The article begins by addressing two primary areas of concern: 1. Can music communicate meaning, and if so, how? 2. Can theological realities be expressed through music and other artistic forms whose primary medium is not language? The author then lays out a schema featuring four different aspects of developing a musical homiletic, starting with the simplest and moving to the most complex. (1) Preachers can speak in a way that captures the musicality of human conversation: its sonically engaging use of inflection, volume, pace, and timbre. (2) Preachers can interpret the theological and poetic meaning of the texts that are set to music and offered as worship through the singing of congregation or choir or soloist. (3) Preachers can analyze how the musical devices of the composer dramatize or paint sonic pictures of the lyrics. Music and preaching are interwoven so that they mutually reinforce the Word that is proclaimed and the structure and meaning of the liturgical celebration. (4) Preachers can frame a piece of music with introductory remarks that allow the music to carry the sermon to a conclusion beyond words. Each strategy is examined in more detail, including citations from contemporary homiletical literature and sermons that employ one or more of the strategies. The article ends with a theological reflection on “the soundscape” (Stephen Webb) that is created by the church at worship.
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Troeger, Thomas H.
"A Musical Homiletic: Drawing on the Sonic Dimensions of the Word and Spirit,"
Yale Journal of Music & Religion:
2, Article 6.
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