Before and after: reforming Scottish liturgical music

Duguid, T. (2021) Before and after: reforming Scottish liturgical music. In: Hazlett, I. (ed.) A Companion to the Reformation in Scotland, c.1525–1638: Frameworks of Change and Development. Series: Brill's companions to the Christian tradition (100). Brill: Leiden ; Boston, pp. 286-312. ISBN 9789004329720 (doi: 10.1163/9789004335950_013)

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A common accusation levelled against the Protestant Reformation in Scotland is that its strict “Calvinist” approach to liturgical music effectively killed both sacred and secular music in the country. This chapter assesses the Reformation’s impact on the former, and particularly liturgical music, by comparing the liturgical experiences of Scots both before and after 1560. Through the exploration of extant Church records and firsthand accounts of liturgical practice, it is argued that the Reformation of the Kirk had both positive and negative effects on liturgical music. In major urban centres where choirs were employed liturgically, the innovation of congregational singing forced a recasting of the choir to a supportive role (if it continued to exist at all), which undoubtedly resulted a significant downgrade both in terms of the type of music that was sung and in terms of the quality with which it was sung. However, congregational singing was probably an upgrade in parish churches, which had hitherto featured a single priest trying to read or sing the chants of the liturgy.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Duguid, Dr Tim
Authors: Duguid, T.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Information Studies
Published Online:13 December 2021

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