Pleasure in Church Music
PLEASURE IN CHURCH MUSIC
It should be apparent that pleasure is one of the meanings of functional church music. For unless worshipers find some measure of enjoyment (which I equate with understanding or "appreciation") in a certain church music language, they will probably not be edified by either the music or the words. . . . St. John Chrysostom in the fourth century gave such an explanation for the appearance of music in worship.
"When God saw that many men were lazy, and gave themselves only with
difficulty to spiritual reading, He wished to make it easy for them, and
added the melody to the words, that all being rejoiced by the charm of the
music, should sing hymns to Him with gladness."
St. John Chrysostom (c. 350-407) as quoted in Donald Hustad's JUBILATE II: CHURCH MUSIC IN WORSHIP AND RENEWAL, Chapter 2, "Church Music: A Functional Art," Hope Publishing Co., 1993.
[I often marvel at the way a well-crafted melody can intensify or clarify the meaning of a noble text. On the other hand, I am also aware that carefully reading the text of a hymn or song can sometimes reveal meanings that had previously been overpowered or even obscured by the power of the music. Why is that?]
Have a great week,