Presentation on theme: "Sound, Music and Religion The Power of Sound. Everywhere One Goes Sounds are everywhere: Church Temple Synagogue Mosque Other Sacred Gatherings. Sounds."— Presentation transcript:
Everywhere One Goes Sounds are everywhere: Church Temple Synagogue Mosque Other Sacred Gatherings. Sounds are in Music Prayer Liturgy Spoken word (read and otherwise) Shouts.
Audio Symbols There are three categories: non-verbal music, sound nonconceptual verbal words used in chants and spells (used in the word itself as opposed to the concept the word conveys). conceptual verbal story, myth, rhetoric and doctrine (the written word is an extension of the spoken word. It is an extension of the sound).
A word about Speech The speech act is Fragile Impermanent Intimate It is also “unique, engaging a speaker and a listener in a specific existential situation. All that transpires is the formation of words, symbols of sound, stemming from thoughts.” The words fill the space with the power of the sounds. Native Religions by Sam Gill
A Closer Examination Nonverbal Nonceptual verbal
a long time ago..... The power of music/sound has been recognized by many including Plato who devotes some space to it in his classic work “The Republic.”
He rationalized that rhythm and harmony affect the inner most part of a person and that the desired effect for rhythm and harmony is to produce grace inwardly. He said of music and poetry...
Platonic words “... rhythm and harmony permeate the inner part of the soul more than anything else, affecting it most strongly and bringing it grace, so that if someone is properly educated in music and poetry, it makes him graceful, but if not, the opposite.” Republic 401d- e.
What Music Does It sets the mood Music helps the participant to experience a mood or sensation which enhances the worship experience or spirituality. Native Spirit – Pueblo Sunrise When used with lyrics it describes a story or articulates an idea Music often tells a story or an idea. It can be a testimony or it can be a tribute to a god, person or spirit. Mahalia GSH1 Didn’t It RainDidn’t It Rain
It encourages or sends a message. Sometimes music encourages a person to move on or hold on when life gets weary or sometimes it gives a positive message. Donnie McClurkin - Stand Stand
Music is inseparable from religion Robert Ellwood in “Introducing Religion: From Inside and Outside” has divided music into five categories with regard to its function in religion.
The Five Categories Tribal Chants/Mantras (nonconceptual verbal) Liturgical Hymns/Devotional Performance
Tribal Tribal music is associated with dance, ritual or ceremony of some kind. Usually heavy with rhythm and percussion. It may include shaman songs (religious leaders), chants or melodies song by shamans. It is noted as being communal and very often associated with some sort of ritual or ceremony and performed by particular people (shamans, seer, etc.,) For example (no 7 of yellow disk)example
Chants and Mantras Chants or the rhythmic, repetitious, monotone or quasi-monotone singing of religious words or texts predate written text. The style helps in memorization, ease in listening and creates a particular kind of atmosphere. As parts of magic formulas "the the very sound--vibrations--of the words themselves was part of the power."
Effect of Chants and Mantras In later times only religious professionals and academics were concerned about them. Although many songs have lost some their literal meaning through their performances by certain orders and groups they create a sense of communion and fellowship and invoke a "religious aura" and channel certain kinds of feeling. Some examples are Gregorian chants and Hindu chants. (see Rel. Disk 2 for Gregorian)chants
Liturgical The word means public duty or responsibility. It is a form of public worship. Liturgical pieces are what most people are familiar with. This music is called liturgical because of its intended use in a religious service as the formal liturgy. Usually it is a regular part of the service although it is often song by choirs and musically it is more elaborate than chants. An Jewish example (See Rel. Disk 2 Adonai – Shema)exampleAdonai
Hymns Hymn pieces although are also sung during services have devotion as a main focus of their intent. They expresses tender, deep, feelings in their words and melodies. (e.g. Jesus the Very Thought of Thee) They may also have a "military" feel to them like "Onward Christian Soldiers"). A Christian example (M. Jackson, no. 2 of GSH1 – My God Is Real)exampleMy God Is Real Another example (Little Richard, no. 10 of rel. songs var. – Precious Lord) There is a story behind this song. Precious Lordsong
Performance Performance music like oratorios (Handel's “Messiah”), spiritual songs, organ voluntaries (classical, baroque, etc.) and much contemporary Christian music. “These songs are based on religious themes and create a religious mood, though they may not be strictly parts of worship and its orchestration of symbols, and may well be performed separately from formal worship, at concerts and festivals.” Two Christian examples Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus (St. Martin-in-the-Fields and Soulful Messiah) ChorusSt. Martin-in-the-FieldsSoulful Messiah
Sometimes one puts together music and dramatic presentations. Video Clip from Hampton VA
The Challenge However, problematic for some religious practioners, especially some Christians, is that sometimes the distinction between secular and sacred is blurred. There are songs which “sound” secular. For example Minnie the Moocher Cab Calloway (no. 4 var. rel. 1) It’s Alright Joe May and Winnona Carr (no. 8 var. rel. 1)
Contemporary Times Another example One Nation Under a Groove One Nation Under a Groove Funkadelic (no. 6, rel. vol. 1) Stomp Kirk Franklin (no. 5, rel. vol. 1) Dance Tunes Edwin Hawkins rendition of “Oh Happy Day” (no. 2, rel. song. var.) garnered criticism from many who wanted there to be a greater distinction between secular and sacred.Oh Happy Day
Mary Mary demonstrate this dilemma in their song – Shacklessong Some secular songs have religious “appeal.” Carol King’s (no. 13, rel. songs var.) “You’ve Got A Friend” is an example.You’ve Got A Friend http://www.lbc.net/media/show_images/0805_carol.jpg
In Precious Lord, a particularly religious song and You’ve Got a Friend a secular with some spiritual overtones (no. 1, var. rel. songs 1) is an example of a mix of the profane and holy. Many artists like Aretha Franklin took the “gospel” sound to the secular studio. Sometimes there is a blending. For example, she and noted Gospel musician, James Cleveland collaborated on song which included the words from “Precious Lord” and “You’ve Got a Friend.” http://www.nostalgiacentral.com/images_music/aretha_franklin.JPG http://afgen.com/clevelan.gif