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Korkalainen, Samuli (TaiYo): Attempts to improve congregational singing and their impact on liturgical melodies in the Lutheran Church in nineteenth-century Finland and Ingria

The Evangelical Lutheran Church was not an isolated section of society in nineteenth-century Finland and Ingria. Nor was congregational singing. At the same time that music in Finnish and Ingrian societies was being developed – both among ordinary people and in the new arenas of high culture – congregational singing was also being improved. The musical development in surrounding society had an impact on church music, but by the same token, the musical improvement in the church had an impact on the musical development of society as a whole. In this process, also the liturgical melodies shifted from monophonic Gregorian chant to polyphonic and romantic-style liturgical music. The musicians who wanted to improve congregational singing were acting locally, but the phenomenon was translocal; a similar process was under way also in other states in Lutheran Europe, e.g. in Sweden, Germany and the Baltic countries.

The aim of my doctoral dissertation is, firstly, to outline the philosophical, theological and political background of improving congregational singing in nineteenth-century Finland and Ingria. In addition, I am going to determine the impact of the musical improvement in the surrounding society and the liturgical trends of the period in the whole Lutheran Europe had on congregational singing. Finally, I also focus on how liturgical melodies changed through this process. The goal is to outline the local improvement process and place it in a wider music cultural and theological context.

This study is based on printed and hand-written primary source materials, including about twenty hand-written chorale books that include liturgical music and altogether eighteen collections of liturgical melodies published in Finland and two in Ingria. Some of the printed collections are monophonic for the psalmodikon (virsikannel) and most of them polyphonic for the four-part singing or the organ accompaniment. They all are mostly based on three Swedish predecessors that are included in my material as well.

Secondary source material is cited to provide the liturgical, administrative and political context in which these documents appeared. The Divine Service Agendas from Sweden, Russia and Finland are of particular interest. Administrative documents by, for instance, the diocesan chapters, consistories and the General Synod as well as Finnish and Swedish newspapers published in Finland and Saint Petersburg provide additional information. Naturally, there is archival material, too.

This study falls within the area of the cultural history of music, but it draws on the fields of church music, church history and liturgical studies.