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Music as Prayer explores the spiritual and theological character of church music. Author Thomas H. Troeger--a theologian, preacher, poet and flutist-traces how making and listening to music can be an act of prayer, a way of sensing the irrepressible resilience of the divine vitalities, in down-to-earth language that everyone can enjoy. The book employs a wide range of perspectives: from scientific observations about the effect of music on the brain, to the insights of early church fathers about the place of music in worship, to the compositions of great composers and their reflections upon their art, to the Bible and theologians, to organists, choir directors and instrumentalists, to hymnists and poets. Listening to the wisdom of these varied tribes, Troeger finds them to be a cloud of witnesses, a choir giving testimony to how music puts the human heart in touch with the spirit in times of sorrow and seeking, in times of joy and gratitude.
The book is addressed to listeners and performers alike, instrumentalists and singers, clergy and seminarians, worship committees and congregation members, scholars and teachers of liturgy and sacred music. It helps musicians and clergy to develop a mutual understanding of the theological and spiritual dimensions of their collaborative work. As a whole, the book celebrates the ministry of making music that awakens people to those gifts of the spirit that sustain hope, promote healing, and enliven a visionary faith in the possibility of a transformed world.
Thomas H. Troeger studied to become a flutist but under the impact of a great preacher, he decided to prepare for the ministry. A pastor for seven years, he then began teaching homiletics, hymnody, and liturgics. His scholarship has focused on the role of the imagination in preaching and worship, and his creative work includes hymns and lyric poems.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Don E. Saliers
Music and the Making of Meaning Music and Metaphor When the World Falls Apart Salutary Harmonies The Great Mighty Ocean Tone Plucked from the Universe The Deeper Meaning of Inspiring Music The Whole Company of Musicians Church Organist Declared Greatest Composer How Do You Sing Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus? To What End Beauty? The Materiality of Making Music
The Stone Age Ancestors of Organists Music that Can Never Be Recorded The Piece You Thought You Would Never Play How Beautiful and Astounding Are the Feet The Freedom of Constraint Silence as the Prelude to Sound The Rhetoric of Breath Before the First Note: Getting Centered Wrong Notes in a Splendid Performance Music and the Landscape of the Soul
Study Tour of the Human Soul Musical Hometown An Antidote to Cognitive Imperialism The Necessity of Beauty Children of Process Escaping the Hubris of the Present Moment The Perfect Registration Music for Facing Temptation and Wild Beasts Season of Lament Unacknowledged Healing Plain and Simple, Rich and Complex A Gigue for Everyone to Dance
Music for the Seasons of Faith Waiting as Blessing Rehearsing for an Epiphany A New Song for Christmas? Song that Blesses Earth New Year's Resolution: Not Exactly as the Composer Wanted Music Born of Resurrection