top of page

Choral Corner #1: Why are there no instruments in Orthodox liturgical music?

Choral Corner is a series of short articles written for my parish bulletin, with the goal of helping everyone understand what the choir does and why. No posts in this category are intended to be exhaustive, but rather to provide "small bites" of information at one time.

One of the first things visitors notice about the Orthodox liturgical experience is that all of the music is sung a capella — without an organ, piano or other artificial instruments. However, Orthodox liturgical music actually does use instruments: human voices, the only instruments crafted directly by God.

Artificial instruments can certainly produce beautiful sounds and effectively inspire strong emotions, but they cannot rationally communicate the word of God, nor offer praise, thanksgiving and supplication in manner already taking place in the heavenly kingdom, where emotions are not aroused by the sensual beauty of instruments, but by the action of the Holy Spirit.

Q: But the Psalms frequently reference artificial instruments in worship, so...?

A: Coming next!

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page