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Free «Secular Music» Essay Sample

In all known cultures, there exists a form of music. The difference is however realized when it comes to the time, the location as well as the genre of music. All cultures have different music but the variance arises out of the application and usage of the music. There are different genres of music in cultures which include pop, secular and religious songs.

There are several factors that however influence the music found in a certain culture. To start with, the social factors like forms of marriage and religion and education, economic organization of the culture, the experience as well as the environmental factors surrounding that culture. The emotions, messages and ideas which are expressed by the music as well as the situations in which that music is played and listened to in conjunction with the feelings and attitudes towards music players and composers; vary amongst cultures, regions and periods. (Schwartz, E. and Godfrey, D, 2003, pp. 45)

Secular music refers to the genre of music which is not religious or sacred. It also refers to the music that is normally written to show or express personal or communal feelings or beliefs on day-to-day life experiences. Secular music is mainly composed and presented to entertain as well as change the manner of presentation of different life teachings and hence reach different and targeted audience.



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To start with, India's formal language is Hindu. The evolution of music in India started back in the early 18th century. The musical tradition is very important to the lives of the Indians because it is a source of education, religious inspiration and teachings, a way of expressing cultural diversity and as a tool of entertainment. (Schwartz, E. and Godfrey, D, 2003, pp. 56)

Indian secular music is monophonic and is normally based on a single melody line and is very rich in devotional messages which are mostly addressed to the Indians. There are a lot of songs emphasizing love, peace, and other social issues. The origins of Indian Secular music are usually retrieved from the oldest of scriptures, part of the Hindu tradition, as well as the inheritance cycle. In contrast to other secular music genres, Hindustani music was not only influenced by the ancient Hindu musical traditions, Vedic philosophy and native Indian sounds but also by the Persian performance practices of the Afghan Mughals who had the earliest unique way of music. (Merker, B. and Steven, M., 2000.pp. 104)

The melody of secular Hindu music is usually based on the system of raga, which are melody types used as the basis for improvisation. There are numerous r%u0101gas, and with each there is an accompanying set of rules for improvisation in that raga. To each raga, an ethical and emotional property is ascribed, and each is associated with a certain season and a certain time of day. For a single raga, however, these improvisations vary.

The ragas were the inspiration for much Rajput miniature painting, which varied according to its period, the place of production, and creator. In the performance of the ragas, great importance was attached to the ornaments, the graces, and any tones that are characteristic of this music. In the accompaniment, rhythm was very complex and was normally based on certain rhythmic patterns, called talas which are often combined in the most complex ways.

The oldest instrument in the Indian secular music was the drum, of which there were several types. The most important instrument was the vina. In ancient times the name was given to a harp. A similar instrument is the sitar the most popular instrument in N India. Hindu secular music has, through its influence on the Beatles in the 1960s, enjoyed considerable popularity in the West. (Colles, Henry Cope, 2008.pp124)

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On the other hand, Greek music originated back from the ancient Greece and was a very important tool for the Greeks. In ancient Greece, mixed-gender choruses were normally performed for entertainment, celebration and spiritual reasons. Instruments included the plucked string instrument, the lyre, and especially the special kind called the kithara. Secular music in Greece played an important role of educating as well as cautioning. To enhance the seriousness of the matter as well as hold the great part if played in the culture, boys were taught Greek music starting at age six. (Small, Christopher, 2007, pp.98).

Since time immemorial, secular music and dance have held an important role in many Jews' lives. Secular Jewish music and dances has both been influenced by surrounding gentile traditions. There are many types of Jewish secular music, ranging from klezmer, which is instrumental music, to Jewish hip-hop and rap. Secular music is used at weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, and anytime other non-sacred music would be used. Secular music is unlimited in its scope, ranging from vocal pop music to classical art music. (Merker, B. and Steven, M, 2000, pp. 120).

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Jewish composers of art music are like any other composers everywhere and are mostly inspired by nature, life situations as well as regional history or events and pre-existing secular music.

On the other hand, tunes from a secular source, sometimes from the music of the surrounding non-Jewish culture, find their way into the Synagogue. However though, many secular tunes have been set to traditional texts and used in the act of worship.


The Judaism secular music is characterized by cultural diversity, and draws upon the wealth of the many cultures in which Jewish people have lived. The distinctiveness of Jewish Secular Music is normally found in the way Jewish musicians integrate outer influences and new ideas into their culture. From the materials incorporated in the Jewish Secular Music, we can therefore note that it is innovative, vibrant, educative, and adaptive and many sided in that it rests upon a firm foundation of shared religious and communal experience. (Colles, Henry Cope, 2008, pp. 66).

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From the three cultures, it is evident that all use secular music in their daily life. In all the cultures, we can note that secular music is used to educate the people through passing on messages that informs them about various life issues, and also cautions the people through showing them the unexpected behaviors and the consequences. Above all, secular music helps to entertain in that it is therapeutic in nature and helps to relieve stress as well as to build self-esteem. (Merker, B. and Steven, M, 2000, pp 134).

In contrast, the three cultures have varied instruments which are used. To start with, the Hindu uses the sitar as an instrument to denote the diversity and richness of their culture in music. The instrument is unique and found only in Hinduism. To add unto that, the shofar, which is a Judaism instrument is only played in special occasions like wedding to signify its importance in the culture. Finally, the baraki of the Greek culture is commonly used to communicate different messages among the people. (Colles, Henry Cope, 2008, .pp.134).

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In conclusion, we can note that different cultures have different songs which serve different purposes and the uniqueness of a certain culture is normally seen in the kind of music practiced as well as the value of importance held by the people for their form of music.


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