• Sacred or Secular?

    Okay, people, which do you prefer? Pre-baroque music has a pretty sharp divide between its sacred and secular music. Which do you like better, and what are the merits of your choice?

    To start the ball rolling, I'm going to have to go with the sacred music option. It's got a peace, beauty, and tranquility to it that I think the secular music of the period can't touch.

    "We must be contented to amuse, when we cannot inform." -Thomas Jefferson
    • [Deleted user] said...
    • User
    • 12 Jun 2008, 21:43
    Pre-baroque sacred must wins this contest in my opinion! A long history of religious music in the Middle Ages recorded and perpetuated into the Renaissance, improving and refining all the while. The first real evidence of secular music was the troubaidors in the Renaissance period.

  • Actually the troubadours were a high medieval, not a renaissance phenomenon. Trobadours, trouveres and minnesingers mostly had lyrics about courtly love, although there were also songs about crusades, for example. Also the goliards wrote satirical secular poetry.

    A very interesting type of secular medieval music was the "avant-garde" Ars Subtilior movement.

    In quantity however, the sacred medieval music wins easily. Although secular music certainly was composed and performed during that period as well, most of the music that was written down and has survived till our day was sacred. But we have to remember also that religion was a big part of every day life in the medieval times. There was no secularism or separation of the church and the state back then.

    • [Deleted user] said...
    • User
    • 14 Jun 2008, 01:13
    I mistyped the Renaissance period in place of the Medieval period regardng secular music and the trobadours. Thanks for bringing that to our attention Luuttuaja!

  • I like some religious very much, but I really do prefer secular, I think.

  • I am not 100% certain, but I believe the troubadour "movement" began in Aquitaine, and spread across continental Europe. The grandfather of Eleanor of Aquitaine (William the somthing-or-other Duke of Aquitaine) was considered something of a poet/composer/singer himself, I believe. And Eleanor became a great patron in her own day. So, definitely 11th, 12th century saw a flowering of secular music, almost exclusively dealing with courtly love, as Luuttuaja says. But I think megatrax' point well made, that they'd had much more "practice" with sacred music, so it was much more developed into a higher art form. Also, there wasn't nearly as much money behind it.

    Didn't Richard Coeur de Lion fancy himself as a composer? I know his distant descendant, Henry VIII, did, but that's fairly well out of the time period.

    "We must be contented to amuse, when we cannot inform." -Thomas Jefferson
  • Well, I'm a fan of Dufay :-D

    My vote goes for secular which I prefer over sacred music. However my favourite songs are sacred....
    I think it's a draw here

    • [Deleted user] said...
    • User
    • 25 Jun 2008, 16:41
    I prefer secular music in general but some music in reference to the ancient greek pantheon is also quite nice.

    • [Deleted user] said...
    • User
    • 7 Jul 2008, 18:27
    Give me secular anyday! I prefer it most of the time, as I love lyric poetry (and dancing mediaeval-style!), but for the sake of my accostumed "spiritual transports", I always have some sacred music in my playlist.

  • I'd say it all depends on the mood I'm in, but there are moments when secular pieces can touch or inspire me like a sacred work (strange I suppose).

    Pax Tecum
    • sinisha said...
    • User
    • 1 Dec 2008, 12:40
    Well, this is a hard one, but I would agree on what Daniel said, pretty much depends on the mood. Secular music cover the themes which are neglected in the sacred, for obvious reasons. Courtly love and exploits of noble knights were not of interests for the church, but those are still important aspects in life of medieval Europe. And, as it should be, music, beside feelings, has to reflect life and everything that goes with it! :)

  • I'd say that in general I'll go for the crushing Beauty of polyphonic sacred music. I think that in polyphonic masses from the 14th untill the 16th century a level of beauty was reached that was never again reached in Western music.

    And loudly from the rooftops hear us shout it --- "Down with the New Age and the proliferation of pet ideologies that only divide hearts on Sacred Observance, and play directly into the hands of globalist hegemonic powers. Up with the simple inextinguishable Light of Truth".
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