Nearly all religious traditions have reserved a special place for sacred music. Whether it is music accompanying a ritual or purely for devotional purposes, music composed for entire congregations or for the trained soloist, or music set to holy words or purely instrumental, in some form or another, music is present. In fact, in some traditions the relation between the music and the ritual is so intimate that to distinguish between them would be inaccurate. The Historical Dictionary of Sacred Music covers the most important aspects of the sacred music of Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and other smaller religious groups. It provides useful information on all the significant traditions of this music through the use of a chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, appendixes, and hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries on major types of music, composers, key religious figures, specialized positions, genres of composition, technical terms, instruments, fundamental documents and sources, significant places, and important musical compositions.