Weird, Dissonant Chords

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by Paul3144, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. Paul3144

    Paul3144
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    Am I the only one who likes weird chords in church music?

    We did a medley of Christmas carols in church last week. I was sitting out in the congregation because the choir wasn't singing. It was just ensembles and orchestra. Some of the transitions between the carols sounded like a soundtrack to a horror movie.

    If you have the 2008 Baptist Hymnal, you can get full orchestrations for all the songs from LifeWay. My church has that and they have optional re-harmonizations for the endings of many of the hymns. Some of them are so cool. My church's organist said whoever came up with the chords for them must have been on crack. The only problem is I think the congregation has a hard time holding onto the melody with the weird harmonies.

    The choir is going to do an arrangement by Bradley Knight of O Holy Night. It's a very beautiful arrangement. It has some really dissonant chords. Here's a recording of another choir performing it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSGE7xR3z3k

    I've noticed that a lot of new songs and arrangements are like this. Of course, there has been dissonance in music for a long time. (Not always, at one time the only harmonies allowed were perfect fourths, fifths, and octaves.) However, I've noticed more dissonance in newer stuff than older. It sounds so cool. Has anyone else noticed this?
     
  2. Aaron

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    In the church, that which is natural, simple and easily lends itself to the participation of the congregation should be what is done. The church isn't the place for artsy-fartsy-ness. You have homes and concert halls for that.

    And yes, I know that I've eliminated Handel's Messiah from performance in church. Like I said, the church isn't the place for artsy-fartsy-ness, or performance for that matter.
     
  3. tinytim

    tinytim
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    I disagree with Aaron.. surprise, surprise,

    Worship to God is giving God your best.. not just simple and plain, and if you have the talent to be Artsy... fartsy... LOL.. then give God the best.
     
  4. nodak

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    I dislike the dissonance of some chords--modern or otherwise.

    But I am an adult and can deal with it.

    I have a grandchild, however, who we believe may have perfect pitch. Her response to dissonance is to go under the pew.

    For that reason we left one church and found a wonderful one (yes, that is opinion) that doesn't do dissonance.

    The pianist at the "new" church is quite gifted and classical music is her hobby. She is accompanist to the local college choir, and quite artsy.

    Just doesn't hurt our ears.
     
  5. J.D.

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    The role of dissonence in music is to create hunger for it's resolution into harmony, or to express some type of distress.
     
  6. Paul3144

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    Right. It's a matter of tension and release. My point is, throughout history, the amount of tolerable dissonance has increased.
     
  7. J.D.

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    That seems to be true to me also. Is this because more people have a dissonant view of life and the world?
     
  8. Timsings

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    Dissonance is one tool among many that composers use give emphasis to the text, evoke emotions, or provoke the response that they are seeking from their listeners. Like any one of these tools, it can be used to good effect, and it can be overused. There are also degrees of dissonance. Some of the lesser degrees are barely noticeable. Greater degrees can be like a slap in the face. J. D. and Paul3144 are correct that it is also about creating tension and resolving it. And I feel sorry for those who cannot or will not appreciate what a degree of dissonance adds to music, even church music.

    Tim Reynolds
     
  9. rbell

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    Chapter and verse, please?

    (I could be wrong, but I don't recall "fartsy" in Scripture. But then, you may be referencing the Message... :D )
     
  10. nodak

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    Not everyone who dislikes dissonance in music is unaware of why some composers use it.

    Well done, yes, it can be a BRIEF bit of spice tossed in.

    However, OVERDONE it becomes just another manipulative component. Thanks, but no thanks. Don't need the fight or flight trigger followed by soothing sounds in order to worship Jesus myself.

    If you do, go for it, but please do not denigrate those that worship differently.

    Please do not follow a current guru's advice that we need to leave or die.
     
  11. InHisGrip

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    Dissonance is a relative term. Ask an Asian. Since when did dissonance become a matter of in/appropriateness in worship?? Do you REALLY think God cares if dissonance is used in worship? I think he is probably more concerned with what is going on in the heart. (rhymes with art AND ...smart! :) )
     
  12. Gina B

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    That was amazingly well done Paul! There was a brief part that I sounded very wrong either at or directly after "and in his name all oppression shall cease." Thanks for sharing the link!

    Too often nobody has the talent to do it in a way that doesn't make it sound like they're just messing up.

    It's definitely an acquired taste to have it in the degree it's been around lately and it throws me to sing a song with the choir that I USED to know and then have to relearn. Thank goodness for watermelons. LOL
     

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