"" Writer's Wanderings: Musical Sound Bites

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Musical Sound Bites

[While this was written 12 years ago, the trend has not changed. I still crave holding a hymnal in my hand and seeing notes on a page as well as words. Oh well, the world will move on without me I guess.]

There's a new trend in worship music today. It has moved away from the old hymns and into the realm of what seems like "musical sound bites". They are choruses made up of phrases that for the most part don't tell any story. They are meant to praise or invite God into your life. They don't say a lot about how or why. I'm sure they are meant to be simple but I've never found it easy to read the words on a projection screen and follow someone's voice instead of following musical notes. Even if you don't know how to read music, you would at least know when your voice is supposed to go up or down according to the arrangement of notes on a page.

In today's hurried and media blitzed world we have learned to compartmentalize and extract only that which we think will influence. The sound bite is the tool of the spin doctor. We're told that this is how the new generation receives their information. We used to call something like that Cliffs Notes. The sound bite is even shorter. Can you imagine reducing Moby Dick to a couple of sound bites? Or how about Gone With The Wind? The Bible?

A friend of ours calls the new choruses the 7-11 songs--seven words repeated eleven times. Not too unlike the convenient store chain, we can pop into church and pick up just the needed items and be out in a jiffy rather than shopping through the larger grocery store and seeing what else might satisfy the hunger.

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