Introduction should sense the wonder in their

Introduction

Most
traditions and religions in the world have excellent reasons for having chants
in their hearts. The accomplishment of the sound of chanting is compared to the
achievement of silence in meditation. Chanting raises the emotional center
making it vibrate to the frequency of adoration and love at the same time
giving the body the wonderful higher divine life. Holy chanting is a powerful and
significant way of purifying and the awakening of the soul because it provides
the experience that exceeds the power, the divine passion, and our passion
itself. Chanting is a matter of seeing words on a page and putting voice on
them with little or no regard on whether you change the intonation or not. When
chanting, one should not concentrate much on how they sound instead they should
sense the wonder in their tone and their breadth. In singing there seems to be
a collective agreement across the various traditions that the created realm is
brought into being by the divine source and that the elements are in every
person. It is a mystery how one’s voice, whether bold or timorous, high or low,
large or small, is related to the true self. The beauty, uniqueness, and the
aliveness of the quality of every chant are brought by the ability to sing it
out naturally with no strain or pretense. The earliest songs were of few
syllables and sounded quite simple, but later the use of large buildings
started to influence chants making use of the echoes from the halls and
introduction of additional syllables especially in the festive seasons. The
chants developed further to the extent of where singers were singing in tongues
making the chants more diverse which lead to them being written down and
collected by religious leaders of the time such as Pope St. Gregory from whom
the Gregorian chant was named after. It was clear that these chants were
becoming more elaborate and the faithful had to form special choirs to join most
of the chants. Since then this sacred music started to move from the
congregation to the specialized scholars. According to Richard L Crocker, there
is a similarity as well as the difference in the history, practices, attitude,
and significance of sacred chants within the Islamic, Hindu, and Christian
contexts.

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Comparison
of attitudes towards sacred chants within Islamic, Hindu, and Christian
contexts

There
are similarities in the attitudes of Muslims, Hindus, and Christians towards
their holy chants. All treat their chants as a sacred music with the belief
that it creates room for divine worship and is formed sincerely. They consider
chanting as an integral and necessary way to glorify God and sanctify the
faithful. They believe that chanting is an irreplaceable, noble and unique
function which is truly inspired and beautiful manifestation of their spirits.

By chanting they feel a connection with their divine source more than other
arts of peace, virtue, or goodness. Another similarity in the attitude towards
sacred chant is the fact that sacred music in the three religions has a
characteristic of holiness meaning that it is set to glorify God and to
sanctify the faithful. Chanting itself is not ordinary or for every day even in
the way it is performed. The characteristic of beauty includes the excellence
of form whereby the sacred music unifies diverse ritual elements as well as
serving a wide range of holy expressions. That seems to be the main reason the
religions propose chants as sacred music. The characteristic of art makes it
possible for the chant to be internalized in the minds of those listening to it
as a musical sound. The universality character is the ability to be accessible
and understood by people of different cultures and passed over generations.

Faithful in the three religions have a similar care to the chants where they
involve the whole will and intellect, senses and emotions, physical gesture,
memory, powers of expression and imagination. The chants seem to raise the
spirit and the feelings. Muslims, Hindus, and Christians believe that chanting
is a way of unifying with the Lord and can invoke blessings from God and lead
to a peaceful and gratifying life. They do not treat chanting as just reciting
of words but as an efficient way of awakening the senses and connect with
divine powers. When one listens to chants from the three religious groups,
there is a feeling of silence and calm that leaves more energy and life force
that accelerates the process of healing. Another similarity in the attitude
towards sacred chants in the three religions is how they are recorded in
various places where people can see them for reference.

Contrast
of attitudes towards sacred chants within Islamic, Hindu, and Christian
contexts

Although
the religions might have similarities, there are also differences in the
Muslims, Hindus, and Christians attitudes towards sacred chants. One difference
is that Hindus have different chants for different purposes while the Muslims
chant for freedom of mind and Christian’s chants are mainly for glorifying God.

Another difference is that in Islamic religion chants are forms of words that
are repeated several times even if they may have similar meaning, but in Hindu,
chants are verses set aside to serve their different purposes and Christians
use music which relates to nature or divinity. Most of Christians’ songs are
done by special choirs called scholars due to their complexity and art but in
Hindu and Islamic religions chants are easy to recite to everybody for they are
not complicated. There is a significant difference in the way chants in the
Christian faith continue to evolve compared to the Mantras of Hindus and
Muslims. When the Islamic chants and the Hindu mantras are a direct connection
to their God, the Christian chants contain some essential insights of the
liturgy. Hindu chants possess symbolic drawings of every mantra while Islamic
chants have the various name of their God the Christians chants are more of
structured wordings and phrases that only appear in writing. Muslims most
preferably use their chants in their primary Arabic language for it is
advisable to use them in their original form while Hindus use their mantras in
the Buddhist practice and language but for Christians, the chants are widely
translated and recited in local languages. Another contrast between the
attitude towards the sacred chant within Islamic, Hindu, and Christian contexts
is the fact that Muslims extract their chants from their Holy Quran. The Hindus
remove their mantras from their various Holy Scriptures such as the Vedas while
Christians get their chants from hymns and the Holy Bible and the Gregorian
chants. There is a difference in the formation of chants across the three
religions whereby in Islam the chants are led by one leader and answered by the
faithful, in Hindu, the chants can be recited collectively. In Christianity,
there is a polyphonic design where independent melody lines are sung by
multiple voices to make a musical fabric.

Conclusion

Our
bodies are made up of energies that vibrate with cells that move together. When
the natural rhythm and movement of these components is disturbed, disorders or
diseases might arise. When we chant our cells respond and vibrate to bring back
the harmony. It also uplifts the mood, balances the mind, activates the free
flow of energies and as a result, leads to blissful joy. Musical performance
depends on the way the person is expressing themselves and their willingness
and enthusiasm of performing. History has suggested the development of chants and
creates new ideas of modern performance. The chants have had essential meaning
to the faithful as well as the people who listen to them for they bring a
feeling of originality and sincerity. It is common to find a person complaining
that they have no inner core of practice or any experience even after spending
years of chanting. This can happen if the chants are recited with no devotion,
no patriotic pattern or even without the understanding of the chants. According
to Richard L Crocker, in his book Chant, Chanting and Gregorian chant, there is
great importance in listening and observing different musical effects. With the
prevalence of technology, the originality of music has faded leading to the
loss of the real experience and musical understanding and appreciation.

Religious chants hold the sensitivity of holiness and sound as the real
connection between the faithful and the divine power. However, the effective
and understanding of chants depends on the religion for it is evident that
there are significant similarities as well as differences in the attitude of
Muslims, Hindus, and Christians toward their sacred chants (Crocker,
2000).

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