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A devotional song is a hymn which accompanies religious observances and rituals. Traditionally devotional music has been a part of Christian music, Hindu music, Sufi music, Buddhist music, Islamic music and Jewish music
Each major religion has its own tradition with devotional hymns. In the West, the devotional has been a part of the liturgy in Roman Catholicism, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, and others, since their earliest days. A devotional is a part of the prayer service proper and is not, in these contexts, ornamentation. During the Protestant Reformation, church music in general was hotly debated. Some Puritans objected to all ornament and sought to abolish choirs, hymns, and, inasmuch as liturgy itself was rejected, devotionals.
In Eastern and Near-Eastern religions, devotionals can function as communion prayer and meditation. These are sung in particular rhythms which are sustained over a prolonged period to give practitioners a mystical experience. In Hindu music, the genre arising out of the Bhakti movement (devotion), it takes forms like Bhajan, Kirtan and Aarti.
Kinds of devotional music
- Bhajan: a Hindu or Sikh devotional.
- Borgeet: an Assamese devotional.
- Qawwali: the devotional music of the Sufis, a mystical tradition of Islam.
- Gunla Bajan
- Dapha music
- Sufi music
- Saurabh Goswami; Selina Thielemann (2005). Music and Fine Arts in the Devotional Traditions of India: Worship Through Beauty. APH Publishing. pp. 2–10. ISBN 978-81-7648-811-2.
- Emmie Te Nijenhuis (2011). Kīrtana: Traditional South Indian Devotional Songs: Compositions of Tyāgarāja, Muttusvāmi Dīkṣitar and Śyāma Śāstri. Brill Academic Pub. ISBN 978-90-04-20933-6.