Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Secret Life of Church Musicians

One blogger is writing a very insightful and funny series on what it is like to be a Church musician, offering his insights on the great battles of our times. His contributions are interesting and information. Here are some selections to whet your appetite.

The Secret Life of Church Musicians: "People view musicians as having a gift, rather than a developed skill. It's something that just drops out of the sky without all the hours of practice that we do etc. This attitude can be flattering but causes problems. You see, musicians who have had a formal training do not just study their instrument...."

The Seven Commonest Faults of Church Music
: "The point I'm trying to make is that when music liturgy is bad, it's usually bad in the same way, regardless of whether it is a trad liturgy or a modern one. Sorting out these problems goes a long way to a trad accepting modern and vice versa. Conversely, if it is left the way it is, it leads to divisiveness and falling congregations. Nobody wants to sit listening to a heavy organ playing for an hour. Again no one wants to sit and listen to out of tune guitars for an hour...."

The Curate's Sausage - How to Make a Hymnal: "The hymnal market is a niche market and as a result, something of a cartel. Unless a composer can get his music in on of the biggies, like Laudate, Hymns Old and New or the Celebrational, they can pretty much forget it. And they usually have to sell their soul to do that... It's a tough world out there for church composers, where the only fate worse than someone buying your copyright off you, is nobody wanting to buy your copyright off you. And the result of this is a curate's sausage of church music repertoire."

Never Buy a Music Book with a Rainbow: "The decree that the congregation had to participate more, meant that the normal music forms for the Gloria and the Sanctus were dispensed with and a verse/chorus form introduced. The Gloria suffers particularly badly from this; it does not scan well and the sense of the words do not fit this at all. It should be through composed; that is, written without a break or repetition from beginning to end. The Sanctus fares a little better, but the Credo has disappeared off the face of the earth as a part of the sung liturgy."

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