For nearly two millennia, the Catholic Church has worked to develop music and its notation from its origins in chant right up to and through the limitless beauty of polyphony. Music helps to enhance our prayers so that we may better glorify God, which makes sense considering the angels are commonly depicted as singing in a choir to praise their maker.
To this end, countless composers have devoted their lives to writing sacred music, but they learned early on that they would need a way to disseminate their tunes. Thus musical notation was born, allowing for the widespread performance of hymns that would otherwise be trapped in the cathedral or monastery where the composer was stationed.
The inception of sheet music opened the door for all members of the universal Church to sing the same hymns, but it brought with it the difficulty of training singers to read the neumatic notation. While this early form of musical notation was simple, it left out things like tempo, dynamics, and note duration. Neumatic notation was open to the interpretation of the singers, and thus it was rarely performed exactly the same by two different choirs.