Contemporary Worship Music and Everyday Musical Lives  book cover
1st Edition

Contemporary Worship Music and Everyday Musical Lives

ISBN 9781138615892
Published June 28, 2018 by Routledge
206 Pages

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Book Description

Whilst Contemporary Worship Music arose out of a desire to relate the music of the church to the music of everyday life, this function can quickly be called into question by the diversity of musical lives present in contemporary society. Mark Porter examines the relationship between individuals’ musical lives away from a Contemporary Worship Music environment and their diverse experiences of music within it, presenting important insights into the complex and sometimes contradictory relationships between congregants’ musical lives within and outside of religious worship. Through detailed ethnographic investigation Porter challenges common evangelical ideals of musical neutrality, suggesting the importance of considering musical tastes and preferences through an ethical lens. He employs cosmopolitanism as an interpretative framework for understanding the dynamics of diverse musical communities, positioning it as a stronger alternative to common assimilationist and multiculturalist models.

Table of Contents


Introduction – The Quest to Understand Diverse Musical Experiences

Chapter 1: Setting the Scene

Chapter 2: Music, Attachment, Ethics and Community

Chapter 3: Bridging Worlds Through Common Modes of Being in Music

Chapter 4: Boundaries – Communal and Private, Spiritual and Secular

Chapter 5: At the Edges – Value Transfer, Judgments, Discontent

Chapter 6: Alternative Musical Spaces


Appendix A: Morning Service Repertoire List – January 2012

Appendix B: Worship Team Agreement 2013/14



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Mark Porter studied at University College, Oxford and King’s College, London before completing his doctorate in ethnomusicology at City University, London in 2014. Following this, in 2015, he took up a postdoctoral position at Max-Weber Kolleg, Universität Erfurt in order to investigate concepts of resonance in relation to congregational music. He is co-founder and organiser of the biennial Christian Congregational Music: Local and Global Perspectives conference and his writing has appeared in the Church Music Quarterly, Ecclesial Practices, the Journal of Contemporary Religion and Christian Congregational Music: Performance, Identity and Experience.


[Applying rhe discipline of enthnomusicology to issues of faith and practice] is an important question to explore, and Porter approaches it with great subtlety. David Martin, Church Times Review