This unit offers a study of the music of the Western Christian Church with an emphasis on music history, biblical imperatives and ‘traditional’ and ‘contemporary’ practices. It examines effective music ministry through historical and contemporary case studies and encourages participants to look critically at the musical practices of their own worshipping communities.

Unit code: CH9500T

Unit status: Approved (Minor revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Church History

Proposing College: Trinity College Theological School

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Learning outcomes


Outline a chronology of key events in music history, especially as it relates to the Western Christian Church and describe their original, traditional and current significance;


Apply key principles of historical and musical criticism to (musical) texts;


Identify key features of the context and method of ‘successful’ Christian music and music making


Evaluate the implications of particular musical understandings for the practice of ministry in the contemporary Christian church.


Develop coherent and appropriate liturgical or commemorative structures for a variety of musical contexts

Unit sequence

DL1200T or DL8200T – Intro to Liturgical Thought and Practice, or equivalent

Indicative Bibliography

  • Joncas, J. Michael. From Sacred Song to Ritual Music. 20th Century Understandings of Roman Catholic Worship Music. Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1997.
  • Foley, Edward. The Foundations of Christian Music. Grove, 1992.
  • Foley, Edward, ed. Worship Music: A Concise Dictionary. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2000.
  • Leaver, Robin. The Liturgy and Music. A Study of the Use of the Hymn in Two Liturgical Traditions. Grove Liturgical Study #6, 1976.
  • Routley, Erik. Church Music and the Christian Faith. London: Collins, 1978.
  • Westermeyer, Paul. Te Deum: The Church and Music. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998. (recommended for purchase)
  • ––. The Church Musician. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1997.
  • Wood, H. D’Arcy. Music for Liturgy in an Australian Context. Australian Journal of Liturgy, Vol. 6, No. 2, October 1997.
  • Wren, Brian. Praying Twice: The Music and Words of Congregational Song. Westminster: John Knox Press, 2000.
  • Young, Carlton. My Great Redeemer’s Praise. Ohio: OSL, 1995.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Portfolio report of 2,000 words on music in an approved community

0 30.0

Essay of 2,500 words

0 50.0

Short paper of 1,500 words on an historical topic

0 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 28 Sep, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-09-28 18:57:13 +1000