Sounding Spirit makes the following interventions in American music scholarship:
- Gospel, spirituals, lined-out hymn singing, and shape-note music genres emerged and persisted in texts and their communities of use. An examination of these genres’ texts and textual communities documents the collision of Native American, Black, and white peoples in spaces often represented as isolated or homogenous. These texts and textual communities illuminate contestations around race, place, religion, and culture through which practitioners constructed, maintained, and contested American modernities.
- Gospel, spirituals, lined-out hymn singing, and shape-note music are core to America’s musical history and foundational to twentieth-century popular and art music.
- Digital publishing facilitates access to these largely inaccessible texts and makes possible an engagement that illuminates these interventions. Features of digital editions such as annotations, visualizations, and hyperlinks afford interactivity with the broader cultural landscape of these texts and their textual communities.
The selection and editing of Sounding Spirit volumes presupposes the following:
- Genres and texts are not neutral. Each refracts the relationships among race, place, religion, and culture that shape the contexts and meaning-making of both contributors and users.
- Genres and texts are not racially bifurcated. Texts and their communities of use have diverse origins and contents.
- Genres and texts are not siloed. Texts and their intersecting communities of use engage in musical boundary crossing.
- Genres and texts are not static categories of analysis. Texts and their communities of use negotiate modernity, or create alternative modernities, by participating in their respective sacred music traditions.