Posts Tagged ‘Ritual Specialists’

Justice, “As It Was In The Beginning, Is Now, and Ever Shall Be?: Church Organists, Community, and Musical Continuity”

October 23, 2012

Justice, Deborah (2012) “As It Was In The Beginning, Is Now, and Ever Shall Be?: Church Organists, Community, and Musical Continuity” Ethnomusicology Review 14

Abstract: Do local church organists form communities? As ritual specialists, church organists have long played an indispensible role in facilitating North American and European Christian worship. Despite the diverse musical practices of Christianity, most mainline Protestant Sunday morning organ music falls within a relatively narrow range of repertoire and performance practice. Such musical continuity implies a level of communication between organists. Yet, since most organists work similar hours on Sunday mornings, they only infrequently observe each other during services. What explains the musical similarities? Do organists share educational backgrounds and sources of repertoire? How does musical information travel between organists? How does the contemporary reconfiguration of mainline Christianity impact organists’ sense of community? In this paper, I explore these issues through one basic question: do local organists form a musical community?

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