3/4 Timing origins

Did you know that 3/4 timing as we know it in western music originated in the Catholic church in about 400 C.E.? The church was stepped (and still is) in the trinity belief that the father, the son and the spirit are three in one. Therefore the only music sanctified by the the church had to be in a 3/4 timing. Any other form of music was considered heretic.

Further, all instruments were considered unclean for worship purposes. The Christian church forged its origins surrounded by Greek and Roman culture. Once the Catholic church had become an identity much debate arose over which instruments could be used as part of worship. As the Romans and Greeks had a well developed music structure and instrumentation some felt that it was acceptable to use any instrument in worship as long as it contributed to the message itself. A second thinking on the matter was that only instruments that were specifically mentioned in the scriptures could be used, EG: drums, trumpets, tamborines, harps, etc. Also each instrument had a specific symbolism attached. A third opinion was that all instruments were unholy for worship purposes and that only the human voice allowed for the purity of the musical message.

Eventually, the third option won out and all instruments were banned from the church! Only vocal renditions of songs were acceptable.

dies irae (day of wrath)