T. Frank Kennedy
Historian John W. O’Malley has recently outlined significant changes in the historiography of the Jesuits. These major shifts in Jesuit historiography in the early modern period have provided for more ample avenues of study vis-à-vis Jesuits and music. The last of O’Malley’s three ages of Jesuit historiography has had the most immediate effect: not only has it in itself encouraged the study of Jesuits and music, but also has broadened the cultural field enabling a number of different foci, previously beyond consideration. Recent studies, especially from the point of view of the expressions of popular piety, are producing insights into the identity of Jesuits from the perspectives or what they did. The significant corpus of music literature that musicologists are exploring and reflecting upon, promises both a fuller portrait of the Jesuits and their “way of proceeding,” and a richer understanding of the function of this music.