Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's time for the hymnal to make a comeback

In my opinion, one of the worst things ever to happen in the church was the abandonment of hymnals. Jonathan Aigner gives some good reasons why we should still be using them:
  1. Hymnals actually teach music. We're making less music than ever before. Oh, to be sure, there's lots of music going on around us, but very few people are actually making it. We're just consuming it, or at the very most, singing along with music someone else made first. But even an untrained musician can look at the words and music in the hymnal and learn to follow melodic direction and rhythmic value.

  2. Hymnals set a performance standard. Contemporary worship music is based on recording instead of notation. This is endlessly confusing, and it opens each song up to individual interpretation. Without notation, it is exceedingly hard to sing well as a congregation. Hymnals fix that. Everybody has the same notation, so we all know how the song is supposed to go.

  3. Hymnals integrate the music and text. Words on a screen give no musical information. Hymnals fix that. Singers aren't dependent upon learning the song by rote.
He lists 12 more reasons, and I think he makes some good points.

Isn't it about time for the hymnal to make a comeback?


Stan said...

I am so pleased that they are still in regular use in our church.

dave b said...

I second Stan on that. But my church ain't no Calvinist/atheist heresy church that accepts the false claims of atheist neuroscientists either. We never got on board with the Calvinist homo-erotic "Jesus is my boyfriend" music because we actually believe the Bible rather than just following every fad of Calvinist/atheist stupidity.

Refz said...

My OPC started on the contemporary trend. I don't know why, because the music is not an improvement, and neither are the lyrics - and the stuff is photocopied is such a way that the print is smaller than on a medicine bottle and I can't see it - and my eyes are pretty good. Why don't we Calvinists just go back to singing the Psalter? How can you object to Scripture if you're a believer?

dave b said...

Perhaps because the Psalter never mentions Jesus specifically. If you go back to singing the Psalter exclusively (without the power of violent coercion to prevent it as there was in 1650s Scottland) then faith in the New Testament itself will drop away as people would be so immersed in Old Testament theology, "Oh how I love thy law," and the Trinity will become extremely unbelievable. Especially, if you do as the Anglican church in the DAily Office, adding the "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Ho-oly Ghost, as it was in the beginning, now is, and ever sha'all bee, world without eeeend. Aameen." (the double vowels is to mimick the sing-song pronunciation) They add this to the end of each Psalm. All it does it call jarring attention to the fact that in the Psalms God is he, thee, thy (Book of Common Prayer 1662, it uses the Coverdale Psalms) so the Trinitarian tack-on at the end proves you have to import the Trinity from outside because its not there in the Psalms. THIS is why nobody sings only the Psalms in the modern age of religious freedom. Now back when Calvin could perforate your tongue for asking a question, sure, they sang only Psalms, and Calvin kept you in line with torture...but you can't do that today, so nobody sticks with just Psalms unless they want their congregation becoming Jews.

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