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Religion in music has been a form of expression for a very long time. In the age of the Renaissance Giovanni Pierluigi Da Palestrina constructed a musical motet called “Viri Galilaei.” This beautiful piece was composed in 1534. Although it is sung in Latin translated to English you can truly see the spiritual form that it holds. Basically it is speaking about men of Galilee looking up into heaven questioning it, but the voice is telling them that there is no need because Jesus will come in due time to take them back with him. Giovanni constructed this piece as a six part choir motet. When you listen to it you can hear how harmonious the voices sound. It sounds A Capella as I do not hear a beat or instruments to the song. To me the texture sounds light and silky. As for the melody, it is hard to decipher because it is spoken in Latin. The slow rhythm to this song really amplifies the fact that it is a sacred angelic song.
I absolutely love Gospel, and I’m glad it has changed over the years. One song in particular is “We lift our hands in the Sanctuary” by Kurt Carr. This song is so harmonic and brings a feeling of joy that surrounds you. The Melody is amazing, its uplifting and will definitely have you humming even when the song is over. Every time I’ve heard it in a church the beat is so strong and powerful people begin to clap along with it. The chorus is so catchy if you hear it once you can easily sing along with it.
These two pieces where made in a totally different era, however still manage to hold some common grounds. To start they both are religious pieces. Both are speaking in terms of there being a higher spiritual realm in a positive way. Also, they both share a harmonic choir feel to them. Although they are similar you cant deny the differences. Even though they would both sound amazing A Capella, “We Lift Our Hands” is not. This gospel song is made to really make you stand up and dance. You can hear the percussion, piano, trumpets, and even guitar its just so full of life. “Viri Galilaei” on the other hand is Capella. It shares a more holy slow worship vibe to it. The drawn out harmony makes it sound like it would be in a Catholic church vs a more African American Gospel church. They both have different ways of delivering there worship praise.
I used Voices of Angels by Hildegard Von Bingen from the medieval period and The Lamb of God by Kirk Franklin from present day. In my opinion, Voices of Angels sounds more like an opera rather than a song. The harmony of this song has a very high pitched voice throughout the song and it sounds very emotional and sad to me, making it a constant rather than a dissonant simply because there is harmony. The texture of the song is monophonic because it is only sung by one person in which it also sounds like there are no instruments being used. The Lamb of God is a totally different piece of work compared to Voices of Angels. I love the melody of this song because different people have different pitches in their voices and it makes you really feel the song in an emotional way. Like if you are in church, you really feel the spirit when listening to this song. The rhythm of this song is unique too because every beat that you hear, hits a point of a person’s voice. Every beat is different depending on the high pitched or low pitch of a person’s voice. They are different because Voice of Angels does not really sound like a song, you cannot really tell that someone is singing but talking to the top of their lungs in a way! LOL! There are not any instruments being used in this song either. They are similar because they both sing about a religious concept.