Item description for The Story of Christian Music: From Gregorian Chant to Black Gospel, an Authoritative Illustrated Guide to All the Major Traditions of Music for Worship by Andrew Wilson-Dickson...
Overview Music has been at the heart of Christian worship since the beginning, and this lavishly illustrated and wonderfully written volume fully surveys the many centuries of creative Christian musical experimentation. From its roots in Jewish and Hellenistic music, through the rich tapestry of medieval chant to the full flowering of Christian music in the centuries after the Reformation and the many musical expressions of now-global Christianity, Wilson Dickson conveys 'a glimpse of the fecundity of imagination with which humanity has responded to the creator God."
Publishers Description A fascinating illustrated guide to all the major traditions of music in worship.
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Story of Christian Music: From Gregorian Chant to Black Gospel, an Authoritative Illustrated Guide to All the Major Traditions of Music for Worship?
Review Jan 20, 2007
I was very pleased with the speed of the delivery as well as the product itself.
Brilliant! Dec 10, 2005
I am not into this kind of book generally, but I LOVED it. It is one of the few 'churchy' books that doesn't preach at you and is extremely informative. Well worth the read for anyone interested in any kind of music, not just Christian music. Open your mind and learn about a fascinating thread of history...it's easy to dip in and out of if that's how you prefer to do it. Thank you Mr Wilson-Dickson!
I too will praise him with a new song Nov 30, 2003
The author, Andrew Wilson-Dickson, teaches music and drama in Cardiff, having taken a doctorate in music composition from York University. Thoroughly grounded in the British musical context and traditions, Wilson-Dickson nonetheless presents a broad-ranging and fairly balanced few of the long history of Christian music. For most Christians through the centuries, the idea of worship without music (and, indeed, without particular kinds of music) might have been considered greater heresy than many of the theological controversies that fill the standard history texts. Even today, when a new minister goes into a church, the congregation is as likely to be upset at a shift in hymnody and music as in theological directions that diverge from their own.
This richly illustrated and designed book is divided into eight primary sections:
The Birth of Christian Music Renaissance and Reformation The Flowering of Christian Music The Path Divides Eastern Traditions The African Genius Music in North America Music in Twentieth Century Europe
Not following geography or history timelines strictly, but rather allowing these to be broad organising principles, Wilson-Dickson explores the development of key musical types as well as the cross-pollination of musical styles and influences. There is a distinctly British bias that creeps in, not so much as a denigration of other cultures but rather as a highlight of the British traditions - one gets the sense from reading that this is where the author's heart is most at home. The author's biases are also apparent in his discussions, but he supports his conclusions fairly well, while not requiring the reader to agree. (For instance, many would agree with Wilson-Dickson that J.S. Bach was the greatest composer the Western world has ever produced, and Wilson-Dickson cites others such as Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Wagner - possible contenders for the title - as in agreement; however, should the reader not agree that J.S. Bach was the greatest, the chapter on Bach is not really diminished.)
The development of church music over time is not independent of the greater history of the Christian church, nor is it independent of the broader cultural and technological developments. These contexts and influences are discussed and explained as appropriate. The theological intention and importance behind the styles of music is explained without excessive rambling.
The graphic layout of the text is superb. Colour, photographs, line-art and copies of musical manuscripts abound to support and enhance the text. Side-bars and emphasis boxes explain key terms, points, or historical information. Given two thousand years of history and only 240 pages in which to explore it, obviously the author had to be selective not only in which topics to include, but how much to develop each one. Given the importance of North American Christianity in the world-wide Christian experience in the past few hundred years, perhaps a little more room could be devoted to this area of music. Similarly, Wilson-Dickson's brief conclusion and discussion of good music vs. bad music could benefit from a little more development.
However, for the seminary student, the religious studies and history student, or even the average choir member or singer in a congregation, this is an excellent overview of the history and development of Christian music. One might wish for a CD or two to be included with musical samples; perhaps for a later edition?
A superbly illustrated informational guide Nov 14, 2003
In The Story Of Christian Music: From Gregorian Chants To Black Gospel, Andrew Wilson-Dickson (Principal Lecturer, Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff, Wales) has developed a superbly illustrated informational guide to all the major traditions of Christian music in worship, ranging from the Gregorian chants of antiquity, to the developments in Christian music during the Renaissance and Reformation eras, to the development of English congregational music, to the distinctive sounds of American Black Gospel music, 20th Century Christian rock, and more. Full-color photographs and artworks, musical scores, and down-to-earth narration chronicling events in faith and history fill the pages of this excellent guide which is as recommended for casual browsers, as it is to those with an academic or professional interest in the history and evolution of Christian music.
Informative, Balanced, albeit British Feb 17, 2002
The author provides a relatively well-balanced overview of church music, even while reflecting a British perspective. The book is lucid, is very well illustrated, and gives a genuine sense of the development of church history while discussing a wide range of Christian music-making from chant to gospel. The book is certainly among the best of its kind. It is rather weak in its treatment of gospel and contemporary popular Christian music. But it is well-grounded theologically and is rarely judgmental ...