Vain Repitition

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by rsr, Oct 6, 2002.

  1. rsr

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    One of the frequent criticims of contemporary Christian music is that it's repititious. I often agree, but when I was listening to Bach's "Kyrie Eleison" from the Mass in B Minor, I was struck by the fact that, in Baroque music, repitition is expected. "Lord, have mercy," sung for three minutes.

    Messiah, my favorite of all time, consists of constant repitition. And Mozart's final Mass is the same. ("Confutatis Maledictus" is a good one to listen to at work when your co-workers get on your nerves.)

    Maybe it's not a fault, after all.
     
  2. JonathanDT

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    As our moderator once said, "You opened a can of worms with that post! :D "
     
  3. stubbornkelly

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    I've always considered the key word to be "vain." Vain repetition is far different from repetition. For something to be done "in vain," it has to be irreverent or disrespectful, or to be without substance. Hence the struggle in determining what is or isn't done in vain. [​IMG] The old "I know it when I see it" gag seems to come into play here a lot.
     
  4. Circuitrider

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    Repetition is the basis for all learning. Music was an is used for the teaching of doctrine. So it seems to me that repetition is a good thing, and not something to be looked down on. ;)

    As to "vain" repetition, it guess that is in the eyes of the beholder. [​IMG] There is nothing more repetitious and vain than the 1,4,5 cording of rock music, whether it is secular or "Christian." [​IMG]
     
  5. rsr

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    Actually, I just stuck "vain" in the title because I liked the sound of it.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. stubbornkelly

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    If that's so, then I don't understand the issue. I've never understood purposeful repetition to be a fault at all. Yet if the "vain" part has nothing to do with the question, how are you implying that there would be a fault to be found with "repetition" without the "vain?" What am I missing here?

    [​IMG]
     
  7. rsr

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    Guess I really did mean vain repetition; I wanted something catchy but didn't necessarily mean to imply what is at Matthew 6:7:

    "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."

    One of the slams mentioned against newer music (although not as much as it once was) is that it's too repetitious.
     
  8. stubbornkelly

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    Hmmm. Otay. [​IMG]

    Most pieces of music are repetitious, at least to a point. The entire ABA song construction is repetitious, in tune and chorus, if not in verse lyric.

    Now, if something is repetitious to a fault, by which I mean that it's the same lyric and tune over and over and over and over and over again, now that is something with which I can find fault, if only from a "don't bore me to death" standpoint. Ugh!

    But even in a piece with some good repetition, too many conductors and performers don't play with dynamics or phrasing, and a piece with some repetition that could be truly lovely can turn out to be dull. A well placed breath or crescendo can work wonders.
     
  9. Baptist Believer

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    Is it vain in classic music... or hymns? That chording structure is not limited to rock music, but very common in Western styles of music.
     
  10. Johnv

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    Yes, SKelly's hit the nail on the head. repetition is not wrong, be it sung or spoken. The only issue is if it becomes vain, also translated "meaningless" in the Bible. But I wouldn't lay blame on the church we're in. If we're finding the repetition vain, the problem probably lies with the person doing the repetition, and not the church in which it's done.

    So sing "Praise ye the Lord" over and over and over if you like. Just make sure you take it to heart every time [​IMG]
     
  11. Helen

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    I believe the injunction against repetition is in prayer, isn't it? In other words, don't just do a "Rosary" type thing where you repeat some kind of rote memory thing and figure you are getting brownie points with God.

    Consider also, Rev. 4:8 --

    Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
    "Holy, holy, holy
    is the Lord God Almighty,
    who was, and is, and is to come."
     
  12. Johnv

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    Singing of Hymns is prayer, just as saying of words is. Or at least, it shoud be, if we're doing it right. GIven that we should pray without ceasing, one could hardly disagree ;)

    Again, repetition is not warned against, just vain repetition.
     

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