chapter  6
24 Pages

Alternative musical spaces

The experiences of worshippers within Sunday services are complemented by other musical spaces within the church. While the St Aldates leadership aim to keep the style of the church’s music largely consistent and predictable there are a number of alternative spaces in which different kinds of musicking can find expression. More-marginal locations within the life of the church are able to provide different varieties of musical environment from those found in more visible or more closely supervised outlets and provide the opportunity for different negotiations of musical style than those of the main services. As such they provide an important complement to the experiences discussed in the previous three chapters, both as musical outlets for individuals and as contrasting structures against which to examine the practices of the main church services. Within this chapter I briefly examine two such spaces – Sing O Barren Woman, a week-long musical prayer event which took place within the church’s prayer room; and Word on the Street.1 Each of these embodies a musical dynamic distinct in some way from the mainstream life of the congregation and, therefore, a different way in which individuals can relate to the communal musical life of the church. These spaces both complement and challenge the patterns of Sunday services, not only allowing a greater range of musical styles but offering differently-nuanced musical ontologies within which such diversity can take place (Born 2005; Ingalls 2008, p425). Within each setting, music is understood to be, and to be capable of, different things as the veil of neutrality is lifted and music is allowed to take on, more openly, forms of significance that this discourse serves to mask.