Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Talking about music

Tonight is the Worship and Music Committee meeting, a group of people who spend a significant amount of our time involved in the task of talking about music. It's an inherently odd endeavor, to talk about music, just as odd as writing about music. It works best if we share an aural language of sound in our collective memory.

What we'll try to accomplish tonight is an appropriate mix of musical styles, familiar and new hymns, appropriate liturgy for the season, and all of it in the Lutheran-inspired, God-focused endeavor of worship. Quite a task!

In a brilliant autobiographical play of Maria Callas, Terrence McNally has her recite this line: "Vowels are the inarticulate sounds of the heart. In consonants lie the meaning." That's such a simple but intriguing approach to music. So many emotions can be easily conveyed in simple, vowel-based sounds: gasps of surprise, an "oooo" of admiration, the "mmmm" sigh of relaxing in a warm bed on a cool spring night. So we can think of music as emotion mixed with intellect, pure sound with added layers of meaning, all projected through the wonder of the human voice.

Not everyone talks about music in terms of composers and music theory, not everyone wants to talk about the minutiae of pronunciation (as outlined in the diagram), but if you simply want to share an opinion about what music gets sung in church (and when and how), then you're always welcome to join our online conversation here or in person anytime!

1 comment:

  1. I'm reminded that the first sounds people make are the oohs and aahs of infants. These beginning sounds carry us throughout life, and are often the last sounds we are able to make before we go to be with the Lord.