Yesterday I had occasion to burst out laughing as the choir at my church was singing a Renaissance setting of the mass by a composer new to me. Suddenly I realized that I was hearing non-liturgical rhythms and, sure enough, it turned out to have composed at a time when such references were not allowed. Hmm. But there it was, plain as day.
I used to have a theory that European composers worked with their windows open so as to incorporate into whatever they were writing snippets of the songs workers sang outdoors. Its really too bad a) that we don’t have windows to open and b) that nobody sings on the job anymore.
When I was first in Europe in 1958 there was a lot of outdoor singing.