The Evolution of the Music of German American Protestants in Their Hymnody
A Case Study from an American Perspective
This chapter examines the establishment of German Protestant hymnody in North America, and then traces its transformation through mixed-language traditions to a largely English-language hymnody. The historical and cultural transformation is that of immigrant German to ethnic German music. Statistical comparison of German American sacred songs — from the Reform tradition in early America with the transformation of these through American publications and traditions in the 19th century, particularly through the endeavors of Henry Harbaugh (1817-67) — illustrates the tension between traditional German repertories and the use of music to ensure a place for German and English Protestants in American religious experience. The influence of Anglo-American hymnody was, in many ways, as great as the original German traditions.
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