Theses/Dissertations - Music History & Literature

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 23
  • Item
    Why church choirs function : a typological exploration of four key values.
    (December 2022) Snyder, Jon C., 1990-; Bradley, C. Randall, 1960-
    Volunteer church choirs have a variety of priorities driving their rehearsal techniques, repertoire, and traditions. Directors make many decisions based on their training and experiences, as shown in this research by the differences across choirs. This research gives researchers and directors the language to discuss various functions and the decisions accompanying them. Without a common language, it is easy for directors and others in the church to rely on what has been done previously instead of conscious decisions about the focus. This common language is the problem this research looks to address. The research answers the question by using a typology, a classification according to general type, of four functions: worship leadership, music education, community building, and faith formation. The typology model of the four functions allows for overlap and intersection of the functions while retaining their own identity. This research will hopefully prevent assumptions by those writing about the church choir. Because some assume that the church choir exists to lead on Sunday morning, they do not focus on the individual’s faith or learning or the community built between the individuals. Several fields should take notice of this work, namely worship, religion, and congregational music studies. While those in the choral area may be aware of some of the ideas included here, along with the broader possibilities of the choir, this work should also help those fields. In addition to the academy, directors can use this language to assess where they are on the spectrum of the four functions. With some reflection, directors can see if they are missing any of these functions in their rehearsals and if they would like to add them.
  • Item
    The mystery, music, and markets of contemporary worship songs : an interdisciplinary comparison of the CCLI Top 25 and number-one songs from 2010-2020.
    (August 2022) Baker, Shannan Katherine, 1993-; Ingalls, Monique Marie.
    Many churches in America use contemporary worship songs (CWS). As worshippers connect with God through these songs, the continued use of some CWS across churches elevates specific songs into the Christian Copyright Licensing International’s (CCLI’s) Top 25, which is created based on church reporting. Scholars have used the CCLI lists to analyze contemporary worship in the church. This dissertation proposes a unique approach by comparing the Top 25 with the number-one songs to answer the question: what makes a contemporary worship song popular? The songs analyzed were taken from the CCLI lists from 2010 to 2020. The 2010s decade was selected because of the rise of church worship bands and music streaming services. The CCLI lists from 2010 to 2020 provided a collection of seventy songs that acted as the standard to which the eleven most popular number-one songs were compared. To answer the primary question, this research required interdisciplinary methods from digital humanities, theology, music theory, and ethnography to analyze the songs and their use. First, the lyrics were analyzed using a Trinitarian theology lens. Second, the music was analyzed using music theory and popular music studies methods. Third, the song’s engagement with the music industry and creation was explored using ethnographic interviews. Lastly, the chapters about the content and creation of the songs are supplemented by an additional chapter that addresses the reception and use of CWS in the church. This chapter provides insights from a survey and interviews about worshippers’ engagement with CWS and the process by which worship leaders find, select, and use new songs. This dissertation provides foundational information about CWS from 2010 to 2020 and proposes new methods for analyzing contemporary worship songs in the future.
  • Item
    "The choir Is dead, long live the choir" : contemporary worship music and the transformation of the church choir.
    (2022-05-04) Noelliste, Joseph Daniel, 1983-; Ingalls, Monique Marie.
    Church choirs in North America have undergone substantial transformations in the early twenty-first century due to the steady increase of informal worship practices and the continuing decrease of formal worship elements within North American congregations. These changes have resulted in conflicting narratives concerning the state of the church choir with some believing that the rise of informal worship is bringing about the death of the ensemble and others witnessing the church choir taking on new life within informal worship spaces. This dissertation investigates North American church choirs in evangelical communities whose repertoire is predominantly contemporary worship music (CWM), a rock-pop based genre of congregational song that is arguably one of the most informal worship elements utilized by North America congregations. The thesis which arises from this research finds that the establishment of church choirs in contemporary worship within evangelical churches and networks is fraught with a central tension between establishing a sustainable choral practice, on the one hand, and keeping up with the rapidly changing genre of CWM, on the other – a dynamic which this dissertation contends is the “fault line” that is bringing about the conflicting narratives concerning the North American church choir. Using ethnographic participant observation methods from the perspectives of an insider and an outsider coupled with techniques emanating from stylistic analysis associated with the fields of musicology, music history, ethnomusicology, and music theory, this dissertation provides four case studies of CWM church choirs in contrasting environments and posits that the CWM genre has produced two distinct types of North American church choirs, namely the praise and worship choir and the worship-leading choir. Through the lens of the fours case studies and through the grounding CWM’s two choral types to various stylistic periods within the CWM genre, this dissertation addresses the hotly debated question: Is contemporary worship “killing” the church choir? By providing the first explicit consideration of church choirs in CWM, this dissertation contributes to church music scholarship and submits the church choirs as another viable vantage point from which contemporary worship music may be analyzed.
  • Item
    “Passin’ the faith along" : a sonic history of the Gaither Vocal Band.
    (2021-08-06) Sensenig, Jacob T., 1986-; Ingalls, Monique Marie.
    This dissertation presents a “thick history” of the career of Bill Gaither, to use Jennifer Lena’s term. While examining the Bill Gaither Trio and the Gaither Vocal Band, the principal performing groups founded by Bill Gaither, this dissertation seeks to not only highlight Gaither’s own work, but to connect it to the social systems that helped to produce this work. While Bill and Gloria Gaither, his wife and songwriting partner, have been prolific as songwriters, recording artists, entertainers, and producers, their careers have been underexamined, which is unsurprising given the dearth of scholarship regarding southern gospel. Because of their impact in the broader development of Christian music, their association solely with southern gospel by gospel music historians is misplaced. The primary tasks of this dissertation are to present an historically accurate narrative of the history of the Gaither Vocal Band from 1980 to the year 2020 and to seek to examine how the Vocal Band has negotiated the sonic boundaries between Contemporary Christian Music and southern gospel. This dissertation demonstrates that the sonic lineage of the Vocal Band is not as straight-forwardly tied to southern gospel as the narrative presented by the Gaithers in their numerous videos, books, and recordings would lead the casual observer to believe. In order to provide a thick history of the activities and sonic characteristics of the Vocal band, the same had to be done with The Bill Gaither Trio, the ensemble which prepared the way for the formation of the Vocal Band and ultimately laid the foundation for any success Bill Gaither would find with the Vocal Band or the Homecoming franchise. This dissertation functions as the first scholastic account of either of these prolific ensembles and contributes to the study of gospel music by providing foundational work for further study.
  • Item
    Perceiving parallax : human agency in the changing nature, history, and influence of the Brazilian Baptist hymnal Cantor Cristão.
    (2021-08-04) Monteiro, Maria Julia, 1963-; Ingalls, Monique Marie.
    This dissertation is a cultural history and musical ethnography of the first Brazilian Baptist hymnal Cantor Cristão. Published in 1891, it was revised and expanded, and went through thirty-seven editions but remained the only official Baptist hymnal for one hundred years. Though a second Brazilian Baptist hymnal (Hinário para o Culto Cristão) was published in 1991, Cantor Cristão still maintains an important place within Brazilian Baptist congregations today. I trace the trajectory of this book, paying particular attention to the people connected to its history, including authors, composers, translators, publishers, editors, and the impact of this very stable repertoire on Brazilian Baptist life. This dissertation uses a mixed-methods approach, combining historical research, oral history, and ethnography. I include a description and analysis of the contents of what is possibly the earliest extant edition of the hymnal (1893), and highlight the role and significance of the missionary enterprise in Brazilian Baptist life, including complex interconnections of key individuals—British, Portuguese, Brazilian, and American— who played crucial roles in the development of the hymnal. I also present results from my ethnographic study of a prominent present-day Baptist church in Recife, Brazil, to show Cantor Cristão’s continued importance. In highlighting the process of musical localization whereby these hymns became a valued Brazilian tradition, this dissertation advances a more nuanced view of the legacy of the mission enterprise that takes seriously the role of local agency.
  • Item
    Is this my story? Is this my song? Exploring narrative dissonance in worship music through the lens of ludomusicology.
    (2019-11-14) Huerter, Michael Eugene, 1991-; Ingalls, Monique Marie.
    This thesis explores connections between ludomusicology, sociology of religious narratives, and church music studies in a larger context of the digital mediatization of music and culture. Analysis of cultural trends around digital and online media demonstrates the importance of mediatization for consideration in church music. Exploration of concepts including Csikszentmihalyi’s flow, ludonarrative dissonance and ludomusical dissonance, identity integration in religious narratives, and interactivity in religion shows how digital culture is shaped by and also informs the understanding and practice of religion. A case study analyzing a survey distributed to four congregations or faith-based groups presents evidence that these concepts and vocabulary are productive and clarifying. This thesis points to the potential for interdisciplinary scholarship between church music studies and ludomusicology, among other developing digital media fields.
  • Item
    Musical techniques in the compositions of Der wilde Alexander and Rumelant von Sachsen in the Jenaer Liederhandschrift.
    (2019-04-23) Dodson, Zerek Nathaniel, 1994-; Cosart, Jann
    The Jenaer Liederhandschrift is a large fourteenth-century manuscript that serves as the primary source for melodies of German medieval vernacular song. Although scholarship focusing on the poetic texts has enjoyed activity in recent decades, far less attention has been directed to the music, which is as integral as the text in these genres, more specifically known as Minnesang and Sangspruchdichtung. This thesis investigates the musical materials and compositional styles of Rumelant von Sachsen and Der wilde Alexander, two of the thirteenth-century composers represented in this and related manuscripts. Transcriptions into modern musical notation of the entire musical corpus of these individuals, along with translations of selected Middle High German texts into English, enable analyses of the compositional and structural techniques employed. The results show the vibrancy, originality, and breadth of knowledge of these poet-composers, enabling them to synthesize both liturgical and secular musical influences.
  • Item
    Church music through the lens of performance : the embodied ritual of sacred play.
    (2018-06-11) Silva Steuernagel, Marcell, 1979-; Ingalls, Monique Marie.
    Scholars who address religious music making in general, and Christian church music in particular, use “performance” in a variety of ways and under varying constellations of assumptions, creating confusion around the term and its uses. Similar complications characterize the way church music practitioners talk about performance. This dissertation is an investigation of church music through the lens of performance theory, with the aim of providing a vocabulary for church music scholars and practitioners to speak of church music as performance. The thesis of the research is that in the activity of church music, all involved are performing, be it from the platform or from the seats, in accordance with performance theory’s proposition that performance is both acting and doing (Schechner 2003). Using a hybrid methodology that couples theory from anthropology (specifically ritual studies), ethnomusicology, theology, and church music scholarship with ethnographic research, this dissertation establishes performance studies as a possible “next step” in church music scholarship, investigates church music from the perspectives of ritual, embodiment, and processes of making special, play and change. It also demonstrates the feasibility of studying church music as performance using the vocabulary developed in the dissertation. By providing a performance language for the study of church music, this dissertation contributes to scholarship and furthers interdisciplinary investigations of religious music making in context.
  • Item
    Exploring homilies and hymnody : the thematic relationship between George Whitefield’s sermons and A Collection of Hymns for Social Worship.
    (2017-11-14) Robinson, Leslie A., 1993-; Music, David W., 1949-
    This thesis examines George Whitefield’s A Collection of Hymns for Social Worship and presents a thematic analysis of the hymn book’s lyrical content. This research contributes to a fuller understanding of Whitefield’s evangelistic mission, provides a perspective on Whitefield’s views on singing and hymnody, and suggests that the values that motivated Whitefield as a preacher also shaped his decisions as an editor and compiler of hymn texts. Whitefield’s religious zeal, theatrical tendencies, rhetorical abilities, and desire for Christian ecumenism are underscored as important factors that impacted the way he crafted this resource for public worship. Context for the thematic analysis of this collection is provided by an exploration of Whitefield’s published writings in journals and letters and a survey of his preaching ministry, with a focus on his endeavors at Moorfields in London.
  • Item
    The trombone as signifier in sacred germanic works of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
    (2017-10-09) Towers, Sha; Elzinga, Harry; Baylor University.
    During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Germanic composers recognized and propagated certain rhetorical associations of the trombone. Following a tradition of signification in sacred dramatic works, these composers used the trombone to represent or reinforce religious ideology in a variety of sacred genres. In part, these associations were the consequence of Germanic vernacular translations of the Bible which began in the fifteenth century. Centuries later, musical and literary examples attest to the influence of the psycho-linguistic association between trombone and biblical text. The trombone also shares a rich tradition of symbolic association with its organological ancestor, the trumpet. Numerous iconographic and literary sources from ancient cultures support the importance of symbolism in this instrument family. The associations identified with the trombone's ancestors help to establish the framework out of which the Germanic tradition of the trombone as a signifier emerges centuries later.
  • Item
    The influence of poetry on the piano music of early twentieth-century France and England.
    (2017-04-19) Rigby, Meredith K., 1990-; Zeiss, Laurel.
    The turn of the century in France saw an increased intensity of interest in equating the arts of poetry and music. England experienced a similar trend. Debussy and Ravel were influenced by the Symbolist poets and their aesthetic of abstract musical expression of ideas and outright rejection of Romanticism. John Ireland in England sought to express the sense of loss and longing in Victorian poetry through his music, while Joseph Holbrooke based his musical forms on direct representation of dramatic and mysterious Romantic poetry, especially that of Edgar Allan Poe, through text painting and similar techniques. Each of these composers' music reflects formal aspects, emotional values, and rhythmic qualities of the poetry in which they were immersed, as analyses of Debussy's Preludes, Ravel's Jeux d'eau, Ireland's Green Ways, and Holbrooke's Nocturnes demonstrate.
  • Item
    The history and formation of the military band in nineteenth-century Britain.
    (2016-07-31) Lawrence, Jacqueline E., 1991-; Boyd, Jean Ann.
    In the nineteenth century, the military band underwent significant alterations as the British musical system endeavored to take the historical tradition and grand concepts of the bands and place them into a more unified concept for increased public performances. Building on the customs of the past and on the ideas taken from other countries, the British military bands grew into a fully recognized system not only of military functionality but also of musical and public tradition. Throughout the century, changes impacted the instrumentation of the band, the number of musicians included, the skill level of the bandsmen, and the master in charge of the band. In these efforts, the musicians and military leaders hoped to present a more coherent presentation of their national pride and place in the world.
  • Item
    A comparative analysis of Frank Martin’s Ballade for flute and Ballade for trombone.
    (2015-07-21) Brandt, Emily, 1990-; Lai, Eric C.
    Swiss composer Frank Martin (1890-1974) wrote six single-movement pieces for six different solo instruments and accompaniment between 1938 and 1972, all titled Ballade. The Ballade for trombone (1940) and the Ballade for flute (1939) are the two shortest of the six, and they share much in common formally, harmonically, and motivically. Martin portrays the soloist as a storyteller in these compositions, and uses several compositional techniques throughout both works to accomplish this. This study compares these two pieces and provides insight into the connections that Martin draws between them.
  • Item
    A history of music ministry at the United States Air Force Academy Chapel with an emphasis on Protestant worship, 1954-1984.
    (2013-09-16) Lassitter, John A.; York, Terry W.; Music, David W., 1949-; Music.; Baylor University. School of Music.
    The primary objective of the United States Air Force Academy is to produce quality leaders that serve as officers in the United States Air Force. Many programs at the Academy help accomplish this goal, one of which is the Chapel Music Program. This paper will explore the musical institutions at the Academy by researching and studying the work of various music directors including James Roger Boyd, Edmund L. Ladouceur, and Joseph M. Galema, the music of the worship services, and related concerts at the United Sates Air Force Academy Chapel from 1954-1984. Primary sources used in research for this project include worship bulletins, concert programs, newspaper articles, and interviews. Further, records of music performed at the Academy including hymns used in worship services, repertoire from the various choirs, and organ recitals have been catalogued from surviving sources and appear in the appendices of this paper.
  • Item
    Ecstatic Utterances explained : a companion to Ecstatic Utterances.
    (2013-05-15) Simmons, Jim (James D.); McAllister, Scott.; Music.; Baylor University. School of Music.
    This paper provides technical and philosophical insight into the composition Ecstatic Utterances. Three distinguishing approaches feature in this thesis: strands, and their accompanying theory; harmonic crescendo and a limited aleatory passage. Of greatest importance amongst these three is the concept of a strand, and the possibilities obtaining therein; possibilities which have crystallized in the writer’s musical and verbal expression, providing methods for both composition and analysis. While these methods remain in need of development, important strides have already been taken: a detailed analysis of portions of Ecstatic Utterances and a brief theoretical foundation titled “A Beginning to the Discussion of Strands as a Form of Musical Expression: A Conceptual Glossary.” Both documents were developed simultaneously in an attempt to be systematic. All work is original unless otherwise cited.
  • Item
    For such a time as this : classical music and 9/11.
    (2012-11-29) Phillips, Ariana S.; Boyd, Jean Ann.; Music.; Baylor University. School of Music.
    This thesis takes as a foundational principle the conviction that music is a vital component of the process of mourning. From this foundation, I focus on three of classical music's responses to 9/11: John Adams' On the Transmigration of Souls, John Corigliano's One Sweet Morning, and Steve Reich’s WTC 9/11. The first chapter sets up analytical paradigms for the use of music in expressions of mourning, while the second applies those paradigms to music of the past. The third chapter discusses the compositional histories of each contemporary work, and chapter four analyzes structural characteristics that augment their expressive qualities. Chapter five focuses on the relationships between each work and memory, as well as the messages those entail. Aspects of reception history, including performance records and critical responses, form the basis of the sixth chapter, while chapter seven argues for these works' importance in the ongoing process of mourning 9/11.
  • Item
    Composers as spiritual mediators : Henryk Górecki and John Luther Adams.
    (2012-08-08) Cooper, S. Grant (Steven Grant); Boyd, Jean Ann.; Music.; Baylor University. School of Music.
    This thesis considers how composers act as agents of spiritual mediation. It examines two individuals of divergent philosophical and cultural perspectives. Henryk Górecki and John Luther Adams responded to twentieth-century crises with two signature works that reflect a desire to remediate the suppression of spiritual forces. Górecki’s Miserere, opus 44 is a plea for reconciliation prompted by the abuse of Poland’s Solidarity movement, and is examined as a product of political and religious oppression in the composer’s nation, and as an invocation of Roman Catholic traditions that relate to its biblical text. John Luther Adams’s In the White Silence, a defense of wilderness places in Alaska, is examined as an outgrowth of environmental activism that resulted in a musical idiom based on ecological principles. The object of this study is to illuminate the role of composers as mediators between corporeal and incorporeal forces, manifesting the spiritual exigencies of mankind.
  • Item
    Memory, identity, and farce in carnival mirrors : a director's approach to David Lindsay-Abaire's "Fuddy Meers".
    (2010-06-23T12:18:59Z) Buck, Daniel Andrew.; Toten Beard, Deanna M., 1969-; Theatre Arts.; Baylor University. Dept. of Theatre Arts.
    American playwright David Lindsay-Abaire’s central subject of interest is a world turned upside down by hardship and pain. Although commonly labeled a dark farce, Lindsay-Abaire’s 1999 play, Fuddy Meers, is haunted by the spirit of medieval folk festivals in its grotesque imagery and subversive laughter. This thesis offers an examination of the social function of laughter in Fuddy Meers and its generic influences. The study details the biography of the playwright, examines his body of work, and offers a complete analysis of the play. It also follows the production process of the Baylor University Theater 2009 staging of the play from conception to performance.
  • Item
    The blending of African-American and European aesthetics in the guitar performance of British blues from 1965 to 1967.
    (2010-02-02T19:55:50Z) Kelly, Patrick T. (Patrick Thomas), 1965-; Boyd, Jean Ann.; Music.; Baylor University. School of Music.
    British blues guitarists emerging in the mid-1960s incorporated a musical vocabulary which borrowed heavily from recordings of the modern blues' African-American, postwar originators. Crucial differences in the way the British interpreted this material in their own recorded performances are reflective of deeply embedded aesthetics unique to their European musical heritage and cultural experience. Through the detailed analysis of transcribed performances by British guitarists in comparison to performances by the African-American guitarists they sought to emulate, the syntactical elements of these differences are observable. Using this comparative methodology, this study gathers evidence of the blending of European and African-American aesthetics in sample British blues guitar performances from 1965 to 1967. Placing this musical evidence into context amid the cultural and ideological currents affecting Great Britain during the mid-1960s offers insight to the societal and philosophical forces shaping this influential strand of blues development.
  • Item
    A discussion of the choral music of Samuel Barber.
    (2008-08-25T16:25:35Z) Berg, Michael W.; Boyd, Jean Ann.; Music.; Baylor University. School of Music.
    Within the world of music history, choral music seems to drop off of the map with the end of the Baroque era, and only a handful of major works, such as masses and oratorios, are typically studied in an academic setting. As a result, many exquisite pieces are often largely neglected in many music history courses and textbooks, and it is my firm belief that such a neglect is to our detriment. With that in mind, I have undertaken a study of the published choral music of Samuel Barber (1910-1981). In this thesis, I undertake a study of Barber’s music by observing stylistic techniques in his choral music, particularly those techniques that remain consistent throughout his choral works.