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Fisk Jubilee Singers, John W. Work--arranger-conductor, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections

Spirituality is a difficult concept to pin down, because it has a slightly different meaning for everyone.  But a sense of connectedness, of being part of something bigger, is central to spirituality.  Many people find spirituality through religious practices and traditions, although many also experience spirituality through personal practices that are separate from structured religion. 

A quiet walk in the woods, a church hall echoing with hymns, the chant of a Native American sacred song, the Muslim call to prayer, a silent meditation: sound is intimately connected to the human experience of spirituality. 

This spotlight highlights some of the ways that spirituality and music are connected by exploring Smithsonian collections objects and musical resources that have been used by religious communities as well as by individuals.

Music and Religion in Smithsonian Collections

While spirituality is not necessarily experienced through religion, many people use religion as a conduit for their everyday spirituality.  Explore Smithsonian collections objects that illustrate the relationship between music and some of the world's religions. 


Header image credit: album art, Fisk Jubilee Singers [sound recording], 1955, directed by John W. Work, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections. Record link. Sample or purchase the album on the Smithsonian Folkways website.