An Introduction to the Church’s Documents on Liturgical Music

A beginner’s guide to what the Church teaches about music in the sacred liturgy

In this course you will learn the principles of liturgical music as requested and explained in the official documents of the Church, beginning with Pope Pius X's groundbreaking 1903 motu proprio Tra le sollecitudini and ending with the 2007 American bishops' document Sing to the Lord. Discussed throughout are the fundamental questions of music as sacramental revealer of the song of heaven and the relationship between music and active participation.

Class 1: Introduction

Class 2: Tra le sollecitudini and Divini Cultis

Class 3: De Musica Sacra et Sacra Liturgia and Musicae Sacrae Disciplina

Class 4: Musicam Sacram and Sacrosanctum Concilium

Class 5: General Instruction of the Roman Missal and Sing to the Lord

Your Instructor

Dr. Denis McNamara
Dr. Denis McNamara

Dr. Denis McNamara is Associate Professor of Sacramental Aesthetics and Academic Director at the Liturgical Institute. He holds a BA in the History of Art from Yale University and a PhD in Architectural History from the University of Virginia, where he concentrated his research on the study of ecclesiastical architecture with Richard Guy Wilson and Carroll William Westfall.

Dr. McNamara makes a specialty of bridging the gap between the Church’s great artistic tradition and the documents of the Second Vatican Council. He has also done groundbreaking research on scriptural understandings of architecture and the sacramental meaning of the classical architectural tradition.

He is the author Heavenly City: The Architectural Tradition of Catholic Chicago, Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy, and How to Read Churches: A Crash Course In Christian which was published in eight languages.

He has appeared on Catholic and secular television and radio and is a frequent presenter in academic as well as parish settings and is co-host of a podcast on the sacred liturgy called “The Liturgy Guys,” which won “Best Podcast” from Fisher’s Net in 2017.

An experienced singer, Dr. McNamara has been a member of numerous large and small vocal ensembles for over three decades. He has led training classes in liturgical singing and teaches the Liturgical Institute’s course on the documents of sacred music.

Watch the first five minutes of this course

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
How do I receive a certificate of completion for this course?
In order to receive a certificate of completion for this course, you must take a quiz after each lecture and average a score of 70% or higher on all five quizes.
Do you offer bulk discounts if I have a large group of people that want to take the class?
Yes, we do have bulk discounts available. Please give us a call to inquire: 847.837.4542
How long is this course?
This course is comprised of 5 one-hour classes. You can pause it at any time and resume where you left off.

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