Historical Dictionary of Sacred Music
1 volume: Introduction, Chronology
A: Texts of the Roman Catholic Rites
B: Shema and Kaddish
Nearly all religious traditions have a role for music. This dictionary explores many of the composers, styles and works that express religious motives, celebrations and experiences. The majority of entries refer to Christianity and Judaism’s use of music, but other religious traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism are covered as well. The introduction to the book discusses what is meant by the term “sacred music” as in some traditions there is little to no use of music for devotional purposes (Islam) and in others, nearly every artistic expression has its roots in the religion and thus could be considered sacred (Hinduism). About a third of the book is biographical, with brief entries on composers important in various religious traditions. It is not a listing of major composers, for instance the entry on Beethoven is quite short as his output of sacred music was quite small compared to Bach and (ADD ANOTHER). Terms used in definitions that have their own entries are indicated in bold type. Although this is a recent book (2006), the texts given in Appendix A for the Roman Catholic Rite do not reflect the recent changes made to the text of the Mass. The bibliography is extensive and arranged by subject and is very useful for anyone seeking more information on the role of music in a specific religious tradition or in general.