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Jesu, Juva

Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Hear Ye

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My friend Michael and I exchanged our recent listening. Here’s what I’m listening to these days:

Written by Scott Moonen

October 29, 2019 at 1:12 pm

Posted in Books, Miscellany, Music

Rehearsal

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A theme, a melody, is a definite statement in tones—and apparently music can never have enough of saying over again what has already been said, not once or twice, but dozens of times; hardly does a section, which consists largely of repetitions, come to an end before the whole story is happily retold over again.

How is it that a procedure which, in any other form of expression, would produce sheer nonsense proves, in the language of music, to be thoroughly sensible—to such an extent that rehearing what has already been heard is one of the chief sources—for many, the chief source—of the pleasure given by music?

Victor Zuckerkandl, Sound and Symbol. HT: John Barach

Written by Scott Moonen

May 12, 2019 at 8:47 am

Posted in Music, Quotations, Worship

Singing and slaying

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The Rohirrim sing oft in battle:

Merry and Pippin heard, clear in the cold air, the neighing of war–horses, and the sudden singing of many men. The Sun’s limb was lifted, an arc of fire, above the margin of the world. Then with a great cry the Riders charged from the East; the red light gleamed on mail and spear.

And much later:

And then all the host of Rohan burst into song, and they sang as they slew, for the joy of the battle was on them, and the sound of their singing that was fair and terrible came even to the City.

See also: Worship is warfare, Treebeard, Worship is warfare (2)

Written by Scott Moonen

December 9, 2018 at 7:31 pm

A god too great for the sky

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This weekend our small group enjoyed our second annual caroling in downtown Fuquay.

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Merry Christmas!

Written by Scott Moonen

December 24, 2017 at 9:31 pm

Current events

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Fit to Burst is free for Kindle this weekend. It’s not just for moms!

We’re extremely excited that Jamie Soles’s new album is almost ready!

At the moment there are still about 80 tickets remaining for the Andrew Peterson Christmas concert in Durham. You should join us there.

Written by Scott Moonen

November 21, 2015 at 6:47 pm

Posted in Books, Current events, Music

Tragic

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A friend pointed me to a commentary on contemporary worship by Carl Trueman. Trueman suggests that “Christian worship should immerse people in the reality of the tragedy of the human fall and of all subsequent human life.” He commends the Scottish tradition and its “somber tempos of the psalter, the haunting calls of lament, and the mortal frailty of the unaccompanied human voice.”

I’m not a fan of happy-clappy worship, but I believe that Trueman errs on the wrong side. To be fair, Trueman wants tragedy to be woven together with joy and triumph. I agree that we should cover the whole emotional and experiental palette of the Psalms (I would suggest covering all the Psalms themselves). But I raise my eyebrows at “somber” and think that we should err on the side of being outright Pentecostal.

Here’s why: Whatever balance we strike, death cannot become a primary emphasis; it needs to fit properly in a broader story arc that exults, “O death, where is your sting?” History itself is a comedy (in the technical sense) rather than a tragedy, and if we want the worship service to tell the gospel story, then it may have a sense of agon-contest, but will always move towards and culminate in an exuberant, matrimonial, comedic denouement. We worship on Sunday rather than Friday or Saturday: every Lord’s day is a miniature Easter. Also, if our Lord’s-day worship is an assembly and meal in the very presence and house of our king and husband, then something like Nehemiah 8:9-12 should apply (“do not mourn or weep . . . do not be grieved”), at least for the vast majority of worship services. Consider, too, the ratio of feasts to fasts in the old covenants. To mention but one important precedent, the Sabbath was a weekly feast (Lev. 23:1-3).

While a rock band might not be appropriately majestic for the king (compare the bizarre and unbecoming James Bond sequence in the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony), neither is a dirge:

So David and the elders of Israel and the commanders of thousands went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the house of Obed-edom with rejoicing. And because God helped the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as also were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and the singers and Chenaniah the leader of the music of the singers. And David wore a linen ephod. So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, to the sound of the horn, trumpets, and cymbals, and made loud music on harps and lyres.

And as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David dancing and celebrating, and she despised him in her heart. — 1 Chronicles 15:25-29

We should take notes from David and not Michal on how we are to behave when we have an audience and meal with the king of kings.

See also: Ascent.

Written by Scott Moonen

May 17, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Merry

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Is any [among you] merry? let him sing psalms. — James 5:13b

This is a challenge to me: I need to learn more Psalms. Jamie Soles has been helpful to me in this area; across his albums our family has been exposed to nearly fifty Psalms or parts of Psalms.

This verse also lends support for Jordan’s law of preponderant psalmody, if you recall that God wants his people to make merry whenever they gather to stand before his throne (Deut. 14:22ff, Neh. 8:9-12).

Written by Scott Moonen

April 21, 2013 at 9:26 am