Mattias Lundberg

Sonic Continuity as Perceived Tradition in the Liturgical Music of the Swedish Reformation

During the 16th century liturgical singing in Sweden underwent profound changes. Singing in Swedish, Finnish and German was introduced, melodies and texts were altered, with new functions and ascribed meaning. In spite of this, leading ecclesiastical and royal agents as well as individuals in broader strata of society could frequently maintain that they continued to sing “as has always been the custom in the kingdom”. This project aims to analyze how the singing actually sounded in this period of transformation. It takes as point of departure the rich and recently systematized, catalogued and digitized source material of music from the Swedish reformation, SweLiMuS (Swedish Liturgical Music Sources).
By the concept of “sonic continuity”, melodies and their resounding manifestation may be distinguished from the central changes in doctrine, organization and theological significance which the resounding layer seems to have partially enabled. The theory rests on systematic studies of notions of tradition (foremost Edward Shils and James Alexander). “Core” and “canon” are separated from “continuity” as different elements in 16th-century notions of continuity of singing. While previous research mainly has shed light on that which is here understood as “core” (doctrine, notions of sacramental theology) and “canon” (church orders, liturgical regulation), “continuity” will be studied in the form of the musical tradition attested in liturgical music manuscripts of the 16th century.
Grant administrator
Uppsala University
Reference number
SEK 3,280,216.00
RJ Projects