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What Is Secular Music? Everything You Need To Know 2023

What Is Secular Music Everything You Need To Know 2023
  • Max Kuehn

Secular music refers to music that is not intended for the church. It encompasses everything, from the pop music of today to early troubadours. In this post, we’re going to discuss what is secular music, history as well as influences of this music genre.

Secular Music Definition

Secular Music Definition

Music that is not intended for the church, also known as secular music. Goliard Songs, which were the earliest written secular songs ever, were poems about women and wine. They were also satire-themed and notated in a way that we are still unable to fully understand.

You’d think there would be more to it. That’s all there is to it. This is a broad category that covers everything, from early troubadours to contemporary pop music.

The thing is that the earliest forms and expressions were written almost exclusively for the church. They are called sacred music.

Music associated with religious or spiritual worship is called sacred music. Spiritual or religious worship. It is not different from secular genre in the way it plays music, but by having religious subject matter.

Secular music was not usually recorded down. Why? There are three reasons.

First, the paper was hard to find in the 900s, so it made sense to save money on music that didn’t need to be written.

Second, sacred music was recorded to be handed out to congregations for them to perform. You don’t want someone else to have your music and take your money if you are a secular musician.

Third, secular music in its earliest days was an oral tradition whose purpose was entertainment.

What is sacred vocal form?

The motet was a significant genre in sacred Renaissance music. A motet is an unaccompanied choral composition that is based on a sacred Latin text. Many motets were polyphonic which meant that several vocal parts were sung simultaneously.

What Is The Difference Between Sacred And Secular Music?

During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the main types of Western music were non-religious secular music or sacred music. Many secular songs were however sung in the common language, as opposed to the Latin-language sacred songs of the Church.

Secular Music In The Middle Ages

Secular Music In The Middle Ages

Although there are some records from the Middle Ages, these records are scarce. For several reasons, this genre was not as often written down as sacred music.

First, paper was expensive at that time, so secular musicians weren’t likely to spend the money to write down their music.

Slavic musicians make money off their original songs so writing down their work is often a way for other people to steal and profit from the secular music of another person.

It is not clear if secular music was more common in the 14th century than sacred music or if it was just less frequently recorded.

Some of the names of early secular composers are Josquin des Prez and Guillaume Dufay, all known from the historical record.

Troubadours Trobairitz, Joglars and Goliards

During the Middle Ages, there were many types of musicians who were paid to perform it. There were first the troubadours. These musicians were paid to entertain wealthy audiences.

In some parts of Europe, the term for female troubadours was trobairitz. Both ‘’troubadour’’ and ‘trobairitz has etymological roots in the French verb find, translated as ‘’to find’’ or ‘’to compose”.

Although troubadours were considered to be high-class entertainers, they were often compared with joglars. This is an old spelling of a word that is cognate to the modern ”juggler”.

Although it is possible that joglars had less money and performed their music to a broader audience, the historical record does not provide any details about their social status.

The Goliards were the last group of secular musicians in the Middle Ages. These were students and clerics who traveled to perform raunchy party music for many different audiences.

Their music is now called the Goliard Songs and is some of the oldest secular music ever written.

The Current Era Of Secular Music

A definition of secular music must include a range of musical genres.

Since the troubadour era, secular music has changed significantly. In the 1700s, secular music surpassed sacred music as the most likely type of composition to be recorded and distributed.

The majority most people listen to today is secular music. It is no longer a form of entertainment for the wealthy. It has become a variety of different types of music, including:

  • Pop
  • Country
  • Rap
  • Rock and Roll
  • Hip Hop
  • Indie
  • Jazz
  • Heavy metal
  • Classical

It can be used as a form of self-expression, help people connect, or as a backdrop for other media like television and film.

The Purpose of Music Secular

Quick, picture a troubadour. Can you imagine the Shakespearean-era troubadour traveling from one town to another with their lute? Or maybe the Dungeons and Dragons bard character? It doesn’t look like a troubadour.

You’re picturing a minstrel. A troubadour was someone who played music for the wealthy and was often a part of the upper classes (like Philippe de Remi).

Typical early secular song was either love songs or epic poems, whereas sacred music aimed to unify church congregations.

They were written by Goliards, who were wandering students and clerics from medieval Europe. Monophonic Goliard Songs had a single melodic line.

They were often unaccompanied and notated in a way that was difficult to understand. The lyrics dealt with women, wine, and satire.

Depending on where they were located, early creators and performers were either troubadours (or trouveres). Both terms refer to lyric poets, and some significant musicians can be considered early troubadours. These two sacred music composers were also prolific.

The Importance Of Secular Music In Many People’s Lives

The medieval court was a major part of music secular in medieval life. It provided accompaniments for court ceremonies and tournaments as well as dances and after-dinner entertainment.

There are a variety of secular songs: solo vocal songs, songs accompanied by instruments, and instrumental songs.



Is The Form Of Secular Or Sacred Music?

Sacred music consisted primarily of the Mass or the motet, while secular music had madrigals and the rise in instrumental and dance music.

Secular music developed during the Renaissance era.

What Are Some Examples Of Secular Music?

In the Middle Ages, secular music included love songs and political satire as well as dances and dramatical works. However, it also covered moral subjects that were not intended for use in churches.

This genre would include non-liturgical pieces, such as love songs to Mary. The majority was syllabic, with a limited range.

What Are Some Great Secular Songs?

100 Uplifting, Inspirational, Happy, and Uplifting Secular Song 100 Uplifting, Encouraging Motivational, Inspirational Songs Music, Tunes – Secular (Non-Religious music). A great collection of classic, upbeat, and popular inspirational songs. *I Feel Good- James Brown

What Is Secular Music In Your Own Understanding?

Secular can be described as non-religious music. Music secular is a separation from religion. The Renaissance saw that secular music developed in the West. The Church, which was more concerned with Common Law, influenced every aspect of Medieval life.

What Does The Word Vocals Mean In Music?

Vocal music can be described as a type of music performed by one or more singers and with or without an accompaniment. Music that does not include singing is considered instrumental music.

Music is used in religion for what reason?

Music is used in religion as a way to influence others to follow their faith. This for one main reason: sing songs In the name of God/prophets/also to sing their understanding of the afterlife and life according to religion.

Is Gregorian Chant Considered Sacred Or Secular?

Gregorian chant, the central tradition in Western plainchant, is a monophonic, unaccompanied sacred music in Latin (and sometimes Greek) that is unaccompanied sacred song of the Roman Catholic Church.


This was all about the secular music genre. Fidlar hopes you find this article helpful. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask us in the comment section below. We will try our best to answer them. Thanks for reading. Stay tuned with us for more such guides like this!

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