I’ve gotten in the habit of listening to a certain kind of music on Sunday morning, especially if I get up before Xy, usually with Persephone but sometimes alone. I think of it as sacred music, but I’m not sure if that’s the best way to describe it. The core of my collection in this vein was initially composed of churchy Western European art music and plainsong chant. (Is plainsong art music?) When I say churchy Western “European art music”, I’m thinking of things like Allegri’s “Miserere” for example.
But recently I’ve been making a conscious effort to branch out and find sacred music from other traditions, other cultures. So I’ve also been listening to Tibetan chant and Indian ragas and Native American drumming. I’ve also been interested in New Age-y and neopagan approaches.
All of which gets me to wondering about the whole concept of “sacred music” in the first place. What is it? What does it mean? It doesn’t seem sufficient to say it’s music dedicated to God. I have plenty of music in my collection which is explicitly Christian — gospel and (some) bluegrass, for example — but which I don’t consider sacred for some reason that I can’t quite discern. I’m definitely not listening to Stryper on Sunday mornings. So what’s the distinction?
I guess I’m listening for something that evokes a sense of otherworldliness, a sense of time set aside from the ordinary. I suppose gospel and bluegrass are just too suffused with the structures and conventions of popular music to qualify.
We usually switch over to reggae after breakfast, liberally interlarded with ska and dub.