Category Archives: Articles on Music

It’s Not Just Us Saying It

It’s Not Just Us Saying It

The seldom-boring Peter Leithart did not write an entire review of Daniel Albright’s Panaesthetics, but he culled a familiar theme from a very few pages of it. We intuit the meanings of physical gestures; we also intuit the meanings of musical gestures. A sample, with a page number corresponding to Albright’s work: The analogy with “musical gestures” is… Continue Reading

A Psalm for Giving Thanks

A Psalm for Giving Thanks

This setting of Psalm 100 to “Old Hundredth” was composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The conductor is Sir David WIllcocks and the organist is Stephen Krahn. Also featured are the Abendmusik Chorus and Plymouth Brass. Continue Reading

Samwise Gamgee understands the power of poetry and music

Samwise Gamgee understands the power of poetry and music

I have spoken many times about the power of poetry and music to express what words alone cannot. Yesterday evening, as I was reading The Two Towers with my son, I came across this passage where Sam is asked about the beauty of Galadriel: “The Lady of Lorien! Galadriel!” cried Sam. “You should see her, indeed… Continue Reading

The most significant misconception about music in worship

The most significant misconception about music in worship

Here’s one of the most important concepts about music in worship I think needs to be communicated to pastors and parishioners alike: Music in the context of corporate worship is not primarily about giving people an authentic expression through their preferred musical style. Music in worship is (as is liturgy and preaching) formative. It shapes right spiritual… Continue Reading

On Texas heat and musical meaning

On Texas heat and musical meaning

I grew up in Michigan. I now live in Texas. Texas is hot. Really hot. And it stays hot for a long, long time. However, as I was working on some yard projects Monday, I noticed that after four years of living in Texas, I’ve grown accustomed to the heat. I found myself observing that… Continue Reading

Free eBook of Back to Basics Series

Free eBook of Back to Basics Series

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Back to Basics You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Over the past several months I have written a series of short articles in which I dealt with the major categories of a biblical philosophy of worship and music in a brief way. My desire was to introduce the basics of these issues to those who hadn’t carefully considered them. I have the posts linked below,… Continue Reading

Reading recommendations on musical meaning

Reading recommendations on musical meaning

I received some good feeback from my post last week briefly explaining musical meaning. Several were on Twitter: “@ScottAniol: Meaning in music is a tricky thing. http://t.co/0jyftIC025” This is the best article I’ve read on this topic! — Daniel Wilson (@NinjaDan4287) May 29, 2014 Excellent article “@ScottAniol: Received some good feedback on this simple article… Continue Reading

Meaning in Music

Meaning in Music

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Back to Basics You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Meaning in music is a tricky thing. Most people think it’s tricky because music is so abstract and lacks specificity such that describing its meaning with words is nearly impossible. On the contrary, meaning in music is tricky for exactly the opposite reason. As Felix Mendelssohn once noted, “What music expresses its not too indefinite to… Continue Reading

More on pastors and musical training

More on pastors and musical training

There has been a profitable discussion happening in the comments of my recent observations about the need for pastors to be trained in worship and music if they are going to (rightly) reclaim their role as those primarily responsible for worship music choices. A commenter asked for a fuller explanation for why I believe this… Continue Reading

Harold Best vs. Ken Myers on Musical Meaning

Harold Best vs. Ken Myers on Musical Meaning

This is an excellent illustration of where Evangelicalism is on issues related to music and worship. I’m thankful to 9Marks for doing this. It’s very instructive. The folks at 9Marks asked three questions to two individuals who have written and spoken on the subject of musical meaning: Can God employ any musical form for redemptive… Continue Reading

Article 13: On Today’s Congregational Music

Article 13: On Today’s Congregational Music

This entry is part 14 of 16 in the series A Conservative Christian Declaration You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

  This is a series to further explain the articles of “A Conservative Christian Declaration.” . We affirm that twenty-first-century churches, like the churches of every age, must worship God in their own words, with their own voice. We add the qualification that these expressions must both embody ordinate affection and build on the tradition that… Continue Reading

Article 9: On Harmony and Variety in Ordinate Expression

Article 9: On Harmony and Variety in Ordinate Expression

This entry is part 10 of 16 in the series A Conservative Christian Declaration You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

  This is a series to further explain the articles of “A Conservative Christian Declaration.” . We affirm that inordinate expressions of worship often arise from hearts that are entangled in disordered loves. We affirm that expressions of orthopathy are grounded in harmony with God’s ultimate perception of truth, goodness, and beauty as revealed in Scripture… Continue Reading

Discussion about Christian rap with Shai Linne: Subjectivity (Rebuttal)

Discussion about Christian rap with Shai Linne: Subjectivity (Rebuttal)

This entry is part 17 of 19 in the series Discussion about Christian Rap with Shai Linne You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Shai Linne and I are having a conversation between Christian brothers about Christian rap. This post will not make sense unless you start at the beginning of this discussion and read through all the posts. You can find the other posts in this discussion on this page or on the right hand side of this post. This is my rebuttal to Shai’s… Continue Reading

Discussion about Christian rap with Shai Linne: Subjectivity

Discussion about Christian rap with Shai Linne: Subjectivity

This entry is part 16 of 19 in the series Discussion about Christian Rap with Shai Linne You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Shai Linne and I are having a conversation between Christian brothers about Christian rap. This post will not make sense unless you start at the beginning of this discussion and read through all the posts. You can find the other posts in this discussion on this page or on the right hand side of this post. This is Shai’s answer to my… Continue Reading

Preludes, Postludes and Offertories

Preludes, Postludes and Offertories

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series Some Things To Consider Including in Your Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Artworks are valued for what they do but not for any immediate function. Art is far from “useless,” even though its distinctive value is realized only when it serves no immediate function, when the viewer or listener gives up any immediate self-centered demands on the work and, instead, gives him- or herself up to the… Continue Reading

The power of poetic meter

The power of poetic meter

Many factors contribute to how a hymn shapes its theological content. Here is one example of how the poetic meter of a text can shape its content in powerful ways. Consider this content: It is quiet in a house on Christmas Eve. Depending on poetic form, a poet can shape that content to feel either… Continue Reading