Tag Archives: Articles on Music

On the preference for mugging old ladies

On the preference for mugging old ladies

When I say I “like” Bach, and you say you “like” Bon Jovi, are we really using the same verb? That is, when I listen to Bach and you listen to Bon Jovi, is essentially the same thing happening to each of us? At one level, all we mean is that each of us take… Continue Reading

Theological Issues at Stake in Discussions of Culture and Contextualization

Theological Issues at Stake in Discussions of Culture and Contextualization

Discussion of culture is an essential ingredient in any intelligent philosophy of Christian music. Especially in today’s globalized, multicultural environment, understanding what culture is and how it relates to worship and music is critical. The Standard Evangelical View J. Nathan Corbitt, in his The Sound of the Harvest: Music’s Mission in Church and Culture,1 presents an… Continue Reading

Start Them Young

Start Them Young

This essay was originally published on April 27, 2012. A couple of events have coincided during the last day or so to bring a question to my attention. That question is essentially, What music should I provide for my small children to listen to? I would like to answer that question by providing general suggestions concerning music… 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

Evangelical Worship and the Decline of Denominationalism

Evangelical Worship and the Decline of Denominationalism

I participated on Friday in the Southwest regional meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. The theme of the meeting this year was the decline of denominationalism, and here is the paper I read: This paper examines the role of worship philosophy and practice in both dividing and unifying Protestant denominations. I am using the term… Continue Reading

Is musical meaning subjective?

Is musical meaning subjective?

One of the most difficult matters when engaging in a philosophy of music is the terms we employ. For example, the following terms often lack precision in discussion and thus cause confusion: relative subjective objective universal The first two terms are often equated with each other, as are the final two terms. In other words,… Continue Reading

Discussion about Christian rap with Shai Linne: Musical Analysis (Rebuttal)

Discussion about Christian rap with Shai Linne: Musical Analysis (Rebuttal)

This entry is part 15 of 18 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 rebuttal to my… Continue Reading

Discussion about Christian rap with Shai Linne: Musical Analysis

Discussion about Christian rap with Shai Linne: Musical Analysis

This entry is part 14 of 18 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 fourth question to… Continue Reading

Discussion about Christian rap with Shai Linne: Example of Holy Music

Discussion about Christian rap with Shai Linne: Example of Holy Music

This entry is part 10 of 18 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 third question to… Continue Reading

Some answers to questions about my views on Reformed rap

Some answers to questions about my views on Reformed rap

Since Shai Linne is a busy church planter/assistant pastor, and I am a busy seminary professor in the last week of the semester, we’re finding that it’s taking a bit longer than we’d hoped to put together our discussion about Christian rap. Stay tuned. In the meantime, I’d like to answer a few questions that… Continue Reading

How does music mean?

How does music mean?

One of the most difficult matters to explain when dealing with issues of music in worship is how music communicates. I think most people intuitively understand that music communicates, but they have a hard time understanding how it does. Here is an excerpt from Sound Worship that succinctly summarizes how I explain it: Music is a medium of communication.… Continue Reading

Calvin and Platonic aesthetics

Calvin and Platonic aesthetics

Yesterday, Scott Aniol showed that Martin Luther was influenced by Greek aesthetics, including that of Plato. In light of Dr. Aniol’s post, it is worth highlighting that Luther was not alone among the Reformers to be influenced by Plato’s thought on music. Calvin, in his preface to the Genevan Psalter, also cited Plato’s views: But… Continue Reading

Songs without words

Songs without words

I was a high school freshman when I first heard Mendelssohn’s “Songs without Words.” Wandering through the back of the music room to pick up my trombone, I noticed Mrs. Nancy Davis at the piano. She wasn’t practicing for a church service or playing through a new orchestra arrangement or preparing for tomorrow’s choir rehearsal.… Continue Reading

Why do we assume that music alone is immune from cultural decay?

Why do we assume that music alone is immune from cultural decay?

That culture in America is decaying is no secret to conservative Christians. Recent events surrounding homosexual marriage has once again pushed this realization to the forefront for we who have high moral standards rooted in the Word of God. But marriage isn’t the only cultural issue under attack; conservative Christians recognize the slow (and ever… Continue Reading