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Praise Songs: Sound

In Rants on June 2, 2013 at 1:20 am

Praise 1I am totally cheating on this one.  I’m using a song that will not likely be sung in church.

But I just have to share Josh Garrels with anyone who will listen.  His music is incredible.  You don’t need to be a Christian to think so.  He’s just good and he writes what is true, and it’s beautiful.

Praise and worship songs usually get the sound right, at least in the general sense.  Probably without really thinking about it–songs with happy words are usually happy.

But poets, and by this I also mean songwriters, can manage this on a line by line level.  Josh Garrels frequently does.  Listen to this song and attend to where the music changes slightly.  The words and the music work together.  This is no accident.

 Slip Away

 

 Hold on, before I slip away

 The flames gone, dark I am afraid

 How strong, is flesh and blood

 I cannot, can take back what I’ve done

 To you, my sweetest friend

 I betrayed you, I walked away again

 Now all that’s left, is what might have been

 Please forgive me, before we reach the end

Hold on, before I slip away

 My loves gone cold, I’ve gone astray

 How strong, is flesh and blood

 I cannot take back what I’ve done

I find the correspondence of sound to sense in the poetry of this song greatly enhances the experience of it as a whole.  This correspondence could also significantly contribute to the corporate worship experience.  Some sounds suggest strength, others suggest sadness.  What sounds suggest joy?  What might happen to the musical line when singing about regret?

Again, if the sound doesn’t work with what the words say, that’s not so bad, but when the sound of the song contradict the sense, it’s a bad song.  Unless of course the writer is being ironic.  Are there ANY ironic praise and worship songs? Hmmm….

More Josh Garrels here.

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