Youtube Gallery

Call Number : CMSI-247


Role of Music in Liturgy

ആരാധനാ ക്രമത്തിൽ സംഗീതത്തിനുള്ള സ്ഥാനം.

Article Published in St. Mary's Forane Church Souvenir-1980. (Pages 71-76.)

Published on 13 December 1982 to commemorate the consecration of the reconstructed church

Note: Giving voice to this article was an exercise in time travel. This is the first article I wrote in a cramped hostel room at 71 Sardar Patel Hall at the Maharaja Sayaji Rao University (M S University) campus in Baroda in early 1982. I was in the middle of an ambitious program pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Hindustani Classical Music and a Master's degree in Psychology simultaneously. It is difficult to believe that what I wrote then became a self-fulling prophecy. At that time, I could not have imagined that the Aramaic Project would become my life mission. As of 2020, the project is evolving into a digital library of Christian music in India, the first of its kind. Some times, friends ask how and when did the idea of the Aramaic Project start. The answer is in this article. Although I had established myself as a recording artist of Christian music with one EP and two LP records to my credit (Deccan Records, Bengaluru), the article shows the beginnings of a musicological mindset. The Master's (Hunter College) and Doctoral degrees (Graduate Center of the City University of New York) in Ethnomusicology provided the intellectual stamina to start the Christian Musicological Society of India in 1999. In the same year, we organized an audio recording of a selection of Syriac chants that famous singers of Syriac chants from the CMI congregation sang. at the chapel of St. Joseph's Monastery at Mannanam. The recording took place on 27 August 1999. PAN Records Netherlands released the songs in the audio CD, Qambel Maran: Syriac Chants from South India (PAN Records, 2002)

What is significant here is that all these trajectories took place on unchartered territories. I sincerely hope someday, doctoral students in music history, liturgy, sacred music, cultural studies, and even linguistics will use the rich resources on the website of the Christian Musicological Society of India. In retrospect, I can only repeat in humility the words of the Psalmist, "What shall I render to the Lord for all his bounty to me? (Psalm 116:12).

Reference: Qambel Maran: Syriac Chants from South India.


Joseph J. Palackal, CMI
New York
1 December 2020

Print   Email