Kovalev Andrey

Contemporary sacred music: terminology issues

Kovalev Andrey (2019) "Contemporary sacred music: terminology issues ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia V : Voprosi istorii i teorii hristianskogo iskusstva, 2019, vol. 36, pp. 196-204 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturV201936.196-204


This article studies two aspects of terminology in the fi eld of modern sacred music, i.e. typology of genres and names of authored spiritual works related to their content. It proposes a genre-based typology of sacred music, where three main types are distinguished: traditional genres, genres of a mixed type, non-traditional genres. Traditional genres include works directly related to the liturgical order. The works of genres of a mixed type preserve the features of a liturgical and singing tradition, but have no connection with a particular divine service. Works of non-traditional genres are distinguished by a relatively free composition, not related to the structure of church service and the singing canon, as well as by an extensive use of expressive means of modern music. The problem of naming of works is discussed in connection with specifying their genre variety conditioned by its idea- and image-related content. The article gives examples of works belonging to non-traditional genres with the name Liturgy and its derivative adjective liturgical in a diff erent syntactic context (R. Shchedrin, The Sealed Angel. Russian Liturgy; Yu. Butsko, Chamber Cantata No. 6 “Liturgical Chant”, etc.). The article also aims to clarify certain issues related to terminology in the fi eld of modern sacred music. In terms of methodology, the article employs the interdisciplinary approach to the study of spiritual and musical works as well as elements of liturgics and scientific categories of Russian musicology. Issues in the terminology of sacred music are relevant in connection with the emergence at the turn of the 20th —21st centuries of a wide range of works written in various genres and forms, with diff erent line-ups, focused on both liturgical and concert performance. The use of the word Liturgy (liturgical), which is particularly important in the Orthodox church service, requires in each particular case a logical justifi cation which should convey to the listener the idea and design of the composer.


typology of genres, traditional genres, genres of mixed type, non-traditional genres, Liturgy, liturgical chants, spiritual concerto


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Information about the author

Kovalev Andrey

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in Art Criticism;
Place of work: V. Popov Academy of Choral Art; 2 Festivalnaya Str., 125565, Moscow, Russian Federation;
Post: Associate Professor;
ORCID: 0000-0001-5503-3676;
Email: andrej-kovalev@yandex.ru.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.