In music history classes (or any history courses for that matter), it is pretty predictable that teachers are going to expect students to start reading the beginning of their textbooks regarding such periods as the “Dark Ages,” and move forward to be able to analyze how thoughts about education and technology have been reformed over time…and how these changes have contributed to a much more sanitary lifestyle. Because the Roman Catholic Church was the ruling political institution of the Holy Roman Empire (or modern-day Europe), it exercised dominion over several educational subject matters, one of which was music. As a result, it is safe to say that all forms of music began in the church. A lot of people would automatically assume that music has strayed far from its religious roots. But, there are still large religious and spiritual communities which listen to sacred music not only at church, but, also for leisure, though their purposes for doing so may have changed over time.
*DISCLAIMER: This article does not attempt to demonstrate bias toward or against particular faiths; it would be difficult to examine every religion’s music history in depth. That being said, this entry focuses on religions with extensively documented musical changes over time. Discussion is open to sacred/worship music of any sort, so please be respectful of other people’s belief systems!*