Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Mr. Ray Holcomb

Second Advisor

Dr. David Scott

Third Advisor

Dr. Fay Holiman


The purpose of this study were: (1) to survey the current use of choral church music in the music curricula of institutions of higher learning in Arkansas; and (2) to determine its influence and extent of use by the faculties of these schools during the 1965-1966 academic yer. In recent years there has been increased production of choral church music and some has or will be used in higher education. Because there is little evidence of investigation in this area with special thought to choral church music, a need was felt to take consideration of the subject.

This study was concerned only with institutions of higher learning in Arkansas. It was limited in that it was dependent on the return of the questionnaires for a representative sample.

Most of the information presented in this study was obtained from the questionnaire that was sent to the music faculties of each college. Also, books, periodicals, theses, dissertations, college bulletins, and concert programs were examined for additional information.

As a preliminary step in this study, the investigator sent an introductory letter to each music department chairman. Included with the letter was a general information sheet which requested the following: (1) name of institution, (2) approximate number of enrollment, (3) number of music majors, (4) number of professors who have had specific training in sacred choral literature, and (5) choral ensembles and conductors. After these had been returned, a questionnaire was sent to each choral ensemble director.

Chapter I stated the purposes of the study, its significance, and delimitations. It furthur [sic] gave definitions of terms, sources of data, and a brief background of the study. The first chapter closed by outlining the methods of research and the organization of the complete study.

Chapter II was a brief history of the development of choral music in higher education in America, and a review of related studies in the area of sacred choral music....

Chapter III presented the results of the general information sheet and the questionnaire which were sent to each institution of higher education in Arkansas. Statistical tables were used to illustrate certain comparisons. It was found that contemporary compositions were used more frequently than compositions from other eras, and at least one-half of those used were sacred....

In one sense the development of choral music has been progressive. Its prime function has gradually changed from that of serving practical and social purposes to that of contributing to the musical and cultural growth of the individual who comes in contact with it.

Trends in education prove that more thought than ever before is being given to the idea of moral and spiritual values. Nearly all educators agree that an awareness of religion and encouragement of religious thinking is to be desired above a purposeful and complete disregard of religion in a realistic education situation. Music, then, with its strong inducement to emotional response, can be an influential aid to the stimulation of individual spirituality.

It was not the purpose of this study to recommend particular repertoire to a director. Only the director in a position of responsibility can decide what music compositions will, in a particular season, best serve the needs of the school and the students involved, in the light of their taste and ability. If a director should receive a useful suggestion from this study, the research would have been justified.



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