Music in American Religious Experience
Philip V. Bohlman, Edith Blumhofer, Maria Chow
Oxford University Press, USA, Nov 11, 2005 - Music - 368 pages
Since the appearance of The Bay Psalm Book in 1640, music has served as a defining factor for American religious experience. Music and music-making are crucial to the maintenance of the distinctive belief systems that account for the insistent presence of multiculturalism in American denominationalism. The sacred musics of America at once symbolize the unifying factors of worship shaping the historical landscape and give voice to the diversity that distinguishes the religious experiences of that landscape as American. For students and scholars in American music and religious studies, as well as for church musicians, this book is the first to study the ways in which music shapes the distinctive presence of religion in the United States. The sixteen essayists contributing to this book address the fullness of music's presence in American religion and religious history. Sacred music is considered in the broadest aesthetic sense, stretching from more traditional studies of hymnody and worship to new forms of musical expression, such as ritual in nonsectarian religious movements. Musical experience intersects with religious experience, posing challenging questions about the ways in which Americans, historical communities and new immigrants, and racial and ethnic groups, construct their sense of self. This book features an interdisciplinary approach that includes scholars in both musical and religious studies; a broad range of methodologies; historical breadth extending beyond denominational and church studies, and beyond Judeo-Christian traditions; and a comparative study of traditional religious communities and of emerging groups representing multiethnic America.
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