There should be no doubt about the fact that music is a power and can be a ministry either for good or evil over mankind. Music may have beneficial or harmful results. Under the influence of wholesome music, a person can be lifted to lofty heights and energized to spiritual activities and under the influence of corrupt music, a person can be brought down to Satanically inspired, vicious and demoralizing activities.
A. THE POWER OF MUSIC
1. The positive effect of music
a) Doctors find that music in hospitals have a positive effect eg. soothe nervous patients and prevent epilepsy.
King Saul was eased of trouble from an evil spirit by David’s anointed music. (1 Sam16:15-17, 23).
b) Industrialists find music improves productivity in factories and sales in stores.
c) Scientists find music helps cows give more and hen lays more eggs.
d) National leaders use songs to stir patriotism in every nation on the earth eg. Malaysia Ku Bahagia.
2. The negative effect of music
a) Repetitive hypnotic music was a tribal inducement to stir the mind, emotions and body to war, lust or engage in cannibalistic orgies.
Abnormal behavior are the results of evil music.
b) Certain types of jazz and heavy rock music brought about demoralizing results in recent Western cultures.
3. Music and Emotion
Music is vitally connected in its power to emotions. Music is basically an expression of human emotions. The basic laws of nature is that emotions seek expressions. God has provided two normal channels for this, rhythmic physical movements and vocal sounds.
a) Physical expressions
Joy can be expressed by clapping, dancing
Pain – crouching, bending
Impatience – tapping foot or fingers
b) Vocal expressions
Groaning, shouting, laughter, songs etc.
Physical expression of emotion is the foundation of rhythm and vocal expression of emotion is the foundation of music.
c) Music and emotional responses are vitally connected. All music whether vocal or instrument can be classified into 3 groups.
Music that expresses emotions
Music that incites emotions
Music that is descriptive.
B) THE EVALUATION OF MUSIC
Music consists of 3 parts , namely the melody, harmony and rhythm.
The fundamental part of music is its melody. This is the most creative part of music and therefore should be the strongest
Melody appeals to the spiritual or to the spirit of man.
Good and proper melody should be able to be sung itself and not necessarily have to have an instrument to accompany it.
Melodies should rise and fall to create tension and relaxation.
This give balance to music. Too much rises create tension and results in frustration and lack of fulfillment. Too much fall creates depression and despair.
Isa 23:16 " Take a harp…. Make sweet melody , sing many songs"
Isa 51:3 "…. Joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody"
The next important part of music is its harmony. Harmony is simply the arrangement of chords which are meant to support the melody. To harmonize is to add chords to a melody to form the harmony.
Harmony appeals to the psychological or to the mind or soul of man even as the melody appeals to the spirit of man.
Harmony should follow the melody. It should never dominate or subordinate the melodic line.
Often times musicians have so great a mass of harmonic sound that no one can hear or recognize the melody. The melody should dominate the harmony and not the reverse.
No harmony on earth is perfect. Therefore, in adding chords to a melody, there is both consonance and dissonance in music.
Consonance means in agreement.
Dissonance means disagreeable in sound.
Too much consonance tends to showmanship and sentimentalism.
Too much dissonance creates confusion and rebellion in the emotions.
In harmony, one should avoid prolong minors with no major variations.
Harmony will carry its minor and majors. The minor chord is generally significant of sadness, loneliness, melancholy and tragedy. It is used to express the depths of human spirit. War, solemnity, sorrow, plague, famines, tears, despondency and death are characteristics of the minor key. eg. funeral music.
The major chord generally is used to express joy and gladness, praise and exaltation and victory. It is the mode of the triumphant march.
The third part of music is the rhythm. It appeals to the body. Again, this part should be dominated by the melody. Melody naturally produce rhythm but rhythm should always be subservient to both melody and harmony.
If there is no beat or rhythm, then the music is lifeless and dead. It is like having no pulse.
If the beat is throbbing or pulsating, then the music is sick.
If the beat is concealed in the harmony with the melody dominating, then the music is healthy.
Some music majors in beat, tension and repetitive dissonance and totally distorts the melody. It actually reverses the proper order of music. This distortion makes the music more appealing to physical passions and appetites the fallen nature. (ref chart by Bill Gothard – Basic Youth Conflict).
c) OTHER GUIDELINES FOR EVALUATION
It is helpful to ask "Where did the music originate and who wrote it ?" Did it originate in the heart of the genuine believer or out of Christian principles or out of the flesh ?
John 3: 6 "…that which is out of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit"
Not only should music be checked as to its origin but also its identification should be discerned. With what will the listener identify the particular style of music that is being played ? Music is generally identified with something or someone; either God, the world, the flesh or the devil. Certain styles are identified with sensuality and other works of darkness.
Finally, music is primarily a means to an end. All music is meant to convey a message and bring a response to the same.
One should ask " What does this music communicate ? What response does it bring ? What is the fruit ? Music should convey a message that is conveyed in the word of God. Music is a blessed means to an end and that end is to glorify God.
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