Cover for PATTERSON: The Sound of the Dove: Singing in Appalachian Primitive Baptist Churches. Click for larger image

The Sound of the Dove

Singing in Appalachian Primitive Baptist Churches

Illuminating the music of and singers within a sacred folksong tradition

In The Sound of the Dove, Beverly Bush Patterson explores one of the oldest traditions of American religious folksong: unaccompanied congregational singing in the Primitive Baptist churches of Appalachia. Using interviews, field observations, historical research, song transcriptions, and musical analysis, Patterson explores the dynamic relationship between singing and theology in these churches, the genesis of their musical practices, and the unexpectedly significant role of women in their conservative congregations.

An hour-long audio recording of Primitive Baptist singing is available separately.


"This insightful study fills a great gap in American folk music scholarship and demonstrates ways that sensitive feminist scholarship can illuminate surprising corners of traditional culture."--William Bernard McCarthy, Journal of American Folklore


Beverly Bush Patterson is a folklife specialist with the North Carolina Arts Council and a coauthor of the Index to Selected Folk Recordings.

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