What Is Christian Music? Part 5

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What Is Christian Music? Part 5

Colossians 3:16

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Many people will say that Christian Music is one or more of the following responses: 

These responses are the answers from an article on got questions.org

– The song lyrics must reflect biblical truth.
– The song lyrics must directly praise God/Jesus.
– The song must mention God/Jesus.
– The song must be written for Christians and not as an evangelical tool.
– The lyrics must directly address God, not other people.
– The song must be completely new, not a cover of a secular song.
– The song is designed to be played in church, not outside of church.
– The melody must be paramount, and the rhythm subdued.
– The song must be written and performed by mature Christians only.
– The men & women who sing the song must live what it is they sing about.

This week we will address each of these individual ideas.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this devotional is not to tell you what type of music to listen to nor is it to tell you that your selections or choices are wrong. It is designed to give you a measuring stick to measure your loyalty and obedience to God’s Word. The choice is up to you. Your walk with the Lord will only be as strong as the music you allow to penetrate the channels of your mind. Trash in, trash out; God in, God will come out.

8. THE MELODY MUST BE PARAMOUNT, AND THE RHYTHM SUBDUED.

Our text, above indicates that the melody is upmost and should be upmost in any song! I cannot stress this enough. Many of you may begin to ask, Why is that? Well, look at the text: 

Colossians 3:16

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Notice that it says “Let the word of Christ”. This is in total contrast to the new evangelical mindset of more upbeat music attracting a younger generation. Why? No one goes away from a concert or a singing service humming the piano part nor do they walk away singing the overwhelming bass or guitar licks. They walk away singing the melody! This is consistent with Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19 “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” Having articulated that truth there are three things that all Christ honoring songs MUST have. Unfortunately, you won’t find this, what you area about to read, in the halls of many churches. 

THE INGREDIENTS TO GODLY MUSIC

Colossians 3:16

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Ephesians 5:19

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;”

II. IT MUST HAVE A MELODY

Last time, we spoke about the message of the song being the most important part of the song. The next part of the song is the melody of the song! If the message is the driving force of the song, then the melody is the vehicle that is driven by the message. The are both important and have significant power if joined effectively. The melody is the music that carries the message.

Here is an example of a melody:

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The notes, that are above the lyrics, is the melody that the listener or musician will play in conjunction with the words. The melody or musical message, forever identifies these words immortally. 

Here are a few things that a good melody must have in order for it to have a lasting effect on the listener:

I. MOST GOOD MELODIES RESTRICT THEMSELVES TO A LIMITED RANGE

Without going into a great deal of musical theory, this basically means that the melody is in a singable range for the voice written. If I write for an alto, a lower voiced female, then I should not write that part so high that it’s unreachable in her tessitura or vocal range. Likewise, I shouldn’t have a high tenor attempt to sing a baritone or bass part. This will not only sound bad, but will cause pain to the vocal chords. Above, we see that melody in a suitable range. 

Good Range:

6192db5528d57065d01e04aae76c2043

Bad Range:

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Notice the very high jumps! This is very impractical and very intimidating to the average musician or vocalist. Melodies should NOT jump this much in their basic forms. Be aware of these types of techniques in your musical selections. 

II. MOST GOOD MELODIES USE REPEATING ELEMENTS

We as human beings are creatures of habit. We were made to praise God everyday. Thus praise, is a continual and repetitive action. Music tends to be memorable when it has elements of a repetitive nature. However, if music is too repetitive, then it becomes boring and insignificant. What do I mean by repeats? 

Most hymns or southern gospel songs have an identifiable format that most people recognize and anticipate. They have a verse, a chorus, some have a bridge and then a tag ending. What facilitates this is a simple musical symbol called a repeat. It looks like this: 

repeatsigns

Here is an example of good repetitive elements in music:

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Notice that the verses repeated the melody that was exciting! 

Here is an example of an unsuccessful repetitive action in music:

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Notice that this selection, has the same repetitive line in many places. This written selection offers no musical ebb and flow. It opens up the possibility for ad lib, or creative liberty in the music. This isn’t bad in and of itself but this music is void a character. If this were a book cover it would be black and grey. The afore hymn would have various degrees and hues of color. 

Melody is more than simply writing a musical line but melody has much more to do with an emotional pull than we realize. In tomorrow’s devotional we will cover more about melody and how it applies to our worship and our desire to sing praises unto our God. Join us again as we address real life issues with biblical answers on Worship With Willie. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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