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Why the Amish Sing
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summary
Singing occurs in nearly every setting of Amish life. It is a sanctioned pleasure that frames all Amish rituals and one that enlivens and sanctifies both routine and special events, from household chores, road trips by buggy, and family prayer to baptisms, youth group gatherings, weddings, and “single girl” sings. But because Amish worship is performed in private homes instead of public churches, few outsiders get the chance to hear Amish people sing. Amish music also remains largely unexplored in the field of ethnomusicology. In Why the Amish Sing, D. Rose Elder introduces readers to the ways that Amish music both reinforces and advances spiritual life, delving deep into the Ausbund, the oldest hymnal in continuous use. This illuminating ethnomusicological study demonstrates how Amish groups in Wayne and Holmes Counties, Ohio—the largest concentration of Amish in the world—sing to praise God and, at the same time, remind themselves of their 450-year history of devotion. Singing instructs Amish children in community ways and unites the group through common participation. As they sing in unison to the weighty words of their ancestors, the Amish confirm their love and support for the community. Their singing delineates their common journey—a journey that demands separation from the world and yielding to God's will. By making school visits, attending worship services and youth sings, and visiting private homes, Elder has been given the rare opportunity to listen to Amish singing in its natural social and familial context. She combines one-on-one interviews with detailed observations of how song provides a window into Amish cultural beliefs, values, and norms.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title page, Series page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Foreword
  2. Terry E. Miller
  3. pp. vii-x
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xi-xiv
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xv-xvi
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  1. PART I. AMISH LIFE AND SONG
  2. pp. 1-2
  1. CHAPTER 1. Who Are the Amish?
  2. pp. 3-22
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  1. CHAPTER 2. The Functions of Amish Singing
  2. pp. 23-35
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  1. CHAPTER 3. Case Study: “Es sind zween Weg”
  2. pp. 36-46
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  1. PART II. SINGING IN CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE
  2. pp. 47-48
  1. CHAPTER 4. Songs for Nurture: Lullabies and Children’s Songs
  2. pp. 49-61
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  1. CHAPTER 5. Songs for Instruction: Singing at School
  2. pp. 62-68
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  1. CHAPTER 6. Case Study: School Repertoire
  2. pp. 69-74
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  1. CHAPTER 7. Songs of Identity: Youth Sings
  2. pp. 75-84
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  1. PART III. SINGING FOR WORSHIP
  2. pp. 85-86
  1. CHAPTERr 8. Songs of Memory: The Ausbund
  2. pp. 87-100
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  1. CHAPTER 9. Songs of Belonging: Baptism, Council, and Communion
  2. pp. 101-106
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  1. CHAPTER 10. Case Study: The Loblied, or Lobsang
  2. pp. 107-118
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  1. PART IV. SINGING FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS
  2. pp. 119-120
  1. CHAPTER 11. Songs of Love and Life: Weddings and Funerals
  2. pp. 121-130
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  1. CHAPTER 12. Songs of Trust: Music in Daily Life
  2. pp. 131-137
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  1. CHAPTER 13. Songs for the Future: Amish Singing in the Twenty-First Century
  2. pp. 138-144
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  1. APPENDIX I: Additional Musical Examples
  2. pp. 145-156
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  1. APPENDIX II: Research Methods
  2. pp. 157-161
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  1. APPENDIX III: Historical Studies of Amish Music
  2. pp. 162-168
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 169-176
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 177-182
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 183-196
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