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HappyJackWagon

Worship Music in the Church

Music at church  

37 members have voted

  1. 2. Should the church consider changing the style of music or implementing a wider variety of musical worship

    • Music at church is great. No changes are needed
      9
    • It would be interesting and meaningful if the church allowed for greater diversity in musical worship.
      28


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I came across this survey and I thought others might be interested. I'm not associated with the survey or anyone involved but I think it touches on an important issue in the church. At least its important to me.

Music at church is a real drag. We have fairly skilled organists and conductors but each week I feel like I'm sitting in a funeral, singing bass on a super slow dirge. Personally, I don't connect to the hymnal style of music, nor do I enjoy the organ. Never have. MOTAB doesn't impress me, even though I know they are very good. I don't believe music has to be slow, choral, hymns accompanied by organ or piano, to be worshipful. It's totally just a personal preference for me. I recognize that.

But I wonder how many others also feel a disconnect from worship music and they way we do music in the church. I suspect this survey is attempting to put some numbers to that. I'm curious, on a very basic level, are you satisfied with music as an extension of your worship experience on Sundays, or do you wish for more.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdkd6PL1GiJ0Ex1lDTItwN58K3IhH_D3xdb6qiCmD2Nci9eag/viewform

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2 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I came across this survey and I thought others might be interested. I'm not associated with the survey or anyone involved but I think it touches on an important issue in the church. At least its important to me.

Music at church is a real drag. We have fairly skilled organists and conductors but each week I feel like I'm sitting in a funeral, singing bass on a super slow dirge. Personally, I don't connect to the hymnal style of music, nor do I enjoy the organ. Never have. MOTAB doesn't impress me, even though I know they are very good. I don't believe music has to be slow, choral, hymns accompanied by organ or piano, to be worshipful. It's totally just a personal preference for me. I recognize that.

But I wonder how many others also feel a disconnect from worship music and they way we do music in the church. I suspect this survey is attempting to put some numbers to that. I'm curious, on a very basic level, are you satisfied with music as an extension of your worship experience on Sundays, or do you wish for more.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdkd6PL1GiJ0Ex1lDTItwN58K3IhH_D3xdb6qiCmD2Nci9eag/viewform

Can't stand it, went to church yesterday and had to sing quietly because any louder I would have stood out too much. 

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I just kind of depends on who is playing and who is conducting.

When ever I play the organ for church, I try to play fast to keep people awake, but some people play really slow.

but I agree that we could get a bit more variety in the songs.  

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I came across this survey and I thought others might be interested. I'm not associated with the survey or anyone involved but I think it touches on an important issue in the church. At least its important to me.

Music at church is a real drag. We have fairly skilled organists and conductors but each week I feel like I'm sitting in a funeral, singing bass on a super slow dirge. Personally, I don't connect to the hymnal style of music, nor do I enjoy the organ. Never have. MOTAB doesn't impress me, even though I know they are very good. I don't believe music has to be slow, choral, hymns accompanied by organ or piano, to be worshipful. It's totally just a personal preference for me. I recognize that.

But I wonder how many others also feel a disconnect from worship music and they way we do music in the church. I suspect this survey is attempting to put some numbers to that. I'm curious, on a very basic level, are you satisfied with music as an extension of your worship experience on Sundays, or do you wish for more.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdkd6PL1GiJ0Ex1lDTItwN58K3IhH_D3xdb6qiCmD2Nci9eag/viewform

I suppose this turns on one's perception of the intended purpose of music in church services.  From the EOM entry for "Solemn Assemblies":

Quote

By commandment, the Prophet Joseph Smith convened a solemn assembly on March 27, 1836, in the Kirtland Temple and in a nearby schoolhouse. During the meeting, the saints sustained Joseph and other Church leaders in their callings, Joseph offered the dedicatory prayer for the new temple, and Church leaders instructed each other and bore testimony, which led to a rich outpouring of the Spirit of God (D&C 88:70;108:4; HC 2:410-28).

Church leaders have called solemn assemblies for many purposes since then. The foremost is to sustain general Church leaders. Following the death of a president of the church, the Church holds a solemn assembly in the Salt Lake tabernacle to approve and sustain its new First Presidency.

...

A second purpose is to dedicate new or refurbished temples. 

...

A third purpose is to instruct and encourage Church members in their responsibilities. Such solemn assemblies generally take place in temples or stake centers. Church members invited to these assemblies are usually priesthood leaders. Sometimes in such assemblies the Sacrament is served, but traditionally the main function is for those assembled to receive counsel from the presiding Church authorities.

I wonder if the scriptural mandates and the concept of "solemn assemblies" has affected the Church's administration of meetings during the three-hour block.  This is particularly true of the administration of the Sacrament, which is a sacred ordinance.  While there is a time and a season for lively music, sacred ordinances would seem to be best handled in a "solemn" environment.

Solemnity and decorum are the order of the day.  In dress.  In deportment.  In speech.  And in music.  

So I would prefer not to fundamentally change the type of music used.  Rather, I would like to see more effort put into making the music we do have more meaningful and beautiful (and, generally, faster than a funeral dirge).

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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Something that our stake tried was this idea of a "insta choir" basically  those flash choir or flash dancing or whatever you used to see in malls, restaurants, doctor offices, etc. It was really dumb and distracting TBH. Someone would be giving a talk or reading the announcements and then someone would give a signal and like 15 people would stand up and sing some song, it died out though🤩

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I will admit that whenever the opening hymn is “Rock of Ages” I’m tempted to begin it with “Unda Glieben Glauten Globen” just to spice things up a bit. 

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30 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I suppose this turns on one's perception of the intended purpose of music in church services.  From the EOM entry for "Solemn Assemblies":

I wonder if the scriptural mandates and the concept of "solemn assemblies" has affected the Church's administration of meetings during the three-hour block.  This is particularly true of the administration of the Sacrament, which is a sacred ordinance.  While there is a time and a season for lively music, sacred ordinances would seem to be best handled in a "solemn" environment.

Solemnity and decorum are the order of the day.  In dress.  In deportment.  In speech.  And in music.  

So I would prefer not to fundamentally change the type of music used.  Rather, I would like to see more effort put into making the music we do have more meaningful and beautiful (and, generally, faster than a funeral dirge).

Thanks,

-Smac

 

I agree the Sacrament hymn should be solemn (Solemn, doesn't always mean slow)

The opening song, should be joyful and welcoming, the intermediate song should wake people up .

I think the type of music we sing, and how we sing it often is based on tradition as well as anything else.

Music can be used for rejoice and praise as well as contemplation. 

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9 minutes ago, Danzo said:

 

I agree the Sacrament hymn should be solemn (Solemn, doesn't always mean slow)

The opening song, should be joyful and welcoming, the intermediate song should wake people up .

I think the type of music we sing, and how we sing it often is based on tradition as well as anything else.

Music can be used for rejoice and praise as well as contemplation. 

I totally agree.

What is "solemn"? It's usually just a cultural expectation. What we consider being solemn is likely because it's what we're used to. I think solemn will look differently in various cultures so I don't know that slow organ music is particularly solemn, unless solemn means dull ;) 

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To steal a phrase: With a few exceptions our hymns are 5th rate poetry set to 6th rate music.

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Posted (edited)

We had a couple of African American spirituals sung in church last week. It was great! More of that, please.

Edited by Gray
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1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I came across this survey and I thought others might be interested. I'm not associated with the survey or anyone involved but I think it touches on an important issue in the church. At least its important to me.

Music at church is a real drag. We have fairly skilled organists and conductors but each week I feel like I'm sitting in a funeral, singing bass on a super slow dirge. Personally, I don't connect to the hymnal style of music, nor do I enjoy the organ. Never have. MOTAB doesn't impress me, even though I know they are very good. I don't believe music has to be slow, choral, hymns accompanied by organ or piano, to be worshipful. It's totally just a personal preference for me. I recognize that.

But I wonder how many others also feel a disconnect from worship music and they way we do music in the church. I suspect this survey is attempting to put some numbers to that. I'm curious, on a very basic level, are you satisfied with music as an extension of your worship experience on Sundays, or do you wish for more.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdkd6PL1GiJ0Ex1lDTItwN58K3IhH_D3xdb6qiCmD2Nci9eag/viewform

Maybe we could invite Mick Jagger to write some more modern hymns since he purportedly has a GA connection?

http://holyfetch.com/mick-jagger-said-music-promotes-teens-sex/

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1 hour ago, Duncan said:

Something that our stake tried was this idea of a "insta choir" basically  those flash choir or flash dancing or whatever you used to see in malls, restaurants, doctor offices, etc. It was really dumb and distracting TBH. Someone would be giving a talk or reading the announcements and then someone would give a signal and like 15 people would stand up and sing some song, it died out though🤩

I hope it died out to the point that my ward never tries that!

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Maybe we could invite Mick Jagger to write some more modern hymns since he purportedly has a GA connection?

http://holyfetch.com/mick-jagger-said-music-promotes-teens-sex/

Ha, ha. No thanks. Connection or no. :) 

BTW- We did an instant choir in our area too and it was great. It was on the program like a regular choir number. At the appointed time, those who wanted to sing went to the choir section, sang the song, and then went back to their seats. It was nice because it included people who couldn't spend time at practice after church and got rid of the headache of trying to find a place and time to meet for practice. It was very popular. Sometimes there were as many people in the choir as there were left in the congregation.

Edited by HappyJackWagon

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18 minutes ago, Gray said:

We had a couple of African American spirituals sung in church last week. It was great! More of that, please.

I love MOTAB and I love African American spirituals. However, I have seen the choir perform such spirituals before. For me, it just doesn't work.

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Posted (edited)

I think that communities should have latitude to include cultural hymns and methods of singing in at least all but sacrament meetings, and maybe in them, much like we sing patriotic songs on memorial day, fourth of july week and veterans day.   But I would not want our worship to devolve into the rock bands and tambourines that I've heard in other Christian churches in recent years.  Acoustic guitars but not electric ones.   Handclapping, but no drums.

I also think it is time for a hymn book revision:  I love some of the old war songs, but I'm concerned about violence in society and wonder whether we really want to make faith about wars, when we are trying to bring people to peace.

Edited by rpn

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45 minutes ago, Prof said:

I love MOTAB and I love African American spirituals. However, I have seen the choir perform such spirituals before. For me, it just doesn't work.

To clarify, we had some really talented African American vocalists performing. As a ward our singing sucks a the best of times.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I came across this survey and I thought others might be interested. I'm not associated with the survey or anyone involved but I think it touches on an important issue in the church. At least its important to me.

I couldn't pick one. I think it depends on what the saints on the whole where we live consider to be "worshipful" and "appropriate" (referencing Handbook 2), and it's good to be sensitive to that as individuals. I also think it is good to be in tune with how our fellow saints best express their worshipful feelings in a way that carries the Spirit to others through music. I think it's a good topic to bring up in the councils or discuss with the ward music director.

Edited by CV75
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In truth, the funeral dirge - ness would mostly be eliminated if the organist and chorister would bring the tempo up to what is actually asked for in the hymnbook.

Our chapel has one of the few remaining real pipe organs in the church. If desired, that organ can blow the Wan-Doors off their tracks. Rare is the organist that dares use its full potential.

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1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Ha, ha. No thanks. Connection or no. :) 

BTW- We did an instant choir in our area too and it was great. It was on the program like a regular choir number. At the appointed time, those who wanted to sing went to the choir section, sang the song, and then went back to their seats. It was nice because it included people who couldn't spend time at practice after church and got rid of the headache of trying to find a place and time to meet for practice. It was very popular. Sometimes there were as many people in the choir as there were left in the congregation.

I really like that because of some choir background on my part, I would definitely participate in those.  

Unfortunately, along the Utah corridor, members seem extra sensitive about what music is approved and what isn't, and regular members police the song selections.  

In seriousness, I think it would be fun if the church published a new hymn book every decade, and actively asked members to produce and submit new hymns to the church for potential approval for the new version each decade.  It would foster an atmosphere of interest and creativity, and honestly, it might even get a less active member like myself these days to participate.  All countries could participate as well.  Get rid of the ban on certain types of instruments in the chapel, and start to dispel the thinking that a certain genre of music = spiritually appropriate.  

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Danzo said:

I just kind of depends on who is playing and who is conducting.

When ever I play the organ for church, I try to play fast to keep people awake, but some people play really slow.

but I agree that we could get a bit more variety in the songs.  

We had a professional choir conductor in our old ward.  He would stop us if too few were singing or it dragged, worked on getting the right tempo and tone to share the message of the songs.  It was fun singing in that ward even though the book was the same.

In another of my wards, the woman who conducts has a stuttering problem (no big deal as she communicates just fine if a little longer, but I had one when younger so there are those emotions remembered) , but she loves music and can sing just fine.  I find it a joy to participate with her, it is symbolic to me of how worship is freeing as well as an expression of love.

Edited by Calm
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I remember when Gladys Knight joined the church this was one of the only complaints she had, was that the music just wasn't lively enough. She eventually organized a multicultural LDS choir called the Saints Unified Voices. 

"It is comprised of more than 100 people and has a two-fold purpose. First, they aim to spread the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ by providing an opportunity for people who wouldn’t otherwise enter an LDS meetinghouse to feel the Spirit. Second, they desire to help members of the Church embrace the cultural diversity of people worldwide coming into the Lord’s kingdom. “Never in a million years did I ever dream that I would be the director of a choir like this—one that showcases the energy, the fire, and the heart of the music of our culture,” she says."  How Gladys Knight Became a Mormon

I believe it was this choir that sang at the Be One concert recently. 
 

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26 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I couldn't pick one. I think it depends on what the saints on the whole where we live consider to be "worshipful" and "appropriate" (referencing Handbook 2), and it's good to be sensitive to that as individuals. I also think it is good to be in tune with how our fellow saints best express their worshipful feelings in a way that carries the Spirit to others through music. I think it's a good topic to bring up in the councils or discuss with the ward music director.

I'm not sure councils or even the bishop have the authority to make changes. The music will be from the hymnals and it will be accompanied by organ or piano (or a recording of one of the two).

I think much of what we think is worshipful is simply because that is what we have seen and what we know. For example, someone mentioned drums as not being worshipful but well-played drums can really be moving. I think we get stuck thinking that it must be one way so we cut ourselves off from other opportunities for diversity.

I sometimes attend a Methodist church with friends and they have a wide range of music. They actually have 2 different services: 1- is a conservative service where the pastor wears a robe and hymns are sung. 2- the New Life service which sometimes has a full band, including bass, electric & acoustic guitars, drums, keyboard. Sometimes it's only a guitar, or only a keyboard. Sometimes it's got a country feel. Sometimes it's more of alight Christian rock feel. Sometimes it's just popish and some times it's a hymn I recognize from our hymnal played and sung in a more modern way. I never quite know what it's going to be from week to week and the variations are fun and engaging. Interestingly, there is a good balance between young/middle aged/elderly at both of the services which i think is evidence that different types of music and style of presentation of the sermon really impact people differently. There's not a one size fits all.

It's really fun to watch people at the Methodist church interact with the music. They sing joyfully. Sometimes they raise their hands to heaven when they are feeling the spirit but mostly they just sing along. I like that there isn't just one way to be. I feel it opens the individual up to the experience of worship instead of being concerned about appearing to be appropriate, reverent, or solemn. But it's always respectful.

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12 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I'm not sure councils or even the bishop have the authority to make changes. The music will be from the hymnals and it will be accompanied by organ or piano (or a recording of one of the two).

I think much of what we think is worshipful is simply because that is what we have seen and what we know. For example, someone mentioned drums as not being worshipful but well-played drums can really be moving. I think we get stuck thinking that it must be one way so we cut ourselves off from other opportunities for diversity.

I sometimes attend a Methodist church with friends and they have a wide range of music. They actually have 2 different services: 1- is a conservative service where the pastor wears a robe and hymns are sung. 2- the New Life service which sometimes has a full band, including bass, electric & acoustic guitars, drums, keyboard. Sometimes it's only a guitar, or only a keyboard. Sometimes it's got a country feel. Sometimes it's more of alight Christian rock feel. Sometimes it's just popish and some times it's a hymn I recognize from our hymnal played and sung in a more modern way. I never quite know what it's going to be from week to week and the variations are fun and engaging. Interestingly, there is a good balance between young/middle aged/elderly at both of the services which i think is evidence that different types of music and style of presentation of the sermon really impact people differently. There's not a one size fits all.

It's really fun to watch people at the Methodist church interact with the music. They sing joyfully. Sometimes they raise their hands to heaven when they are feeling the spirit but mostly they just sing along. I like that there isn't just one way to be. I feel it opens the individual up to the experience of worship instead of being concerned about appearing to be appropriate, reverent, or solemn. But it's always respectful.

Sometimes I get the feeling that it is more emotion rather than the spirit that gets them going with some of the music that is played. And the raising of the hands is more a message to others of "look at me worshiping".
I keep thinking of the church scene in the Blues Brothers movie. Perhaps an extreme example. But Is that kind of music and activity really brought on by the effects of the Holy Ghost? 

 

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30 minutes ago, JAHS said:

Sometimes I get the feeling that it is more emotion rather than the spirit that gets them going with some of the music that is played. And the raising of the hands is more a message to others of "look at me worshiping".
I keep thinking of the church scene in the Blues Brothers movie. Perhaps an extreme example. But Is that kind of music and activity really brought on by the effects of the Holy Ghost? 

 

For some, I'm sure you're right. They do it for appearance. But don't we do that in our church too, but in different ways?

But what's wrong with emotion? Don't (we) often feel emotion and equate it with the spirit? Doesn't the burning in the bosom often feel emotional? Can we always tell the difference?

I think I'd be happy with a little more happy emotion and a little less dreariness in general at church.

 

BTW- LOVE the Blues Brothers :) 

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