Melbourne Conservatorium of Music - Theses

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    Jean Calvin and the Genevan Psalter: a study of the Calvinist aesthetic and its application in the music of the Psalter
    Bishop, Dianne (Shirley Dianne) ( 1969)
    “Moreover, since the glory of God ought to shine in the several parts of our bodies, it is especially fitting that the tongue has been assigned and destined for this task, through singing and speaking.” Those words of Jean Calvin express his belief in the importance of music in the life of the Christian. It was a conviction which prompted him, as the leader of a new Protestant Church in Geneva, to define precisely the role which music should play in the Church, and it further motivated him to establish a musical repertoire that was in accordance with his beliefs. It is the aim of this thesis to examine his musical ideas, searching for features which are distinctive or unusual, in the context of sixteenth-century musical thought. It is then proposed to examine the application of the ideas in the Genevan Psalter, which, although it is largely forgotten, may still be viewed as a fitting monument of the reformer’s musical insight. Research in this field has not yet advanced to great lengths, but there is a growing awareness among scholars of the historical and musical importance of the psalter. In addition to a small amount of writing on Calvin's musical aesthetic, there are the studies of the psalter, begun in 1878 by Oretin Douen. As yet, these have been largely confined to bibliographical works and to publications of source material. (From Introduction)