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Department of Theology and Religion

Profiles

Mr Andrew Moss

Contact Mr Andrew Moss

Abstract

Musical improvisation as an engagement between musical and theological practice in contemporary culture.

My research focuses on how improvisation can be useful to gaining an understanding of the relationship between theology and music and how this in turn relates to the broader field of theology and the arts. This will be achieved by examining improvisation in different genres including classical and jazz music. Initially I will attempt to provide a definition on the nature of improvisation and examine why, in modern culture, there has been a significant decline in improvised music. Next, I will use modern philosophy (especially phenomenology) as a dialogue partner to emphasise the relationship between improvisation and time and illustrate how improvisation merits theological engagement. Finally, by using improvisation as a methodology, my thesis will argue that improvisation is crucial for an understanding of theological notions of creation, divine presence and temporality. It will also illustrate how improvisation has implications for church practice especially in prayer and worship. This will be achieved by analysing themes found in improvisation including freedom, spontaneity, risk, creativity, technique and gift.

Biography

I received an M.Theol (2009) and M.litt. Theology, Imagination and the Arts (2010) from the University of St Andrews. I was a saxophone scholar at the University of St Andrews and hold a Scottish Certificate in Jazz. I studied under Richard Ingham and had masterclasses with Lynn Klock and Kyle Horch and performed for Arvo Pärt. I was the Logistics Manager for the World Saxophone Congress XVI, St Andrews 2012 working with major international retailers and artists. I am currently a teaching assistant for THEO 1171 'Christianity in Context', a member of the International Network for Music Theology and the administrator for the Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies.

Research Interests

Theological Aesthetics
Theology and the Arts
Theology and Music
Musical settings of the Psalms
Theology of Karl Barth
Jazz Music and Contemorary Culture
Modern Religious Music

 

Teaching Areas

  • THEO 1171 - Christianity in Context

    (12 hours/year.)
  • THEO 1191 - Introduction to Christian Theology

Is supervised by