Church music history survey texts
Thanks to all of you who sent suggestions of a textbook for a church music history
survey for a general college audience. Here is the compilation with comments. Of
course if any of you have other suggestions, please let me know. I am still hoping
there might be a comprehensive text out there with a recorded anthology of examples.
(If there isn't such a thing, maybe one of the erudite writers on this list might
want to consider such a project?)
Along these lines, I'm sure some of you have wanted at some time to purchase a copy
of Friedrich Blume's Protestant Church Music. It's several decades old now, and the
scholarship has been increased in all areas, but it's still a landmark book. Perhaps
those of us who want (and can't find) a copy could urge the editors at WW Norton to
consider issuing a paperback reprint. (hint, hint!)
The story of Christian music : from Gregorian chant to Black gospel : an
authoritative illustrated guide to all the major traditions of music for worship
Minneapolis : Augsburg Fortress, 1996
Paul Westermeyer Te Deum (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998) It is a
little more scholarly than the Wilson-Dickson. I'm actually using the
Wilson-Dickson this semester with students who have little or no music
background (and some with little church background). It is right on the
edge of what they can handle.
Check out "A Survey of Christian hymnody" by William Jensen Reynolds.
It's heavy on Protestant developments, as I recall, and does have a fair
amount of American developments, as well. It's a good survey text.
Since it's a survey text, it doesn't go into a great deal of depth-one
drawback, I think.
May I suggest two...they're very different but both
good...first is "Leading the Church's Song" pub.
Augsburg...includes a CD. Second is Paul Westermeyer's
"Te Deum" ...problematic (he doesn't write about
Anglican stuff very well), but good nonetheless...
You might check with your local Thrivent Insurance agent, or with any of
the ELCA Lutheran Churches in town. Thrivent put out a CD Rom with
excellent information and recordings (was made available to ELCA
churches for free). It focuses on 16th century forward, but is well
done. It is called "Celebrating the Musical Heritage of the Lutheran
Church". If you cannot get it, please let me know.
Kirin: For me, there doesn't seem to be one text that covers it all well. I,
therefore, use several. I make use of the Wilson/Disckson text but also supplement
with Robert Dean's "History of American Church Music." I also use Segler's
"Christian Worship in Theology and Practice, as well as the Wienandt, "Choral Music
of the Church." If you find a text that is comprehensive, please let me know!!"
Te Deum by Westermeyer is very good. My prof in seminary also liked Music &
Worship in the Church by Lovelace & Rice. In regards to American Church
Music, you might look at Jubilate II by Hustad.
If you're looking to include American music in your course, one of the
better treatments is in Charles Hamm's "Music in the New World," scattered
in the relevant chapters on sacred music. It's not the best book ever
written, but those chapters are quite good. I'd actually recommend taking
relevant chapters from several texts (like Blume's "Protestant Church Music"
and the 3rd edition of Gilbert Chase's "America's Music," a very good book,
which was really written by Richard Crawford when Chase was old and ailing),
and maybe compiling a really knockout set of readings that way, rather than
relying on a single text. Other books to look at are "The Power of Black
Music" by Samuel Floyd and "Sinful Tunes and Spirituals" by Dena Epstein,
assuming that spirituals and African-American sacred music are in your
purview. Maybe you can get permission from the various publishers to
photocopy the chapters you end up using. Just a thought.
A random response to your Monday choralist query looking for
church music texts. The late Eric Routley edited several hymnbooks,
and published some studies on Psalms, among other things.
If anything of Routley's is still in print, it is well worth
looking at. He taught at Westminster Choir College
(and lectured extensively) before dying in the mid 1980's.
Perhaps you have seen Wilson-Dickson's other title - A BRIEF HISTORY OF
CHRISTIAN MUSIC. I would be very interested to see a compilation of answers
to your query.
Erik Routley has written a range of textbooks. Church Music & the Christian Faith is
a classic. Here's a link to what's available on Amazon.co.uk