Reading suggestions for history of church music?

A colleague of mine at Villanova University is putting together a course on church history and as part of that course she wants to give attention to the history of music used in / for worship. She and I are looking for suggestions for texts that address this topic. Please share your ideas here on PT.


  1. I too have looked for this and welcome suggestions from others. I haven’t yet found the right text, but I have used “Sacred Music, History of” from the New Catholic Encyclopedia as a brief overview.

  2. Surely a chapter or two from AWR’s 19,000 page book would be good?

    (It really is great…and “comprehensive”! )

  3. Anthony Ruff’s citation of the entry in the New Catholic Encyclopedia is a good start.

    “Worship Music A Concise Dictionary. Liturgical Press, Collegeville,MN by Edward Foley, is a good start.

    Robert Hayburn,Mus.D> Papal Legislation on Sacred Music 95AD to 1977 The Liturgical Press, Collegeville,MN

  4. Te Deum The Church and Music by Paul Westermeyer. If you want to focus more on hymnody another Westermeyer book Let The People Sing: Hymn Tunes In Perspective and Sing with Understanding by Eskew and McElrath are great resources. These are all comprehensive and not specific to the Roman Catholic tradition, so it depends on how wide a net you want to cast.

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