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Master's of Sacred Arts, Individual Courses

Introduction to Sacred Music

Matthew Williams


Instructor Information 


Matthew Williams


Course Description 


Students will learn the types and place of sacred music in the Church, as well as a general overview of the history sacred music, reading Gregorian Chant. Classroom instruction will also incorporate music of the Divine Office and other ceremonies of the Roman Rite. 


Promoting the use of music in the work of evangelization is an essential element to the program, and so the philosophy of church music and its influence on our culture is discussed through the study of both the theological and moral importance of good musical forms based on writings of popes, church fathers, theologians and philosophers. 


Course Work


The Introduction to Sacred Music Course consists of 15 online lessons (listed below) which include approximately one hour each of in-class and subsequent outside work. Assignments include reading, quizzes, online lectures, instructional videos demonstrating the skill of Gregorian Chant, recording yourself and uploading files to the Pontifex website, and other tasks given by the instructor. 




Grading is based on the scoring of four equal parts, described below: 

1/4 - In Class Quiz Scores

1/4 - Discussion Forum Participating 

1/4 - Recording and Skill Demonstration 

1/4 - Final Exam 


Class Schedule 


  1. What is Sacred Music
  2. The Types of Sacred Music 
  3. The Place of Sacred Music Part 1: The Mass Ordinary 
  4. The Place of Sacred Music Part 2: The Mass Proper 
  5. The Place of Sacred Music Part 3: The Divine Office 
  6. Repertoire and Memorization Lesson: Three Gregorian Chants Everyone Should Know 
  7. Introduction to Gregorian Chant and its Development 
  8. Polyphony - Its Origin and Great Composers 
  9. Psalmody 
  10. Protestant Influences on Catholic Music 
  11. The Organ 
  12. Reading Chant Lesson 1
  13. Reading Chant Lesson 2
  14. Reading Chant Lesson 3
  15. Reading Chant Lesson 4



Here is the class outline:

1. Lesson 1

What is Sacred Music

2. Lesson 2

Types of Sacred Music

3. Lesson 3

The Place of Sacred Music Part 1 - Mass Ordinary

4. Lesson 4

The Place of Sacred Music Part 2 - Mass Propers

5. Lesson 5

The Place of Sacred Music Part 3 - Divine Office

6. Lesson 6

Reading Chant 1

7. Lesson 6.5

Reading Chant 2

8. Lesson 7

Introduction to Chant - Its History and Development

9. Lesson 8


10. Lesson 9


11. Lesson 10


12. Lesson 11

Hymnody 2

13. Lesson 12


14. Lesson 13

The Organ and Other Instruments

15. Lesson 14

Final Lesson Review

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