Korkalainen, Samuli

Master of Music, Master of Theology



Samuli Korkalainen: Attempts to improve music in the Lutheran Church in 19th-century Finland

Abstract of the written thesis

The aim of my doctoral dissertation is to determine the impact of musical improvement in the surrounding society and the liturgical trends of the period that Lutheran Europe as a whole had on church singing and liturgical melodies used in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland in the 19th century. The goal is to outline the local improvement process, and place it in a wider music cultural and music theological context. In the 19th century, at a time when Finland was part of the Russian Empire, music in Finnish society was developed with determination, both among ordinary people and in the new arenas of high culture. As a result of action by the Fennoman movement, music was considered an efficient tool with which to infuse the minds of the common people with nationalist goals. The Evangelical Lutheran Church was not an isolated section of society; many churchwardens ('lukkari' in Finnish), organists and pastors participated in this kind of societal action by establishing choirs and brass bands, by developing popular education and, most importantly, by improving church singing. In this process the liturgical melodies in the Church also shifted from monophonic Gregorian chant to polyphonic and romantic-style liturgical music. The musicians who wanted to improve church singing were acting locally, but the phenomenon was translocal; a similar process was also under way in other states in Lutheran Europe, e.g. in Sweden, Germany, and the Baltic countries.