Sounds mega : musical discourse in Black majority churches in London

Muir, Pauline E. (2018) Sounds mega : musical discourse in Black majority churches in London. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

This thesis explores congregational singing through the lens of the local and global in Black Majority Churches (BMCs) in the Royal London Borough of Greenwich, UK. The phenomenal growth of modern-day Pentecostalism is its ability to negotiate the local and the global, and a number of scholars agree that up-tempo, lively music is integral to the Black religious experience. However, there is a paucity of literature in the UK that analyses this area in a detailed and systematic manner. Methodologically, Nattiez’s model of musical discourse is employed within a framework of critical discourse analysis to interrogate his ‘esthesic’, ‘immanent’ and ‘poietic’ elements, - that is the experience by the receivers, the music itself and the perspective of the producers - at New Wine Church, (NWC), Woolwich as the primary case study. The perspective of a multimodal analysis has uncovered multiple meaning-making processes within the context of a neo- Pentecostal megachurch with an emphasis on prosperity gospel. Firstly, the esthesic perspective found that the songs popular in the global Christian music industry fulfilled their role as Pentecostal liturgy, whilst simultaneously supporting and reinforcing the tenets of a prosperity gospel. Secondly, the immanent (musicological) analysis revealed simple, easy songs that had been altered through a process of African American ‘Blackenizing’. Thirdly, the poietic, from the point of view of the producers, told the story of music in the church, signalling a shift in the musical identity. Further fieldwork confirmed the findings at NWC and similar processes in regard to an undermining and a silencing of African and Caribbean musical identities. The research concludes that the global Christian music industry and its supporting systems are not reflective of UK BMC congregations although these sounds dominated both the large and small churches in the research. These findings make problematic an understanding of the local and the global in congregational singing in BMCs and the privileging of white music forms with its concomitant economic benefits.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Social Sciences, History & Philosophy > Psychosocial Studies
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2018 13:50
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2018 13:50
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/363

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