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Music in American Religious Experience$
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Philip V. Bohlman, Edith Blumhofer, and Maria Chow

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195173048

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195173048.001.0001

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 Fanny Crosby and Protestant Hymnody

 Fanny Crosby and Protestant Hymnody

(p.215) 9 Fanny Crosby and Protestant Hymnody
Music in American Religious Experience

Edith L. Blumhofer

Oxford University Press

Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) was the most prolific author of texts for hymns throughout American history. This chapter surveys the vast range of her contributions to American hymnody, and interprets the complex meanings within such that she has come to play such a critical role in the shaping of language for American hymnody. Though blind, Crosby collaborated extensively with hymn composers and compilers, such as William Bradbury, developing both an individual style and displaying sensitivity to the ways in which images and texts would appeal to the broadest cross-section of American Protestants. She chose the language of her hymns from the revivals of her youth and the changing immigrant populations of New York City in her adult life. Her life and work embodied many different aspects of American religious experience, and her hymn texts shaped the canon and aesthetics of sacred song, particularly evangelical song, from the 19th century into the 21st century.

Keywords:   William Bradbury, evangelical, hymn, immigrant, New York City, American Protestants, revivals

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