Question by Fumiko S: Why is music such an important part of church in the 18th century?
Handel’s Messiah, for example, tells the story of Jesus. Why did people in the 18th century believe that music in church was so important?
Answer by DJK
Even today, in many denominations, music still is a very important part of the church service. Some services have “modernized” and do not use as much music or as complicated music as in the past. There are many traditions of different denominations that consider the music and singing as the worship itself.
For example, in the oldest tradition, the Roman Catholic mass (service) was completely sung. In some Catholic churches today that tradition is still used.
There are many, many choral and instrumental pieces that have been written well past the 18th century, even today, that are specifically written for sacred use. Many are even on the scale of Handel’s Messiah.
So to answer your question – Because music, both instrumental and vocal, was/is believed to be worship in and of itself, not thought of as just an ancillary part of a sacred service. This holds true with a lot of people today as well.
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