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Music of the Eucharist -A Case Study of Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion

Music of the Eucharist -A Case Study of Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion


1.0 INTRODUCTION                                           

1.1 Background of the Study

Music as a culture indicator is loved by the people of Nigeria especially the Christian churches. The Anglican Churches are mostly concerned with the use of music in their lives. However, sacred music, which is used for worship of the Almighty Father, appears to be the most appreciated of all the other types of music. Music, apart from entertainment serves various other purposes in various organizations and social institutions. Music speaks to the soul of man. It touches the whole of man. Therefore, the more it draws man to God, the better. Apart from music being used to enhance activities, appease and invoke God, it is also used for consolation purposes. When one is emotionally disturbed or troubled one picks up a suitable tune which miraculously consoles one.

As music is very relevant in social life, so is it in religious worship.  Religious activities in the Anglican Church are more often than not accompanied with music. The Anglican Church inherited and developed her music tradition from the Jewish religion (Judaism) – from the synagogue music and chanting. This has been seen as a foundation to her liturgical music. The bible tells us in the book of Ephesians (chapter 5:19),  “speak to one another with Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to the father for everything”. There, St. Paul acknowledges the excellence in music for approaching God and amongst brethren. Furthermore, James 5:13 adds, “is anyone happy, let him sing songs of praise”. In the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded by St. Mark 14:26, it says, “when they had sang a hymn, they went out to the mount of Olives”. The latter incidence happened during the institution of the holy Eucharist (Lord’s Supper) and portrays the pre-eminence of music before further acts. By the grace of God, the Church over the years has been blessed with members whose musical giftedness and artistry have enriched her liturgy with their art. Moving from the Apostolic times through the Gregorian period (the age of monophonic music) to the era of great masters like J.S Bach and G.F. Handel, and up to the classical period (1750 – 1820) when piano made its first appearance in the music avatar the church music has been on the growth. The classical period was followed by the era of Romanticism which featured great masters like Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Robert Schuman etc. This is the era of orchestral and choral music development which led to the rise of choral societies and concert halls followed by the era of Romanticism. (Grout, 1985: 234)

In the beginning, the development of liturgical music received great impacts during the Gregorian era. With the conversion of Emperor Constantine in       AD 313 and declaration of freedom of worship for Christians, the Church emerged and grew from strength to strength. As the prestige and power of the Roman Emperor declined, the papal strength increased. From the 5th – 7th century, attempts were made by many Popes to raise the liturgy and its music. The greatest achievement in the development of liturgical music was recorded during the time of Pope Gregory 1 (509 – 604AD) who was credited with the collection of Latin hymns which were later named after him as the “Gregorian Chants”. This whole body of music known as the Gregorian Chants was so very well accepted in the Catholic Church that it remained part of her liturgy till date.

Fundamentally, the purpose of music in liturgy is to give worship a whole form. The Anglican Church accepts music as a necessary and integral part of her liturgy. Church music has come about in at least three ways. The first is by functional association. This would include music which is not related to any religious text or tune associated with a text. The second is, the preludes and fugues (not based on chorales or hymns tunes) written for the organ and commonly used as prelude. Third is the postlude in worship which could be considered as being the “Church Music” through liturgical function             (Sadie 1994: 760).

  • Statement of the Problem

This work is an original composition of the sung Eucharist in the Anglican communion as set to music by the researcher.   The following problems necessitated the study:

  1. Its newness and strangeness to the church of Nigeria since the revision of the Eucharist Liturgy.
  2. The virility and worthwhileness of the music vis–a-vis the backward state of musical literacy and appreciation of art music in Nigeria especially in church where gospel music seem to be undermining the prospect of art music today.
  • Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to make original composition of the Sung Eucharist in the Anglican Communion by making a case study of the new Eucharistic liturgy of church of Nigeria.  To achieve the above objective, the researcher intends to

  1. Make original compositions of the Sung Eucharist in the Anglican Communion using the texts of the new Eucharistic Liturgy of Church of Nigeria.
  2. Notate the music using any musical software

iii. Make detailed structural analyses of the composed music of the Sung Eucharist of the new Eucharistic Liturgy of Church of Nigeria.

  • Significance of Study

The significance of the study of the sung Eucharist will enhance the documentation and retention of the vital information about the Eucharist including musical scores of the Anglican Eucharist for future use.  The composer is highly convinced that this project will generate the required interest to the musicologists, especially the art musicians who venture into church music composition, Choirmasters, Priests, students, Music teachers and the public who are interested in the church music especially the Anglicans.

1.5 Scope of the Study

This work is limited to the English version of the New Eucharistic liturgy of the church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion as set to music by the researcher, in its holistic review.

1.6 Plan of the Work

The study from chapter one opened with the introduction of the set goal. Thereafter, the author reviewed the literature in chapter two by delving into the conventional definition and description of Eucharist which taught him further to evaluate church music and its attendant problems and prospects. The methodology is contained in chapter three. In chapter four, the compositions are presented together with the structural analyses. In chapter five, the researcher brought this study to a conclusion and made some recommendations.

—This article is incomplete———–This article is incomplete———— It was extracted from a well articulated quality Project, Research Work/Material

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