Contemporary Research in Sacred Music

Music in a bilingual Church

The Church in Wales is a bilingual Church, in which the official texts of the liturgy are printed in both languages in parallel. A metrical text available in both Welsh and English (e.g. hymns and songs) may be used interchangeably with the same music; that is not the case for the prose texts (e.g. Gloria and Sanctus) which dominate the people’s part of the liturgy and are often sung. With increasing numbers of bilingual services there is a need for such resources.

The first outcome of this initiative is John Harper’s Cymun y Cymry/The Welsh Eucharist (2004). This is a setting of the new bilingual Eucharist. An account of the challenges and constraints faced and the solutions devised in undertaking was presented at the 2007 conference of the Centre for Advanced Welsh Music Studies. The text of that paper can be obtained online. The musical score and a basic demonstration recording can be obtained from RSCM Music Direct. A podcast about the setting can be downloaded from the RSCM website.

Following on from Cymun y Cymry/The Welsh Eucharist and with the encouragement of the bishops of the Church in Wales, ICSMuS will take forward the compilation and creation of bilingual musical resources for use in worship.

Music and ministerial training

Lack of experience of Christian tradition and Christian worship is increasingly common among those preparing for ministry in the Churches, where increasing numbers of clergy have become Christians as adults. The pressure on those providing courses of training squeezes out any but the briefest consideration of music in worship, leaving clergy to rely on their own taste and preference with little regard for the wider resources and traditions available.

ICSMuS will coordinate the preparation of an imaginative ‘tool kit’ for ordinands and those recently ordained. This will require careful consideration to meet the diversity of contexts and resources of local churches, and effective methods of learning and reference, most likely through electronic means.

Music for Common Worship

As part of the partnership with The Royal School of Church Music, ICSMuS will coordinate the development of new resources for the Church of England’s new liturgies, Common Worship. Seven volumes of Music for Common Worship have now appeared (2000-2006). Work will go forward over the coming years to prepare new resources for Times and Seasons, Festivals, Daily Prayer, Rites on the Way, Ordination, Music for Pastoral Services.

The theology of music in worship

Towards an Anglican theology of music in worship

The Anglican Church expresses its doctrine through its worship. That places particular demands on the theological nature of its music, which has yet to be adequately reviewed and expressed. Through a series of essays and dialogues it is hoped to work towards a valid expression of the Anglican theology of music in worship.

Koinonia and music in worship

The Revd Douglas Galbraith is completing a thesis which examines the theological concept of koinonia and its potential use as a model for the understanding and use of music in worship. As well as a broad review of the issues, the thesis includes three very different case studies where koinonia may be discerned. The thesis is provisionally entitled: Towards a new ecclesial model for music in worship: music and the theology and discernment of koinonia. Completion is expected in 2008.