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Pulpit song : music lessons from African American homiletics

Author: Richard Lund Dacey
Publisher: Denver, Colorado : Iliff School of Theology, 2010.
Dissertation: D. Min. Iliff School of Theology 2010
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Document : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material   Computer File : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
This thesis explores how musicality, a defining characteristic of African American preaching, contributes to that tradition's holistic engagement of listeners. Recent research in the interdisciplinary field of music cognition reveals that the brain receives, processes, stores, and accesses linguistic information linked with music in a significantly different way than it engages non-musical linguistic information. I  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Microfiche version:
Dacey, Richard Lund.
Pulpit song.
c2010
(OCoLC)757753079
Material Type: Document, Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript
Document Type: Book, Computer File, Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Richard Lund Dacey
OCLC Number: 799878612
Notes: Includes abstract.
Description: 1 online resource (ii, 94, [3] leaves)
Responsibility: by Richard Lund Dacey.
More information:

Abstract:

This thesis explores how musicality, a defining characteristic of African American preaching, contributes to that tradition's holistic engagement of listeners. Recent research in the interdisciplinary field of music cognition reveals that the brain receives, processes, stores, and accesses linguistic information linked with music in a significantly different way than it engages non-musical linguistic information. I contend that preaching in the African American tradition is not merely like music; it truly is music in the sense that it is aural information cognitively received, processed, stored, and accessed by listeners more as song than speech. While further research, particularly research using modern brain imaging technology would be needed to conclusively confirm this hypothesis, a combination of anecdotal examples, an analysis of the structure and sound of traditional African American preaching, and an experiment in which listeners reported verbal memories of Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech, together lent it strong support. Drawing upon music cognition research, I demonstrate how musicality in homiletical composition and performance can expand the cognitive-communicative "bandwidth" ofthe preaching event, profoundly affecting a sermon's portability, memorability, and emotional power among listeners. I look too at ways in which musicality can enhance narrative communication, bear theological and ecclesiological meaning, and foster a sense of shared spiritual experience among listeners. The power of African American preaching to engage listeners in a holistic heart-soul-strength-mind spiritual experience has often been observed, but has received little scholarly attention in European American mainline homiletics circles. In demonstrating that musicality is not mere sonic decoration in African American preaching, but an expansion of preaching's cognitive-communicative "bandwidth," this thesis opens up a new path of inquiry which can inform, and perhaps even transform, preaching in predominantly European American mainline churches.

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