Listening to a singing people: accounts of Methodist hymn-singing

Clarke, Martin (2017). Listening to a singing people: accounts of Methodist hymn-singing. In: Barlow, Helen and Rowland, David eds. Listening to music: people, practices and experiences. The Open University.

URL: http://ledbooks.org/proceedings2017/#sec_1_h2_intr...

Abstract

This chapter uses a series of listening experiences from the long nineteenth century to explore the significant place afforded to hymnody in articulations of Methodist identity. It draws on accounts of individual practice and institutional events from Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist backgrounds. It situates these experiences in the context of evidence available through other sources, such as denominational hymnals, arguing that they allow for a fuller understanding of the relationship between centralised and localised attitudes and practices. Through detailed interrogation of the accounts of hymn-singing, focusing on the practice, repertoire and reactions they record, it highlights their value in placing emphasis on the experiential aspect of hymnody, arguing that this is vital to evaluating the causes of its long-lasting and powerful impression on Methodism.

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