Misusing the Elements of Music

Attached audio files: 

MELODY

Found in some Romantic Period Classical Music and in the music of the Middle East and Far East

  1. MELODY
    1. Formless
      1. Found in some Romantic Period Classical Music and in the music of the Middle East and Far East
      2. Has no distinct direction; no recognizable movement from anywhere to anywhere 
      3. God’s truth has direction; his music should have it as well 
    2. Too Tense 
      1. Tension in music is caused by surprise
        1. Melodies have certain forms that we can anticipate; we often anticipate where the next note will be—even when we do not know the song
        2. Surprise is created by singing or playing a note other than the one anticipated 
      2. The use of surprise in music 
        1. Music with no surprises can be boring; surprise can be effectively used to gain attention or create interest
        2. Too much surprise creates an unfulfilled tension much as an unhappy ending does in a story or movie; God’s music should not leave the listener unfulfilled
  2. HARMONY
    1. Disharmony 
      1. Caused by playing notes together that do not naturally go together
      2. Often found in Modern Classical Music
      3. Makes people wince; it almost hurts the senses; it should be avoided in Christian music
    2. Complex Harmonies
      1. Some harmonies are much more complex than others; they bring notes together that do have connections but the connections are more difficult 
      2. Those who work with music a lot are comfortable with much more complex harmonies than are people who just listen; the average person finds such harmonies difficult to follow 
      3. Hitting an occasional complex chord brings the same surprise as the singing of an unexpected note and can be used to bring freshness to the song 
      4. However, extreme use of complex harmony draws attention to itself and diminishes the message of the song by making the listening experience too intellectual (thus blocking the actual message of the song) 
    3. Minor Keys 
      1. Minor keys are built on a different scale than the major keys (The key of A Minor starts with the A on the piano and uses all the white keys) 
      2. The minor keys have a very different sound and create a very different emotional effect than the major keys 
        1. They are more haunting
        2. They create a sad, meditative feeling 
      3. Minor keys can be very effective in an occasional melody or song where the purpose is to make the listener meditate on his failures or on the sadness of some condition
      4. However, sadness is not a major theme of Christianity and when it is a theme it is always a means to a better, happier, end (Psalm 137:1-4
      5. Minor keys are becoming very popular as vehicles for modern Christian music (even among those conservative in other ways); we need to keep the use of minor keys in a minor position in our worship
  3. RHYTHM
    1. Backbeat 
      1. Refers to the practice of accenting the normally unaccented beats of a song; the backbeat is often provided by a bass instrument 
      2. The backbeat (and offbeat) is the foundational basis for all rock music; hard rock hits every beat
      3. Backbeat is designed to create a physical, sexual tension in people
    2. Offbeat
      1. Also called syncopation; refers to the practice of placing accents between normal beats off time from the regular accents 
      2. Used in soft rock and in most modern music 
      3. Creates a desire to jump in jerky movements; to dance 
      4. It de-emphasizes the message of the music by overemphasizing the physical response to the music 
    3. Boogie-beat
      1. Uses an 8/8 rhythm with the pattern of a dotted eighth followed by a sixteenth note
      2. A jazz style of piano playing coming from bars and clubs; the honky-tonk sound 
      3. As in the other styles, it appeals to the flesh
    4. General Comments
      1. All of these rhythms go back to jazz, blues and rock (which are all interrelated) 
      2. They all have a strong effect on the flesh; they were designed to create sexual tension 
      3. They have a tendency to break down moral restraints; they mesmerize the mind and excite the flesh; where these rhythms predominate, virtue is often lost and moral looseness prevails
      4. There are admittedly lesser strains of these beats that do not obviously bring these evils but they still have the same effects, only to a lesser degree.  Also, everyone who listens to this music does not fall into moral perversity just as all who drink alcohol do not become drunks, but the danger is always there.  The music tends to excite the flesh but people still have a will and react to the excitement in different ways.  Some people just have a good time and do not associate the feeling they are having with anything sexual.  Others are led to greater sins. 
      5. Another danger of this music is that it is the music of the world and the world can always do better at its music than the church can.  Many are being trained to love the worldly sound in the church.  What are they going to do with this love?  Many will go to the world to get their “better” version and will take the ungodly lyrics with the music. 
      6. God’s music ought to sound different than the music of the world.  Worldly music has no place in the church.
  4. LYRICS
    1. Lyrics that say nothing of Biblical significance should not be sung
    2. Lyrics that teach false doctrine should not be sung 
    3. Lyrics that exalt man and his feelings and opinions should not be sung
  5. VOCALIZATION
    1. This refers to the way a voice sounds as it sings; the singing voice
    2. Hyper-professionalism: some learn from classical-style professionals; although excellence is always good, we should avoid trying to sound high class in the average church
    3. Country Whine:  Many try to sound like their favorite country-western music star; the church is not a place for performance; the emphasis should be on the message of the song and not on the performance 
    4. Contemporary Whine:  similar to the country whine, it carries an air of indifference and despair
David Reagan

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 22:12

The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.