Ephesians 5:19 (Speak) to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.
From Catholics to Jehovah’s Witness, music plays an important role in Christian worship and services. Christian music expresses one’s personal and communal belief in Jesus Christ and His teachings. It is a way for believers to express their praise, love, and devotion for God. Many churches begin their sermons with hymns and gospel music such as “Amazing Grace” by John Newton, “Mary Did You Know” by Mark Lowry, “Above All” by Michael W. Smith, and much more. Here is a list of 10 interesting facts about Christian music!
- Music was first mentioned in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible in Genesis 4:20-21 “Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes. ”
- Instrumental music was used to worship God in the Old Testament in 1 Chronicles 15:16 when the Ark of the Covenant was delivered to the Tabernacle. King David commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their brothers as the singers who should play loudly on musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals, to raise sounds of joy.
- In 112 A.D. Pliny the Younger wrote a letter to Emperor Trajan, a governor in the Roman province of Bithynia (modern-day Turkey), explaining that early Christians “ were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god,” according to an article from org.
- Ambrose of Milan (340-397), also known as the “Father of Christian Hymnody” introduced rhymed, acapella hymns that are the basis of the hymns we have today, according to org. St. Ambrose composed songs such as “O Strength and Stay” and “At the Lamb’s High Feast.”
- The Gregorian Chant or “plain chant” was the church music of the Roman Catholic Church in the Medieval Ages (5th-15th Century), according to org. A Gregorian chant is church music sung as a single vocal line in free rhythm and a restricted scale (plainsong). It is a style developed for the medieval Latin liturgy. Examples of the Gregorian Chant include “Dominus Illuminatio Mea” (The Lord is My Light), “Dies Irae” (Day of Wrath), and “Kyrie Eleison” (Lord Have Mercy).
- In the 1100s, a French composer named Pérotin introduced polyphonic music to the church. Polyphonic music has two or more voices or instruments, each with an independent melody, but all harmonizing. Pérotin composed songs such as “Alleluia Nativitas,” “Sederunt Principes,” and “Viderunt Omnes.”
- William Booth (1829-1912), the Founder of The Salvation Army, used religious music to attract more people to the church, according to org. Booth had a lively band play secular music set with Christian lyrics. He called it “salvation music.” Booth’s Christian songs include “Onward Christian Soldiers,” “O Boundless Salvation,” and “Send the Fire.”
- Reverend Thomas Dorsey (1899-1993) created Gospel music which is African-American religious music that combined the secular blues genre to sacred Christian texts, according to org. Dorsey wrote over 400 compositions but his most well-known song is “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.”
- Larry Norman (1947-2008) is considered the “Father of Christian Rock” which married Christian texts to secular rock ‘n’ roll, according to The New York Times. Some of his most beloved songs include “Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music,” “Why Don’t You Look Into Jesus?” and, “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” Norman was a pioneer of the 1970s “Jesus Movement” where Christian songs became more accessible to a general audience and began developing as an industry within itself, according to com.
- The 1970s “Jesus Movement” led to “Jesus music” or what is now known as Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), according to com. CCM encompasses all genres music including Christian pop, Christian rap, Christian metal, and much more.
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