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Melle Mel Rakim KRS-One Big Daddy Kane Kool Moe Dee Grandmaster Caz LL Cool J Chuck D Biggie Lauryn Hill Nas Queen Latifah Tupac Kool G Rap Jay-Z. Rapper Kool Mo Dee thrived during hip-hop's nascent years as a vocalist whose tongue-twisting rhymes and speedy delivery put his counterparts to shame. There's a God on the Mic: The True 50 Greatest MCs is a book by the old school hip hop Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.

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us to be God's microphone by advocating on their behalf. Blessed Oscar Romero used the radio to become. God's microphone. Today we can use social media. martyrdom is celebrated March 24 of this year, there was originally a plaque It was as preacher of God's Word that Monseñor Romero made such an .. society, and so he allowed the pulpit of the cathedral to serve as the microphone of the. requirements. Be advised that there may be additional credits required in all programs and AN ACT OF GOD was originally produced on Broadway at Studio. 54 by Jeffrey . show, and approaches an audience member with a microphone.).

Beat may be enhanced by a prominent counterbeat obtained through variably strong marking of the unaccented part of a pulse or measure. Musics that consistently emphasize a basic pulse featured together with predominantly repetitive rhythmic patterns distinguish themselves from the rhythmic practice found in Western music, mostly but not exclusively from before the twentieth century.

This music basically featured an alternation of accented and unaccented beats or pulses animated by varying rhythmic patterns. Rhythmic practices based on the principle of repetitive pulse or beat are.

Syncopation According to the Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music,13 syncopation involves "rhythmic displacement created by articulating weaker beats or metrical positions that do not fall on any of the main beats of the measure. In the first, second, and third phrases of the hymn, on the words "when I," the strong accent falls on the offbeat of the meter, as emphasis is given to the normally unaccented second half of the beat traditionally considered the weak portion of the beat , on the word "I.

Syncopation is generally explained as a musical feature that was first brought from Africa by slaves and later became a major ingredient of jazz and rock music. For this reason it has often been shunned from church. An objective and historical study of the practice of syncopation, on one hand, and the traditional rhythmic practices characteristic of African music, on the other hand, reveal that the situation is not this simplistic and that such an explanation of syncopation is outright erroneous.

The most characteristic element in African music is not syncopation, but its use of cross-rhythms. Ethnomusicologist Arthur Morris Jones comments appropriately on this fact. He says, "The very essence of African music is to cross the rhythms. This does not mean syncopation.

On the whole African music is not based on syncopation. In cross rhythms several voices compete with one another through different, sometimes conflicting, meters and rhythmic patterns 2 against 3, 2 against 3 against 5, etc.

Here again, it is the resultant effect of these compound rhythms that is perceived and analyzed by the listener rather than the separate rhythmic elements. The overall effect is one of great interest and complexity, challenging not only the various performers but also the minds and bodies of the listeners and dancers. Syncopation, on the other hand, has been a basic rhythmic feature of Western European music since the dawn of polyphonic music in the Middle Ages.

To come closer to our times, the rhythmic principle of sacred or secular Renaissance music from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries--by composers such as Josquin des Prez, Heinrich Isaac, Orlande de Lassus, and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina--is strongly governed by the practice of syncopation. Any sacred music written in those times, whether a motet a polyphonic setting of a Latin text, for religious use or mass, features abundant use of syncopation.

Music was then composed according to a linear principle, and one way of setting the various voices off from one another, in order to create variety and diversity, was to animate them with different rhythmic patterns.

This was mainly achieved by offsetting the accentuated parts in the different voices. This Renaissance principle of composition was carried into the baroque, where it became a staple of church style and has since then remained a basic technique in contrapuntal. We find a wealth of syncopation in the sacred works by composers such as Claudio Monteverdi, J.

Bach, and G. Often, the final sections of choral works of these great composers end with choral fugues, rhythmically animated polyphonic sections brimming with syncopation that create an effect of exhilaration and a triumphant climax to the whole work. In an eyewitness account of a rehearsal of Bach's "Cum sancto spiritu" section from the St.

There's a god on the mic : the true 50 greatest MCs

John Passion, the rector of St. Thomas Church at Leipzig, where the composer himself was conducting the choir, commented about how "the rhythm takes possession of all his [Bach's] limbs.

By virtue of its particularly tolerant attitude toward local cultures and its fluid cultural boundaries, the colonial city of New Orleans, around the year , was brimming with music bringing together European and African traditions. The resultant combination later came to characterize the world of jazz. In today's popular music styles, beat and syncopation are closely associated and thus given a much more prominent character. We saw earlier that the rhythmic component in music cannot be considered a freestanding entity.

Instead, it must be placed within the larger context of the other musical elements. Syncopation and beat must therefore be looked at in this broader perspective rather than as isolated elements of the musical discourse. Are they the sole governing elements in the music?

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Do they alternate with rhythmically less pronounced but melodically more interesting moments? Are they heightened through intense harmonies, or do they stand out against uninteresting melodies and poor harmonies?

As we already noticed, the richer and greater the interplay between the elements of music, the deeper the musical meaning and the more satisfying and longer lasting the musical experience.

This principle of balance has something to do with the way we perceive and receive music. It touches our hearts, minds, and bodies through emotional, physical, and intellectual stimulation. In other words, it affects us on a wholistic level. The same is true for the principle of alternation between tension and relaxation, i.

In a musical style in which one of the elements becomes domineering at the expense of the others through a monolithic, sustained, and pronounced presence, the principle of balance is destroyed, and the wholistic effect of music that should characterize our worship music, in particular, is lost. The Effects of Rhythm In order to appropriately use and evaluate the rhythmic element in music, we must be aware of how rhythm works and adapt it to a given cultural setting.

This has been achieved by studies in the field of the psychology of music. To illustrate my point, I turn to an authority on the psychology of music, Carl E.

Seashore,18 recognized by his peers as a pioneer in matters of scientific study of the psychology of music. In reading these paragraphs, one can easily verify their validity in one's own musical experience, whatever style is under consideration. Seashore presents the effect of rhythm on three levels.

Rhythm creates emotions. Herein we find the groundwork of emotion; for rhythm, whether in perception or in action, is emotional when highly developed, and results in response of the whole. Such organic pulsations and secretions are the physical counterpart of emotion. We generally connect rhythm with physical response, such as toe tapping, marching, swaying of the body, etc.

But here we learn that rhythm affects our psychological response. It is rhythm, not necessarily melody or harmony as is generally assumed, that governs our emotions. And it does so through the stimulation of various physiological functions of the body. Seashore also writes that in order to have such an impact, rhythm needs to be highly developed. This means that to achieve these effects, the rhythmic element needs to have a dominant or predominant character in the music.

It is important to be aware, then, that rhythm is a powerful agent of influence in our emotional lives. The impact is all the greater since it affects an aspect of our personalities, the emotions, that can easily get out of hand and beyond the control of our reasoning. Rhythm empowers. It is like a dream of flying; it is so easy to soar. There is an assurance of ability to cope with the future.

This results in the disregard of the ear element and results in a motor attitude, or a projection of the self in action. He told us the story of a time in his life when he was experiencing personal difficulties, because his parents were in the process of divorce. He had trouble coping with the situation and had taken to the habit, each day after he came home from school, of lying down on the floor, putting a pair of headphones in his ears, and listening for half an hour to rock music.

The driving beat, enhanced by the high volume of sound, restored his psychological abilities and gave him the strength to cope with the future. He did this for a few weeks until he noticed that the effect of the experiment lasted little more than a few hours, after which he fell back into his depressive and desperate mood. He understood then that listening to music as a remedy for his troubles was, in fact, a deception, nothing more than a quick fix that would never bring him the lasting and enduring strength he was looking for.

The feeling of power imparted by the music provided a way to avoid confronting a painful reality.

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Shortly after that time, he was encouraged to turn to prayer and was able to start the long and difficult process of healing--and ultimately to achieve it.

We all have experienced the energizing power of rhythm when, worn out from a day of work and still more to come, we get into our cars, turn on the engines, and hear lively rhythmic music streaming from the radio. We start tapping our feet motor attitude --or our fingers on the steering wheel for more security--and feel energized and ready to go on with our tasks projection of self into action.

Rhythm stimulates and excites. It excites, and it makes us insensible to the excitation, giving the feeling of being lulled. One becomes oblivious to intellectual pursuits. There comes a sort of autointoxication from the stimulating effect of the music and the successful self-expression in balanced movements sustained by that music and its associations.

Expressions such as stimulation, elation, ecstasy, and loss of consciousness of the environment point to similar experiences. Anything with a lesser stimulating effect seems dull and uninteresting. A similar effect can easily be observed in our consumption of rhythm: Notice that Seashore places these phenomena in a context of "pronounced rhythm," i. The effect of pronounced and sustained rhythm can lead the individual to become so absorbed in the actual engagement and enjoyment of the rhythmic activity that there is a progressive loss of interest in the rational or cognitive control of the situation.

The capacity for control can diminish progressively and even be shut out and eliminated. This can easily be verified in some worship experiences of a charismatic type, where the musical element is very animated, prominent, and sustained, helping the believer to reach the desired stage of being touched by the spirit. The stimulating and autointoxicating effects of music with a highly pronounced and sustained rhythmic element may result in making us oblivious to the voice of reason or of the conscience.

The situation is made even more complex by the fact that these responses happen without our even noticing them. We are so taken by the pleasurable experience that everything else is ruled out. A number of examples from the secular, military, and religious worlds illustrate this mechanism.

The first is found in dance. There was a good reason for the great swing dance bands in America to take off and become so popular precisely during the Great Depression years s.

It was the distinct need, in the midst of all the hardship, worrying, and despair, to find a way to "lose consciousness of the environment," to forget the harsh and often unbearable reality and get completely absorbed, at least for a few moments, in a pleasurable activity--"action without any object other than the pleasure in the action itself. From the earliest times of humankind, war making has been accompanied by music and song.

Even the Bible has its own examples of such practice: Soldiers are trained to march to war while singing. Why is this method so effective? According to Seashore,23 as soldiers sing their marching songs or march to the sound of a military band, they reach a stage at which they are completely absorbed by the marching movement, which creates a sort of absentmindedness through its monotonous repetitiveness.

The singing of songs of patriotism and victory in combination with the marching creates some feeling of elation or even ecstasy. The subjects become "oblivious" to the reality that they are actually marching off to kill or be killed.

One may similarly observe the ambiance in clubs to verify the impact of a sonic experience. Psychologist and author John Booth Davies has adequately described such a setting. The emotionally heightened ambiance in an environment of loud repetitive sound intensified with stroboscopic lighting affects the attitude of the dancers. They are apparently oblivious to anything that goes on around them, but they never completely lose consciousness--they are still able to discriminate between various sounds and to continue making automatic rhythmic responses.

In a first stage the dancing excites. Then the dancer becomes "insensible to the excitation" getting entirely absorbed in and concentrating totally on the pursuit of the physical activity per se , "oblivious to intellectual pursuits" giving up rational. Anybody watching a trance or possession dance can observe these different stages.

It is essential, however, to point out that this process does not happen in a mechanical or automatic way. Seashore himself took care to make this very clear.

As he speaks about the gratifying experience of "auto-intoxication" and "successful self-expression," he explains how the two happen through the combined effects of both the music and its context and associations. Getting into a trance does not happen automatically, as a result of the effects of music, etc.

This explains why musicians providing the music for events related to possession do not automatically enter the state of trance themselves. But, as with anything else, this powerful tool can be misused or abused to the point that it carries us beyond the limits of our full control. When dealing with church music--but equally in our personal listening habits--it is especially important to realize how rhythm functions and how it affects us as individuals or as groups, so as to use it appropriately.

We need to clarify in our own minds what we are looking for during our personal musical experiences and, particularly, during worship, and measure and adapt the level of the rhythmic activity of our music accordingly.

Here is a last reflection on rhythm. The foregoing explanations might suggest a possible answer to the question What makes the rhythmic element so prominent in today's society? In a world of stress, deadlines, insecurity, self-doubt, and disillusionment--in a time when the exploration of hitherto unknown regions of the personality and the pursuit of new sensations through a variety of stimulants is occupying so much time and money--one reason for the incessant pursuit of rhythm might be to fulfill a need for freedom, power, and expanse.

Both manifestations, the spoken language and the musical language, acquire their meaning only from the moment that their elements start being combined--and according to the interpretation that is made of them in a given cultural context. If I do not know the Spanish language, the word "madre" does not carry any meaning for me.

It remains neutral, a mere juxtaposition of letters of the alphabet. If, on the contrary, I have learned this word from my earliest childhood, it not only carries the meaning of the person who gave birth to me; it is also ripe with a wealth of associations that come with the word "mother": It works the same way with music. A given melodic turn, a particular chord progression, a rhythmic pattern, or a specific instrument may evoke a number of different meanings.

Where do those differences come from? What is it that makes us appreciate one type of music over another one or, on the contrary, leaves us indifferent to it? How is music a universal manifestation?

These are questions we need to address. In speaking about church music, we will focus mainly on music made by the people, that is, congregational singing. A note to the reader is in order here: Whenever we speak of music, it is always meant as music per se, independent of the meaning of the lyrics that might accompany a particular song or piece.

Occasionally, some groundbreaking composers will transcend the rules of given conventions and create new styles, e. This phenomenon will be revisited in our discussion of contrafacta see "The Practice of Contrafacta," pp. The semitone is the smallest interval in Western musical tradition. It represents the distance between any two neighboring keys on the keyboard, white or black. While polyphonic writing was a predominant compositional technique during those times, it lost its primary character during the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries.

However, it never disappeared totally from musical composition and became again a predominant element in twentieth century music, especially during the first half of the century cf.

For a description of this concept, see Jim Samson, Music in Transition: Norton, , pp. Even though the practice of harmony as found in the Western world is not part of many a musical system around the world, the same complexity of structure can be observed in musical languages that use predominantly rhythm and melody only.

A similar process of rhythmic manipulation is also applied by the performer and is at the origin of the concept of groove in popular music. Groove refers to a characteristic rhythmic pattern of the music used in a repeated manner, producing a distinctive rhythmic feel within a repetitive context. In classical music the same concept is found in terms of stretching or compressing a given tempo during performance rubato.

Yale University Press, , p. Stanford University Press, , chapter Tonality's Poor Relation. Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 2nd ed. Stockton Press, , s. Hymn No. The same rhythmic displacement can be found in hymn No.

Jones spent many years in Africa as a missionary and specialized in the study of African rhythm. Oxford University Press, , pp.

The African tradition contributed musical techniques such as call and response improvisation and polyrhythms.

Robert W. Lundin, An Objective Psychology of Music, 3rd ed.

Malabar, Fla.: Robert E. Krieger Publishing Company, , p. This principle should also become a concern within cultural settings that feature a high threshold of rhythmic tolerance, and needs to be considered accordingly. The Experience of Music n the movie Out of Africa there is a halting scene in which the sounds of the second movement of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A Major stream out of a strange black box, an early phonograph, striking us almost as anachronistic in the given context.

The strange sounds attract a crowd of Kikuyu people, who listen with smiling faces to the music. Incidents such as these are readily picked up to prove the point that classical music can be appreciated immediately by anyone, even the least educated. The problem with such affirmations is whether the intrigued reaction of these individuals should be interpreted as a real aesthetic appreciation or as curiosity, surprise, or even bewilderment.

What is really the character of the musical experience? Is it, indeed, universal in the sense that all individuals around the world are able to experience the same aesthetic experience at their first hearing of, say, Bach, Mozart, Bob Dylan, or U2? The musical experience is an integrated human process, involving cognition especially sequencing and memory , the emotions pleasure and expectation , and the body motor coordination. A fulfilling and artistically valuable experience encompasses all three aspects of the human being.

In regard to worship music, the wholistic character of the musical experience becomes even more important. Putting a preferred emphasis on one of these elements at the expense of the others impoverishes and adulterates an authentic worship experience.

The statement may be true--but only to a limited extent.

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Ethnomusicologist Bruno Nettl noted that while "music is a cultural universal, it is not a universal language. But, continues Nettl, "humans speak many mutually unintelligible languages.

The world of music consists of musics that are not mutually compatible. We respond physically to animated music by tapping our feet or toes, swaying our bodies, or outright dancing. We are filled with joy, sadness, triumph, anger, or inspiration and wonder. Our response to music on the universal level could be qualified by this phrase from Iris Yob, assistant professor of education, State University of New York at Genesco: Sometimes reactions to a single piece of music can be drastically different from one individual to another.

French music scholar Jules Combarieu, in his. He writes, "Which is the degree of exactitude which musical expression can attain? Musical images must not be applied to one single object only; they can be interpreted in different ways.

Their interest and poetry probably lies in this very fact. Indeed, beyond its universal character the musical experience is foremost an acquired experience. My class is generally made up of individuals from countries all over the world.

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This gives a particular flavor to the experiment and makes it even more relevant and interesting. This part of the course has become a favorite moment for the students, not only because they can participate actively in the experiment but also because the exercise is an incredible eyeopener that makes them understand, firsthand and almost instantly, the intricacies of the musical experience.

There are two sections of music in this experiment: The secular selections are all instrumental, i. This avoids any associations with a particular situation.

As I play the various excerpts of music, the students all react in some way to the music, but they do so in very different ways.

Their interpretations may vary considerably, according to the basic mood of the music, or the students may not be sensitive to or touched by the music at all. What for some feels invigorating or transcendent, comes across as boring or uninspiring to others.

As we examine together the deeper reasons behind these divergences in opinion, we learn that an individual's reaction to music is determined by a certain number of acquired or learned factors. These factors include one's familiarity with the style, formal or informal education in matters of music, cultural setting and environment, and particular values and beliefs. Associations that come spontaneously with the hearing--such as the remembrance of a mood, event, or situation, or certain gestures and actions that accompanied the first or subsequent hearings of this type of music-- may also need to be taken into consideration.

The classroom experiment reveals that music does not happen in a vacuum but is intimately tied with, and carried by, a given culture or society.

Lundin, author of An Objective Psychology of Music, concurs that musical responses are "acquired through one's life history. A large part of anyone's responses are culturally determined. These conditions refer, not only to one's intimate musical surroundings, but in general to his whole musical culture.

We, therefore, include not only the general Western musical culture but also our own family, school, and other intimate sources of musical stimulation. We may not even react at all to styles that are unfamiliar to us.

Music acquires meaning only through context and education. A particular style of music must, then, be understood within the context of the community or cultural group that gives it its meaning. It is also the community or cultural group that determines when an earlier established meaning changes or becomes obsolete. Musical meaning "ceases to be effective when the relationship between a group and the symbol musical language changes in space and time.

There is no universal way music is appreciated in different cultural settings. In one setting it can be very well received, even applauded. In another setting it may be perceived as inappropriate. Therefore, it is important to learn to decode or understand the meaning of a style within a particular cultural setting. On the other hand, it is just as important not to fall into the trap of quick judgments on value and statements as to the implicit "good" or "evil" nature of a style, chord, melody, rhythm, or instrument.

Some people speak of "good" instruments for worship piano, organ, violin, flute and of "evil" instruments saxophone, guitar, synthesizer, etc. They forget that it is the context generally associated with these instruments, chords, or rhythms that determines their meaning and evaluation. One would be very hard-pressed to demonstrate that a given chord e. This would be the equivalent of lending the power of good or evil to a letter of the alphabet, a syllable, or even a word without its context.

Good or evil connotations are given to a specific word within a particular linguistic setting, which is just the product of social conventions. If someone addresses me with a four-letter word in Chinese, it will not have any effect on me--I might even interpret it as a compliment if it is said with a smile!

Musical language is not much different from verbal language. The isolated components of a language--letters, syllables, even words--do not carry any moral weight in themselves. They acquire meaning as they are put together into phrases, sentences, and paragraphs, and then they are given significance within a cultural language group. The interpretation of those meanings must be learned, and the learning process happens within a given cultural setting, determined by the value system of that culture.

It is exactly the same for the musical language. When melodies, chords, rhythms, and harmonies are combined together, they are given a specific meaning within a particular cultural setting; they are then interpreted as happy or sad, elevating or debasing.

Every society or subculture develops a concept of what is sacred and what is entertaining, and what is tasteful or vulgar. Expressions of respect, veneration, adoration, and solidarity--sacred or religious attitudes basic to the human race-are shaped according to established value systems. Every society develops its own verbal and musical languages to translate these concepts. The interpretation of musical content does not primarily happen on the basis of the innate nature and quality of the musical sounds produced,11 but according to the context in which this type of music is created and performed, i.

It becomes difficult, therefore, to judge the content or meaning of a style of music if we are not familiar with its function and meaning within that given society--if we have not learned to understand its meaning in its original context. This dimension will be dealt with in depth in a separate section.

A Lion Book, , p. Bruno Nettl, Excursions in World Music, 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, N. Pearson, Prentice Hall, , p. Iris M. Yob, "The Arts as Ways of Understanding: Perspectives on Music Education, Estelle R. Jorgensen, ed. University of Illinois Press, , p. Jules Combarieu, La musique et la magie: Etude sur les origines populaires de l'art musical, son influence et sa fonction dans les societes Paris: Alphonse Picard, ; reprint Geneva: Minkoff Reprints, , p.

Elizabeth Brown and William Hendee, in their clinical study of reactions to music, came to the same conclusion: Music is a very individual and complex experience" from "Adolescents and Their Music," Journal of the American Medical Association [September ]: For example, in The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal ed.

Review and Herald Publishing. An erroneous popular myth, for instance, interprets music in the minor mode as being associated with sadness, and music in the major mode as being expressive of happiness. In reality, the majority of folk music uses the minor mode which actually belongs to modal language both for happy songs or dances, as well as to depict sad situations.

This brings up the case of rock music, which will be discussed later see "Excursus: The Case of Rock Music," pp. This type of music needs to be dealt with separately since it falls more under the category of a music culture than a musical style. The Meaning of Music here are several assumptions about music and its capacity to convey meaning.

Misunderstandings and misconceptions about the issue, lack of information, and oversimplification of the matter have contributed to spread a number of beliefs and convictions, which are then perpetuated from generation to generation, bringing about endless discussion and debate.

The purpose of the following reflection is to demystify and clarify some of these misunderstandings and misconceptions. First, we will take a look at the concept of sacred music and investigate what makes a style of music sacred. Then we will look at the issue of aesthetics versus ethics.

A number of questions will articulate that section: Is aesthetics equivalent to ethics? Is there good music and evil music? How does music convey meaning? Where does the real power of music lie? How can we use music responsibly? What makes a musical style sacred?

A good way to provide answers to these questions is to listen to different types of sacred music. I have my students listen to and react to selections of music from different religions, music such as Tibetan Buddhist chanting, Jewish synagogue chanting, religious rap, a South American folk mass, Gregorian and Orthodox chanting, Black spirituals and Black gospel, traditional Protestant hymns, classical sacred selections, etc.

Every selection played was written with the specific intent to convey a religious message--or is at least understood, in popular imagination, to have been so. The sacred character of the music is indicated either explicitly by the words or implicitly by means of the ritual, liturgical, or religious setting in which the music is generally performed.

In my class the listeners' reactions were interesting to observe, especially since they provided clues to the answers we were looking for. Selections in familiar styles were acclaimed with great enthusiasm, pleasure, and personal--sometimes even physical--investment in the experience.

In general, the music played in these excerpts was perceived as conveying some quality more or less related to the concepts of transcendence, grandeur, or majesty. However, a more detailed analysis of these impressions revealed considerable differences in appreciation. The various reactions covered such diverse and opposite moods as wonder and fright, elevation and boredom, spirituality and entertainment.

Settings evoked by the playing of J. Bach's Toccata in D Minor, for example, ranged from a lofty cathedral to haunted houses, horror movies, and cartoons. It is because of this uncircumscribed character of the musical experience that the works of J. Bach are used indifferently both in Christian worship and satanic worship. Unfamiliar selections, on the other hand, such as Tibetan chants, for instance, were met with bewilderment, incomprehension, or outright laughter. Less familiar selections, such as Orthodox chants, were often received with indifference.

This demonstrates how music loses its sacred character if not perceived as such. It also confirms what was pointed out earlier, namely, that when the music is taken out of its context, it loses its meaning, which, in this case, is its sacred character. It would be difficult to sustain a plea in favor of the sacred character of music inherent in a given musical style.

For music to be understood as sacred, it needs to be accompanied by extramusical elements that lend. It is the religious cultural context, the learned experience, that creates this understanding. On the other hand, compositions that were originally not meant as sacred works have over time become associated with a sacred context.

Handel's oratorio The Messiah had originally been written as a fund-raiser for an orphanage and was initially performed in theaters and by opera singers. Similarly, the saraband, originally a sensual dance imported from Cuba via Spain, had become a slow stylized dance at the time of J.

Bach, and in our time is typically played in churches on the organ as a meditative piece for worship. These are just a few examples of how religious culture can transform a secular piece into a sacred one.

These few examples illustrate how difficult it is to determine whether a musical selection has a sacred character or not, especially when there are no words at all or words in a language that is not understood. The same forces that shape our musical understanding of secular music also shape our understanding of sacred music. The importance of a learned or acquired experience in the understanding of music is again verified. Our religious culture and environment, our beliefs and value systems, and the associations we have formed in regard to certain categories of music all influence our interpretations of musical selections as sacred.

These conventions determine the way music is understood and registered as sacred in the mind of a group of listeners. This understanding, in turn, influences the attitudes and manners in which the music is performed. There is no such thing as inherently sacred music, neither by the use of a particular instrument or genre nor by a given musical style. Our interpretation of music as sacred is also a learned experience.

Maybe the answer to the question "Is there a sacred style of music? Within each tradition the musical style featured in a religious setting is considered an adequate expression of the religious or liturgical truth and sensitivity. What unites them all in their great diversity is that, within their respective settings, they fulfill the basic purposes and functions of sacred music.

Some of these functions and attributes of sacred music are to convey a theology, to serve as a vehicle for expression and communication, to be defined within a cultural setting, and to delight God. Sacred Music Conveys a Theology This can probably be considered as the main purpose of sacred music, and it should happen in a threefold manner: The music must reflect the character of the god worshipped.

Traditions of sacred music reveal the face or character of their deity or higher power. Within their respective languages the musics will evoke transcendence or immanence, distance or closeness, punishment or love.

The God of the Judeo-Christian faiths is a God of beauty, holiness, sovereignty, goodness, righteousness, and truth, but also of love, compassion, and mercy. Such are the attributes that sacred music within the JudeoChristian tradition strives to translate into sound. The music must speak about the nature of the relationship that exists between the believers and their god. In our listening in class, we discovered relationships of a fearful, trustful, respectful, mysterious, and supernatural nature.

The various musical selections spoke of relationships that involved ecstasy, meditation, blind ritual, emotional response, or cognitive participation through learning and understanding. The nature of our relationships with God in the light of the biblical tradition encourages attitudes such as adoration, trust, love, repentance, obedience, and submission. The music must tell about the values and beliefs of a particular group. The biblical account teaches us values that affirm Creation and uphold and enhance our relationships with God, our neighbor, and nature.

These are the values that must be conveyed or conveyable by a musical style in order for the music to qualify as sacred music. But the role of sacred music goes beyond carrying truths and values. It also implies a factor of communication. Sacred Music Is a Vehicle for Expression and Communication Music is able to communicate above and beyond verbal expression and to touch the realms of the unutterable. When words are insufficient expression, music still speaks and touches the heart and mind.

Herein lies one of the primary purposes of art in worship. Whether in a secular or sacred setting, music functions as a vehicle for expression and communication, both on the vertical level, that is, our relationships with God, and on the horizontal level, our relationships with fellow worshippers. A sacred experience not only consists of receiving truths and blessings; it also implies the possibility of a response on the part of the believer, a channel to verbalize the heart's desire.

The musical experience creates avenues for wholistic or emotional responses. It engages the believer with his or her whole being and enhances the sacred event. It provides a channel to communicate simultaneously as a community and as an individual. Sacred Music Is Defined Within a Cultural Setting In the face of so much musical variety, it appears that sacred music styles are also defined by conventions.

A religious community needs to determine which musical language belongs to its own cultural setting and which is appropriate to express the values attached to the sacred and supernatural as they are understood within that given culture or subculture. In order to preserve true worship values, it is essential to understand that any discussion of musical style must take place within the framework of a given style category, not among different styles.

What is important, however, is to determine whether a particular choice within a given style is appropriate for a worship experience. The prerogative of the choice of a musical style for worship is not simply a right and privilege for a group or community; it is first and foremost a responsibility.

Too often we think of music as a human pursuit for enjoyment, but music was already part of the heavenly experience before the creation of the human universe. The book of Job tells us that the Creation process was accompanied by the song of angels Job As the Redeemer was born, the angels rejoiced with singing Luke 2: It was God Himself who dictated a song to Moses and commanded him to teach the Israelites to sing the law Deuteronomy When we speak about sacred music or worship music, another dimension is added to the musical experience, namely, the sacred, or divine.

There are two partners in worship: God and humanity.

In worship, music is performed for God by human beings. The holy is approached in a human language. This creates a constant tension, a healthy tension, between the vertical and the horizontal. As is true for every component in worship, music also partakes of the tension between the vertical and the horizontal. Any discussion about music, sacred or secular, that happens from a religious perspective, that is, assuming a life in relationship with God, will naturally lead to ethical considerations.

The way this relationship between ethics and aesthetics is commonly understood has given rise to a number of misunderstandings that need to be sorted out in order to facilitate healthy discussion and exchange.

Many people will affirm that as they listen to "good" secular or sacred music, they feel elevated in their minds and souls, and it helps them become better and more spiritual people.

There is a tendency to "intertwine and even fuse moral and aesthetic judgment,"4 that is, to identify an aesthetic experience with an ethical experience. Such a perspective assumes that beautiful music is necessarily good music and vice versa, and that the contemplation of something beautiful and artistic or ugly and vulgar has a moral effect on us, i.

Music that elevates our minds is not necessarily sacred because of that quality, and music that comes across as cheap or that is performed poorly has nothing to do with religion or morality, but simply with bad taste. It is important to clarify and understand the particular nature of the aesthetic and the ethical experiences and to distinguish between the two.

Consulting an encyclopedia definition of the aesthetic experience reveals the following meaning: The effect includes a heightening of our sensibilities, a refining of our capacities for perceptual and emotional discrimination, and a capacity to respond more sensitively to the world around us. Even though such activities and exercises deal with the realm of the human spirit in their reference to the mind and the senses, and are thus connected with a "spiritual" experience, they do not refer to a religious experience in the etymological sense of the word, namely, as a life connected to God.

It is important to distinguish between an aesthetic spiritual experience and a religious experience; they are not equivalent. Harold Best brings out the difference between the two experiences quite clearly in the following statements: The beauty of the creation is not moral beauty; it is aesthetic beauty, artifactual beauty.

Aesthetic beauty lies in the way and the quality with which something is made or said. Truth lies in what is said. Being emotionally moved by music is not the same as being spiritually or morally shaped by it. The question comes up immediately, then, is it possible that an object, a created thing in. Can a tree or a rock convey moral power, a power to change us for good or evil? Likewise, can a sound, a melody, a rhythm, or a given level of volume carry and convey good or evil?

When we listen to music--to what we commonly call beautiful music, art music-or contemplate some artwork, does this imply that we become better persons?

If that is the case, music would have the power to carry moral meaning, i. Some people have advocated this theory and still do so. It grew out of a legitimate concern for the well-being of the human soul and its preservation from evil, and was then carried and perpetuated through the ages. These theories reach all the way back to the church fathers and, ultimately, to the ancient Greek philosophers.

Indeed, in studying the writings of the early church fathers and the earliest music theorists of the Christian era, as well as some comments on music made by theologians who lived much closer to our time, one is surprised to find a vast correspondence of opinions about the nature and power of music. Together with other concepts taken from Hellenistic thinking, the Greek theories about the power of music strongly infiltrated and permeated Christian theology and philosophy.

There was a common thread of belief in the power of music to affect and change the character, all the way back from John Calvin sixteenth century A. In this sense, music, as a sign of spiritual reality, is able to exert spiritual power in the lives of the believers. In the next pages, we are taking a quick look17 at the ideas that lie at the basis of this theory, namely, the Greek theory of aesthetics, and how it relates to ethics. The Greek Theory of Ethos The belief in the moral power of art is illustrated by the famous saying of Plato that "rhythm and harmonia18 [in the arts] permeate the inner part of the soul, bring graciousness to it, and make the strongest impression, making a man gracious if he has the right kind of upbringing.

Perfect beauty and goodness could exist only in the ideal world, and the highest endeavor of a human being was to pursue good, beauty, and truth.

Art, on the contrary, was understood to be one way to embody--and lead to--this ideal world. Indeed, artworks were not merely seen as the product of inspiration, applying to the world of senses. They were first of all understood to be expressions of rational, numerical relationships,23 obeying the same mathematical rules that governed the whole universe. It was, incidentally, Pythagoras' discovery of the mathematical ratios of musical intervals that gave rise to the idea that the universe was founded on rational and harmonious principles.

Thus art, and especially music, became a mirror of the cosmic, enabling the human being to participate in the ideal world. Aesthetics beauty and ethics virtue shared not only a similar nature24 but also a common function, namely, to regulate, order, and moderate excessive irrational passions of the human soul. The human soul the microcosm of the universe had been created as a mirror of the universal soul the macrocosm of the universe and partook of the same laws and properties as the universe.

The musician dealt with the irrational emotional part of the soul, allowing it to receive virtue by means of particular modes harmoniai or rhythms. To Plato, the philosopher and the musician shared a common source of inspiration: In Greek thinking, the universe and all of its manifestations were understood as forming harmonious relationships.

These were governed by mathematical laws that demonstrated order, measure, and balance. In the same way, beauty was also defined in terms of mathematical rules, as can be seen in the principle of the golden mean or the mathematical proportions found at the core of the theoretical system of music. Greek sculptor Polyclitus said, "The beautiful comes about, little by little, through many numbers.

Both Plato and Aristotle understood virtue as harmony, balance, and measure, that is, an absence of excessiveness. Bravery was defined as the "capacity to preserve through everything the right and lawful belief as to what is to be feared and what is not"33 and represented the mean middle, average between the two extreme emotions. In that sense, bravery denoted a harmonious and balanced attitude.

Sadness and melancholy, even compassion, were considered as lying outside of the accepted norms of "equity" in regard to discretion or temperance. Thus, musical scales that were understood to incline the soul toward these emotions e. The function of music was to organize "harmoniously" all things. Behavior that did not feature harmony, balance, and measure was considered to be evil.

Vice versa, a virtuous action was considered to be beautiful because it demonstrated harmony and balance. Beauty, i. Virtue was intimately tied to aesthetics. What was the process that enabled music, the arts, to have an impact on the human soul? An essential step in reaching the aesthetic--and therefore ethical--experience in Greek antiquity was through contemplation.

According to Plato, during contemplation of works of art architecture, sculpture, paintings, music, drama, etc. Greek philosophers believed that the physical object in itself stood for the spiritual power. Contemplating the object would then automatically affect the spiritual dimension within the contemplator.

The contemplation of works of art such as the statues, which typically represented gods, was primarily meant to elevate the human soul and become a model for it--as we "dwell amid fair sights and sounds, and receive the good in everything, beauty shall flow into the eye and ear.

In a similar manner the contemplation of music, while passing through the sensory aspect of the soul, was able to lift the human soul out of the transitory and accidental character typical of the musical experience onto the permanent and essential level of the universal experience. It achieved this goal by means of the rich mathematical relationships embedded in its melodies, and the principle of unity embodied in its rhythms.

In Greek thinking, music served as an avenue to gain a better understanding of the ideal forms of the virtues of beauty and goodness, thus bringing the individual closer to the ultimate goal of existence, the contemplation of the eternal.

In this perspective, harmony and balance proportion represented the very structure of good. As one considers the Greek approach to music, one might feel very much in agreement with such a perspective. Is it not true that we are affected by the music we are listening to?

But how does music affect us? Are we helplessly at the mercy of musical influences? Does music indeed have the capacity to change our characters into the image of the contemplated emotion? At the very beginning of our study we learned that music affects us on the levels of our bodies, minds, and feelings. We speak of music as cheering us up, energizing us, and elevating us, but also as making us sad or nostalgic. We need to remember, however, that to the Greeks, the impact of certain melodies, rhythms, and instruments went beyond a mere effect on the emotions.

These musical elements indeed were understood to act directly on the very character of the person and to have power to shape, change, and transform it. Art, in Greek thinking, involves a process of identification: Such transformations were possible because of a "certain affinity of the soul with the harmoniai and rhythms.

In idolatry the object in itself is granted a magic power. In the case of music such power would be attributed to a melody or scale pattern e. The Word of God teaches us, though, that the transforming power does not result from the contemplation of human work, whatever it is.

Instead, it belongs only to the divine action--it is the work of the Holy Spirit. The good resides in God alone, and it is only as we look to Jesus that "by beholding we become changed. He speaks of contemplation but refers to the transforming power that belongs to the contemplation of "the glory of the Lord. Hirsch put it so eloquently, "Human excellence does not consist in lifting our eyes towards God in the hope to contemplate Him, but rather in being elevated by Him.

When our wills are aligned with the will of God, when we see the world from the perspective of God, then character excellence and highest ethical behavior will be achieved. Biblical ethics are not arrived at and developed by means of contemplation, but by the responsible acts of listening and submitting in willful obedience. If you're not familiar with the term, pink noise is all frequencies with equal energy in every octave.

The microphone signal is routed into a spectrum analyzer and a frequency response chart is produced. Reading the Chart The chart is usually over the 20 Hz to 20 kHz range, which is the range of human hearing. So, how do you read it? The horizontal numbers in a microphone frequency response chart indicate frequencies again, usually over the 20 Hz to 20 kHz range , and the vertical numbers represent relative output level in dB decibels.

As you look at a frequency chart, you can tell how a given microphone performs at certain frequencies. Let's look at a couple of examples. In other words, at this frequency, what you hear going into the microphone is what you will tend to hear coming out: nothing more, nothing less.

The presence bump on the right of the chart is just where the frequency of the "snap" of the snare resides. In addition, its rolled off low-end makes it great for downplaying the kick drum, which is often very close to the snare. This combination is what most engineers are looking for in a great snare drum mic: the ability to capture the true sound of the snare, accentuate its snap, and reject other instruments in close proximity. The rising frequency response from 2, to 10, Hz adds brightness and intelligibility to the voice.

The bass emphasis proximity effect when used close to the mouth—see the dotted lines in the graph—adds warmth and fullness to the voice. Pairing the Mic with the Sound Source Next, let's look at what you're planning to mic.

Musical instruments and voices have frequency ranges as indicated on the chart below. The darker orange indicates the range of fundamental frequencies, and the lighter shade represents the range of the highest harmonics or overtones of the sound source.The Department ordered all the kids who were on probation in Lewiston to come to our youth group.

Worship Survey. Eddie's first Christmas with us was exciting. Less familiar selections, such as Orthodox chants, were often received with indifference. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Finally Christmas Day came and we sat down together to open gifts.

You can't buy a microphone without running into a frequency response chart. Please note that Destiny Image's publishing style capitalizes certain pronouns in Scripture that refer to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and may differ from some publishers' styles.

LONNIE from Rhode Island
I fancy reading novels verbally. Please check my other posts. I'm keen on balkline and straight rail.