Friday, May 27, 2016

Tracing Music’s Origin-part 7


Tracing Music’s Origin-part 7  
            It is imperative that all philosophical basis of music begins with God’s creation, “I the beginning God created..” which includes music, and God’s ownership which includes music.  To the Christian, all forms of music come under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  Colossians 1:16-18 states, ”For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
            It is essential that Christian musicians place music under the Lordship of Christ by acknowledging that God created it in His original acts of creation.  Without this Bible foundation, Christian musicians pen Pandora’s Box philosophically  denying music as an act of creation is to open all kinds of faulty philosophies and praxes  Denying God’s ownership of music makes way for the faulty view that music belongs to man’s true humanness.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tracing Music’s Origin-part 6


Tracing Music’s Origin-part 6
            So, after much confusion, musicologists are now face to face with the fact that the notation of Bible music is authentic and that it is very ancient.  Music historians now realize that the Ugaritic notation is 1400 to 1500 years older than the Greek fragments and that the precise Bible music notation is at least 3000 years old.  Depending on when the te’amim were developed (See Music of the Bible in Christian Perspective, chapter eight.), written Bible music may be much older than the 3000 years date given by Stolba.
            Why all this fuss about music history?  The import of this discussion is simply that in the beginning God created music.  It is my belief that it is possible God revealed the te’amim to the ancient Bible authors who wrote both music and words as a unit.  It is possible that God revealed the te’amim to Moses on Mt. Sinai or that he acquired this knowledge from the Egyptians i.e. Acts 7:22, “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.”

 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tracing Music’s Origin-part 5

Tracing Music’s Origin-part 5

            As we review the recent history of music history books, we see that finally archaeology is now forcing music historians to retain God in their knowledge.  Grout basically fails to recognize the authenticity of Bible music, and seems to lean toward the “real” history of music beginning with the Greeks.  Borroff doesn’t do any better with her analysis of the beginnings of music. 
            By the time of Stolba’s book the evidence is overwhelming that, based on the evidence available, Western music did not start in the West, but rather in the Near East.  If they had listened to Plato, music historians could have avoided much of these misconceptions.  Most certainly a careful study of the te’amim would have proven a written music long before the existing Greek fragments.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tracing Music’s Origin-part 4


Tracing Music’s Origin-part 4
            In 1960, Donald Grout published his famous, “A History of Western Music”.  In this treatise, Grout is careful not to be specific concerning the origins of music.  He attributes the beginning of Western art music to the Christian church.  He also states that “Greek mythology ascribed to music a divine origin and named its inventors and earliest practitioners gods and demigods, such as Apollo, Amphion, and Orpheus.”3 He also mentions Old Testament references to music but does not recognize Bible music as authentic knowledge concerning the beginnings of music. 
            In 1971, Edith Borroff published, “Music in Europe and the United States”.  She begins her treatise on music history with “Speculation on the beginnings of music is endlessly fascinating, but no certainty is even likely to come to it.”  In 1990, K. Marie Stolba published, “The Development of Western Music History”. She begins this treatise on music history by reminding history students that “Plato placed the origin of music in creation, and numerous legends present music as a gift of the gods or the invention of one of them.” She begins chapter one by acknowledging the music of Ugarit and the te’amim (musical notation) of the Bible.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Tracing Music’s Origin-part 3

Tracing Music’s Origin-part 3

            We are not completely left in the dark concerning the possibilities of the beginnings of music since we have the mention of Jubal and his music instruments early in the Genesis record.  By the time of Jacob (Genesis 31:27), we have record of songs, the frame drum translated in the KJV (toph 8596), and the lyre (kinore 3658) translated harp in the KJV.  At the time of the Exodus (15:1-22) we have songs being written and group singing (vs.1).
             In verse 20 we have the addition of the word mecholah (4246) which no doubt meant piping (from its derivation “bored through”) rather than dancing even though it is often translated dancing.  So we can see that music was very well developed by the time of the Exodus and even before that time.  A review of Scripture reveals that during Israel’s early period of nomadic life, instrumental music was well developed.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Tracing Music’s Origin-part 2


Tracing Music’s Origin-part 2
            It is possible that the beginnings of musical knowledge could be traced to Genesis 1:26 where Adam is commanded to “...have dominion (radah 7287) over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth (erets 776), and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”  Also in verse twenty-eight he is admonished to “replenish the earth (776) and subdue (kabash 3533) it.”  The words dominion (radah 7287) and subdue (kabash 3533) mean to subjugate or to conquer and the word earth (erets 776) is the broad term used for the world as opposed to the word adamah (127) which means the soil. 
             So, Adam was given the command to conquer and bring under his control the world around him which included music.  We know from Genesis 2:19-20 that Adam was given tremendous insight and knowledge.  Although these passages say absolutely nothing about music, it is possible that he also had unusual insight in music.  However, the pursuit of such an exotic hypothesis would be nothing more than exegetical gymnastics.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Tracing Music’s Origin-part 1


Tracing Music’s Origin-part 1
            Music theorists and historians have stubbornly resisted the fact that the ancient Hebrew Scripture helps us to identify the beginnings of music.  Scholarly sources like The New Oxford History of Music report, “It is very difficult to say anything definite about the origin of music, because the phenomenon is quite outside the range of our observation.  Even in those primitive civilizations that still exist there is no race so primitive that it can be considered a relic of the beginning of human culture.”   The New Oxford History of Music, Vol. I Egon Wellesz p.5   It is a mistake to look for the origin of music in any existing remnant of early civilization but rather in the Old Testament Scriptures.  It is true that the Pentateuch is relatively silent as to the specifics of the beginnings of music.  However, we do know that God imparted musical knowledge to man before the flood.  Genesis 4:21 states that Lamech’s son Jubal “was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.”

Friday, May 20, 2016

Musicing about God, for God with God’s Grace-part 4

Musicing about God, for God with God’s Grace-part 4
              Third, a musician who performs or leads others in sacred music must have the grace (charis 5485) God in his or her heart.  This Scripture is not referring to man’s charisma but rather God’s grace.  Although it appears that in the late 20th century and now in the 21st century many Bible translators have taken the view that charis should be translated in this verse as gratitude or in a graceful manner.  I see no logical reason t not follow the majority opinion of the earlier Bible exegetes that this Greek word should connote the grace of God that has been shed abroad in the hearts of men and women who have been truly “born again”.  Tis word should here represent God’s saving grace that changed the whole-life of the “new man”.
            With the aforementioned exegetical understanding, this verse strongly teaches that church musicians must be “born again” before they sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs in God’s house.  No amount of artistic, graceful, respectful, or thankful musicing can take the place of the church musician being a born again Christian who has the Grace of God operating in his or her life

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Musicing about God, for God with God’s Grace-part 3

Musicing about God, for God with God’s Grace-part 3
             Second, the Christian musician who is performing the psalms, hymn, and spiritual songs does so as a vehicle for giving thanks to God the Father by the mediatorial agency of God the Son.  We should not forget that musicing unto God is always done as a performance.  However, performing music for God’s glory is a much different performance than performing for the aggrandizement of the performer.  The Christian musician should consider all sacred musicing to be musical offerings unto God.  All this musicing should be musicing about God that is strictly for God.
            Although it is hard for many Christian musicians to view all sacred musicing as musical offerings rather than artistic musical sacrifices made unto God, that is exactly what they should be.  A historical look at music in the Temple in ancient Israel reveals that the evites did not consider sacred music to be an art form as we do in Western culture today.  It appears that ancient Temple musicians viewed it as a means of connection with JHVH.  Also, they considered their music to be a sacred trust that was at the center of all their musicing.

 

 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Musicing about God, for God with God’s Grace-part 2

Musicing about God, for God with God’s Grace-part 2
            There is also another companion passage found in Ephesians 5:19-21, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”
            I would like to take a brief moment to remind Christian musicians of the main reasons that we music mentioned in Colossians 3:16.  First, we must always music “in the name of the Lord Jesus”.  The Greek word used her is kurios (2962) which connotes supreme authority, or the one who is the Christian’s Savior, Lord and Master.  Christian musicians often tend to get lost in the fact that they are giving a music performance or that they work for and represent a particular church or Christian organization. All of the above may be true, but a Christian musician’s supreme authority is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.