Accepted Paper:

The sound of religious change: changing rituals in vernacular Catholicism  


Kinga Povedák (Hungarian Academy of Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

The aim of this presentation is to give an overview of how cultural transformations in the past half century have made an impact on religious music and how the transformation of religious music generates new forms of religious rituals.

Paper long abstract:

Religions change with time and modernity. As the religious landscape transforms (secularization, resurgence of spirituality, decline in traditional religiosity and the upsurge of fundamentalism), religious rituals change too. At the same time, social and political transformations might also generate reaction on the institutional level and create emerging demands in vernacular religiosity. These action-reaction processes are always interconnected with the search for new, more ideal religious forms by some and the protection or preservation of tradition among the new circumstances by others. The essence of the transformation can best be analysed and introduced through the analysis of religious arts, especially religious music which has always been an inseparable element of rituals.

This presentation aims to introduce how church music of the Catholic Church has changed with modernization, how the transformation of music connects to different forms of rituals, how the digital revolution influences religious music and how this changing music often translates to transitions in individual and official religious practices/rituals. I look at the role of music in the ritual process and try to understand whether ritual/liturgical music is a mechanism of continuity, a way of countering change and restoring musical heritage, or rather affording change via adaptation or ritual acculturation?

Panel Reli005
The transformation of traditional rituals: imposed change or natural evolution? (Ritual Year SIEF Working Group panel)