and how it can be used in terms of religious events. I feel like a lot of sacred music consists usually of a piano and guitar. It’s a way that someone’s mindset can focus. Every sacred music piece has a different purpose but most importantly it can help people focus on their faith and lead to a positive mindset in loving the lyrics and the type of instruments that are included.
    I believe that music doesn’t necessarily need a religious text or lyric in order to make it sacred. Many pieces can be used as sacred pieces just by their melody, harmony, and the instruments used. Every piece of music has a purpose and message we can use those lyrics into believing it’s sacred. It a song has a meaningful text we can relate it to our faith and our beliefs in terms of religion.

    • I like when you say “Many pieces can be used as sacred pieces just by their melody, harmony, and the instruments used”. I did not even think about how sacred songs don’t have to include lyrics even. They could just be people who are worshipping through instruments. Sacred songs don’t have to have religious text or lyrics because its the purpose that makes it sacred.

  9. 1. Come up with a few ideas about what makes music sacred. For example: Location? Purpose? Style? Message? I would say what makes music sacred has a lot to do with its purpose: creating a separation for something that is respected. It also has to do with location as well. If a certain piece of music is written for God and is played during church masses I would consider that music to be sacred. There is a specific time and place to play music that is sacred. A song that isn’t sacred, for example a pop song we might hear on the radio, would be strange if it was heard at a religious gathering. While pop songs are common to the general public, songs of worship are not common therefore create a separation from what is sacred and what isn’t.

    2.Do you think music needs to have religious text in order to be sacred? I don’t think music needs to have a religious text in order to be sacred. For example, there are many christian songs that are sung at church that do not directly quote the bible. They don’t have to because the message is the same. Spiritual songs don’t have to include religious text in them. Sometimes the purpose of those songs is for people to worship with them. In this case, it might be easier to summarize or paraphrase the religious text into something that is singable. Nevertheless, the song does not need to have religious text in order to be sacred.

    • i agree that pop songs are definitely not music that is sacred. I also liked how you mention how christian songs don’t quote from the bible for it to be sacred because thats a thought I hadn’t thought about.

  10. 1) Come up with a few ideas about what makes music sacred. For example: Location? Purpose? Style? Message?

    – I would say what makes music so scared is that it has a ton to do with its motivation: making a purpose for something that is so well known and listened to. It has to do with area or location too of where the music is made in. There are some songs that are specifically music that is composed for God and that is played during chapel/church masses. In my perspective I would think that this is a sacred type of music. A tune that isn’t sacred, for instance a pop melody which we may hear on the radio.

    2) Do you think music needs to have a religious text in order to be sacred?

    – I for one don’t feel that music needs strict sacred writing to be viewed as holy. If music is utilized as a piece of prayer and something holy even without the ‘sacred writing’ it’s holy. I imagine that without the sacred writing included it would be more difficult for individuals outside of the area to distinguish it as sacred.

  11. What makes music sacred? Does it need text?

    In my opinion I think most music that are sacred fall into religion. Many songs that are played for sacred things like baptism, rituals, sacrifices they are all mostly contributed to religious things. The location could also play a role in making music sacred because there are places people deem as sacred and ritualistic. However, music can also be sacred even without lyrics. I feel like music can be sacred depending on the people who listen to it. Although some people might not think a type of music is sacred, it can be different to other people. For example, the songs Buddhists use to pray in temples usually don’t have lyrics, but it can be very important to them when they are praying.

    • Yes I agree with you! The Buddhists who used to pray just had to connect with God and their way of connecting can be through peace. I feel like all this depends on what is within you and the way that you can bring your mind at ease. Lyrics can help pass a message, but individuals can do this in their mind as well!

  12. 1. A lot of things can make music sacred. For one the message behind the music. Music based around religion is sacred because its message is connected to the higher power that said religion believes in (for example; Christians believe in God). This also can be related to the purpose. If the purpose is to spread the message of God or a higher power, it can be consider sacred. Location also plays a factor. For example, music played in a Church or a place of worship would be considered a sacred place to play sacred music. Another aspect can be the style. Like in gospel music, they sing in a certain way with certain instruments to receive a desired sound.
    2. I don’t think that music needs religious text in order to be considered sacred. I say that because there are many sacred songs that don’t have any text in them. Some sacred songs do have religious texts but not all of them do.

  13. 1) Come up with a few ideas about what makes music sacred. For example: Location? Purpose? Style? Message?
    Sacred is known to be connected or dedicated to a religious purpose. The location is a big factor for what we consider a music to be sacred or not. If the location is somewhere in a holy place such as churches, synagogues, madirs, any place of worshipping God(s), I would consider that music sacred. My example is that when I was younger, I was exposed to music in a temple and words or messages that the priest was saying were considered the music to be sacred. He was sending a message to God and blessing up with it. Definitely something that has curses or is pop/rap, etc would not be considered sacred. It has to be connected to God and something that might make your mind feel calm.

    2) Do you think music needs to have a religious text in order to be sacred?
    No, music does not need to have a religious text in order to be sacred. Instruments for example Mevlevi Sema Ceremony had instruments playing, yet people felt the connection spiritually with God. Also, in my culture, The sitar, a string instrument, a pooja bell, etc can just have a lot of meaning to it. It helps to bring peace in one’s mind and I feel like once you have that peace in your mind and you can connect with God, you don’t need lyrics. It all comes from within, so I agree others may have different definitions about this as well based on their religions.

  14. 1. I think what makes music sacred has a lot to do with its purpose as the purpose makes up the sacred reasoning to its creation which can connect to its message as well. The message can be of a deeper meaning that can connect one to their religion. The location can make music sacred as well because If the music is played regularly at a religious setting that means it serves a purpose to be there in the first place.
    2. Music doesn’t need to have text in order to be considered sacred because it is all about the deeper message within the sound basically it’s purpose. Also music can hold different values to each person, that each sound within the just the instruments can help one feel more connected with themselves and their faith as well

    • I agree with your point that Music doesn’t require a text to be considered sacred because it’s the message that makes it sacred. With the use of instruments, the sound helps connect people. I like all the points you made, you described them very well.

    • I agree with your point that the location of sacred music could be anywhere but it needs a purpose of being there. Also about the message is usually connected to religion

  15. Depending on the culture, sacred music is different for everyone. Usually, it is for tradition and the reason why it is being sung makes it sacred. But, to focus on one thing, the Catholic Church considered sacred music as monophonic music with one voice (one melody) and an accompaniment. No harmony or chords and it had a simple flow. Sacred music is usually sung at church and it would be for God. The catholic church believed any music outside of those standards was secular. But I know performing at a place of worship is for a purpose and only certain music can be played there. For example, playing Living on a prayer in a church doesn’t make it any less secular.
    I don’t think music needs to have a religious text to be sacred because just in the way it sounds you can tell the difference between sacred and secular music, lyrics definitely help but it isn’t necessary. Hearing certain melodies on an instrument can still be sacred and till help people connect to their religion.

  16. 1. What makes music sacred? Location, purpose, style, message?
    Sacred music is music that has religious context and influence behind it. I feel like the location of where the music is performed is not as important as the purpose and message behind it. Sacred music is meant to have a meaning to it. When thinking about sacred music it is often associated with classical or jazz music. The lyrics that go along with the music does actually enhance the sacred feeling the music is trying to convey.
    2. Does music need to have a religious text in order to be sacred?
    This is where I would change my opinion on the location of the music performed being important. Oftentimes sacred music is performed in churches which is a way to make it more sacred. If you take away the text of the music, then the location may seem to be more appropriate in a church setting. Without the religious text it may be hard to differentiate sacred from none sacred because the text alows there to have a purpose and meaning behind the words being sung.

  17. 1.Come up with a few ideas about what makes music sacred? Location? Purpose? Style? Message?
    2. Do you think music needs to have religious text in order to be sacred?

    The idea of music being sacred comes from many different things, some being the location, the message and the purpose. There is a specific place for the music to be played for it to be considered sacred such in a church where people come together to worship their god and then sing to come together. The purpose of a sacred song is for people to share a message and spread awareness to other people. It gives people a deeper connection and different state of mind than what they had before, which makes it a sacred piece. I think a message especially makes music sacred because it can have such a powerful effect, reaching the person’s feelings and getting them to feel very emotional. Something that wouldn’t be considered sacred is something that is heard in everyday life such as rap songs, or the pop songs heard on the internet and stuff. I don’t think music needs to have religious text in order to be sacred because, many songs don’t have text from their religious object such as the bible, or some may be lyric-less.

    • I agree with most parts such as that the purpose of sacred music is about the message it transmits into people. It was interesting to read how the location is a factor of how it makes music sacred.

  18. Come up with a few ideas about what makes music sacred. For example: Location? Purpose? Style? Message?
    Do you need music needs to have religious text in order to be sacred?

    I think the message of music can make it sacred. Some religious music is connected to religious texts which can make it sacred. Also, some pieces of music are meant to put a message across, or reinforce rules of the religion and beliefs. Also, when music has a purpose of wether it is meant to be played or sung during a specific prayer or at a certain holiday this makes it sacred. Although location can play a part to sacred music, I think many religious connected songs don’t need to or don’t have a location associated with it. I don’t think music needs to have a religious text in order to be sacred. I think the music can connect to beliefs and values without relating to a specific piece of reading.

  19. I think what makes music sacred is if it avoids being secular and only contain holy lyrics. The lyrics should only be dedicated to their religious beliefs. Another important factor is the message. For example, if the song is about a god of their religion, what does the song writers want to tell the people listening to it about their god? I believe that music needs the involvement of religious text in order for it to labeled sacred music. A reason being is if it didn’t have religious connections then it would just be labeled as regular music.

  20. 1). Music can be sacred by the way people view it. It has to be written for God or have the purpose of honoring God. Usually sacred songs are played at churches, when a person wants alone time with God or they are trying to connect with God. The style of sacred songs are usually slow and the words really touch the person who is listening. A person wouldn’t normally hear sacred nusic played often unless they want to hear it.
    2). I think music needs a religious text in order to be sacred because many songs in the church are written from what is in the Bible. They take a verse or an experience and put it into a song that people may understand. Lots of songs have messages that can be connected back to what you read in a religious text.

    • I do agree with your idea of sacred as someone who is religious. However, I think that an individual can be religious in other aspects. For example, “he was religious in his love for his wife” so anything that would remind him of that love can be considered sacred to him. It doesn’t have to do with a connection to God but, moreover with something that the man values as important

  21. 1. Come up with a few ideas about what makes music sacred? Location? Purpose? Style? Message?
    2. Do you think music needs to have religious text in order to be sacred?
    I believe what makes music sacred is the purpose, the location, and the message of it. I believe that the purpose of sacred music is for it to spiritually affect people. By this, I mean that it causes people to feel a certain way and it helps them with their prayer to their higher being. Location helps make music sacred by the place it is performed. For example, music performed in a church would be considered sacred since it is clearly being played for a religious purpose and in a religious place. The message is also what makes something sacred because the message helps with the spirituality, For example, Kyrie helps put this holy and sacred environment in church that nourishes the emotional and spiritual minds of people. It creates this feeling of holiness. I don’t believe music needs to have religious text in order to be sacred. I believe the way it enables its followers to feel is what make it sacred. Yes, sacred music is sometimes based off religious text, but those that aren’t are still considered to be sacred due to the feelings and mental state that they invoke.

    • I agree with you in terms of what makes a text sacred. Also in terms of the requirement of a religious text, as it isn’t needed. Describing it as a feeling they get is kind of vague though

  22. In my opinion, sacred music is rarely heard aside from the time you are practicing your religion, it has a deep connection with individuals and has been around for a long time. Sacred music is has a traditional style that is meaningful to a group of people. These styles usually don’t change because they can change the purpose behind sacred music.
    Purpose also identifies if music is sacred or not. If the music doesn’t invoke calmness or inner thought/ reflection it is not doing its job. For these reasons, a lot of sacred music is hard to change and evolve.

    Even though religious text can make it easier to determine if the music is sacred or not it is not necessary to make music sacred. A lot of sacred music doesn’t contain textual references.

  23. 1. I believe that the most important thing that makes something sacred is its message and the context in which it is used. The message of the piece has to relate to something sacred or special in order for the song to be sacred. This can be seen in Amazing Grace as the lyrics of the song relate to how faith and religion can save someone from a bad destiny. At the same time, the use of the song has a lot to do with it as well. If it is used for special ceremonies and worship then people would see it as something for special occasions.
    2. I don’t believe that a song has to have a religious text to be sacred. Depending on the society, they might not even have a religious text, but they do have unique cultures and traditions. The music tied to these traditions would be the sacred ones, being special and saved for special occasions.

  24. 1. Come up with a few ideas about what makes music sacred.
    a. In my opinion when thinking about sacred music, music with a purpose comes to mind. Music is a way of communication between the artists and his/ her listeners. That in itself is a sacred connection between two beings. However, because I am a religious person sacred music to me is music that connects my soul and my purpose of life with the man above. The message in sacred music differs from different religions. Also, when thinking of religion, it doesn’t always have to do with God. A person can be religious in worship of many other things.
    2. Do you think music needs to have a religious text to be sacred?
    a. Similarly, with the answer for question #1 the term ‘sacred’ for one individual varies to another individual’s ideas of what is considered ‘sacred’. So no, I do not believe that music has to have a religious text or any text at all to be considered sacred. I believe a simple melody can be understood and related to in many different ways and that melody can become sacred to an individual.

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