School of Music


Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology (MA)


Leon Neto


Lord’s Supper, Sacrament, religion, covenant, semiotics, hymns, ordinance, congregational singing


Music | Religion


This paper examines the function of music in the rite of the Lord’s Supper as well as similarities and differences in execution, doctrine and function within three major branches of Christianity. As Christianity has evolved the practice of Communion has been adapted to fit the beliefs and practices of various Christian traditions. The Catholic Church, Protestantism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints represent three different applications of the rite. The use of active covenant making in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a unique characteristic of their Sacrament ordinance. Examining data gathered through surveys, interviews, journals and ethnographic study displays that the covenant making process in the Sacrament of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is impactful on the use of function of music in the service. Semiotic associations with the hymns used for the Sacrament service, themes of remembrance and the decisions of each member throughout the service determine if their thoughts are focused on remembering Jesus Christ or on the plethora of distractions around them. Those that are attuned to their own reactions are successful in keeping the covenant of remembrance as it is made.