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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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 African American Religious Music from a Theomusicological Perspective

 African American Religious Music from a Theomusicological Perspective

(p.43) 2 African American Religious Music from a Theomusicological Perspective
Music in American Religious Experience

Jon Michael Spencer

Oxford University Press

This chapter lays out a complex framework for a theomusicology of African American sacred music. Sacred practices provide common denominators for styles and practices from black preaching to spirituals to the blues to gospel songs. Drawing upon critical theory in African American studies from the 1980s and 1990s, the chapter makes a case for a much deeper level of religious experience in the historical and modern styles of African American music. As a discipline theomusicology is expansive and inclusive, and it serves to connect the diverse elements of black religious experience. The theology of William C. Turner Jr joins that of James Cone, laying the groundwork for new approaches to music from the varied theological premises of African and African American religion.

Keywords:   black preaching, blues, Cone, gospel, spirituals, theomusicology, William C. Turner Jr, James Cone

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