Churches and Devotional Practice

Clarke, Martin V. (2020). Churches and Devotional Practice. In: Watt, Paul; Collins, Sarah and Allis, Michael eds. The Oxford Handbook of Music and Intellectual Culture in the Nineteenth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.




This chapter discusses the contribution of hymnology to nineteenth-century intellectual culture. It demonstrates how clergy and musicians engaged in scholarly writing and debate concerning the history, context, practice, and spirituality of congregational song. Using a diverse range of sources, including journal articles, lectures, sermons, and hymnals, it argues that hymnology was recognised as an important area of scholarship that drew on a range of musical and religious perspectives. Interest in it extended across denominational and national boundaries, and was characterized by professional and amateur participation. The key to understanding hymnology’s centrality in intellectual culture lies in the pervasiveness of church music in nineteenth-century cultural practice and experience.

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