Music and Worship

Historical and hermeneutical study of ordinary "readers" transactions with the Bible.
Author: Mote Paulo Magomba
Published by: University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg - MTh thesis (2004)

Abstract:
This study falls within the area of the Bible in African Christianity, particularly ordinary readers' appropriation of and interpretation of the Bible. It seeks to explore, firstly, the processes of the encounter between the Bible and the indigenous people of Tanzania, specifically the Gogo in central region. Secondly, this thesis seeks to identify some interpretative resources and emerging interpretative practices that have continued into the present of ordinary readers of the Bible.

This exploration is done by tracing the mission activities of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in Tanzania, which began in 1844. The work of the Universities Mission to Central Africa (UMCA) is also examined, particularly the role it has played in making the Book "open" to the indigenous, through translation.

Although there is continuity between past and present readings, this thesis demonstrates that ordinary readings are not static, they are dynamic; and over the years neo-indigenous interpretative moves have emerged which are a combination of both missionary and indigenous interpretative resources and methods. This reality is evident in the contemporary phenomenon of women and youths' songs in central Tanzania. These songs are creative interpretations of the Bible from an ordinary readers' perspective.  [more...]

A Manual to Help Communities Reach their Kingdom Goals
Author: Brian Schrag
Published by: William Carey Library (2013)

Brian Schrag’s Creating Local Arts Together manual has both a stirring and exhilarating effect as the reader envisions the possibility of a community’s arts used for the purposes of God’s kingdom and, at the same time, is thorough and informative with respect to the research process involved in getting to know the arts and worldview of a community.

The manual contains seven sections which correspond to the seven steps of Creating Local Arts Together. They are:

  1. Meet a community and its arts
  2. Specify kingdom goals
  3. Select effects, content, genre, and events
  4. Analyze an event containing the chosen genre
  5. Spark creativity
  6. Improve new works
  7. Integrate and celebrate for continuity

Gunnhild Bremer has written a review of the book (downloadable below) which includes reasons why it is useful for Scripture Engagement practitioners.  [more...]

Author: Mary E Saurman

"Learning takes place when the activity is (1) receptor-oriented, (2) context-oriented, (3) repetitive, and (4) participatory… Indigenous music embraces all four of these learning components. Not only are the words in the people’s spoken language, but the music is also in their traditional music system."

Research shows that music is an effective tool for memorisation. Mary Saurman describes what is needed for effective instruction and shows how music meets many of these requirements: it is receptor-orientated, uses repetition, is participatory, and has intrinsic motivation because it is a part of people’s culture. She offers examples of how music has enhanced literacy programs across the world. Finally she outlines several steps to incorporating music into a literacy program: consider music’s function in the community; ask questions of when it’s used; what it’s used for and who uses it; then consider which song categories and styles are appropriate for literacy; and finally begin to use it!  [more...]

Author: John D Wilson
Published by: PapuaWeb

"The occasion in Yali culture which became the natural opportunity for initial and continued transmission of Scripture — basically in the form of Bible stories — was in the evening hours which traditionally were given to nunung and dindil ale story telling. Here was a time when the community was used to gathering, and ready and eager to hear a new story."

This paper highlights some of the assumptions about Scripture that can limit or hinder its communication in an oral culture. The author examines orality (as opposed to non-literacy) with a view to demonstrating the capacity and capability of oral media (stories and songs) for the effective transmission of Scripture.  [more...]

Communicating effectively to non-readers
Author: Rick Brown
Published by: International Journal of Frontier Missions (21.4 Winter 2004)

In seeking to free ourselves from the biases of a print-oriented culture, we need to consider, not only the kinds of media and discourse genre (e.g. narrative) that are most appropriate for oral cultures, but also the most effective ways to use those genres and media. What do non-readers like to see and hear? What do they enjoy listening to? Their choices will not necessarily be the same as those of print communicators. If the styles of presentation are ones which oral communicators prefer, then they will be more likely to listen, to understand, and to remember what they hear.

In this paper, Rick Brown argues that oral cultures have their own preferences for ways to communicate truth, and that these are often different from what print-oriented people prefer. In order to share the message most effectively, we need to find out what media and methods work best for them. In most cases this will include a multi-media approach with an emphasis on memorizing the Scriptures with the aid of high-quality recordings from skilled actors or voicers.  [more...]

Author: Glenn Stallsmith

The changes necessary for worldview transformation can only be undertaken in culturally appropriate ways if the Christian community itself is in charge of the change process.

This article reports on a Worldview Scripture Use Workshop held in the Philippines which aimed to work out real-life problems found in the cultures of the participants. The workshop followed an approach of discovering rather than telling, in which participants evaluated their own culture in light of biblical truth.

The report briefly describes the teaching methods used and their strengths, the factors discovered during the workshop, and the results of the workshop. This included a change of attitudes; the production of new media, namely songs; and synergy.  [more...]

Author: Eunice Pike

...to ensure the Mazatecs understood a bit of doctrine, we needed to put it in a hymn.

The concept of “limited good” means there is only so much good (including knowledge and love) to go around, so someone’s advantage implies someone else’s disadvantage.

The Mazatecs of Mexico hold this belief. One result is that they are reluctant to teach people directly for fear they will lose their own knowledge, so all teaching is indirect. This article looks at how this affects the spread of Christianity, and the important role missionaries, hymns, gospel recordings and mother-tongue Scriptures have in spreading the gospel. It also outlines Scriptures that speak of God’s unlimited goodness and kindness.  [more...]

GIAL, Dallas, Texas, USA
Sponsor: Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics

Courses on ethnomusicology and arts include:

  • Audio and Video Techniques for Fieldworkers
  • Research Methods for Performing Arts
  • Expressive Form Analysis
  • Song Transcription and Analysis
  • Applied Arts
  [more...]
Lynchburg, Virginia, USA
Sponsor: Dept. of Worship & Music Studies, Liberty University

Liberty University Online’s Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology challenges the notion that music is a universal language. It teaches that music systems vary from culture to culture just like languages. Gaining a basic understanding of a culture’s music can be vital to gaining access to its people.

The M.A. in Ethnomusicology through Liberty Online offers an innovative education in world music for students seeking careers in cross-cultural environments. Each course provides students with knowledge of the basic principles of ethnomusicology and the role of an ethnomusicologist.  [more...]