Molly M. Guinan


This poster reflects research conducted as part of a course project designed to give students experience in the research process.



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Music is a primary part of worship in most Christian churches around the world. Music, however, holds different meaning and serves a variety of purposes and functions within each Christian denomination. As a part of an independent study course focused on topics related to contemporary liturgical music repertoire, I chose to investigate how Ministers of Music in several different denominations of the Christian faith assigned meaning and purpose to music in the context of worship, and what particular styles they found to resonate most with their own congregations. In order to do this, I interviewed Ministers of Music from the following church communities in and around Dayton, each representing a different denomination: St. Luke’s Catholic Church, Epiphany Lutheran Church, United Methodist Church, and The Vineyard. This poster will outline the factors I considered when developing relevant interview questions (e.g., cultural background of liturgical ministers and congregation members, tendencies of specific denominations, structure of liturgy in worship services) and the conclusions to which I came regarding the factors that play the most significant roles in determining the style of music utilized and the ways in which music is viewed and assigned meaning in a given church community. Additionally, examples of written and recorded music that were deemed meaningful by the Ministers of Music in each of the various church communities will be showcased with the written findings.

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Donna M. Cox

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Research exercise: Perceptions of Meaning in Liturgical Music in Christian Church Communities of Various Denominational Identities