Music is used by all religions, because it opens the Universe of the Sacred to human beings. Church music includes liturgical music and sacred music. It is essential for us to make a clear distinction between sacred music and liturgical music.
Sacred Music is the music of interiority and meditation; it also tends to connect people to the supernatural spirit. However, sacred music, unlike liturgical music, refers not only to spirituality, but to musical art and beauty.
Well beyond religious doctrine, Sacred Music is intended to be both a mystical symbol of the divine and sublimity.
This kind of music is dedicated to serve a sensual aspect. By its monotonous and incantatory aspect, it helps to prayer. Indeed, modal music, whose diatonic intervals, only exploit eight notes, generates an impression of musical fixity and a specific sadness.
New Polyphonyc sacred music: the melody’s line
The melody is the main part of a song, which make it sound like a composition, the accompaniment is based on harmony. The melody therefore defines the essential instrumental or vocal part that scrolls “horizontally” along the thematic line of the melody. Each note of a melody is determined by the interval between it and the fundamental or tonic note. Thus, the concept of melody is opposed to that of harmony, but not necessarily to that of polyphony, which combines several melodic lines.
The canon consists of a rigorous reproduction or imitation of the same melodic drawing after a fixed period of time. Until the 16th century, the cannon was called a hunt or fuga.
Polyphony was the basis of the music of the late centuries. It consists of intertwining and combining several different melodic lines or voices; that are played or sung simultaneously. This system of musical composition has appeared in church in the 9th century in medieval music, and has developed until the end of the Renaissance.
Harmony will “vertically” organize the sounds. This chord science, constituted by the simultaneous playing of different notes (with a minimum of three different pitch sounds), is combined with polyphony and is thus distinguished from medieval monody.
The counterpoint (then the imitative counterpoint) is based on the “canon” that superimposed melodic lines, and thus represented the first type of “horizontal” harmonization. A modal at its origin, counterpoint is the foundation of polyphony, which reached its peak in the Baroque period, during which harmony followed the development of tonality.
The rhythm is modernized: the symbolism of the number 3 (in the mystery of the Trinity); God is One in three distinct elements, the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit.