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Christian music is music that has been written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding Christian life and faith. Common themes of Christian music include praise, worship, penitence, and lament, and its forms vary widely around the world. Church music, hymnals, gospel and worship music are a part of Christian media, and also include contemporary Christian music which itself supports numerous Christian styles of music, including hip hop, rock, contemporary worship, and urban contemporary gospel.
Like other forms of music the creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of Christian music varies according to culture and social context. Christian music is composed and performed for many purposes, ranging from aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, or with a positive message as an entertainment product for the marketplace.
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Among the most prevalent uses of Christian music are in church worship or other gatherings. Most Christian music involves singing, whether by the whole congregation (assembly), or by a specialized subgroup—such as a soloist, duet, trio, quartet, madrigal, choir, or worship band— or both. It is frequently accompanied by instruments, but some denominations such as some Exclusive Brethren, the Churches of Christ, the Primitive Baptists and the Free Church of Scotland prefer unaccompanied or a cappella singing. Other denominations such as Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians sing along side some form on accompaniments. Some groups, such as the Bruderhof, sing songs both with religious and non-religious meanings and words.  For them, the act of singing is important. One of the earliest forms of worship music in the church was the Gregorian chant. Pope Gregory I, while not the inventor of chant, was acknowledged as the first person to order such music in the church, hinting the name "Gregorian" chant. The chant reform took place around 590–604 CE (reign of Pope Gregory I) (Kamien, pg. 65–67). The Gregorian chant was known for its very monophonic sound. Believing that complexity had a tendency to create cacophony, which ruined the music, Gregory I kept things very simple with the chant. 
In the West, the majority of Christian denominations use instruments such as an organ, piano, electronic keyboard, guitar, or other accompaniment, and occasionally by a band or orchestra, to accompany the singing. But some churches have historically not used instruments, citing their absence from the New Testament. During the last century or so several of these groups have revised this stance.
The singing of the Eastern Orthodox is also generally unaccompanied, though in the United States organs are sometimes used as a result of Western influence.
Some worship music may be unsung, simply instrumental. During the Baroque period in Europe, the chorale prelude (for organ) was widely used, generally composed by using a popular hymn tune thematically, and a wide corpus of other solo organ music began to develop across Europe. Some of the most well-known exponents of such organ compositions include Johann Sebastian Bach, Dieterich Buxtehude, George Frideric Handel, François Couperin, César Franck and Charles-Marie Widor to name a few. Up to the present time, various composers have written instrumental (often organ) music as acts of worship, including well known organ repertoire by composers like Olivier Messiaen, Louis Vierne, Maurice Duruflé, and Jean Langlais.
The church sonata (for orchestra and chamber group) and other sacred instrumental musical forms also developed from the Baroque period onwards.
A chant is the iterative speaking or singing of words or sounds, often primarily on one or two main pitches called reciting tones. Chants may range from a simple melody involving a limited set of notes to highly complex musical structures, often including a great deal of repetition of musical subphrases, such as Great Responsories and Offertories of Gregorian chant. Chant may be considered speech, music, or a heightened or stylized form of speech. In the later Middle Ages some religious chant evolved into song (forming one of the roots of later Western music). 
Mostly used in Anglican, Catholic, and Orthodox churches. Some examples of chants are:
A metrical psalter is a kind of Bible translation: a book containing a metrical translation of all or part of the Book of Psalms in vernacular poetry, meant to be sung as hymns in a church. Some metrical psalters include melodies or even harmonisations. The composition of metrical psalters was a large enterprise of the Protestant Reformation, especially in its Calvinist manifestation.
Mostly used in reformed churches, and anabaptists. Some examples of psalters are:
A Reformation approach, the normative principle of worship, produced a burst of hymn writing and congregational singing. Martin Luther is notable not only as a reformer, but as the author of hymns including "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" ("A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"), "Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ" ("Praise be to You, Jesus Christ"), and many others. Luther and his followers often used their hymns, or chorales, to teach tenets of the faith to worshipers. The first Protestant hymnal was published in Bohemia in 1532 by the Unitas Fratrum. Mostly used by Protestant churches, principally Lutheran, Methodist, and Hussite traditions, but in some areas also by Roman Catholic and Anabaptists. Some examples of famous hymnals are:
From the latter half of the 20th century to the present day in Western Christendom—especially in the United States and in other countries with evangelical churches—various genres of music originally often related to pop rock, have been created under the label of Contemporary Christian Music ("CCM") for home-listening and concert use. It can be divided into several genres and subgenres, although the dividing lines and relationships between music genres are often subtle, sometimes open to individual interpretation, and occasionally controversial. These genres (sometimes referred to as "style") like other forms of music may be distinguished by the techniques, the styles, the context and the themes, or geographical origin. Specific subgenres of CCM may include (but are not limited to): Christian country music, Christian pop, Christian rock, Christian metal, Christian hardcore, Christian punk, Christian alternative rock, Christian R&B, Christian electronic dance music and Christian hip hop.
Called Christian pop or gospel in a generalized form, this is a relatively new musical movement and has now evolved into a large number of musical genres by region that comes in a Christian context. This movement appeared as a form of evangelization for the young but the genre is best known and seen in the Evangelical or Protestant proselytizing movements, often using rhythms similar to those in secular music.
CCM is not a musical genre like the other genres. When a song is identified as "Christian" it takes into account the lyrics and the songwriters and performers, rather than musical style. Therefore, one can say that CCM is diverse and there are Christian songs that are sung to the rhythm of salsa, reggae, rock, folk, hip-hop or rap, ballads, pop, country, singer-songwriters and even extreme music such as punk or heavy metal.
In the 1980s and 1990s, contemporary Christian music played a significant role in Evangelical Christian worship.   A great variety of musical styles has developed traditional praise. 
Similar developments took place in other language, for example the German Neues Geistliches Lied and Korean Contemporary Christian music.
Christian music is supported by a segment of the general music industry which evolved as a parallel structure to the same. Beginning in the 1970s and developing out of the Jesus movement, the Christian music industry subsequently developed into a near-billion dollar enterprise. By the 1990s the genre had eclipsed classical, jazz, and new-age music, and artists began gaining acceptance in the general market. There are several programs of schooling that have been created to create new christian artists such as Hillsong College in Norwest, Australia, and Visible Christian College in Memphis, TN U.S.A. Hillsong United is the band out of Hillsong college and they took the worship music scene by storm in 2016 with the song "What a Beautiful Name" which won the GMA Dove song of the year in 2017. Other famous artists include Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns, Amy Grant, and Skillet.
Today, Christian music is available through most available media. Christian music is broadcast over the radio, television, or the Internet. Christian Albums and video recordings (CD, LP, digital download, DVD, etc.) have been increasingly more popular and have continued to increase in sales. 
Christian Musicals is another growing area, especially with the help of the internet. Church drama groups frequently enjoy performing musical dramas which can be downloaded on-line for free use. 
There are Christian tv shows and movies. One example of a Christian tv show is the drama series called The Chosen, and children's shows such as VeggieTales. There is a whole series of Christian movies by the Kendrick Brothers production company, who have created movies such as Fireproof, Overcomer, and Courageous.
In the US several Christian music festivals have been organized. They are common in the summertime and draw many different people, specifically those from organized groups such as church youth groups and campus groups. In addition to music festivals like those that are part of the Christian Festival Association, there are also many Christian conferences which focus more on speakers, but usually also have musical performances, especially for a Worship service.
The Ichthus Music Festival started in 1970. Today festivals are held annually around the world, and may draw upwards of 100,000 people.[ citation needed ]
New Zealand's Parachute Music Festival, the largest Christian music festival in the Southern Hemisphere, began in 1989 and is held annually at Mystery Creek Events Centre outside the city of Hamilton.
England's Big Church Day Out Festival began in 2009 and has annual attendance of approximately 20,000. 
Like any musical group or act, many Christian musical artists perform concerts in concert halls, bars & clubs, or outdoor venues, as well as in church-related venues. Sometimes it may be for pure entertainment, other times with the intention of witnessing (evangelizing by bearing witness of one's faith), and other times may be part worship as well.
A hymn is a type of song, and partially synonymous with devotional song, specifically written for the purpose of adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification. The word hymn derives from Greek ὕμνος (hymnos), which means "a song of praise". A writer of hymns is known as a hymnist. The singing or composition of hymns is called hymnody. Collections of hymns are known as hymnals or hymn books. Hymns may or may not include instrumental accompaniment.
Religious music is a type of music that is performed or composed for religious use or through religious influence. It may overlap with ritual music, which is music, sacred or not, performed or composed for or as ritual. Religious songs have been described as a source of strength, as well as a means of easing pain, improving one's mood, and assisting in the discovery of meaning in one's suffering. While style and genre vary broadly across traditions, religious groups still share a variety of musical practices and techniques.
Contemporary Christian music (CCM), also known as Christian pop, and occasionally inspirational music, is a genre of modern popular music, and an aspect of Christian media, which is lyrically focused on matters related to the Christian faith and stylistically rooted in Christian music. It was formed by those affected by the 1960s Jesus movement revival who began to express themselves in other styles of popular music, beyond the church music of hymns, gospel and Southern gospel music that was prevalent in the church at the time. Initially referred to as Jesus music, today, the term is typically used to refer to pop, but also includes rock, alternative rock, hip hop, metal, contemporary worship, punk, hardcore punk, Latin, electronic dance music, R&B-influenced gospel and country styles.
Gospel music is a traditional genre of Christian music, and a cornerstone of Christian media. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Gospel music is characterized by dominant vocals and strong use of harmony with Christian lyrics. Gospel music can be traced to the early 17th century.
A hymnal or hymnary is a collection of hymns, usually in the form of a book, called a hymnbook. They are used in congregational singing. A hymnal may contain only hymn texts ; written melodies are extra, and more recently harmony parts have also been provided.
Contemporary worship music (CWM), also known as praise and worship music, is a defined genre of Christian music used in contemporary worship. It has developed over the past 60 years and is stylistically similar to pop music. The songs are frequently referred to as "praise songs" or "worship songs" and are typically led by a "worship band" or "praise team", with either a guitarist or pianist leading. It has become a common genre of music sung in many churches, particularly in charismatic or non-denominational Protestant churches with some Roman Catholic congregations incorporating it into their mass as well.
A metrical psalter is a kind of Bible translation: a book containing a verse translation of all or part of the Book of Psalms in vernacular poetry, meant to be sung as hymns in a church. Some metrical psalters include melodies or harmonisations. The composition of metrical psalters was a large enterprise of the Protestant Reformation, especially in its Calvinist manifestation.
Anglican church music is music that is written for Christian worship in Anglican religious services, forming part of the liturgy. It mostly consists of pieces written to be sung by a church choir, which may sing a cappella or accompanied by an organ.
Church music is Christian music written for performance in church, or any musical setting of ecclesiastical liturgy, or music set to words expressing propositions of a sacred nature, such as a hymn.
Decisions concerning the conduct of public worship in the Church of Scotland are entirely at the discretion of the parish minister. As a result, a wide variety of musical resources are used. However, at various times in its history, the General Assembly has commissioned volumes of psalms and hymns for use by congregations.
The Genevan Psalter, also known as the Huguenot Psalter, is a metrical psalter in French created under the supervision of John Calvin for liturgical use by the Reformed churches of the city of Geneva in the sixteenth century.
The Ausbund is the oldest Anabaptist hymnal and one of the oldest Christian song books in continuous use. It is used today by North American Amish congregations.
"Veni Creator Spiritus" is a traditional Christian hymn believed to have been written by Rabanus Maurus, a ninth-century saint German monk, teacher, and archbishop. When the original Latin text is used, it is normally sung in Gregorian Chant. It has been translated and paraphrased into several languages, and adapted into many musical forms, often as a hymn for Pentecost or for other occasions that focus on the Holy Spirit.
A hymn tune is the melody of a musical composition to which a hymn text is sung. Musically speaking, a hymn is generally understood to have four-part harmony, a fast harmonic rhythm, with or without refrain or chorus.
Presbyterian worship documents worship practices in Presbyterian churches; in this case, the practices of the many churches descended from the Scottish Presbyterian church at the time of the Reformation.
The use of musical instruments in church services has often been seen as an innovation in church worship. This was the case in both Catholic liturgy and in the Puritan tradition. In the Catholic liturgy the Gregorian chant was for a thousand years the predominant musical form. In the Puritan tradition, there was traditionally a use of unaccompanied Psalms.
Church music in Scotland includes all musical composition and performance of music in the context of Christian worship in Scotland, from the beginnings of Christianisation in the fifth century, to the present day. The sources for Scottish Medieval music are extremely limited due to factors including a turbulent political history, the destructive practices of the Scottish Reformation, the climate and the relatively late arrival of music printing. In the early Middle Ages, ecclesiastical music was dominated by monophonic plainchant, which led to the development of a distinct form of liturgical Celtic chant. It was superseded from the eleventh century by more complex Gregorian chant. In the High Middle Ages, the need for large numbers of singing priests to fulfill the obligations of church services led to the foundation of a system of song schools, to train boys as choristers and priests. From the thirteenth century, Scottish church music was increasingly influenced by continental developments. Monophony was replaced from the fourteenth century by the Ars Nova consisting of complex polyphony. Survivals of works from the first half of the sixteenth century indicate the quality and scope of music that was undertaken at the end of the Medieval period. The outstanding Scottish composer of the first half of the sixteenth century was Robert Carver, who produced complex polyphonic music.
Hymnody in continental Europe developed from early liturgical music, especially Gregorian chant. Music became more complicated as embellishments and variations were added, along with influences from secular music. Although vernacular leisen and vernacular or mixed-language carols were sung in the Middle Ages, more vernacular hymnody emerged during the Protestant Reformation, although ecclesiastical Latin continued to be used after the Reformation. Since then, developments have shifted between isorhythmic, homorhythmic, and more rounded musical forms with some lilting. Theological underpinnings influenced the narrative point of view used, with Pietism especially encouraging the use of the first person singular. In the last several centuries, many songs from Evangelicalism have been translated from English into German.
Church music during the Reformation developed during the Protestant Reformation in two schools of thought, the regulative and normative principles of worship, based on reformers John Calvin and Martin Luther. They derived their concepts in response to the Catholic church music, which they found distracting and too ornate. Both principles also pursued use of the native tongue, either alongside or in place of liturgical Latin.