Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2014

Degree Name

DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Hand, Gregory

First Committee Member

Eckert, Michael

Second Committee Member

Lecuona, Rene

Third Committee Member

Wilson Kimber, Marian

Fourth Committee Member

Wolgast, Brett


Sunday after Sunday, liturgical organists are faced with the challenge of providing music for liturgy. While hymns, psalms, musical settings of liturgical texts, choral anthems and responses are often made clear in their choice due to the marriage of text and music, choosing music outside of those parameters is a challenge. Music that happens prior to worship as the community gathers, music to accompany ritual actions such as the presentation of the offering or the distribution of the Eucharist, and music that sends people on their way at the end of the service is not something to be taken lightly. Such choices are important and can have a significant effect on the over-all tenor of the liturgy. Many organists have concluded the most efficient and effective solution is to seek pieces which are based on the hymns sung by the assembly and trust that a cohesive liturgical whole has been created. This essay attempts to move beyond that notion into the realm of solo organ literature that is not derived from a chorale or hymn melody. Each piece of music carries its own aesthetic characteristics, and the task of the liturgical organist is to determine how those characteristics can best be incorporated into a given religious celebration.


vii, 69 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 67-69).


Copyright 2014 Thomas Keith Hamilton

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