Much of the scholarship of congregational music focuses on participatory music in organized corporate worship. This article draws on theories of communication and affect to examine the secondary, background music that happens alongside other events in a worship service or in places other than the space of the sanctuary. Instead of understanding affects as an individual emotion, this article argues that music is made meaningful through a socio-cultural and relational affective process. This in turn enables one to understand how musics, particularly secondary non-participatory musics, work beyond language and representation in phatic ways that can engender powerful feelings of human community and sacred connection.

Author Biography

Anna Nekola is Associate Professor of Music at Canadian Mennonite University. Her writing appears in publications such as The Journal of the Society for American Music, Popular Music, The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology, and The Oxford Handbook of Music and World Christianities. Her interests include critical questions of power dynamics and inclusive practices in congregational and community musicking.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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