Monday, June 21, 2010

Follow the twisted train of thought

(This is what happens when I restart my computer and am simply forced to think)

1. There is the assumption that older musical styles associated with the liturgy no longer resonate with people today.

2. For the sake of argument, let us grant this.

3. Then, the question would be, what style of music best approximates a worship service, where there are multiple singers with differing roles, and also large group aspects?

4. The closest approximation would be Musical Theater/ Broadway style music. There is the understanding of role - of conversing through song, of joining together in large vocal pieces.

(Author's note: Walking away from my computer while it began its reboot the line, "Now Eva Peron had every disadvantage, you need if you're going to succeed." popped into my head)

5. For Musical Theater to work, it is VITAL that the lyric be set and unchanging. This holds true from a local community production to Broadway to a midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. If the lyric changes, the ability of a production to function fails utterly. Nor, could such changing lyrics be learned and beloved by the audience.

6. Likewise, even popular songs in other formats, such as Rock or Country, maintain lyrical consistency. Even cover songs that cross over into other genres maintain lyrical consistency.

7. Therefore, an attempt to contemporize the liturgy or make it more appealing to the masses that involves a constant changing of the lyric of the liturgy fundamentally operates in a way that is foreign to modern audiences.

8. Therefore, while one might argue that we ought put the lyric of the liturgy to a more modern, showtunesque setting (a la LSB's DS4), it is vital that the words of that service remain consistent.

So yes, I think having Andrew Lloyd Webber take a crack a writing a setting would be better than what you do each week in cutting and pasting from the "Creative Worship" book. I don't think I'd have the musical chops to pull it off - but if it were learned it could be done well, in theory.

9. The people who call for contemporary services do not desire a well done liturgy, but the removal thereof.

(I suppose in the day one might have been able to do a Blues Style service, as lyrically speaking the Blues have a call and response function lyrically:

I went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees.
Down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees.
Asked the Lord above for mercy, "Save me if you please."

This is an A-B/A-B/C movement - which could be applied liturgically. However, if the goal is to create a service that is "contemporary" then this wouldn't work today as the Blues has fallen out of popularity in popular music.

Oh, and for anyone who read this and threw up a bit in their mouth, I apologize.)

No comments: