Walking with Jesus: Four Essentials in Music

First, let me say how amazing the Gettysburg College Choir concert was. Opening our space to music and enjoying a concert was a truly cathartic experience; and then to top it off, they sang with us the following Sunday. A huge thank you to Dr. Natter, the choir, Sophie, the Music Ministry team, and to all of you for making this happen. There were many cylinders in this musical engine, and I am grateful for everyone’s participation.

It got me thinking about our church and the music we create here. I asked myself, “If God were to come and pluck our music ministry from earth, would anyone notice?” It’s a question that we as a Music Ministry have been reflecting on.

Music, as a structure, consists of four elements: Melody, Harmony, Rhythm, and Dynamics. The first is easy, we sing melodies every day. Melody takes its own direction and shape as the leading sound we hear. Imagine for a moment “Amazing Grace” and it should create a very familiar sound inside your mind. Harmony is the relation of notes with respect to each other. You can combine multiple notes to create ‘chords’ that provide a harmonic structure for your melody to sing over, or there are even cases where there are two (or more) melodies interweaving with each other creating harmonic structure around them. This is most often heard in fugues that reached peak popularity in the 16th and 17th century. Rhythm is the pulse, pattern, and space of music. In its simplest term, rhythm is musical “time”. The themes of Beethoven’s 5th symphony or John Williams opening trumpet line to the Star Wars theme aren’t nearly as recognizable without the rhythms that these notes have (BA DA DA DAH). Lastly, we have dynamics, arguably the most emotionally driven of the elements, dynamics are the relative volumes of music. Soft, loud, and everything in-between.

Whether we realize it or not, we function as a church the same way that music functions. The different elements structured and intertwined with each other bringing new songs to our neighbors. How do we bring more music to people? Often, people hear new songs when they aren’t looking for one. Maybe it’s up to us to create the opportunities for them to listen, and if the spirit moves them – Sing