50 episodes

You’ve got questions about sacred music? Here’s your chance to learn what the Church teaches and envisions for music in the sacred liturgy.

Welcome to Square Notes: The Sacred Music Podcast with your host Dr. Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka. We address topics of interest both to priests and liturgical musicians, as well as a general audience of Catholics interested in learning more about the Catholic Church’s teachings and treasury of sacred music. Our topics range from discussion of Church documents on sacred music, to the music of certain composers or eras, Gregorian chant, the role of music in Catholic education, and techniques for directing a better choir rehearsal. We’ll interview bishops, priests, music directors, composers, teachers, philosophers, and theologians. We’ll talk to people who found a home in the Catholic Church because they heard the call of Christ in the Church’s sacred music. We’ll ask questions about how really great music programs are doing their work. We’ll introduce you to Catholics who love their faith and, through sacred music, offer all their efforts for his glory and the sanctification of all who hear them.
We aim for our podcast to be thoughtful, encouraging, and informative. We hope, too, that it will inspire and motivate you to work for the renewal of authentic beauty in sacred music—whether you’re a working church musician or an average Catholic in the pews wondering what’s going on. With the prayers of our patronesses, Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom and Saint Elisabeth of the Trinity, we hope to help draw souls to Christ through the beauty of the Church’s sacred music.

Square Notes: The Sacred Music Podcast Square Notes: The Sacred Music Podcast

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.9 • 87 Ratings

You’ve got questions about sacred music? Here’s your chance to learn what the Church teaches and envisions for music in the sacred liturgy.

Welcome to Square Notes: The Sacred Music Podcast with your host Dr. Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka. We address topics of interest both to priests and liturgical musicians, as well as a general audience of Catholics interested in learning more about the Catholic Church’s teachings and treasury of sacred music. Our topics range from discussion of Church documents on sacred music, to the music of certain composers or eras, Gregorian chant, the role of music in Catholic education, and techniques for directing a better choir rehearsal. We’ll interview bishops, priests, music directors, composers, teachers, philosophers, and theologians. We’ll talk to people who found a home in the Catholic Church because they heard the call of Christ in the Church’s sacred music. We’ll ask questions about how really great music programs are doing their work. We’ll introduce you to Catholics who love their faith and, through sacred music, offer all their efforts for his glory and the sanctification of all who hear them.
We aim for our podcast to be thoughtful, encouraging, and informative. We hope, too, that it will inspire and motivate you to work for the renewal of authentic beauty in sacred music—whether you’re a working church musician or an average Catholic in the pews wondering what’s going on. With the prayers of our patronesses, Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom and Saint Elisabeth of the Trinity, we hope to help draw souls to Christ through the beauty of the Church’s sacred music.

    Historical Notation, and the Link between Meaning and Notation in Sacred Music – with Charles Weaver

    Historical Notation, and the Link between Meaning and Notation in Sacred Music – with Charles Weaver

    What is the fundamental experience of music? How does a notated piece of music relate to that fundamental experience? What are the limits of musical notation in conveying sound? Why does all this matter for the Catholic musician? We look at these topics and more with Charles Weaver, who teaches in the historical performance program at Juilliard. 

    • 37 min
    Meeting Your Spouse in Choir, Weddings, and Babies - with Theresa and Ben Volpe, Sam and Lauren Rowe, and Drs. Jacek and Jennifer Nowiccy

    Meeting Your Spouse in Choir, Weddings, and Babies - with Theresa and Ben Volpe, Sam and Lauren Rowe, and Drs. Jacek and Jennifer Nowiccy

    Join us for some good, old-fashioned love stories, the history behind finding a spouse in a Catholic choir, inspiration for lay vocations and family life, and the role singing can play in it all. 

    Check out summer sacred music study at St. Joseph's Seminary: https://www.dunwoodie.edu/dunwoodie-music-classes

    Take a look at the mission and work of the New York Metropolitan Catholic Chorale: https://nymcc.org

    • 42 min
    Saint Juan de Ribera, Devotion to the Eucharist, and the Importance of Prayer in Liturgical and Musical Renewal – with James Monti

    Saint Juan de Ribera, Devotion to the Eucharist, and the Importance of Prayer in Liturgical and Musical Renewal – with James Monti

    We look to a great Spanish saint for inspiration in his holy life, devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament, and his care for the sacred liturgy and its accompanying sacred arts. St. Juan de Ribera (1532–1611) is an inspiring example of establishing foundations which take seriously the role of beauty in cultivating worship in the faithful, and inspiring them to love Christ in all they do, and especially in the Eucharist.

    • 34 min
    The Origins of Gregorian Chant: The Roman Schola Cantorum and Old Roman Chant – with Dr. Joseph Dyer

    The Origins of Gregorian Chant: The Roman Schola Cantorum and Old Roman Chant – with Dr. Joseph Dyer

    Eminent chant scholar, Dr. Joseph Dyer, explains the Roman origins of Gregorian chant, the role of the Roman Schola Cantorum in the development of Roman chant, and what happened to that chant once it interacted with Franco-Gallican chant to become Gregorian chant. Join us for an episode which brings clarity to a complex history, and helps us better understand the roots of our Catholic sacred music traditions. 

    • 42 min
    Sergei Rachmaninoff and the Sounds of Russian Orthodoxy – with Dr. Richard Fountain

    Sergei Rachmaninoff and the Sounds of Russian Orthodoxy – with Dr. Richard Fountain

    We venture east in this episode for a look at Russian Orthodox music that impacted the life and compositions of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943). Dr. Richard Fountain, professor of piano at Wayland Baptist University and convert to Eastern Orthodoxy, shares with us some of his insights into Rachmaninoff's piano works and his compositions for the Divine Liturgy.

    Visit Dr. Fountain's webpage here: https://richardfountainpianist.com

    • 49 min
    Liturgical Changes in Tudor England: Thomas Tallis’ Stable Position – with Dr. Kerry McCarthy

    Liturgical Changes in Tudor England: Thomas Tallis’ Stable Position – with Dr. Kerry McCarthy

    Join us for a guided tour through the liturgical changes of Reformation-era England through the lens of the composer Thomas Tallis. Our guest, Dr. Kerry McCarthy, offers a look at the challenges these times posed for musicians, for Catholics, and for the modern scholar studying them today.

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
87 Ratings

87 Ratings

Pro Musica ,

Thoughtful and Valuable Work

A well produced work that brings insight and appreciation to music and worship from a reverent and knowledgeable point of view.

MWesthead ,

Really great Catholic podcast!

Definitely a must-listen podcast for anyone wanting to learn about sacred music!

BenJoeFred ,

A valuable resource!

As a music director at a Catholic seminary, I have found these episodes to be of great value. I consider it a sort of weekly professional development. But I can see how anyone interested in Catholic sacred music and liturgy could also benefit from the episodes. The interviews are incredible, the topics are timely, and the hosts are engaging and articulate. Ad multos annos, Square Notes!

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