The role of musical composition in promoting church unity

Griffith, Philip (2018) The role of musical composition in promoting church unity. Masters thesis, Middlesex University / London School of Theology.

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Abstract

This thesis considers a unique perspective on the common church contexts and conflicts observed when church music is at the centre of discussions. It is distinctive in as much as it ponders several similarities that exist between the concepts of musical unity and unity as expressed and encouraged within scripture. It challenges the perceived acceptance of the norm that ’worship wars’ still happen in many churches and, from the viewpoint of a composer, offers practical solutions that may serve both individual churches and denominational groups in providing a scaffold for future discussions and decisions.
Jesus’ command in John 13: 34-35, and Paul’s teaching on unity form the scriptural basis for the thesis’ scope and definition of the phrase ‘church unity’. In comparing this with ‘compositional unity’, comprehensive analysis of hymnody and contemporary Christian music used in gathered worship will not be offered, but consideration is given as to why certain hymns and songs have lasted above others, illustrating links between good compositional writing and unity as explained within the study.
Musical examples are explored so that key features in the discussion are identified. Also, a survey of churches is conducted, helping to highlight congregational observations and concerns. The compositional craft is then better focussed to address or mitigate these findings, while balancing the need for musical creativity with congregationally appropriate solutions in the local context. As part of the outcome, the included composition portfolio applies the research and offers a small catalogue of new compositions and arrangements: hymns, songs and elements from a Mass setting.
The thesis finds its purpose in encouraging a new perspective on church music and fresh impetus into the centrality of congregational singing within corporate worship, unity amongst the body of Christ, and the role of composers and
musical decisions to impact on both.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Research Areas: B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > London School of Theology
Item ID: 24352
Depositing User: Vimal Shah
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2018 14:23
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2018 14:23
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/24352

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