A Short History of Congregational Singing
What was singing like in the early church and what role did it play in the Christian's life? What role does it play today?
How did the church change dramatically in the fourth century?
How did the Reformers deal with church singing?
What were some contributions by important authors and composers of congregational songs?
How has music both united and divided Christian fellowships?
This book is about songs which were intended for congregations rather than choirs or trained musicians. It is not a collection of hymn stories. Instead, it describes the settings behind those stories.
I have tracked important events and ideas in the church’s history in order to provide a sense of the environment that produced its songs. In several cases I have paired hymns with contemporaneous tunes that the authors might have known, in order to put the words into a more authentic context and, perhaps, give them a fresh hearing to our ears today.