Sacred music is a universal phenomenon of humanity.
Where there is faith, there is music to express it. Every major religious tradition and most minor ones have music and have it in abundance and variety. There is music to accompany ritual and music purely for devotion, music for large congregations and music for trained soloists, music that sets holy words and music without words at all. In some traditions-Islamic and many Native American, to name just two--the relation between music and religious ritual is so intimate that it is inaccurate to speak of the music accompanying the ritual.
Rather, to perform the ritual is to sing, and to sing the ritual is to perform it. This second edition of Historical Dictionary of Sacred Music contains a chronology, an introduction, appendixes, and an extensive bibliography.
The dictionary section has over 800 cross-referenced entries on major types of music, composers, key religious figures, specialized positions, genres of composition, technical terms, instruments, fundamental documents and sources, significant places, and important musical compositions.
This book is an excellent access point for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about sacred music.