Title

A HISTORY OF THE HYMN TUNE MEDITATION AND RELATED FORMS IN SALVATION ARMY INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTH AMERICA, 1880--1980. (PARTS I AND II)

Date of Completion

January 1981

Keywords

Music

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Hymn Tune Meditations for brass band published by The Salvation Army during the twentieth century stand as a contemporary microcosm of the intricate relationship between ecclesiastical control in matters of text and doctrine and the desire for freedom of musical expression in instrumental music designed for Christian worship. The earliest repertoire of approved music (1800--1900) consisted exclusively of vocal transcriptions, ensuring early directives that S.A. instrumental music be referential, music with a textual message. Regardless of position in S.A. worship services or concerts the liturgical function of this music has not changed despite the development of a sophisticated repertoire of sacred brass music unique in Western Christendom.^ During 1901--19 the S.A. released several experimental forms in their band journals which became standard forms in the denomination's music. Among these was the Meditation, a composition based on a previously-composed hymn/song melody which attempts to portray several verses of the associated hymn text by means of original introductions, episodes, and codas linking contrasting orchestrations/arrangements of the successive verses. The Meditation process of composition flourished through voluntary contributions, leading to a variety of related forms for use in concert and worship (Prelude, Song and Hymn Tune Arrangement, Symphonic Variations, and programmatic works). Meditation works of the Initial Phase (1920--40) were most frequently modelled after music department efforts wherein the episodic material connecting the verse statements was clearly original. This material, in contrast to the four-square hymn tune, was rhapsodic in nature, displaying the arranger's subjective response to the text under illustration.^ Later works in this period demonstrated attempts by new composers to unify the entire form through musical means by deriving most or all of the episodic material from the tune under development, the most common device being that of deriving a theme or motive from the melodic and/or rhythmic incipit of the tune. The eventual dominance of these classic process forms (Classic Phase, 1940--60; Current Phase, 1960--80) was the result of the need for musical coherence as an artistic balance to the requirement of textual associations in Meditation forms.^ Part I: Historical and musical analysis of each form; II: Appendices, Musical Examples, Tables, Oral History Project. ^