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Title: Music-making in the English parish church from the 1760s to 1860s, with particular reference to Hertfordshire
Author: Kilbey, Margaret
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 1678
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This dissertation focuses on a previously unexplored aspect of music-making in the English parish church during the 1760s to 1860s, namely its local development in response to inter-related episcopal, elite, clerical and economic influences. The historiography suggests ineffectual episcopal leadership and little gentry engagement with parochial church music-making during this period. By contrast, this study presents evidence of their influence, particularly during the late eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries. Elite support for Sunday and charity schools was allied with a desire to improve congregational psalmody, and church organs and barrel-organs were given with this objective in mind. Gentry involvement with amateur military bands of music also influenced the instrumentation of choir-bands. These actions were mirrored by those further down the social scale, and formed part of a complex pattern of support for church music-making. This dissertation argues that methods adopted to improve congregational singing in one generation were reviled in the next. The suggestion that teaching charity school children to sing would result in a congregation of singing adults became a recurring theme, yet time and again it met with little success. Nineteenth-century reform of church music-making has often been presented as a clear-cut progression, with the replacement of choir-bands by a barrel-organ or harmonium, but this dissertation argues that these phases were sometimes parallel rather than sequential, with no inevitable outcome. Furthermore, new evidence reveals that nineteenth-century church rate disputes had a profound effect on church music-making, an area of research neglected in modern literature. Lack of available seating became a significant problem in parish churches owing to the often compulsory attendance of schoolchildren, which opens up another new area of research. This dissertation argues that attempts to reform music-making contributed to alterations in the church fabric long before ecclesiological reorderings, and had long-lasting repercussions.
Supervisor: Smith, Mark A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Church music--England ; Charity schools ; Hertfordshire ; Organ (musical instrument) ; Barrel organ