The emergence of ultramontane thought during the Catholic Enlightenment in eighteenth-century France had wide-reaching effects in Catholic communities beyond Europe. One such community was a francophone colonial minority population in Atlantic Canada called the Acadians who, as Canada became a nation-state in the second half of the nineteenth century, came under the control of ultramontane nationalists working to protect Acadian cultural rights from the English-speaking Protestant majority. This paper looks at the role that music played in the transmission of ultramontane thought with these new socio-political circumstances. The Acadians, exiled for seven years during Canadian colonization, were resettled in disparate groups and on lands different than their original territories. Because the Acadians encountered economic difficulties during nineteenth-century Canadian industrialization, this made them an ideal candidate for the missionary activities of ultramontanes in Canada who used Acadian patriotic song in Acadian schools and print culture to prescribe a church-centred sense of national identity. For instance, Acadian patriotic song served to discourage Acadians from emigrating to find work in urban centres through the valorization of a rural identity which cautioned against the perils and heterodoxy of Protestant materialism. Acadian patriotic song also taught a new form of piety where notions of temperance and forgiveness were introduced to counteract the emotionality of the Acadian deportations and help the Acadians envision a brighter socio-economic future. This investigation examines not only how European musical forms and tonal conventions were used to musically construct an image of the nation, but how the performance of Acadian patriotic song aided in the practice of identity within this new context of Catholic sociability.
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"Ultramontane Piety and Catholic Sociability: The Prescription and Practice of Identity in Acadian Patriotic Songs,"
Yale Journal of Music & Religion:
1, Article 3.