- To suggest that music is rhetorical is to suggest nothing new. For the past fifteen to twenty years scholars in the field of rhetorical criticism have been making such a suggestion, and arguing its validity. This study joins others which affirm music's place as rhetorical artifact as it discusses the rhetorical nature of contemporary Christian music. Specifically, the discussion focuses on five linguistic rhetorical strategies--relationship, antithetical construction, redundancy, metaphor and image--and asks if these strategies have changed over time., In order to ascertain if change had taken place in the rhetorical strategies used by contemporary Christian songwriters the following procedure was used. First, ten prominent Christian artists were selected for study. Each artist was chosen for his/her/their importance to contemporary Christian music. A representative album (in some cases two) of each artist was then selected. The lyrics of the songs from each album were searched for the five rhetorical strategies listed above. The data collected from this search was then discussed within the context of the three eras (the early years, 1968-75; the middle years, 1976-82; and the current era 1983-88) into which contemporary Christian music is divided., The results of this discussion clearly indicate that the linguistic rhetorical strategies used by contemporary Christian musicians have changed over time. In the early years, 1968-75, these strategies were used for their persuasive appeal. In the middle years, 1976-82, they became vehicles of reinforcement. Presently, these strategies are doing double duty, both persuading and reinforcing., and This study posits two reasons why such an evolution took place: the gradual seduction of the evangelical sub-culture by the pop culture and the staggering influence the audience exerts on the contemporary Christian artist.
- Dissertation Note:
- Ph.D. The Pennsylvania State University 1988.
- Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 50-02, Section: A, page: 3010. and Adviser: Richard B. Gregg.
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