An Analytical Study of Selected Jazz Settings of Psalms Composed between 1958 and 2012.

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An Analytical Study of Selected Jazz Settings of Psalms Composed between 1958 and 2012.

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Title: An Analytical Study of Selected Jazz Settings of Psalms Composed between 1958 and 2012.
Author: Hardymon, Rocky D.
Advisor: Crookshank, Esther R


BETWEEN 1958-2012

Rocky DeWayne Hardymon, D.M.A.

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2013

Chair: Esther R. Crookshank

A trend in U. S. Protestant and Catholic churches that has gained popularity over recent decades is the use of jazz music as a means of expression in worship. The purpose of this study was to compile an analytical guide to select available jazz settings of the Psalms, published and unpublished. The methodology began with a systematic search for psalm settings fitting the chronological parameters in online databases and Christian jazz websites. Chapter 2 presents a reception history from primary sources of jazz in the church and U.S. society within the larger context of relationships between arts and the church since the Enlightenment. Primary sources include interviews with composers, correspondence, published interviews, contemporaneous newspaper reviews, and composers' liner or program notes.

Search results yielded a list of 168 pieces by sixty-one composers composed between 1958 and 2012. Of these, twenty-eight psalm settings by 24 composers were selected for analysis, 19 with text and nine instrumental settings. Chapter 3 contains biographical sketches of the composers and examines their philosophies. All but two composers were from the United States, with two European. Analysis of the psalms in Chapters 4 and 5 focused on textual and musical forms, text-music relationships in the context of the psalmic genre, and distinctive musical traits associated with particular jazz styles, which ranged from art song, rock, bossa nova, blues, and free jazz to hybrid subtypes such as jazz/rock and gospel/pop. Instrumental psalms represented eight styles including lyrical ballad, gospel fusion shuffle, Afro-Cuban swing, and post-modern bop. The conclusions summarize the significance of jazz psalms within the broader history of sacred jazz, demographic data on the jazz composers, and performance considerations for jazz psalms. Included are four appendices: 1) a list of the select jazz psalms and their composers; 2) a complete list of the 61 jazz composers and 168 psalms found; 3) a list of all 168 Psalm settings found in numerical order; 4) a list of churches in North America that regularly offer jazz music.

Date: 2013-05-30

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