Music Mimics Life

Monday, April 13, 2009

[print version] [audio version Listen to the audio version of Music Mimics Life]

Consider the song "Christ Arose." On Resurrection Sunday, this song is always a favorite. It is a great example of a song in which the music says the same thing the lyrics are saying. The music enhances, beautifies, strengthens and reinforces the message of the text.

"Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior"

What is sadder than the death of someone you love? Consider how someone acts when they are deeply saddened: slow, smooth movements, no sudden motions, not very active, head bowed, talking quietly. The music here imitates the physical aspects of the emotion of sadness by being sung slowly and quietly. The music notes themselves encompass only three neighboring pitches.

"Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord"

These phrases reflect quiet anticipation. Something big is about to happen! The music builds up to a big contrast in energy by remaining slow and soft, and even ritarding at the end of the phrase.

"Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o'er His foes!"

Now we increase the energy by singing louder and faster, and the notes move in upward motion, recreating the physical movement of the rising Lord. Musical notes themselves do not have actual vertical or horizontal properties in space, but they do move from slower vibrations (lower pitches indicating less excitement) to faster vibrations (higher pitches, indicating more excitement). The music also contains larger movements and leaps when moving from one pitch to another.

"He arose a victor from the dark domain, and He lives forever with His saints to reign"

Someone who has won a tremendous battle is enthusiastic and energetic, and this continuing emotion emanates from the music.

"He arose! He arose! Hallelujah, Christ arose!"

People who are excited about something tend to repeat themselves, telling the good news over and over, to one person after another.

Notice here also the wonderful use of putting normally accented syllables on musically accented beats. In normal English usage, in the word "arose," the "a" is unaccented, the "rose" is accented. On the musical side, the syllable "rose" comes on the strongly accented first beat of the measure. Also, in the word "hallelujah," the "lu" is the accented syllable when spoken, and, again, the "lu" is put on the accented first beat in the music.

In summary, music can reflect emotion by imitating human physical responses to emotion. Messages of sadness, happiness, anger, contentment, contemplation, rebellion, sexual arousal, fear, love, hope, etc., can all be communicated by music through the manipulation of musical elements to mimic the physical actions associated with each state of mind.

Music is a powerful tool for communication. Let's use music to communicate the wonderful truths of God's Word

Add a Comment



NEW BLOGS POSTED EVERY MONDAY

The BLOG is now a BOOK!
Notes for the Children of Asaph: The Book
Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

Download the E-Book


Curtis Hollembeak


Curtis holds a bachelor's degree in Bible with a music minor, as well as a master's degree in Sacred Music, having studied under Dr. Frank Garlock, president of Majesty Music, and Ray and Ann Gibbs, well-known Christian singers. He has served as music director and jr. high/high school supervisor at Grace Baptist Church of Mankato, Minnesota; school music director at the Franklin Road Christian School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; media engineer for the Sword of the Lord in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; and, full-time music director at Second Baptist Church and Twin City Christian Academy in Festus, Missouri. He is currently self-employed and serves in the music ministry of the Berean Baptist Church in Rockford, IL. Curtis is co-founder and President of the Asaph Music Co. He regularly sings bass with the Bible Truth Chorale on recordings produced by Bible Truth Music at Faith Music Missions.

Subscribe to Blog

Subscribe to Podcast

Current Blog Titles:

  Oh, Lord, Make Me More Like Asaph!
  Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs
  Habakkuk - The Musical Prophet
  Musical Wisdom
  Music for Resurrection Sunday
  Which Direction Are You Headed? Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Which Direction Are You Headed?
  The Commandment of the Lord Listen to the audio (MP3) version of The Commandment of the Lord
  The Heart of the Matter Listen to the audio (MP3) version of The Heart of the Matter
  "And the Prisoners Heard Them" Listen to the audio (MP3) version of "And the Prisoners Heard Them"
  We're Failing Our Children Listen to the audio (MP3) version of We

Past Articles:

  A Musical See-Saw Listen to the audio (MP3) version of A Musical See-Saw
  A Wise Person Remains Ignorant Listen to the audio (MP3) version of A Wise Person Remains Ignorant
  All Things To All Men Listen to the audio (MP3) version of All Things To All Men
  An Audience of One Listen to the audio (MP3) version of An Audience of One
  And the Singers Sang Loud Listen to the audio (MP3) version of And the Singers Sang Loud
  Be a Blessing, Not a Distraction Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Be a Blessing, Not a Distraction
  Be Wise, Increase Learning Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Be Wise, Increase Learning
  Bible References to Music
  By Ear or By Note? Listen to the audio (MP3) version of By Ear or By Note?
  Congregational Singing Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Congregational Singing
  Connect with the Message Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Connect with the Message
  Does Music Matter? Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Does Music Matter?
  Find Your Unique Voice Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Find Your Unique Voice
  Following a Multitude to Do Evil Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Following a Multitude to Do Evil
  God Did Not Create Music Listen to the audio (MP3) version of God Did Not Create Music
  God Has No "Gray Areas" Listen to the audio (MP3) version of God Has No "Gray Areas"
  God's Message Through Music Listen to the audio (MP3) version of God
  Hezekiah's Revival Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Hezekiah
  Hit What You Aim For Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Hit What You Aim For
  How Can I Be Relevant to the Culture? Listen to the audio (MP3) version of How Can I Be Relevant to the Culture?
  How Strong is Your Cord? Listen to the audio (MP3) version of How Strong is Your Cord?
  If the Devil Were a Musician... Listen to the audio (MP3) version of If the Devil Were a Musician...
  Jubal, Father of Musical Instruments Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Jubal, Father of Musical Instruments
  Lord, I Need You! Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Lord, I Need You!
  Music Is Preaching Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Music Is Preaching
  Music Mimics Life Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Music Mimics Life
  Music Standards or Bible Standards? Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Music Standards or Bible Standards?
  Music Success Posters Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Music Success Posters
  Music That Touches the Soul Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Music That Touches the Soul
  Music vs. Lyrics Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Music vs. Lyrics
  Musical Joy! Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Musical Joy!
  Old Testament Musicians
  On Top of Spaghetti Listen to the audio (MP3) version of On Top of Spaghetti
  Overtones Reveal the Nature of God Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Overtones Reveal the Nature of God
  Owed to the Church Choir Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Owed to the Church Choir
  Pass It On Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Pass It On
  Preaching to the Choir Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Preaching to the Choir
  Putting Music into Their Hands Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Putting Music into Their Hands
  Resolutions for a New Year Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Resolutions for a New Year
  Revival Results in Singing Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Revival Results in Singing
  Ring the Bells Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Ring the Bells
  Singing Men and Singing Women Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Singing Men and Singing Women
  So, What's Your Plan? Listen to the audio (MP3) version of So, What
  Some Thoughts About Hymn Singing Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Some Thoughts About Hymn Singing
  Stripes, Stocks, and Songs Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Stripes, Stocks, and Songs
  Striving for Excellence Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Striving for Excellence
  Surrounded by God's Song Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Surrounded by God
  Thank You, Lord, for Music Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Thank You, Lord, for Music
  The 3-Way Influence of Music Listen to the audio (MP3) version of The 3-Way Influence of Music
  The Composer of 1,005 Songs Listen to the audio (MP3) version of The Composer of 1,005 Songs
  The Distinctive Church Piano Listen to the audio (MP3) version of The Distinctive Church Piano
  The Forgotten Doctrine Listen to the audio (MP3) version of The Forgotten Doctrine
  The Last Song Listen to the audio (MP3) version of The Last Song
  The Pleasant Harp Listen to the audio (MP3) version of The Pleasant Harp
  The Principle of Replacement Listen to the audio (MP3) version of The Principle of Replacement
  The Problem with Scoops and Slides Listen to the audio (MP3) version of The Problem with Scoops and Slides
  The Purpose of Church Music Listen to the audio (MP3) version of The Purpose of Church Music
  The Role of the Listener Listen to the audio (MP3) version of The Role of the Listener
  The Service of Song Listen to the audio (MP3) version of The Service of Song
  The Song that God Wrote Listen to the audio (MP3) version of The Song that God Wrote
  The Song that Won a War Listen to the audio (MP3) version of The Song that Won a War
  The Unnamed Minstrel Listen to the audio (MP3) version of The Unnamed Minstrel
  Think Big! Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Think Big!
  This Little Light of Mine Listen to the audio (MP3) version of This Little Light of Mine
  Tips for Special Music Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Tips for Special Music
  Under the Hands of their Fathers Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Under the Hands of their Fathers
  Who Hath Made Man's Mouth? Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Who Hath Made Man
  Who was Asaph? Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Who was Asaph?
  Who Writes the Music of Your Life? Listen to the audio (MP3) version of Who Writes the Music of Your Life?
  You Asked for It Listen to the audio (MP3) version of You Asked for It




Learn Music at Home



Vocal Technique - DVD Course
Vocal Technique - Online Course


Music Theory - DVD Course
Music Theory - Online Course


Conducting - DVD Course
Conducting - Online Course


Sight Singing - DVD Course
Sight Singing - Online Course


Bible Music Philosophy - DVD Course
Bible Music Philosophy - Online Course