Contemporary Worship Music and Everyday Musical Lives

Whilst Contemporary Worship Music arose out of a desire to relate the music of the church to the music of everyday life, this function can quickly be called into question by the diversity of musical lives present in contemporary society. Mark Porter examines the relationship between individuals’ musical lives away from a Contemporary Worship Music environment and their diverse experiences of music within it, presenting important insights into the complex and sometimes contradictory relationships between congregants’ musical lives within and outside of religious worship. Through detailed ethnographic investigation Porter challenges common evangelical ideals of musical neutrality, suggesting the importance of considering musical tastes and preferences through an ethical lens. He employs cosmopolitanism as an interpretative framework for understanding the dynamics of diverse musical communities, positioning it as a stronger alternative to common assimilationist and multiculturalist models.

This is an important question to explore [...] and Porter approaches it with great subtlety.

—Revd Dr David Martin (Church Times)

An impressive debut from a promising scholar. It is ethnographically sensitive and theoretically sophisticated.

—Dr Tom Wagner (Music and Letters)

Porter argues persuasively that worship music practices need to be analyzed from a “musico/ethical” perspective and envisioned as crucial places where congregations can (and perhaps ought) to engage in ongoing negotiations over diversity in order to maintain healthy community

—Dr Anna Nekola (Journal of Popular Music Studies)

Mark Porter's work [...] advances the important conversation on the relationships between music, worship, culture, identity, and, ultimately, Christian formation at work in 21st-century ministry

—Adam Perez (Global Forum on Arts and Christian Faith)

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