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Amplified liturgies. The new musical ecosystems of religion

Liturgies amplifiées. Les nouveaux écosystèmes musicaux du religieux

Liturgias amplificadas. Los nuevos ecosistemas musicales de la religión

Revue « Archives de sciences sociales des religions »

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Published on Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Abstract

This special issue will employ empirical fieldwork and social science tools to analyze the use of sound amplification and its supports in devotional settings. This includes loudspeakers, screens, video-projectors, mixing desks, digital audio stations, the architecture of places of worship. The aim is to identify its varying modalities. How do music and its amplification affect liturgies, participants, and forms of experience, socialization and authority?

Announcement

Argument

Music, widely accepted as a sung or instrumental performative practice, is deeply intertwined with religious practice. It is a constitutive element of rituals and other religious manifestations (or takes place at their margins). Whether “believing in action” (Aubin-Boltanski, Lamine, Luca, 2014) or gesture of devotion, music enables co-participation in a script that transcends situations and participates in the incorporation of a set of religious beliefs and dispositions. In most liturgical traditions, understood as the collection of texts used and ceremonies performed in a religious context, rituality relies on the rhythmic and/or melodic expression of time and bodies. This is expressed in a variety of ways: in Islam, the cantillation of the Koran, which follows rigorous rules, incorporating a form of musicality that makes the verses accessible to all (Nelson, 2001: XIV-XV); in Christianity, music and song constitute a “superlative form of praise and prayer” (Delpech, 2011: 399).

Beyond its ritual role, music associated with religion is now increasingly subjected to sound amplification techniques. This transformation impacts both the cultic role of musical repertoires and the execution of paraliturgical performances. Sound amplification is the process of converting sound into an electrical signal. In 1994, French sociologist Marc Touché coined the term “musiques amplifiées” (amplified music) (Touché, 1994) to describe this process and its effects for contemporary musical production. He referred to music that relies on electricity and electroacoustic sound reinforcement for its production, composition, transmission, and distribution. “Amplified music” is thus associated with (a)synchronous storage, recording, and broadcasting practices, learning methods and specific techniques and logistical resources, all of which are technologies put at the service of religious celebration and practice. This applies whether we’re talking about the nocturnal dhikr of Sufi brotherhoods (Frishkopf, 1999 and 2000 ; Puig, 2017 ; Harris, 2020 ; Ha, 2022), videos of rabbis’ commentaries set to FM rock (Mayer-Thibault, Tank-Storper, upcoming book), praises in charismatic circles (Gabry-Thienpont, 2015 ; Gonzalez, 2008 and 2014) or the use of sound systems by a monastic community in a Buddhist temple (Prouteau, 2021). It’s evident that technical developments linked to “sound modernity” (Sterne, 2015) and amplification are an integral part to religious practice and its musical expression.

This special issue will employ empirical fieldwork and social science tools to analyze the use of sound amplification and its supports in devotional settings. This includes loudspeakers, screens, video-projectors, mixing desks, digital audio stations, the architecture of places of worship [Guillebaud, Lavandier, 2020], etc.). The aim is to identify its varying modalities. How do music and its amplification affect liturgies, participants, and forms of experience, socialization and authority?

New pop-rock and electronic productions have become a central part of the religious expressions that have emerged throughout the 20th century (Fath, 2008 ; Stokes, 2016 ; Ramzy, 2016). These productions, capable of eliciting “adherence to shared experiential modalities and performative genres” (Csordas, 2009: 82), can act as a unifying agent among believers. However, in many contexts, they also become a source of conflict over issues like the role of the body, norms of self-expression, and a community ethos. These new productions also suggest the existence of specific expertise and the emergence of new professions (producers, youtubers, arrangers...), with the deployment of palettes of knowledge in sound and computer engineering. This knowledge is not only the province of professionals, but also, increasingly, of amateurs, clerics and laypersons (for more information on the new professions involved in today’s music production, see Olivier, 2022). Elements like recording studios or home studios, YouTube channels, and Do It Yourself (DIY) practices all contribute to the advent of amplified musical productions in the service of religion. What is this expertise, by whom is it developed and promoted, and for what purpose?

The selected contributions will delve into the technological, aesthetic, and anthropological underpinnings of religious music. They will analyze the logics of social and/or gender-based distinction induced or generated by amplification, in addition to the power dynamics facilitated by sound. The goal is to understand the implications of producing, composing, and disseminating these types of music. Since the introduction of sound amplification, the formal heterogeneity of the means mobilized to compose, produce, and sound religious musical expression has contributed to renewing the “musical ecosystems” (Olivier, 2022: 10) of religious expressions and spaces. What social, cultural, aesthetic and political issues emerge from these ecosystems, and what religious and denominational strategies do they respond to?

Submission guidelines

Authors must submit a title and a proposed paper of between 500 and 1000 words to the Editorial Secretary

by 30 June 2024.

Responses to proposed papers will be sent no later than 31 July 2024.

Full-length original articles must be submitted to the Editorial Secretary no later than 28 February 2025.

In accordance with the journal’s editorial policy, they will first be reviewed by the dossier coordinators and then submitted to a double-blind evaluation by three French or foreign reviewers.

The issue is planned to be published in 2025.

Proposals for articles should be sent to Marion Paulhac, Editorial Secretary, with the reference “Proposed article – ‘Amplified liturgies’ issue” in the subject line: marion.paulhac@ehess.fr

Scientific coordinators

  • Yannick Fer (CMH-CNRS)
  • Séverine Gabry-Thienpont (IDEAS-CNRS)
  • Philippe Gonzalez (CEMS-EHESS)

Selected bibliography

  • Aubin-Boltanski Emma, Lamine Anne-Sophie and Luca Nathalie (eds.), 2014, Croire en actes. Distance, intensité ou excès ?, Paris, L’Harmattan.
  • Csordas Thomas J., 2009, “Global religion and the re-enchantment of the world: The case of the Catholic charismatic renewal”, in T. J. Csordas (ed.), Transnational transcendence: Essays on religion and globalization, Berkeley, University of California Press, p. 73-96.
  • Delpech Louis, 2011 “Musique religieuse”, in Ch. Accaoui (ed.), Éléments d’esthétique musicale. Notions, formes et styles en musique, Arles, Actes Sud/Cité de la musique, p. 398-409.
  • Eisenlohr Patrick, 2018, Sounding Islam Voice, Media, and Sonic Atmospheres in an Indian Ocean World, Berkeley, University of California Press.
  • [audio] —, “Sound as Affect? Encorporation and Movement in Vocal Performance”, in P. Eisenlohr, Sounding Islam Voice, Media, and Sonic Atmospheres in an Indian Ocean World, Berkeley, University of California Press. URL : http://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.53.7.
  • Fath Sébastien, 2008, Dieu XXL. La révolution des megachurches, Paris, Éditions Autrement.
  • Fer Yannick, 2023, “Quand les Pentecôtistes dansent la hula”, Corps, 21 p. 49-61.
  • Frishkopf Michael, 1999, Sufism, Ritual, and Modernity in Egypt: Language Performance as an Adaptive Strategy, PhD dissertation, UCLA.
  • —, 2000, “Inshad Dini and Aghani Diniyya in 20th century Egypt: A Review of Styles, Genres, and Available Recordings”, Bulletin of the Middle East Studies Association, 34, p. 167-183.
  • Gabry-Thienpont Séverine, 2015, “Musiques et charismes chez les chrétiens en Égypte au début du xxie siècle. L’exemple catholique”, ASSR, 171, p. 187-207.
  • Gonzalez Philippe, 2008, “Lutter contre l’emprise démoniaque. Les politiques du combat spirituel évangélique”, Terrain, 50, p. 44-61.
  • —, 2014, Que ton règne vienne. Des évangéliques tentés par le pouvoir absolu, Geneva, Labor et Fides.
  • Guillebaud Christine and Lavandier Catherine (eds.), 2020, Worship sound spaces. Architecture, Acoustics and Anthropology, London, New York, Routledge.
  • Mayer-Thibault Ashley and Tank-Storper Sébastien, “Kirouv 2.0. Une nébuleuse interstitielle”, inK. Boissevain, M.-L. Boursin, S. Gabry-Thienpont and N. Neveu (eds.), Les autorités religieuses en mouvement : circulation, transmission et matérialité (christianisme, judaïsme, islam - xxe-xxie siècle), Marseille, Éditions Diacritiques, upcoming.
  • Ha Guangtian, 2022, The Sound of Salvation. Voice, Gender, and the Sufi Mediascape in China, New York, Chichester, Columbia University Press.
  • Harris Rachel, 2020, Soundscapes of Uyghur Islam, Bloomington, Indiana University Press.
  • Olivier Emmanuelle, “Préface : Les localités d’une technologie globale. Pratiquer l’ethnomusicologie en régime numérique”, Cahiers d’ethnomusicologie, 35, p. 9-24.
  • Nelson Kristina, 2001 [1985], The Art of Reciting the Qur’an, Cairo, AUC.
  • Prouteau Pierre, 2021, Bouddhisme, corps et machine – les sound systems de Thaïlande (Phetchabun 2016-2019), PhD dissertation, Université Paris Nanterre.
  • Puig Nicolas, 2017, “La ville amplifiée : synthétiseurs, sonorisation et effets électro-acoustiques dans les rituels urbains au Caire”, Techniques et culture, 67, p. 212-215. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/tc/8533.
  • Ramzy Carolyn, 2016, “Autotuned Belonging: Coptic Popular Song and the Politics of Neo-Pentecostal Pedagogies”, Ethnomusicology, 60/3, p. 434-458.
  • Sterne Jonathan, 2015, Une histoire de la modernité sonore, Paris, La Découverte, coll. « Culture sonore ».
  • Stokes Martin, 2016, “Islamic popular music aesthetics in Turkey”, in K. Van Nieuwkerk, M. Levine and M. Stokes (eds.), Islam and popular culture, Austin, University of Texas press, p. 41-57.
  • Touché Marc, 1994, Connaissance de l’environnement sonore urbain, l’exemple des lieux de répétition ; faiseurs de bruits ? Faiseurs de sons ? Question de point de vue, research report CRIV-CNRS, Vaucresson.

Date(s)

  • Sunday, June 30, 2024

Keywords

  • liturgie, rituel, musique, amplification sonore, religion

Contact(s)

  • Marion Paulhac
    courriel : marion [dot] paulhac [at] ehess [dot] fr

Information source

  • Marion Paulhac
    courriel : marion [dot] paulhac [at] ehess [dot] fr

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Amplified liturgies. The new musical ecosystems of religion », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, April 10, 2024, https://doi.org/10.58079/w70j

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