The Temple, the Church Fathers and Early Western Chant: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Temple, the Church Fathers and Early Western Chant

1st Edition

By James McKinnon


320 pages

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Hardback: 9780860786887
pub: 1998-06-18
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The articles here deal with liturgical music. Two topics receive special attention: the curiously negative role that musical instruments play in ancient cult music and the development of ecclesiastical song in early Christianity. The first series of articles treats classical Greek ethical notions of instruments, the status of instruments in Temple and Synagogue, and the absence of instruments from early Christian and medieval church music. The next parts trace the psalmody and hymnody of the Christian tradition, from its roots in Judaism to the origins of Gregorian chant in 7th-century Rome. Throughout, the writings of the Christian Church fathers such as Augustine, Ambrose, Basil and John Chrysostom underpin the author’s analysis and presentation.


' ..if any journal arrives with an article by [James McKinnon] , I turn to it first, knowing that he will deal with absolute clarity with matters that are often shrouded in hypotheses….An extremely useful compilation.' Early Music Review, No. 47 '…a serious student of either liturgical history or the early chant tradition will find this collection to be very valuable.' Worship, Vol. 73, No. 5 '…both knowledgeable and enjoyable…this is a good, solid, and intriguing book recommended to church musicians as well as to musical and church history enthusiasts who would like to delve deeper into provocative and fascinating questions.' Pastoral Music

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Jubal vel Pythagoras, quis sit inventor musicae?; The A Capella Question: The rejection of the aulos in Classical Greece; The exclusion of instruments from the ancient Synagogue; The meaning of the patristic polemic against musical instruments; Musical instruments in medieval psalm commentaries and psalters; The 10th-century organ at Winchester; A capella doctrine versus practice: a necessary distinction; The Psalmody of Jewish and Christian Antiquity: On the question of psalmody in the ancient synagogue; The 4th-century origin of the gradual; Review of Aimée Georges Martimort, Les lectures liturgiques et leurs livres; Desert monasticism and the psalmodic movement of the 4th century; Preface to the study of the Alleluia; Toward early Western Chant: Properization: the Roman Mass; Lector chant versus schola chant: a question of historical plausibility; Antoine Chavasse and the dating of early chant; Iconography: The fifteen Temple steps and the gradual psalms; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General