Singing the Right Way enters the world of Orthodox Christianity in Estonia to explore the significance of musical style in worship, cultural identity, and social imagination. Through a series of ethnographic and historical chapters, author Jeffers Engelhardt focuses on how Orthodox Estonians give voice to the religious absolute in secular society to live Christ-like lives. Approaching Orthodoxy through local understandings of correct practice and correct belief, Engelhardt shows how religious knowledge, national identity, and social transformation illuminate in the work of singing: how to "sing the right way" and thereby realize the fullness of their faith. In some parishes, this meant preserving a local, Protestant-influenced tradition of congregational singing from the 1920s and 30s. In others, it meant adapting Byzantine melodies and vocal styles encountered abroad. In still others, it meant continuing a bilingual, multi-ethnic Estonian-Russian oral tradition despite ecclesiastical and political struggle.
Based on a decade of fieldwork and singing in choirs, Singing the Right Way traces the sounds of Orthodoxy in Estonia through the Russian Empire, interwar national independence, the Soviet-era, and post-Soviet integration into the European Union to describe the dynamics of religion and secularity in singing style and repertoire - what Engelhardt calls secular enchantment. Ultimately, Singing the Right Way is an innovative model of how the musical poetics of contemporary religious forms are rooted in both sacred tradition and the contingent ways individuals inhabit the secular. This landmark study is sure to be an essential text for scholars studying the ethnomusicology of religion.
Jeffers Engelhardt is an Associate Professor of Music at Amherst College. A graduate of the University of Chicago and Oberlin College, his research deals broadly with music, religion, European identity, and media. His second book, a co-edited volume titled Resounding Transcendence: Transitions in Music, Religion, and Ritual, will also be published by Oxford University Press.
Table of Contents ; About the Companion Website ; Track Listing ; Maps ; Introduction ; Part 1 ; Chapter 1 - Orthodoxy in Estonia, Estonian Orthodoxy ; Chapter 2 - Right Singing: The Voice of Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy ; Chapter 3 - "Today is an important day here, the birthday of our own religion": Festivity ; and the Secular Enchantments of Right Singing ; Part 2 ; Chapter 4 - "Every bird has its own song": Congregational Singing and the Making of ; Estonian Orthodoxy ; Chapter 5 - Songs of Commemoration and Continuity ; Part 3 ; Chapter 6 - "Life is so simple to live when the corridor you are to walk down has already ; been made": Byzantification and Conversion at the Cathedral of Saint Simeon and the Prophetess Hanna ; Chapter 7 - "We are people of the country, but we worship and Russian-type God": ; Singing the Right Way in Setomaa ; Epilogue ; Appendix ; Bibliography