Chanting, group song, and devotional singing has been a part of every world culture and religion for uncounted ages. In Catholicism, the Mass was chanted for hundreds of years in Latin. The text for Jewish rituals were sung by the rabbi. Muslims as well as many others chant aloud daily. As it turns out, group singing may be a better cure for depression than therapy or medication. (Learn more in the Time magazine article Singing Changes Your Brain.)
Jewish mystics also practiced melodic vocalizations without words and recognized the power in the emotional element of sung versus spoken words. Kabbalists viewed song and meditation as assisting the soul in reaching the seventh level of heaven–the realm of the throne of God and the angels.
Many indigenous people also saw a connection between the elements of nature and certain sounds or songs. They had songs to sing to the wind, the rain and the land. In the Orient, the five elements correspond to vowels and the sounds of nature. The vowels are the feminine energy and the consonants are the masculine energy.
Some indigenous peoples have highly developed forms of song and music for the purpose of journeying to other dimensions. Much of this art has been lost or set aside in the modern world, but a renaissance has begun! Part of this resurgence is due to the mounting evidence that music and singing have positive benefits on all levels for participants.
There is power in sound and in chanting of the names of God. This may be due to the inherent physical impact of producing certain vowels and consonants in sequence. (Read more at Vocal Medicine.) Other positive effects occur on the psychological and emotional levels as well as the physical.
Chanting is an outpouring of gratitude and deep communion with God and our fellow chanters. There is a connection on many levels between people who chant together. Studies have shown that the heartbeats of those who sing together begin to synchronize. Scientists in Sweden have determined that as choir members sing in unison, their pulses speed up and slow down at the same rates. Slow chants produce the most synchrony. Chanting and group singing may be a cure for both a sense of isolation from God and from each other in the modern world.