Singing is Distinctly Human

Faith means something different to everyone and as such, faith and devotion to faith are shown in different ways. I believe that music is and has been a universal part of worship because of the way it makes the singer feel. In a world where people cannot read nor write, it was used as a tool to help congregants hold on to text and retain the word of the Lord. Singing, specifically, is a uniquely human ability and because the assumption is that humans are the only animals on Earth to have a relationship with God, singing is an expressive way of communication with God.

As we all know, being at St. Olaf, choral participationĀ builds community and there is something special about singing with someone that with talking can’t be found. McKinnon talks about how the gradual was worked into the mass in the early on as a distinctly musical element in the service (11). This was not viewed as a song, but as an actual reading from the Bible, which shows that music and worship developed together. Not only does music bring people together, but it was for a long time something that only the elites could partake in. It would draw people to churches because they would nowhere else be able to find musicians of such a high caliber and thus confusing their intrigue with the music and the sermon. This is conjecture, but I think that it is probable that it was a tactic to get people into the churches and then say, “since you’re here, listen to this Gospel reading.” While there are many reasons that music is used for worship, they all come down to music being a tool that can engage people with religion like nothing else can.

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