61 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
    • 5.0 • 92 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.

    Music of the California Missions: Understanding the Construction of a Vibrant Musical Culture - with Dr. Craig H. Russell

    Music of the California Missions: Understanding the Construction of a Vibrant Musical Culture - with Dr. Craig H. Russell

    How did the Franciscan missionaries of California engage the people they were evangelizing through music? How did their training in music enable their missionary work? What were the forms of music the missionaries used? What were the artistic cultures of the California missions like? Join us as we discuss these questions with Dr. Craig H. Russell, author of From Serra to Sancho: Music and Pageantry in the California Missions (Oxford Univ. Press).
    Check out Dr. Russell's book here: https://oxford.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195343274.001.0001/acprof-9780195343274?rskey=yAse1t&result=1
    Listen to Chanticleer sing mission music in their collaborative album with Dr. Russell, Mission Road: https://music.apple.com/us/album/mission-road-our-journey-back/288152035 

    • 49 min
    Paleography, the Semiological Approach to Singing Chant, and the Work of Dom Eugène Cardine – with Dr. Edward Schaefer

    Paleography, the Semiological Approach to Singing Chant, and the Work of Dom Eugène Cardine – with Dr. Edward Schaefer

    A leading expert in the work and approach to singing chant of Dom Eugène Cardine, Dr. Edward Schaefer (Collegium Sanctorum Angelorum) joins us to discuss the basics of semiology, the older styles of neumes, and how reading from these neumes can inform our singing of Gregorian chant.
    To learn more about Dr. Schaefer, please visit: https://www.edwardschaefer.net
    Check out Dr. Schaefer's online introduction to semiology here: https://gregoriansemiology.com
    Discover the Collegium Sanctorum Angelorum here: https://www.the-collegium.org
    Sign up for the CMAA's Sacred Music Colloquium, to be held at the Collegium in Hagerstown, MD here: http://musicasacra.com/colloquium
    Learn more about Dr. Schaefer's summer class at St. Joseph's Seminary here: http://dunwoodie.edu/dunwoodie-music-classes 

    • 29 min
    Olivier Messiaen as Musical Theologian - with Dr. Robert Sholl

    Olivier Messiaen as Musical Theologian - with Dr. Robert Sholl

    What are the limits of music in conveying meaning? Can one "do theology" musically? Join Dr. Robert Sholl (Royal Academy of Music) as we discuss Olivier Messiaen's search for a musical language which could convey the truths of the Catholic faith.
    Learn more about Dr. Sholl here: https://www.ram.ac.uk/people/robert-sholl
    Check out Dr. Sholl's work on Messiaen here: https://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/music/twentieth-century-and-contemporary-music/messiaen-studies?format=HB&isbn=9780521839815
    or here: https://www.routledge.com/Messiaen-the-Theologian/Shenton/p/book/9781138248014
    To find out more about or register for summer classes at St. Joseph's Seminary, please visit: https://www.dunwoodie.edu/dunwoodie-music-classes

    • 45 min
    The Psalms as the Basis for Christian Sung Prayer: Exploring the Four Senses of Scripture in the Divine Office - with Dr. William Mahrt

    The Psalms as the Basis for Christian Sung Prayer: Exploring the Four Senses of Scripture in the Divine Office - with Dr. William Mahrt

    Focusing firstly on the Psalms of Sunday vespers, Dr. Mahrt takes us through a tour of the Psalms and their antiphon pairings and how this helps us to understand the typological fulfillment of the Psalms in Christ, as well as the feasts of the liturgical year. We discuss the four senses of scripture and how singing the Divine Office opens up the meaning of the scriptures.
    To learn how to sing Gregorian chant, check out the Principles of Chant course this summer at St. Joseph's Seminary: https://www.dunwoodie.edu/dunwoodie-music-classes

    • 52 min
    Capturing the Classical Polyphonic Sound: Historical Performance Practice for Parish Choirs - with Charles Weaver

    Capturing the Classical Polyphonic Sound: Historical Performance Practice for Parish Choirs - with Charles Weaver

    What can a parish music director take away from historical research in terms of performance practice? Join Prof. Charles Weaver (Juilliard, CUNY) as we discuss phrasing, rhythm, vibrato, pitch, tuning, and other issues which inform the performance of Renaissance polyphony. 
    To learn more about Prof. Weaver's work, please visit: https://www.juilliard.edu/music/faculty/weaver-charles
    To download the app Prof. Weaver mentions, click here: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/pitch-trainer-harmonize/id965614965
    To find out more about Prof. Weaver's summer class at St. Joseph's Seminary, please go to: https://www.dunwoodie.edu/dunwoodie-music-classes

    • 51 min
    New Jobs and Early-Career Church Musicians: Starting Off on the Right Foot - with Sam Rowe

    New Jobs and Early-Career Church Musicians: Starting Off on the Right Foot - with Sam Rowe

    We can learn so much from listening to the experiences of others, and this is particularly true when it comes to starting a new job, or just getting started in a professional field. Join us for this episode as we discuss training and formative experiences that help church musicians start off on the right foot in a new job or in the field more generally. Samuel Rowe is here to discuss his journey to Catholicism, things he learned in college and grad school that were important in his development, and how he has been working to invest his time and talents as the director of music at the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore. 
    To learn more about Sam's work, please visit: https://www.americasfirstcathedral.org/music/
    To find out more about summer sacred music study at St. Joseph's Seminary, check out: https://www.dunwoodie.edu/dunwoodie-music-classes

    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
92 Ratings

92 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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