David playing his harp (unknown artist, c. 960). The book of Psalms, included in the Jewish and Christian scriptures, and said to have been written largely by David, is one of the earliest collections of sacred music, and still plays a role in the liturgies of the two religions.
Religious music (also sacred music) is music performed or composed for religious use or through religious influence. Ritual music is music, sacred or not, performed or composed for or as ritual.
It is generally held that the earliest music in the Christian Church came from Jewish worship music. It is believed that this music lay somewhere between singing and speaking, or speaking with an understood ritual cadence. However, there is another opinion that the roots of early Christian music come from the early ascetic monastic orders.
The earliest synagogal music was based on the same system as that in the Temple in Jerusalem. According to the Talmud, Joshua ben Hananiah, who had served in the sanctuary Levitical choir, told how the choristers went to the synagogue from the orchestra by the altar (Talmud, Suk. 53a), and so participated in both services.
Fertonani, Cesare; Raffaele Mellace; Cesare Toscani, eds. (2014). La Musica Sacra nella Milano del Settecento. Atti del convegno internazionale. Milano, 17-18 maggio 2011. Cantar sottile 3. Milan: LED Edizioni Universitaire. ISBN978-88-7916-658-4.