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Sacro-Soundscapes. Transforming church music in a post-secular age

Mini-symposium organized by the Protestant Theological University (PThU) in cooperation with the Institute for Ritual and Liturgical Studies (IRILIS).

When: Tuesday December 12, 2017, 10:00-14:30

Where: PthU room (1E24), VU main building, 1st floor E-wing (De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV, Amsterdam)

Language: English

Registration before December 11 through the form below. Please note that there is a limited capacity of participants.

About the symposium

In our times, religion and Christian music have become fluid. Dutch society has developed towards a society beyond the church and beyond institutionalized religion; religious repertoires and Christian ritual musical practices have been transferred to extra-ecclesial domains. In 2008, ritual studies scholar Paul Post pointed out that the academic discipline of hymnology lacked up-to-date theoretical concepts that adequately serve an interpretation of this transformed musical landscape. In the past decade, much has changed. Several studies of Christian music have shown openness and sensitivity towards fluid musical expressions of religiosity, towards, for instance, liquid groups of people participating in ritual-musical events, without them being members of a church or feeling affiliated to Christianity. By developing concepts that help deepen our understanding of ritual-musical practices today, they have indeed updated the study of church music.

The notion of ‘sacro-soundscapes’ expresses this fluidity. It refers to the movements of sacred sound through times and spaces. The whole complex of sacred sounds, their words and music, the way they are performed and accompanied, the context in which they are performed, the way they are appropriated, and the attributed meanings that people share, create a sacro-soundscape. Psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, and large musical forms from the Christian tradition move across time and space, along with the people who sing the songs and musicians who play the music, and they find temporary dwellings that anchor religious experience in the here-and-now.

In this mini-symposium, we will explore sacro-soundscapes that reflect the transfer and transformations of church music in a post-secular age.





Welcome by prof. dr. Marcel Barnard (PThU Amsterdam)


Hanna Rijken MA, Mmus (PThU Amsterdam): ““My Soul Doth Magnify”, The Appropriation of the Anglican Choral Evensong in the Netherlands”


Prof. dr. Lizette Larson-Miller (Huron University, London ON): "Beauty and Practicality in Ritual Music: At the Threshold of Church and Plaza"




Lunch break


Prof. dr. Marcel Barnard interviews Tido Visser (Managing director at Nederlands Kamerkoor) on the project 150 Psalms


Dr. Mirella Klomp (PThU Amsterdam): “Ecclesioscapes: interpreting gatherings around Christian music in and outside the church”



At 15:45 Hanna Rijken will defend her PhD-thesis “My Soul Doth Magnify. The Appropriation of the Anglican Choral Evensong in the Netherlands” in the Aula of Vrije Universiteit (free admission).


Participation in this symposium and coffee/tea are free. You can sign up for a vegetarian lunch (€10,-), or bring your own.