A lot of music has been composed to complement religion, and many composers have derived inspiration from their own religion. Many forms of traditional music have been adapted to fit religions' purposes or have descended from religious music. There is a long history of Christian Church music. Johann Sebastian Bach, considered one of the most important and influential European classical music composers, wrote most of his music for the Lutheran church. Religious music often changes to fit the times; (Salimpoor, 2011) Contemporary Christian music, for example, uses idioms from various secular popular music styles but with religious lyrics. Gospel music has always done this, for example incorporating funk, and continues to do so.
Monotheism and tonality, all tones relating and resolving to a tonic, are often associated, and the textures of European homophony, equated with monotheism, may be contrasted with Asian heterophony, equated with poly or pantheism. Navajo music's cyclic song and song-group forms mirrors the cyclic nature of their deities such as Changing Woman. (Salimpoor, 2011)
Music in Christianity
The earliest Christian or Jewish notion of a song devoted unto God, was mentioned in the whole chapter of Exodus 15, where the Israelites returned from Egypt, and had seen what God had done once they crossed the river (and Pharao's armies where destroyed in the river). The musical notes where lost just as every of the old psalms. A Christian view point of 'Sacred Music' is to be fully inspired by the Holy Spirit, to bring forth musical tones and words (sometimes accompanied by musical instruments); in honor and reverence to God. Many Christians consider sacred song to be a spontaneous revelation, opposite to a song that is sung over and over again. 'Sacred music' or Sacred song is also known in Christian circles as 'Inspirational music', 'Free Worship', 'Free Flow' and 'Prophetic song'; they are very close connected to Free worship inspired by the Holy Spirit in 'Tongue language'; which is basically the singing of speaking in Tongues or otherwise known as 'rivers of the spirit'.
There is virtually no record of the earliest music of the Christian church except a few New Testament fragments of what are probably hymns. Some of these fragments are still sung as hymns today in the Orthodox Church, including "Awake, awake O sleeper" on the occasion of someone's baptism. Another early hymn is the Phos Hilaron (Greek for "Gladsome Light") which was part of the Liturgy of the Hours morning prayers (matins) in the early Christian Church. It is a hymn describing the morning light. Being Jewish, Jesus and his disciples would most likely have sung the psalms from memory. (Amber, 2004) However, the repertoire of ordinary people was larger than it is today, so they probably knew other songs too. Early Christians continued to sing the psalms much as they were sung in the synagogues in the first century.
Gospel music in general is characterized by dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) referencing lyrics of a religious nature, particularly Christian. Subgenres include contemporary gospel, urban contemporary gospel (sometimes referred to as "black gospel"), Southern gospel, and modern gospel music (now ...