In The Sound of the Dove, Beverly Bush Patterson explores one of the oldest traditions of American religious folksong, a national heritage of great beauty and dignity that remains vital in the lives and worship of predestinarian Primitive Baptists in the southern mountains. This unaccompanied and frequently unharmonized congregational singing challenges our assumptions about creativity, aesthetics, meaning, and identity. Patterson's revealing study incorporates interviews, field observations, historical research, song transcriptions, and musical analysis. She uses seventeenth-century English documents to trace historical antecedents of Primitive Baptist singing and to frame her discussion of religious belief and gender roles as they intersect with singing. One chapter is devoted to the role of women in this church.