Music As Prayer: The Theology and Practice of Church Music  -     By: Thomas H. Troeger
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Music As Prayer: The Theology and Practice of Church Music

Oxford University Press / 2013 / Hardcover

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Product Description

Music as Prayer explores the spiritual and theological character of church music. Author Thomas H. Troeger--a theologian, preacher, poet and flutist-traces how making and listening to music can be an act of prayer, a way of sensing the irrepressible resilience of the divine vitalities, in down-to-earth language that everyone can enjoy. The book employs a wide range of perspectives: from scientific observations about the effect of music on the brain, to the insights of early church fathers about the place of music in worship, to the compositions of great composers and their reflections upon their art, to the Bible and theologians, to organists, choir directors and instrumentalists, to hymnists and poets. Listening to the wisdom of these varied tribes, Troeger finds them to be a cloud of witnesses, a choir giving testimony to how music puts the human heart in touch with the spirit in times of sorrow and seeking, in times of joy and gratitude.

The book is addressed to listeners and performers alike, instrumentalists and singers, clergy and seminarians, worship committees and congregation members, scholars and teachers of liturgy and sacred music. It helps musicians and clergy to develop a mutual understanding of the theological and spiritual dimensions of their collaborative work. As a whole, the book celebrates the ministry of making music that awakens people to those gifts of the spirit that sustain hope, promote healing, and enliven a visionary faith in the possibility of a transformed world.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 112
Vendor: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2013
ISBN: 0199330085
ISBN-13: 9780199330089

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Publisher's Description

Music as Prayer explores the spiritual and theological character of church music. Author Thomas H. Troeger--a theologian, preacher, poet and flutist-traces how making and listening to music can be an act of prayer, a way of sensing the irrepressible resilience of the divine vitalities, in down-to-earth language that everyone can enjoy. The book employs a wide range of perspectives: from scientific observations about the effect of music on the brain, to the insights of early church fathers about the place of music in worship, to the compositions of great composers and their reflections upon their art, to the Bible and theologians, to organists, choir directors and instrumentalists, to hymnists and poets. Listening to the wisdom of these varied tribes, Troeger finds them to be a cloud of witnesses, a choir giving testimony to how music puts the human heart in touch with the spirit in times of sorrow and seeking, in times of joy and gratitude.

The book is addressed to listeners and performers alike, instrumentalists and singers, clergy and seminarians, worship committees and congregation members, scholars and teachers of liturgy and sacred music. It helps musicians and clergy to develop a mutual understanding of the theological and spiritual dimensions of their collaborative work. As a whole, the book celebrates the ministry of making music that awakens people to those gifts of the spirit that sustain hope, promote healing, and enliven a visionary faith in the possibility of a transformed world.

Author Bio


Thomas H. Troeger studied to become a flutist but under the impact of a great preacher, he decided to prepare for the ministry. A pastor for seven years, he then began teaching homiletics, hymnody, and liturgics. His scholarship has focused on the role of the imagination in preaching and worship, and his creative work includes hymns and lyric poems.

Editorial Reviews


"[A] delightful book. Troeger is a poet and a musician, and Music as Prayer is a book about music that reads musically....The volume would make for a terrific series of devotionals for a church choir or music committee. Even its brevity seems to acknowledge that the reader would benefit from putting down the book and picking up a hymnal or an instrument. Church music is wonderful to read and write about, but, truly, it is meant to be made. Music as Prayer equips us all to do just that."--Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology


"Troeger offers a gift both to those who play the organ and those who enjoy the contribution of music to worship. In these pages we move beyond the sound of music for aesthetic enrichment or entertainment to the experience of musical artistry as a transforming spiritual force in our lives."-C. Michael Hawn, Perkins School of Music, Southern Methodist University


"A compelling testimony to the manifold pastoral dimensions of the church musician's role! Theologian, poet, and musician, Prof. Troeger affirms the potential for deep empathy between clergy and musicians. A must read for all pastors and church musicians!"-John Walker, Minister of Music Emeritus, Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church, Baltimore


"Tom Troeger, this flutist, hymn-writer, teacher, preacher and story-teller, has written words of wonder and eloquence about music in worship that will inspire and inform all who sit or stand in pew, pulpit or organ bench."-Robin A Leaver, Yale Institute of Sacred Music


"In these beautifully written reflections and with a sensitive voice that captures the truth through personal anecdote, Thomas Troeger offers an exquisite endorsement of the pipe organ and of church music. He reminds us of the continuing centrality of instrument and voice in the liturgical life of the Church."-Bruce Neswick, Associate Professor of Organ, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music


"In Music as Prayer, pastor and musician Thomas H. Troeger invites the reader to cherish and engage in music as an act of prayer. Taking into account the metaphorical, scientific, and practical aspects of music-making Troeger illustrates the power of music to not only fill a space but to also clear a way for meaning and creativity." - Sophia Har, Sojourners


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