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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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 Singing as Experience among Russian American Molokans

 Singing as Experience among Russian American Molokans

(p.83) 4 Singing as Experience among Russian American Molokans
Music in American Religious Experience

Margarita Mazo

Oxford University Press

Molokanism is a domain of collective meaning and symbolic order that provides common religious experience for Russians and immigrant Russians who have chosen not to embrace the teachings of the Orthodox Church. Songs and ritual practice exist in extensive oral transmission, and the need to maintain traditions orally — often outside the norms of the host society in North America — means that sacred music provides the law, or zakon, of Molokan society. Case studies, such as the communitarian performance of sobranie, illustrate the ways in which sacred music embodies the structures of Molokan society, such as the relation between men and women, the elders, and the initiates in religious practice. The chapter illustrates central issues of power and transmission by comparing religious experience and its transformations in the United States and Russia.

Keywords:   immigrants, oral transmission, Orthodox Church, power, Russia, sobranie, zakon

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