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Special Issue "Music and Spirituality"

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A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Edward Foley

Catholic Theological Union, 5416 S. Cornell Ave., Chicago, IL 60615, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: practical; theology; worship; music; preaching

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Across time and geography people have known the power of music for evoking the gods and acquiring spiritual insight. Whether arising as a textless chant by a single voice or a percussive auditory context for ritual dance, music in its various modes is a virtually ubiquitous companion to religious and spiritual practices. The apparently intangible, insubstantial nature of sound is one of the reasons why music has so effectively symbolized the mysterious and wholly other since the dawn of creation. Not only an accompaniment to one’s spiritual trek, musical compositions from the great oratorios of Handel to the soundtrack to the movie Lord of the Rings also serve as powerful metaphors and inspirations for that journey.

Prof. Dr. Edward Foley
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

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Pages: 12, 195
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Keywords

  • spirituality
  • music
  • acoustics
  • sound
  • rhythm
  • movement
  • chant

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Music and Spirituality—Introduction
Religions 2015, 6(2), 638-641; doi:10.3390/rel6020638
Received: 13 May 2015 / Accepted: 15 May 2015 / Published: 19 May 2015
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Abstract Across time and geography people have known the power of music for evoking the gods and acquiring spiritual insight. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Print Edition available

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessArticle “There Is a Higher Height in the Lord”: Music, Worship, and Communication with God
Religions 2015, 6(2), 543-565; doi:10.3390/rel6020543
Received: 17 December 2014 / Revised: 9 April 2015 / Accepted: 10 April 2015 / Published: 29 April 2015
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Abstract
Music is so vital in the services of African American Baptist churches that there are few moments in the service when music—either congregational or choral singing, or instrumental music of some sort—is not being performed. Sustained as an auditory or imagined presence, music
[...] Read more.
Music is so vital in the services of African American Baptist churches that there are few moments in the service when music—either congregational or choral singing, or instrumental music of some sort—is not being performed. Sustained as an auditory or imagined presence, music acts almost as a timbral membrane for the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout the service. The Holy Spirit is physically manifested (inspiration by the Holy Spirit) in the church membership, predominantly (if not exclusively) in a musical context. In order to ground the general in the particular, I will give detailed consideration to two musical instances or events from the Sunday morning service at Clear Creek Missionary Baptist Church on 4 November 2012, contextualising those within a broader context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle The Seraphim above: Some Perspectives on the Theology of Orthodox Church Music
Religions 2015, 6(2), 350-364; doi:10.3390/rel6020350
Received: 5 March 2015 / Revised: 23 March 2015 / Accepted: 24 March 2015 / Published: 2 April 2015
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Abstract
Some outstanding contributions notwithstanding, much recent scholarship in Western European languages concerning art and the sacred has been quite prolific but has generally avoided discussion of specifically liturgical music, a particular problem when dealing with the sacred music of the Orthodox Church. The
[...] Read more.
Some outstanding contributions notwithstanding, much recent scholarship in Western European languages concerning art and the sacred has been quite prolific but has generally avoided discussion of specifically liturgical music, a particular problem when dealing with the sacred music of the Orthodox Church. The present discussion aims at establishing some bases for furthering this discussion, drawing not only on recent commentators but especially commentary on the question of liturgical singing by the Fathers of the Church. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Elvis’ Gospel Music: Between the Secular and the Spiritual?
Religions 2015, 6(1), 182-203; doi:10.3390/rel6010182
Received: 5 January 2015 / Revised: 5 January 2015 / Accepted: 15 February 2015 / Published: 9 March 2015
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Abstract
Do fans sanctify their heroes? In the past, I have argued that Elvis fandom is not a neo-religious practice but that attention to a modified version of Durkheim’s theory of religion can, nevertheless, help to explain it as a form of social interaction.
[...] Read more.
Do fans sanctify their heroes? In the past, I have argued that Elvis fandom is not a neo-religious practice but that attention to a modified version of Durkheim’s theory of religion can, nevertheless, help to explain it as a form of social interaction. I take that argument further here, first by revealing the ethical and analytical advantages of neo-Durkheimian theory, then by pitting this theory against three aspects of Elvis’ sincere engagement with gospel music. Elvis Presley won three Grammy awards for his gospel albums and was the musician who did most to bring the gospel quartet tradition to the mainstream. His eclectic personal ties to spirituality and religion have become a focus of debate within his fan culture. They offer a set of discursive resources through which to explain the emotional impact and social influence of his music. If star musicians are positioned as centres of attention, what happens when they use their privileged position in the spotlight to offer a “spiritual” message? Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Dominican Chant and Dominican Identity
Religions 2014, 5(4), 961-971; doi:10.3390/rel5040961
Received: 25 August 2014 / Revised: 12 September 2014 / Accepted: 16 September 2014 / Published: 29 September 2014
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Abstract
The Order of Preachers possesses a venerable chant tradition that dates back to the thirteenth century. This essay describes Dominican chant, showing how it developed as a consequence of the attitudes to the liturgy expressed in the Ancient Constitutions of the Order of
[...] Read more.
The Order of Preachers possesses a venerable chant tradition that dates back to the thirteenth century. This essay describes Dominican chant, showing how it developed as a consequence of the attitudes to the liturgy expressed in the Ancient Constitutions of the Order of Preachers. These constitutions stressed that the liturgy was to be performed with careful attention to bodily posture, with a succinctness and brevity that would allow time for study and preaching, and with gradations of solemnity that would express the inner hierarchy of parts of the liturgy and of the liturgical year. After the initial development of the repertoire, Dominican chant has gone through periods of decline and revival, which are briefly traced in this article together with a consideration of the place of the chant in the contemporary practice of the Order. Throughout the last eight centuries, the chant of the Order of Preachers has played an important role in the inculcation and preservation of Dominican identity within the Order and in the lives of individual friars and sisters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle The Liturgical Use of the Organ in the Sixteenth Century: the Judgments of Cajetan and the Dominican Order
Religions 2014, 5(3), 751-766; doi:10.3390/rel5030751
Received: 10 June 2014 / Revised: 3 July 2014 / Accepted: 10 July 2014 / Published: 13 August 2014
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Abstract
This paper explores the liturgical use of the organ in the sixteenth century according to the judgments of Tommaso de Vio, Cajetan (1469–1534) and the Dominicans. In particular, it asks the question: In worship, is solo organ music capable of conveying a specific
[...] Read more.
This paper explores the liturgical use of the organ in the sixteenth century according to the judgments of Tommaso de Vio, Cajetan (1469–1534) and the Dominicans. In particular, it asks the question: In worship, is solo organ music capable of conveying a specific meaning or a particular text (as seemed to be expected in alternatim practice)? The Dominican sources show an increasingly skeptical attitude, with a consequent tendency to limit the organ’s role in worship. The implication of this study is that organ alternatim did not fall out of favor (with the Dominicans at least) because it failed to carry out the job it was given in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, but because it could not do the new job is was given in the sixteenth century. Organ alternatim made sense in a gothic worldview, but less so under the influence of renaissance humanism. While these Dominicans accepted the use of the organ, they did so with great concern at the potential influx of secular music into worship, since secular melodies and rhythms, even without their original words, bring multiple inappropriate associations. To remedy this, various strategies were used to harness instrumental music to text. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Can Music “Mirror” God? A Theological-Hermeneutical Exploration of Music in the Light of Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel
Religions 2014, 5(2), 361-384; doi:10.3390/rel5020361
Received: 1 January 2014 / Revised: 12 March 2014 / Accepted: 13 March 2014 / Published: 1 April 2014
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Abstract
A theological exploration of the potential of non-liturgical instrumental music for the transmission of religious Christian faith experience, based on a hermeneutical tool drawn from Jean-Jacques Nattiez as applied to Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel. The article explores musical composition, reception, as well
[...] Read more.
A theological exploration of the potential of non-liturgical instrumental music for the transmission of religious Christian faith experience, based on a hermeneutical tool drawn from Jean-Jacques Nattiez as applied to Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel. The article explores musical composition, reception, as well as the piece of music in itself, to discover common traits and keys to understanding its “meaning”, and relate it to current thought and development in theology; in particular to themes of creativity, theological aesthetics, the Ascension, the artistic vocation and meaning-making in contemporary culture, through music and films. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Are Spiritual Experiences through Music Seen as Intrinsic or Extrinsic?
Religions 2014, 5(1), 76-89; doi:10.3390/rel5010076
Received: 23 November 2013 / Revised: 17 January 2014 / Accepted: 17 January 2014 / Published: 29 January 2014
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Abstract
Music has a great capacity to afford spiritual experiences, but are those experiences intrinsic or extrinsic to the music? This paper reports the results of research aimed at answering that research question. One hundred and seventeen self-reported Christian religious people completed a survey,
[...] Read more.
Music has a great capacity to afford spiritual experiences, but are those experiences intrinsic or extrinsic to the music? This paper reports the results of research aimed at answering that research question. One hundred and seventeen self-reported Christian religious people completed a survey, answering eight rating-item questions about strong musical experiences, both in a religious and a non-religious context. Factor analysis revealed that ratings related to spirituality grouped together, but were separate from intrinsic and extrinsic semantic groupings, suggesting that there is something special about the phenomenon of spiritual experiences with music that is beyond a simple identifiable source. We concluded that spirituality, therefore, appears to be something profound and transcendent that comes to life with the musical forms, rather than being perceived as either explicitly intrinsic or extrinsic to the music. In the religious context, experiences were stronger, more spiritual, and more emotional, but in the non-religious context experiences elicited similar features, just to a lesser degree. This suggests the phenomenon is not merely a product of religion. This research, although limited due to its quantitative nature, demonstrated an important place for spirituality within the experience of music, and therefore places a call on the research community to invest more in understanding this phenomenon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle The Offence of Beauty in Modern Western Art Music
Religions 2013, 4(4), 687-700; doi:10.3390/rel4040687
Received: 23 October 2013 / Revised: 3 December 2013 / Accepted: 4 December 2013 / Published: 18 December 2013
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Abstract
In recent decades, beauty has become a largely unfashionable, even offensive notion within art and philosophy. As Eastern Orthodox theologian, David Bentley Hart, has pointed out, this offence has a twofold sense. Firstly, the ‘beautiful’ has been dismissed as philosophically insignificant in comparison
[...] Read more.
In recent decades, beauty has become a largely unfashionable, even offensive notion within art and philosophy. As Eastern Orthodox theologian, David Bentley Hart, has pointed out, this offence has a twofold sense. Firstly, the ‘beautiful’ has been dismissed as philosophically insignificant in comparison to the ‘sublime’ by an intellectual tradition tracing itself back to Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgment. Secondly, the making of apparently beautiful art has, especially after the Shoah, frequently been regarded as ethically offensive in the face of suffering in the world. The present essay discusses how these two critiques of the beautiful find themselves reflected in twentieth and twenty-first century musical aesthetics, with particular reference to the writings of Theodor W. Adorno, and asks what solutions have been found by composers of Christian sacred music in the Western tradition confronted by this ‘taboo on beauty’. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle “To Sing with the Spirit:” Psalms, Hymns and the Spirituality of Late Eighteen Century American Presbyterians
Religions 2013, 4(4), 657-668; doi:10.3390/rel4040657
Received: 1 November 2013 / Revised: 6 December 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 11 December 2013
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Abstract
This paper contends that the contemporary discussion among theologians regarding the relationship between theology and spirituality can offer new insight into the eighteenth century religious world. This theological discussion has wrestled with, among other things, the questions of whether theology and spirituality are
[...] Read more.
This paper contends that the contemporary discussion among theologians regarding the relationship between theology and spirituality can offer new insight into the eighteenth century religious world. This theological discussion has wrestled with, among other things, the questions of whether theology and spirituality are mutually exclusive and what exactly their relationship looks like. Resoundingly, theologians such as Alister McGrath, J. I. Packer, and Sandra Schneiders have concluded that any separation of the two represents a false dichotomy within Christianity. Accordingly, Christians are called to “the quest for a fulfilled and authentic Christian existence, involving the bringing together of the fundamental ideas of Christianity and the whole experience of living on the basis of, and within, the scope of the Christian faith.” Sound theology, then, necessitates living by the Spirit and vice versa. The benefit of this theological position for religious history lies in its reevaluation of the common categorization of Christians as either theologically or spiritually focused. By heeding the call of contemporary theologians and blurring these lines of distinction, historians can afford eighteen century American Christians the chance to better define themselves. Considered in this light, the actions of the Presbyterians, for instance, are freed from the manipulative “social control” framework as one of the “establishmentarian” churches. Instead, the Presbyterians reveal characteristics generally reserved for the democratically charged “sectarians,” such as a robust spiritual life compelled by music. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Music and Spirituality: Reflections from a Western Christian Perspective
Religions 2013, 4(4), 567-583; doi:10.3390/rel4040567
Received: 1 October 2013 / Revised: 6 November 2013 / Accepted: 7 November 2013 / Published: 13 November 2013
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Abstract
Music and spirituality in a Christian view start with faith in the Word of God in response to the initiative of God who, as personal being through the Word revealed in Christ, seeks out persons even when they do not seek God. This
[...] Read more.
Music and spirituality in a Christian view start with faith in the Word of God in response to the initiative of God who, as personal being through the Word revealed in Christ, seeks out persons even when they do not seek God. This mystery finds its goal in what is beyond expression in music from a variety of musical styles and syntaxes, from various times and places, in praise and prayer, and in relation to all of life. Matters like memory, health, emotion, time, silence, and community are involved. Paradoxes and a dark side are noted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle A Perfect Chord: Trinity in Music, Music in the Trinity
Religions 2013, 4(4), 485-501; doi:10.3390/rel4040485
Received: 9 September 2013 / Revised: 24 September 2013 / Accepted: 1 October 2013 / Published: 9 October 2013
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Abstract
The doctrine of God’s Triunity is at the core of Christian faith; this article presents a theological survey of how it has been understood in a musical way during the Christian era. The role of music as a participation in the liturgy of
[...] Read more.
The doctrine of God’s Triunity is at the core of Christian faith; this article presents a theological survey of how it has been understood in a musical way during the Christian era. The role of music as a participation in the liturgy of mutual love eternally experienced in the Trinity is first analyzed, with references to the Church Fathers and to modern/contemporary theologians. Later, the three main forms of congregational singing are taken into account (i.e., monody, polyphony and harmony), pointing out how each has been seen in turn as a symbol of the Trinity’s love. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Print Edition available

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