Music, memory and faith: How did singing in Latin and the vernacular influence what people knew and thought about their faith in early modern Rome?

Thomas O'Regan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This study examines some of the ways in which the post-Tridentine Catholic Church harnessed music’s reiterative and suggestive powers to promulgate its message. In particular music could stimulate memory and, in Christian Doctrine classes for the young, singing was used widely to sweeten the pill and to aid the memorising of items like the Creed, Pater Noster and Ave Maria. Singing laude spirituali in Italian could impart more subtle devotional knowledge. In later life members of lay confraternities sang hymns, canticles, psalms and Marian antiphons in Latin, as well as laude spirituali. All of this meant that people from all classes in society became familiar with the official texts and chants of the Church and, as a consequence, were susceptible to indoctrination, while being encouraged to memorise the tenets of their faith through music.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-448
Number of pages12
JournalThe Italianist
Volume34
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Christian doctrine
  • confraternity
  • lauda spirituale
  • music
  • memory

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