When you know the words...

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by rlvaughn, Apr 13, 2005.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    In another thread - Instrumental Worship - is it Biblical - I read the discussion I will paste below. Since my question might derail the thread (further than it is), I decided to start a separate thread to ask a question.

    I give the following quotes to hopefully set the context. I don't want this thread to be about whether instrumental music is scriptural, or whether one can praise God with it. I am just interested in your reaction to instrumental music of songs you know versus instrumental music you've never heard.
    I thought of a pianist playing "His Eye is on the Sparrow", and realize when hearing it I would think "religiously" because I would be thinking such thoughts as "His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me, etc.". If I'd never heard the words, I might just be thinking that is a nice sounding tune or something like that. My experience has been that when I hear instrumental music of songs I know (i.e. makes me think of the words), I think of God, the Bible, etc., based on thinking of the words to the song. When I hear instrumental music which has no context for me (i.e. I've never heard it before), there is no religious thought or "feeling" particularly associated with it. Would I feel the same way about hearing "Amazing Grace" played on the bagpipes if I'd never heard the song "Amazing Grace"? I doubt it.

    Anyway, I guess there is a question in there somewhere. If you've been in a service and heard an instrumental which you've never heard before and don't know the words, what do you think of? Why?
     
  2. terriloo

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    Music, whether instrumental, vocally-accomplished, or occurring in nature, has a special effect on the BRAIN of humans. I think it is quite logical to infer that it would also have a special effect on our hearts, minds, and souls.

    When I was in the sixth grade, I was fortunate enough to attend a special symphonic presentation at an area college. It was of Handel's Messiah. Although I HAD probably heard the Hallelujah chorus at one time or another during Christmases, I had never heard "words" (other than Hallelujahs) attached to it--and nothing was sung during that particular performance. (My cup of tea, musically-speaking, at Christmastime at that point in my life was still more along the lines of Silent Night and Frosty the Snowman!)
    But I will never forget that performance. I had no playbill to refer to, and I'm NOT musically-inclined, so I absolutely did not "understand" the performance from an informed position. I didn't know that the Messiah encompassed Christ's life (not just the "hallelujahs" at His birth)...but I was so moved by the music. It was sweeping and majestic and magnificent and...and...AWE-inspiring--just like the Messiah it "told" about with no words. When they replayed the Hallelujah chorus at the end of the concert, I wanted to SHOUT....but instead I wept tears of joy.

    PROBABLY, since I knew the NAME of the music, it could be said that that fact influenced how the music affected me. Perhaps. But I've always believed that God "speaks to me" especially through music (very ironic, considering I have NO musical talent myself!) I am an emotional person, and I guess God reaches out to me on that level more completely. There are certain instrumentals that have impacted me through the years--some secular, some classical, some Christian. They impact me WITHOUT WORDS by eliciting sights, sounds, smells, FEELINGS in my mind and soul. They can make me leap with joy and thankfulness--or send me crumpled to my knees in trembling awe. All because GOD created the music that I'm hearing...and He needs no words to touch my soul.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Thankful

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    I think the congregation in my church responds to hymns that they know. When I play hymns that they are familiar with for preludes and postludes, I will hear people singing or humming. They are participating in the worship. I feel that they appreciate the familiar hymns more than an unfamiliar arrangement.

    Many times, our music director will take the opportunity to recite a hymn after it is played as an offertory or prelude.

    I know if my organ instructor were in the church, he would ask why are you playing Bach? [​IMG]

    Personally, it doesn't matter to me if I know the words...sometimes, I just recognize the tune.
     
  4. Dr. Bob

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    I hear a tune and WANT to know (or remember - I'm old, you know) the lyrics. So an offeratory is played and I am blessed, not just by the mellow sound, but by recalling the lyrics.

    Other music (without lyrics) will affect my body. Get my feet a tappin' or marching etc

    I know NO country music lyrics (thank God) but that music will affect me. I know NO modern hard rock lyrics, but that music will affect. I don't know the lyrics to the Blue Danube Waltz, but that music gets me swaying!

    Anybody who says it is ALL lyrics and the medium (music style) doesn't matter, is deceived.
     
  5. Archeryaddict

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    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Playing a piece of music without the praise-words attached is not glorifying God, but rather pleasing mens' ears. The words to our songs of praise are what is important. Accompaniment is completely unnecessary.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    so then when it is just me and Daddy and I am playing How great thou art on my Fiddle to Him with no words coming out of my mouth I am not Praising Him In song?
    the Quote above is just another humans opinioin
    and in my opinion a ridiculas statement!

    must have been a Church of Christ person or soneone who has never read Psalms who made that comment.
     
  6. rlvaughn

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    Let's not go down the trail of fussing over whether instrumental music is scriptural, OK? There's other threads on that.

    Also, I want to clarify the thought and question. It is not really even about whether the musical medium matters, and whether music affects the body. Also this is not from the standpoint of the one who might be playing music with the intent of honoring God. It is from the standpoint of the bystander - the listener.

    Does contextless music in a religious setting make you "more religious", worship God, or "feel" spiritual? If so, why does it do that? Is it just because you think the music must be "religious" because it is played at church (or a religious function)? How do you know it is, or why do you think it is?
     
  7. Archeryaddict

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    More relegious?

    how does music make you more relegious?
    Music has an effect on our emotions and can change our moods but I dont see where music will make you more relegious.

    words to some songs will make me want to be more like Jesus but not more "relegious" nope I have never listened to songs that want me to become Muslim, Bhudist, or hindu.

    Christianity Is a relationship with The Lord Jesus, NOT relegion.
     
  8. Circuitrider

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    At our church when the instruments play the screen drops and they project the words of the song on the screen. My wife who is a gifted musician often takes the hymnal and looks up the words to read them while the instruments play as well. ;)

    Of course there was that time the organist played "Three Blind Mice" with great embelishment so that no one recognized it. :eek:
     
  9. Pastor Larry

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    While I wouldn't use the word religious, our emotions do affect our relationship with God. Music that creates unbiblical emotions is not acceptable. The words don't matter in this regard.

    One reason why I don't recommend instrumental offertories or instrumental special music is this very reason that RL brings up ... If you don't know the words, it doens't help you worship. We sing during the offering. If I had an instrumental offertary, I would project the words on the screen so that all can read them and follow the truth being communicated.
     
  10. Thankful

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    Good point! I like the idea of singing during the offering, just not all the time. Our pianist is very gifted and arranges her own offertories based on hymns that the people know. Many times, the music director will use this as a lead in to discussing and reciting the hymn.

    A little off time, but I think related is that I have had trouble getting used to the applause when someone sings or plays. When I was young, I was taught this was never done. In expressing my concern about this practice to our pastor, he explained that this was the people's way of entering into the worship. It was like saying "Amen", which many young people do not do today.

    Back on topic, I believe that even if a person does not know the words, he/she can pray during this time. I do see some of our young people using this time to visit with each other and that definitely is not worshiping.
     
  11. David Michael Harris

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    Why are certain people allowed their faces next to their names, do we not exist? I searched the profile and just seem to have a silly flag avatar.

    I hate avatars, it has to do with eastern religion. Look up the word.

    David
     
  12. TaterTot

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    you can send a pic to Webmaster and he posts the pictures ah his time allows. It has nothing to do with "status"
     
  13. dianetavegia

    dianetavegia
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    You must have at least 100 posts. [​IMG] You also need to send a thumbnail photo.
     
  14. yabba

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    When I sing, I sing to God.
    When I play, I play to God.
    When I pray, I pray to God.
    When I shout praises, I shout to God.

    In all of the above there is an audience of one and one alone, all others are just listeners. The One who hears them cares not the style or sound but only the condition of my heart.

    This may not seem to answer the question above but think about it, if the pianist is playing a heartfelt song to God and you happen to hear it does it make the praise any less? Does someone else genuinely worshipping affect your worship? I believe if your heart is right for worship it matters not if you know the words or like the tune you will worship God, and same for the opposite.
     
  15. Archeryaddict

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    Yabba

    I agree with you 1000%
     
  16. Lifter

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    There are things that are not necessarily "religious" that can bring you to worship. How many of us have seen a sunrise or something in nature that cause us to turn our thoughts to God and be thankful and worship Him. And I don't mean in a new age or nature worship sense. In a similar way the gift of music can bring people to worship.
    That said, I would much rather play a song that is familiar to people for offertory.
    Easter Sunday I played "Were You There." The music minister asked the congregation to follow in the hymnal.
    Verse 1: Were you there when they crucified my Lord. Played only the melody. One note. Softly.

    Verse 2: Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree. Played one note in the bass to sound like a hammer. Melody with right hand.

    Verse 3: Were you there when the laid Him in the grave. Minor key.

    Verse 4: Were you there when he rose up from the grave. Wide open. Joyful. Loud.

    Then went into "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today."
    Tagged it with last line of "Were You There."

    The style of playing each verse fit the words. People followed the words in the hymnal. Hopefully I was able to help them to worship.
     
  17. rlvaughn

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    Yabba, I understand your point about worship between the individual and God. But the gathered church service is between individuals fellowshipping and worshipping together. For example, in Paul's teaching to the Colossians, it seems clear that singing is for three parties and not just for two - "teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." (Col 3:16)

    As far as someone else affecting our worship, I think I could worship God at a baseball game, while one person is singing the national anthem, another cursing an umpire, and a third buying a snowcone. That act says nothing about whether the other acts are good, bad or indifferent. But should church services just be a bunch of independent individual acts separate and apart from what others are doing?
     
  18. Dale McNamee

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    Hi All!

    At my church,we use sacred classical music (instrumental,vocal,& choral),along with traditional hymns,and contemporary worship music.

    Why is instrumental(non-vocal)music in church such a controversy?

    Regarding knowing the words...How many of us know the words to Bach's "Jesu,Joy of Man's Desiring" or "Sheep May Safely Graze" or Thomas Tallis' " How Shall I Sing That Majesty" ? Yet, these songs are played in church!

    God has given the church such a rich body of music to worship Him with over the past 1,500 years and we should not quibble over such insignificant things such a "vocal vs. non-vocal" music!

    In Christ,

    Dale
     
  19. chipsgirl

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    What I find interesting is there is no such thing as a Christian sound. It's just the words that make it Christian music. It doesn't mean though songs without words can't be used to give God glory!
     
  20. Pete

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    1.5MB MP3

    Is it Danny Boy? Or I Cannot Tell? ....or just so horribly played that it's unidentifiable? :eek: :( [​IMG]

    What if you've never heard words to the song? Or if I played John Lennon's junk Imagine instead?

    I love instrumental stuff, (I may have mentioned Tommy Emmanuel C.G.P. on occasion ;) ) but without lyrics provided in Church isn't it just a case of "Look what I can do"?
     

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