I came across this idea in the Vonnegut book I’m reading today, and it struck me as rather nice. Wow, music is sacred. But then I started to wonder if it’s really true.
Of course, there’s the traditional thoughts behind this idea. There’s ‘sacred music’, including everything from hymns and carols, to most Classical music, which is often written to interpret a Christian theme. I think of the Hallelujah Chorus, which my home church sings together every Easter, a cacophony of sounds that ring mostly in tune. That’s a big, powerful, faithful sound, and to me it sounds sacred.
But when I think about other music that I personally consider sacred, there are many things I don’t include. Rap is not really sacred in my mind. Neither is most popular music. More mellow, reflective stuff is more sacred, or maybe songs that make you think, but often these don’t have a really pumping beat. I can’t think of a pumpy song that I consider sacred. Not that I don’t like popular music – I do, sometimes, find a very guilty pleasure in the dumbest forms of music. It’s just with all that bustling about inside the song, I don’t feel the same uplift that I would from a different, more relaxed and introspective song that I would consider sacred.
Where, then, is the line drawn between sacred and secular or even profane types of music? Is there anyone out there who feels that country music is sacred? What about all the crossovers, like popular tunes that become hymns, or songs that really move and touch and shape us and are so popular because they are sacred?
It reminds me of the similar corollary that all children are special. Some children are very difficult to love and cope with. Does that mean they aren’t special? Are some children more special than others? Who, or what, makes that definition?
Please share your thoughts. What could make music sacred, or not? Is there any type of music that can never be sacred? Why? What about music (like free jazz) that may be very artistic, but still difficult on your hearing? Do meaning, sound, emotiveness, and art form each carry a part of music’s sacredness, and if so, to what extent?