Perhaps the reason is neurobiological: the temporal lobe is where we process musical and religious experience. But I think it's more than that. I think part of the reason is that music demands a response, full engagement, in the moment. Sculptures and paintings can continue to exist without their creators, as can written passages. But music...the actual experience of music calls the player and listener both to enter in, fully, right then and there, then it's gone. Even recordings can't recapture all of that precious moment, that transient bond between player and listener. Yet of all the senses, sound is the one which, if recorded and replayed, can almost conjure up the speaker or player's presence right beside the listener. Photos, and even videos, can't do that.
There's something about that call to enter fully into a moment, and the way sound almost mimics presence, that makes music the perfect way to invite people to attend to the sacred - be it with the sacred sound of the shofar, the opening chant of a cantor in a cathedral, or an imam calling the faithful to prayer. Ryan Fennerty in his evocative essay for the American Foreign Service Association writes, "Whether a practicing Muslim or a foreigner, the Imam's call to prayer stirs something universal in people. It is a calling to pause and reflect - and in this way awaken to a new level of understanding." Sacred music can grant us fruitful silence and mindfulness, making us more aware and thus able to perceive meaning - and sacredness - in a given moment.