Original Research

Liturgical singing as ritual symbol

Coenie Calitz
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 32, No 1 | a430 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v32i1.430 | © 2011 Coenie Calitz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 September 2010 | Published: 17 August 2011

About the author(s)

Coenie Calitz, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Liturgical singing is more than text and melody; it is also symbol and ritual. It is part of the ensemble of rituals within the worship service. As a ritual symbol, it is closely connected to the culture or subculture where it is conducted. Meaning is not only immanent in the text (lyrics), but assigned on a continuous base and differs from culture to culture. As a ritual symbol, liturgical singing does not only point to another reality, but presents the other reality within the cultural context of the worship service; within ritual the music and melody are more important than text and lyrics. Liturgical singing as a ritual symbol is never static, but in a continuous process of change.


Liturgical singing; church singing; church song; ritual; symbol; ritual symbol


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