M-Si-Al-O-N glasses (where M = Y or rare earth cation) are intergranular phases in silicon nitride based ceramics in which the composition and volume fraction of these oxynitride glass phases determine the properties of the material, in particular, high temperature mechanical behaviour. Investigations on oxynitride glass formation and properties have shown that nitrogen increases the glass transition and softening temperatures, viscosity, elastic modulus and hardness. By changing the cation ratios or the type of rare earth cation incorporated, properties such as viscosity can be increased further. This paper provides an overview of oxynitride glasses and outlines the effect of composition on properties such as glass transition temperature and viscosity. These effects have important implications for silicon nitride based ceramics where amorphous intergranular films control high temperature properties such as creep resistance.