Music in American Religious Experience

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Overview

Since the appearance of The Bay Psalm Book in 1640, music has served as a defining factor for American religious experience and has been of fundamental importance in the development of American identity and psyche. The essays in this long-awaited volume explore the diverse ways in which music shapes the distinctive presence of religion in the United States and address the fullness of music's presence in American religious history.
Timely, challenging, and stimulating, this collection will appeal to students and scholars of American history, American studies, religious studies, theology, musicology, and ethnomusicology, as well as to practicing sacred musicians.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Music in American Religious Experience is a fine collection of essays that enlighten us on a great variety of research topics concerning sacred music in America. The articles that discuss Lutheran hymnody and worship are ground breaking, and it would do Lutheran church musicians well to read them. By doing so, their understanding of the music that they use weekly in worship will be deeper and their consideration of other religious groups will gain them appreciation for the musical traditions of those people."—Cross Accent

"Music in American Religious Experience is a welcome contribution to musicology.... Those who have contributed to this project have written essays as diverse as they are enlightening."—Journal of the Society for American Music

This varied and insightful volume focuses on music as apart of the American religious experience, from the time of the The Bay Psalm Book (1640) to the present. The contributors are scholars in musicology and history, and the essays show the diverse ways that music has imprinted itself on the religious consciousness and history of the US. The editors divide the book into four parts. Offering a fascinating and unique look at American music and religion, this book examines topics and relationships previously unresearched and undocumented. —Choice

"Music in American Religious Experience positions music and religion at the very heart of North American everyday life. Central to the sacred journey embraced by the religious communities and traditions documented in this book, music contributes to the formation of communities—Hutterites in Canada, Old Regular Baptists in Kentucky, Chinese Americans churches, Wabanaki Catholics, Jewish synagogues in Boston, and many more—as they negotiate historical, contemporary, and frequently politicized identities. The rich essays included in this book suggest that a vibrant sacred soundscape exists in America's churches and synagogues, often in our own backyard!"—Gregory Barz, Vanderbilt University, author of Performing Religion: Negotiating Past and Present in Kwaya Music of Tanzania

"Singing, which time out of mind has been everywhere constitutive of religious community, has only recently emerged as a subject of vigorous study. This expert and welcome volume joins other recent efforts that are trying to understand how and why music has been so central in different ways to different religious traditions. Its chapters—on Wabanakis and Wesleyans, Muslims and Molokans, German Lutherans and the Chinese and Missionary Alliance, Isaac Watts and Fanny Crosby, and more—provide solid individual studies; together they demonstrate the superlative importance of music in American religious experience."—Mark A. Noll, author, America's God, from Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln (OUP, 2002)

"In an age when fundamentalisms of religious music tempt practitioners to circle the wagons or to make occasional half-hearted forays into foreign (sometimes perceived as enemy) territory, this book opens up the possibility for discovering peaceful and fertile common ground. This should be a 'must read' for every educational program in pastoral and liturgical music, for in the astounding diversity reflected in these essays one easily observes a shared American religious/musical journey ready to be mined for new insights that can only lead to awakened vocational enthusiasm."—Mark P. Bangert, John H. Tietjen Professor of Pastoral Ministry: Worship and Church Music, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195173048
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/8/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip V. Bohlman teaches at the University of Chicago, where he is Mary Werkman Professor of the Humanities and of Music, Chair of the Committee on Jewish Studies, and Artistic Director of the cabaret ensemble, New Budapest Orpheum Society.
Edith L. Blumhofer is Professor of History and Director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College (Illinois).
Maria M. Chow is a native of Hong Kong, and her Ph.D. dissertation (University of Chicago) is a study of the modern discourse on music and its impact on the Chinese national self-identity in the first half of the twentieth century.

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Table of Contents

Foreword, Martin E. Marty
Contributors
Introduction: Music in American Religious Experience, Philip V. Bohlman
Part I: Experience and Identity
1. When Women Recite: "Music" and the Islamic Immigrant Experience, Regula Burckhardt Qureshi
2. African American Religious Music from a Theomusicological Perspective, Jon Michael Spencer
3. Medeolinuwok, Music, and Missionaries in Maine, Anne Morrison Spinney
4. Singing as an Experience of American-Russian Molokans, Margarita Mazo
Part II: Liturgy, Hymnody, and Song
5. Hymnody and History: Early American Evangelical Hymns as Sacred Music, Stephen A. Marini
6. The Evolution of the Music of German American Protestants in Their Hymnody: A Case Study from an American Perspective, Paul Westermeyer
7. Singing from the Right Songbook: Ethnic Identity and Language Transformation in German American Hymnals, Otto Holzapfel
8. "When in Our Music God Is Glorified:" Singing and Singing about Singing in a Congregational Church, Judith Gray
Part III: Individuals and the Agency of Faith
9. Fanny Crosby and Protestant Hymnody, Edith L. Blumhofer
10. Prayer on the Panorama: Music and Individualism in American Religious Experience, Philip V. Bohlman
11. Women's Ritual Music, Janet Walton
Part IV: Congregation and Community
12. Nusach and Identity: The Contemporary Meaning of Traditional Jewish Prayer Modes, Jeffrey A. Summit
13. Reflections on the Musical Diversity of Chinese Churches in the United States, Maria M. Chow
14. "Tuned Up with the Grace of God:" Music and Experience among Old Regular Baptists, Jeff Todd Titon
15. Aesthetics and Theology in Congregational Song: A Hymnal Intervenes, Don E. Saliers
Index

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