Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

On Secularization of Western Choral Music/ANALYSE DE LA SÉCULARISATION DE LA MUSIQUE CHORALE OCCIDENTALE

Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

On Secularization of Western Choral Music/ANALYSE DE LA SÉCULARISATION DE LA MUSIQUE CHORALE OCCIDENTALE

Article excerpt

Abstract:

Although Western choral music was born in the soil of religious culture, it has been in the process of secularization ever since the Middle Ages. Renaissance and the Religion Reformation resulted in a combination of religious chorus and secular chorus and such a combination develops towards a more harmonious and intimate relationship in modern times. This article is to analyze the process and significance of the secularization of western choral music.

Key words: chorus, Renaissance, Religion Reformation, secularization

Résumé: Bien que née dans un contexte religieux, la musique chorale de l'Occident se situe toujours dans le processus de sécularisation depuis la dernière période du Moyen-Age. Sous l'influence de la Renaissance et de la Réforme religieuse, le choeur religieux et le choeurs profane s'intègrent mutuellement et présente à l'époque contemporaine une tendance de fusion « l'un est dans l'autre ». Le présent article tente de procéder à une analyse sur la sécularisation de la musique chorale occidentale et sa signifiance.

Mots-Clés: choeur, Renaissance, Réforme religieuse, sécularisation

Although Western choral music was bom in the soil of religious culture, it has been in the process of secularization ever since the Middle Ages. Renaissance and the Religion Reformation resulted in a combination of religious chorus and secular chorus and such a combination develops towards a more harmonious and intimate relationship in modern times. This article is to analyze the process and significance of the secularization of western choral music.

1. EARLY BUDDING OF SECULARIZATION OF CHORAL MUSIC

Strictly speaking, western music originated from ancient Greek music; but because the music materials of ancient Greece were almost gone without retention, we conventionally regard the Middle Ages as an important starting point to study western music. In this sense, western music in the early medieval times was Christian music. At that time, western music was dominated by Christian music and represented mainly by church chorus.

The most representative form of early chorals3 was Gregorian Chant. As the etiquette songs of Catholic, Gregorian Chant was only sung by padres. The melody of the Chant was detached, quiet and indifferent, which means that the early choral music did not serve for human being's sentiment, instead, it expressed admiration for the other shore and piousness towards God. Thus the early chant music represented by Gregorian Chant was not for appreciation purpose; rather, it was created purely for religious etiquette. Therefore, the chant music did not pay attention to the listening aesthetic; neither did it emphasize the music fun embedded.

As the main music form in early medieval times, Gregorian Chant spread to various places with fast speed, and was especially well received in the north part of Italy, England, Ireland, France, etc. During the 11th to 12th centuries AD, Gregorian Chant got new developments both in horizontal and vertical dimensions. Special attention should be granted to its vertical development. Some monk musicians at that time tried to add a fourth or fifth parallel to Gregorian Chant so as to change its monophony to polyphony, which made the chant to become chorus in real sense. This simplified multi-phonic form is called Organum. At the end of the 11th century, multi-phonic music gradually developed some important forms. One of them was Discantus, principled by reverse procedures, allowed voice crossing and permitted the process of third interval, sixth interval, which made the melody richer. It was mostly used for church with the main melody of motet and mass. Other forms include Conductus and Motet.

The creation of polyphony music on the one hand expands people's understanding and appreciation of the other shore through the conception of harmony mediated by the chorus; on the other hand, it implies the great influence of human beings on the practice of music. …

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