Melanie Wald-Fuhrmann

Published On


Page Range

pp. 273–284


  • English

Print Length

12 pages

13. Music in Christian Services as a Means to Induce Religious Feelings

This chapter explores the relationship between musical practices and spiritual experiences in the context of Christian worship. It combines historical, theoretical, and liturgical perspectives with findings from empirical studies of singing in current Roman Catholic worship. After introducing a taxonomy of psychological effects of music in the liturgy according to the emic perspective of the Church, existing empirical studies are reviewed and results of a quantitative study on singing experiences in Roman Catholic mass are presented. The chapter concludes with an outline of a research program dedicated to empirically study the spiritual effects of musical practices in Christian worship.


Melanie Wald-Fuhrmann

Professor of Systematic Musicology at Goethe University Frankfurt

Melanie Wald-Fuhrmann is Director of the Department of Music at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics (MPIEA) and Professor of Systematic Musicology at the Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main. Her publications include Welterkenntnis aus Musik: Athanasius Kirchers ‘Musurgia universalis’ und die Universalwissenschaftim 17. Jahrhundert [Knowledge of the World from Music. Athanasius Kircher’s ‘Musurgia universalis’ and Universal Science in the Seventeenth Century] (2006), ‘Ein Mittel wider sich selbst’: Melancholie in der Instrumentalmusik um 1800 [‘A Means Against Itself’: Melancholy in Instrumental Music around 1800] (2010), and as co-editor, with Klaus-Peter Dannecker and Sven Boenneke, Wirkungsästhetik der Liturgie: Transdisziplinäre Perspektiven [Aesthetics of Liturgy: Transdisciplinary Perspectives] (2020).