What benefits to our understandings of past musical practices can we get from "non-musical” source materials, and how might these reflect the intentions of those who created these sources? This paper explores the archive of the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa, an organisation founded in 1857 by Anglicans within the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, and Dublin. Documented in this archive is a rich musical life on the UMCA’s missions. It created a narrative that presented an image of how these missionaries’ musical practices were transferred from Britain to East Africa. In this paper, I look at what this musical information was seeking to communicate about missionary work, and then examine the factors that influenced musical practice in order to uncover what they can tell us about the actual transformations that missionary music was undergoing. In so doing I place music as a central component in the experience of nineteenth century mission.
28 Feb 2023
Deaprtment of Music, University of Bristol, United Kingdom