The Seedy Legacy of Rock Music

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Aaron, Dec 17, 2001.

  1. Aaron

    Aaron
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2000
    Messages:
    15,646
    Likes Received:
    223
    Okay. I'm going to take a chance here. I've cleaned up the quotes as well as I could. I hope they can squeak by the censors.

    But when one speaks of Rock music, he is speaking of something debauched and immoral. Perhaps some of our problem is that we are sanitizing our descriptions a little too much.

    An old article on the history of Rock'n'Roll was brought to my attention recently. I am presently seeking permission to reproduce it on my site: Discernment

    The title of the article is Hear That Long Snake Moan, by Michael Ventura. The copy I have appeared in two installments in the Spring and Summer issues of Whole Earth Review in 1987. This publication is not Christian, and Michael Ventura has no ax to grind. In fact, he did not try to make a case against popular musical forms. Quite the contrary. His case is that modern music heals the mind/body split caused by Christianity, by forcing the expression of repressed sexual drives through dancing.

    The article contained this short preface: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>With unexpected, compelling evidence, Michael Ventura asserts that rock music, TV evangelism theatrics, Baptist Pentecostalism, jazz, and much else of our pop culture has its parenthood in voodoo.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Now, from the article: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>"Rock'n'Roll" is a word from the depths...."Roll" is sweet, as a noun. Lush. Soft. Eschewing every traditional Anglo-Saxon word for [the female parts], recently freed New Orleans slaves were calling [the female parts] a "jelly roll" over 100 years ago. So juicy did they find the expression that it came to mean [the male parts] as well as [the female], both genders singing about "my jelly roll." The first great jazz composer called himself Jelly Roll Morton.

    ...Putting ["rock" and "roll"] together was a term from the juke joints of the South, long in use by the forties, when a music started being heard that had no name, wasn't jazz and wasn't simply blues and wasn't Cajun, but had all those elements and could not be ignored. In those juke joints "rock'n'roll" hadn't meant the name of a music, it meant to [have sexual intercourse]. "Rock," by itself, had pretty much meant that, in those circles, since the twenties at least. "Rock'n'roll" was a juicy elaboration on the old usage. When, finally, in the mid-fifties, the songs started being played by white people and aired on the radio--"Rock Around the Clock," "Good Rockin' Tonight," "Reelin' And A-Rockin'"--the meaning hadn't changed.

    ...That American music is rooted in Africa is a cliche, and cliches are useless. But to trace that root is a revelation. It's a root that goes so deep that some of our most common terms--terms often associated with music--are from African languages that haven't been spoken on this continent conversationally in close to two centuries.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Some of those words, Ventura wrote, are:

    1. Funky: from Ki-Kongo lu-fuki, meaning "positive sweat."
    2. Mojo: Ki-Kongon for "soul"
    3. Boogie: KiKongon for "devilishly good."
    4. Juke (as in jukebox and juke joint): Mande-kan for "bad." "...for among righteous blacks as well as righteous whites, this was bad music played by bad people in bad places."
    5. Jazz: Ki-Kongon for sexual climax.

    The article goes into depth about what voodoo is and how its expressions are mimicked by modern ecstatic worship services.

    Though not intended as such, the article is a scathing expose. Why is it the Christians who insist that this music means something else?

    [ December 17, 2001: Message edited by: Aaron ]
     
  2. Eric B

    Eric B
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2001
    Messages:
    4,806
    Likes Received:
    2
    Once again, the most this proves is that fallen man produced music styles, and used them for his sin. European church traditional is not pure, but carried over European paganism, namely dualistic platonism, which was several times condemned in the New Testament. Unlike the non-Christian Africans, the Christian Europeans read a justification of their styles into the scriptures. It's a shame, because if the church hadn't been so hateful of the physical realm, they would have produced lively styles (like the biblical Israelites had) and it would have been more biblically guided instead of the pagan sensual background.
    Once again, all of this does not prove that every song with a backbeat accented on the even, or rhythm or harmony greater than the melody is bad or leads to sensuality.
     
  3. Aaron

    Aaron
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2000
    Messages:
    15,646
    Likes Received:
    223
    It seems to me that you're saying that culture assigns the significance to sounds which are basically neutral. Yet, the very antithesis is commonly reported among anthroplogists and musicologists.

    See: The Natural Forces Bringing the Do, Re, Mi Scale Into Existence

    This is an argument from a notable musicologist that nature, not culture, "forces" the Do, Re, Mi Scale into existence. The evidence is approached from a Darwinistic viewpoint, but the fact remains that the names coined for them (dominant, subdominant and keynote/tonic, etc.) were correctly "coined by people without acoustical knowledge," (emphasis mine) and the different names for them from different cultures mean the same thing.

    [ December 18, 2001: Message edited by: Aaron ]
     
  4. Mike McK

    Mike McK
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Messages:
    6,630
    Likes Received:
    0
    Aaron, I've got a sense of humor the same as the next guy, but this is getting really annoying.

    What is the purpose of this?

    You've posted at least a dozen threads trying to convince us that contemporary music is evil and you keep insisting on using a link from some nutty fringe group or another (i.e. av1611, Kimberly Smith) but when someone asks you a direct question, you ignore it.

    What is it about this one that is supposed to prove your point that all of the others couldn't?

    Mike

    [ December 18, 2001: Message edited by: Smoke_Eater ]
     
  5. Ransom

    Ransom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    4,132
    Likes Received:
    0
    Aaron said:

    Though not intended as such, the article is a scathing expose.

    More like "A Field Guide to the Genetic Fallacy." With plenty of good examples so you know one when you see it.
     
  6. Mike McK

    Mike McK
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Messages:
    6,630
    Likes Received:
    0
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Ransom:
    Aaron said:

    Though not intended as such, the article is a scathing expose.

    More like "A Field Guide to the Genetic Fallacy." With plenty of good examples so you know one when you see it.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yeah, yeah...just like Kimberly Smith and av1611 were "scathing exposes".
     
  7. Aaron

    Aaron
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2000
    Messages:
    15,646
    Likes Received:
    223
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Smoke_Eater:
    You've posted at least a dozen threads trying to convince us that contemporary music is evil and you keep insisting on using a link from some nutty fringe group or another (i.e. av1611, Kimberly Smith) but when someone asks you a direct question, you ignore it.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Is there a direct question somewhere?
     
  8. Aaron

    Aaron
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2000
    Messages:
    15,646
    Likes Received:
    223
    If the root is holy, so are the branches.
     
  9. Mike McK

    Mike McK
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Messages:
    6,630
    Likes Received:
    0
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Aaron:


    Is there a direct question somewhere?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Aaron, I (and others) have asked you several times about beats, about artists, and about specific types of music and about what makes any one of the above bad. You either can't answer it or else you resort to urban legends.

    I don't mind you believing that contemporary music is bad, it's just irritating that you start a thread and when you realize that you can't answer the questions we ask, you just start another thread and start over.

    Then, when you can't make a case in that thread, you start yet another thread.

    How many "contemporary music is evil" threads have you started now?

    Aaron, like I said, this isn't an attack on you. The last thing I want to do is insult you or hurt anyone's feelings but with thread after thread after thread, it's getting a little ridiculous.

    Mike
     
  10. Eric B

    Eric B
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2001
    Messages:
    4,806
    Likes Received:
    2
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>It seems to me that you're saying that culture assigns the significance to sounds which are basically neutral. Yet, the very antithesis is commonly reported among anthroplogists and musicologists.
    See: The Natural Forces Bringing the Do, Re, Mi Scale Into Existence

    This is an argument from a notable musicologist that nature, not culture, "forces" the Do, Re, Mi Scale into existence. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You and this article are talking about sounds such as notes, chords and scales, but nobody here has said that sounds were neutral. And it's not as if rock had invented some totally new notes that were not apart of the do re mi scale or something. In fact,the argument really does not center on notes and stuff, but mainly rhythm and its place compared to the melody. Harmony may come up in the issue as the "funky" melodies of jazz, soul, black gospel and others are looked down upon, and often accused of "dissonance", but as your link shows us, a dissonant chord can be put in a context and make a nice sounding piece. That piece played could be apart of a classical, rock or jazz tune. If rock and the other contemporary styles used only notes such as G and F together, then you would have an argument.
     
  11. Eric B

    Eric B
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2001
    Messages:
    4,806
    Likes Received:
    2
    Also forgot to add, that this article shows that music is facinating. Getting involved in the CCM debate made me begin trying to learn more about it. It's a shame people misuse its study to turn it into another bone of contention.
     
  12. Aaron

    Aaron
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2000
    Messages:
    15,646
    Likes Received:
    223
    Eric,

    You missed the point. My point was that with music, regardless of culture, the names of notes, chords and styles all mean the same thing.

    Jazz wasn't called jazz because it was a neutral sound and a debauched culture merely attached a profane name to it (which is your contention), it's because the mood it created made one want to "jazz."

    And Bob Fink, the aforementioned notable musicologist, says, as is the consensus of the vast majority of musicologists, that cultural conditioning cannot explain reactions to music.

    [ December 18, 2001: Message edited by: Aaron ]
     
  13. Aaron

    Aaron
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2000
    Messages:
    15,646
    Likes Received:
    223
    Smoke,

    No offense taken. Believe me. I used to debate at length and the threads would go on for pages and pages. But just like you cannot convince me that God wants rock music in the church, I won't convince you that He doesn't. So I have forsaken the debate-into-ad-nauseum tactic. I, of course, believe I am on the right side of the issue and will continue to preach and beseech :D .

    And, as I see it, I have the right to post as such here. So, God bless (not God speed, for I can't wish you luck in an art that I believe is detrimental to your spirit :eek: ) and we can agree to disagree. [​IMG]
     
  14. Mike McK

    Mike McK
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Messages:
    6,630
    Likes Received:
    0
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Aaron:
    Smoke,

    No offense taken. Believe me. I used to debate at length and the threads would go on for pages and pages. But just like you cannot convince me that God wants rock music in the church, I won't convince you that He doesn't. So I have forsaken the debate-into-ad-nauseum tactic. I, of course, believe I am on the right side of the issue and will continue to preach and beseech :D .

    And, as I see it, I have the right to post as such here. So, God bless (not God speed, for I can't wish you luck in an art that I believe is detrimental to your spirit :eek: ) and we can agree to disagree. [​IMG]
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Aaron, I've never argued that rock music belongs in the church. Actually, if you would have read my posts, you'd know that I've said several times that I actually prefer hymns to rock music and worhip choruses in church and that I have a problem with worship choruses because (a) they're spiritually shallow and (b) they're designed to illicit an emotional response in the singer, not worship.

    I've spoken out against the loss of the hymn tradition many times here and on crosswalk.com. You'd also know that I use an old hymnal as part of my devotional time because the words speak to me in a way that precious little CCM can. You'd also know that my band doesn't even play rock.

    I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with seperating church music and mainstream music.

    My argument has been all along that you can't lump all music together and that, while there is some music is bad and isn't the kind of thing that wouldn't be edifying to Christians, there is some music that is good.

    There is a song that I've mentioned in almost every thread: "Fire", by Randy Stonehill. I hate to sound like I'm hung up on this song, but I could swear that it's the story of my walk with Christ set to music.

    The lyrics to "Fire" are lifted almost word for word from the book of Isiah. I'm sure you wouldn't argue with that but I'm guessing that you would have a problem with the drums and electric guitars behind it. Why?

    I'm not asking you for luck, Aaron, I'm asking you, once and for all, which beats are evil and why, why you lump all contemporary music together, regardless of the beat or the message, and why you say that it's detrimental to my spirit when you don't know what kind of music I listen to or anything at all about the band that I play in.

    I've mentined bands and songs here and there, but I listen to a wide variety of musical styles that I've never mentioned. How do you know that it's evil if you don't even know what it is?

    Like I said, Aaron, I'll support to the death your right to believe what you want andif it's OK with the moderators, I think you should post as many threads as you want on this issue.

    Aaron, I really am trying to be open minded about this. I really do read and consider your threads. You've got to remember that, like I said in another post, when I first became a Christian, I went through the whole "contemporary music is evil" thing and I threw out God-knows how many thousands of dollars in records. I bought all of the books and went to all of the seminars.

    Fletcher A. Brothers, Dan and Steve Peters, all of those guys. I bought into all of the "I heard about a missionary to Africa..." stories just like you do. so believe me, I know where you're coming from.

    If you're convicted not to listen to it, then I think you have a moral obligation not to listen to it.

    But I think it's a little insulting to those of us (and, frankly a little hurtful to me) to assume that those of us who do are somehow spiritually blinded. Like I said, I can't come down on you too hard because I did the same thing.

    I think that it's also very short sighted on your part to assume that God can't use rock music if He wants to.

    Mike

    http://www.keylife.org

    [ December 18, 2001: Message edited by: Smoke_Eater ]
     
  15. Aaron

    Aaron
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2000
    Messages:
    15,646
    Likes Received:
    223
    Smoke,

    I'll reply, but I've got to go to work, and Kimberly Smith's interview comes on at 2pm Central time today. So, please be patient.
     
  16. redwhitenblue

    redwhitenblue
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2001
    Messages:
    451
    Likes Received:
    0
    I see nothing biblically unholy about the root of music...it's what people have come up with in their man made studies and personal analyzing.

    karen
     
  17. Saint Someone

    Saint Someone
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2001
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    *Ahem, Aaron...


    A BIBLICAL WARNING FROM THE APOSTLE PAUL AGAINST ASCETICISM!

    Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using ;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

    Colossians 2:20-23

    My Classic Scofield Reference Bible defines these passages from the KJV this way: keeping laws that God did not establish that neglect the flesh, and yet honor the flesh by creating a reputation for superiority.

    Also, I can say that CCM does not have a negative affect on me although a lost person might find something perverted about it. (Some lost people I know think about sex regardless of what they're seeing/hearing/experiencing.)

    Titus 1:15, "Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled."

    And then of course there's all those passages about dancing that don't really mean dancing because after all, God is the Author of confusion and hates to be taken at face value. I sort of doubt music really means music. It probably means circumcision or something.

    [ December 19, 2001: Message edited by: Saint Someone ]
     
  18. Eric B

    Eric B
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2001
    Messages:
    4,806
    Likes Received:
    2
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Jazz wasn't called jazz because it was a neutral sound and a debauched culture merely attached a profane name to it (which is your contention), it's because the mood it created made one want to "jazz."

    And Bob Fink, the aforementioned notable musicologist, says, as is the consensus of the vast majority of musicologists, that cultural conditioning cannot explain reactions to music.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    But Jazz as well as rock are very broad categories, and while I would never deny that some of it may be sensual, that is not the case of all of it, except to people who are overly uptight about anything lively that feels good to the body. I grew up listening to my father play classic jazz (Art Blakey, Modern Jazz Quartet, Miles Davis before he went into fusion, etc), and to me this has absolutely nothing to do with sex. The furthest thing from it. It's like classical, just with more bass and funkier harmony. It simply derived from the older styles, which started out more centered on blacks' sad experiences than sensuality, but then also came to be used for sex (I see that lady you quote from even speaks of "innocence" in contrast to "rebellion" but I plan to address her later). This is because the blacks used the same styles for everything they expressed, and this is who they were --a rhytmic people. And of course this was tainted with sin. And at the same time, the traditional Western values, while greatly influenced by Christianity, were also corruped by sin; in their case the opposite extreme--rigid dualistic Platonism. Both are equally condemned in scripture.
    The problem is, people are not just condemning the sensuality these styles were used for. They are trying to condemn everything that has anything in common with them, whether it is really sensual or not, while assuming their traditions are pure (totally free from sin).
     
  19. Aaron

    Aaron
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2000
    Messages:
    15,646
    Likes Received:
    223
    Smoke,

    Music which speaks to the body is sensual, and music which speaks to the mind is not sensual.

    Michael Ventura's history of rock, Hear That Long Snake Moan, is required reading in many university music history courses. It is considered an authoritative work. So I will quote from him about the major difference in the character of rock and non-rock music: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>THE HISTORIES of jazz and rock’n’roll are usually considered separately, yet when taken together they tell a very different story. It is the story of how the American sense of the body changed and deepened in the twentieth century -- how Americans began the slow, painful process, still barely started now, of transcending the mind-body split they’d inherited from European culture...For most people of the time, most Western music -- highbrow and lowbrow -- could neither express nor release that tension. Even the greatest Western music, on the order of Bach and Mozart and Beethoven, was spiritual rather than physical. The mind-body split that defined Western culture was in its music as well. When you felt transported by Mozart or Brahms, it wasn’t your body that was transported. The sensation often described is a body yearning to follow where its spirit has gone -- the sense of a body being tugged upward, rising a little where you sit. And you almost always sit. And, for the most part, you sit comparatively still. The music doesn’t change your body. The classical dance that grew from this music had a stiff, straight back and moved in almost geometrical lines. The folk dances of the West were also physically contained, with linear gestures. The feet might move with wonderful flurries and intricate precision, but the hips and the spine were kept rigid. That way, the energy that lived in the hips and the loins would proceed through proper channels -- and those channels were defined well outside the dance...When white intellectuals started to discover rural blues in significant numbers, in the late fifties and early sixties, they were discovering it out of context. On records or in “folk music” settings, for them, it was strictly a music to be listened to. In the joints where it was played in its heyday, it was a dancing music. Sometimes it was a piano, sometimes a combination of instruments, and often just one man with a guitar, but people came to mingle, to gamble, and to dance. The relationship of music to dancer was exactly the same as the relation of drummer to dancer in Haitian Voodoo, where a drummer worked closely with the dancer and could often evoke possession at will. Texas barrelhouse piano player Robert Shaw put it this way much later: “When you listen to what I’m playing, you got to see in your mind all them gals out there swinging their butts and getting the mens excited. Otherwise you ain’t got this music rightly understood. I could sit there and throw my hands down and make them gals do anything. I told them when to shake it and when to hold it back. That’s what this music is for.”<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Seeing now the character of this music, apply Scriptural principles to evalutate it.

    And this is nothing new. In regions where paganism was rife the ministers would admonish their charges as St. Clement of Alexandria: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>For if people occupy their time with pipes, and psalteries, and choirs, and dances, and Egyptian clapping of hands, and such disorderly frivolities, they become quite immodest and intractable, beat on cymbals and drums, and make a noise on instruments of delusion; for plainly such a banquet, as seems to me, is a theater of drunkenness. For the apostle decrees that, "putting off the works of darkness, we should put on the armor of light, walking honestly as in the day, not spending our time in rioting and drunkenness, in chambering and wantonness" [Rom. 13:12-13].<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>And this is a perfect example of describing the character of a thing and applying a Scriptural principle.

    [ December 24, 2001: Message edited by: Aaron ]
     
  20. Mike McK

    Mike McK
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Messages:
    6,630
    Likes Received:
    0
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Aaron:
    Smoke,

    Music which speaks to the body is sensual, and music which speaks to the mind is not sensual.

    Michael Ventura's history of rock, Hear That Long Snake Moan, is required reading in many university music history courses. It is considered an authoritative work. So I will quote from him about the major difference in the character of rock and non-rock music: And this is a perfect example of describing the character of a thing and applying a Scriptural principle.

    [ December 24, 2001: Message edited by: Aaron ]
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Aaron,

    No one is arguing that rythmic music doesn't make people want to dance. I know it makes me want to dance.

    When my band plays, we know which songs wil make poeple get up and which ones will make them sit and listen.

    If it's a quiet crowd, we'll mix up our set list to get people moving.

    How does any of this prove whether or not contmporary music is good or bad?

    Mike

    http://www.keylife.org
     

Share This Page

Loading...