MUSIC OF THE CHURCH
Roman Catholics and Protestants made up a large number of the early settlers. With them, they brought the music of their particular churches. Hymnals, which were quite popular by the time of discovery, were widely used for congregational singing. Today, the most common religious groups in The Bahamas are Protestants, Anglicans, and Roman Catholics along with other smaller denominations.
The religious services of the Roman Catholic and Anglican (also known as Episcopalian) church follow a more formal format even today. Alternatively, the religious services of the Baptists, Church of God, and other Protestants made use of hymnals to sing anthems. The use of these hymnals gained popularity in the early part of the 1900's.
Musical instruments were also used to accompany the lively singing that went on in the religious services. In the absence of musical instruments, foot stomping and hand clapping were utilized to add rhythm and feeling to the music. In the 1950's recording entitled 'Religious Songs And Drums Of The Bahamas', the Church of God congregation in Nassau can be heard clapping and singing in a style that is still prevalent even today.
Edmund Moxey, a notable musician in his own right and one who is featured in this work, recalls witnessing this same style of hand clapping in Coopers Town, Abaco in the early 50's. The hand clapping rhythms in this example is quite intricate, demonstrating the mastery of the ability to keep steady time on the up beat in a sixteenth note pattern.