Healing for the Soul: Richard Smallwood, the Vamp, and the Gospel Imagination (AMS Studies in Music) (Hardcover)

Healing for the Soul: Richard Smallwood, the Vamp, and the Gospel Imagination (AMS Studies in Music) By Braxton D. Shelley Cover Image

Healing for the Soul: Richard Smallwood, the Vamp, and the Gospel Imagination (AMS Studies in Music) (Hardcover)

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Between the first and last words of a black gospel song, musical sound acquires spiritual power. During this unfolding, a variety of techniques facilitate musical and physical transformation. The most important of these is a repetitive musical cycle known by names including the run, the drive,
the special, and the vamp. Through its combination of reiteration and intensification, the vamp turns song lyrics into something more potent. While many musical traditions use vamps to fill space, or occupy time in preparation for another, more important event, in gospel, vamps are the main event.
Why is the vamp so central to the black gospel tradition? What work-musical, cultural, and spiritual-does the gospel vamp do? And what does the vamp reveal about the transformative power of black gospel more broadly?

This book explores the vamp's essential place in black gospel song, arguing that these climactic musical cycles turn worship services into transcendent events. A defining feature of contemporary gospel, the vamp links individual performances to their generic contexts. An exemplar of African American
musical practice, the vamp connects gospel songs to a venerable lineage of black sacred expression. As it generates emotive and physical intensity, the vamp helps believers access an embodied experience of the invisible, moving between this world and another in their musical practice of faith. The
vamp, then, is a musical, cultural, and religious interface, which gives vent to a system of belief, performance, and reception that author Braxton D. Shelley calls the Gospel Imagination. In the Gospel Imagination, the vamp offers proof that musical sound can turn spiritual power into a physical
reality-a divine presence in human bodies.
Minister, musician, and musicologist, Braxton D. Shelley is an assistant professor in the Department of Music at Harvard University, and the Stanley A Marks and William H Marks Assistant Professor in Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. After earning a BA in Music and History from DukeUniversity, Shelley received his PhD in the History and Theory of Music at the University of Chicago. Alongside his scholarly and practical investment in African American gospel music, Shelley's research and critical interests extend into media studies, sound studies, phenomenology, homiletics, andtheology.
Product Details ISBN: 9780197566466
ISBN-10: 0197566464
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2021
Pages: 360
Language: English
Series: AMS Studies in Music