In this episode, the second in my series on sacred music with Paul Jernberg, we discuss the difference between sacred and secular music; and the difference between sacred and art/classical music. Each has a dignity and a beauty, but even the greatest classical music is generally not appropriate for the liturgy. Sacred music must be austere but accessible, simple but not simplistic, beautiful and dignified. It is primarily vocal this allows intimacy, depth, and nuance that communicates itself to the “common man”. The rhythms are based on the Word, rather than the words fitting into pre-conceived rhythmic structures, and the modes and melodies are clearly sacred in their form.
We also discuss why we must have composers today. It is not enough to rely on the canon of chant and polyphony from the past.
Paul Jernberg is the directory of the Magnificat Institute of Sacred Music