This book analyses the most sung contemporary congregational songs (CCS) as a global music genre. Utilising a three-part music semiology, this research engages with producers, musical texts, and audiences/congregations to better understand contemporary worship for the modern church and individual Christians.
Christian Copyright Licensing International data plays a key role in identifying the most sung CCS, while YouTube mediations of these songs and their associated data provide the primary texts for analysis. Producers and the production milieu are explored through interviews with some of the highest profile worship leaders/songwriters including Ben Fielding, Darlene Zschech, Matt Redman, and Tim Hughes, as well as other music industry veterans. Finally, National Church Life Survey data and a specialized survey provide insight into individual Christians' engagement with CCS. Daniel Thornton shows how these perspectives taken together provide unique insight into the current global CCS genre, and into its possible futures.
Daniel Thornton is the Head of Worship at Alphacrucis College, Australia, and an ordained minister with the Australian Christian Churches. A professional composer and performer, Daniel has written and recorded numerous albums and continues to lead worship and train worshipers in churches around the world.
Chapter 1 Contemporary Congregational Songs Genre Formation and Scrutiny
Key Questions and Findings
The Formation of a Genre
Perspectives on CCS History
Why Music Semiology? (Texts, Writers, Audience)
YouTube - the Primary Text
Chapter 2 Contemporary Congregational Songs
What's in a Name?
Praise and Worship Theology
Contemporary for whom?
Songs or Music?
Are the most sung songs representative of the genre?
Songs Under Analysis
Chapter 3 The Contemporary Congregational Song Industry (Poietic Analysis Pt 1)
Where Do They Come From?
Authenticity, Originality, and the Singer-Songwriter
The Production Milieu
Chapter 4 So the Songwriters Say (Poietic Analysis Pt 2)
Writing for the People
Performance or Participation?
Chapter 5 The Old and New Guard - Ways of Thinking for Contemporary Congregational Songs Writers (Poietic Analysis Pt 3)
Bridging Old and New
Roles and Writing
Chapter 6 How Christians Feel About the Songs they Sing - Individually (Esthesic Analysis Pt 1)
Methods and Background
To Sing or Not to Sing
The Individual's Perspective and their Voice
Why Christians Connect with Certain Songs
Chapter 7 How Christians Feel About the Songs they Sing - Corporately (Esthesic Analysis Pt 2)
Australia's National Church Life Surveys
What Gathered Worshipers Really Think
The Other NCLS Survey and What it Reveals
The Big Picture of Local Churches' Musical Worship
Synthesizing the Individual and Corporate
Chapter 8 Just Another Pop Song? The Music (Trace Analysis Pt 1)
Tempos and Time Signatures
Chapter 9 Just Another Pop Song? The Lyrics (Trace Analysis Pt 2)
Theology and Poetry
Focus of current CCS
Chapter 10 Some Individual Examples - Australia (Trace Analysis Pt 3)
The Problem with Analysing a Genre
Mighty To Save
Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)
What A Beautiful Name
Chapter 11 Some Individual Examples - UK and USA (Trace Analysis Pt 4)
How Great Is Our God
In Christ Alone
Trace Analysis Conclusion
Chapter 12 The Current and Future Contemporary Congregational Songs Genre
Meaning-making in CCS
Ambivalence or Appropriation
The Evolving Genre
The Functional Genre
Where to From Here?