Saturday, January 13, 2007

Effeminate Music

Now before I get blasted before I even get started, there is nothing wrong with feminine music; however, since Yahweh created Man male and female, the current lack of masculine music in the Church is troubling.

The ancient Greeks were highly concerned with the power of music to shape character. Wimpy music would produce effeminate men feared Plato. I believe such a thing has occurred in the modern evangelical church.

The use, or misuse, of bass lines is one of the most egregious examples. In the feminization of the American church, we’ve eliminated strong bass lines and thus have eliminated the need and place for men to sing manly music. In some songs we’ve removed bass vocal lines altogether. I have even been in church situations in which worship teams have sung hymns a capella but without a bass line!

Another element that weakens ecclesiastical music is poor vocal technique that makes breathy singing the norm. The full use of the voice, vocal projection, and good breath support is unnecessary, and actually undesirable, when microphones and amplification are used.

In addition, theology that presents God as a cosmic teddy bear who longs to have us climb in his lap and run his fingers through our hair while telling us he loves us is a far cry from singing the psalms that ask God to destroy his enemies. How many modern hymnals leave out the third verse of “Be Thou My Vision” (Be thou my battle shield, Sword for my fight) or “The Son of God Goes Forth to War” because they are too militaristic?

All of these elements leave church-going men without a vocal line to sing, no opportunity to sing robustly, and lyrics that major on emotional theology and not a balanced approach of emotional and intellectual truth.


McClelland Family said...

Jessica Simpson could benefit from your fourth paragraph!

Troy Lizenby said...

Basses of the church universal unite!

covenantpromise said...


Absolutely....and what about "Onward Christian soldiers marching unto war, with the cross of Jesus, going on before". I for one sing with as much gusto as I can muster for the glory of God in worship. My only problem is that after 2 or 3 songs my throat is "tired". I have no idea how to sing "properly" ie. using my diaphram. So that begs the question......... When do the singing lessons begin for the parishioner's at Parish Pres.? Thanks - Jason Parolini

Mrs. Butler said...

Greg, I JUST yesterday gave a lecture on this (well, it was broader in scope, but this was included) to my 7/8 grade music class yesterday. Wish I'd read this first! Excellent as always. My husband and I enjoy your blog very much.

Greg said...

Jason: Choir rehearsal starts on January 25 and will include some music and singing education. Hopefully music education in boys choir and girls choir will begin within the year.

Mrs. Butler: Thank you for your kind comments.

Cy Fenton said...

Here here brother!! While I love "As the Deer Panteth", we crave some balance in our song selection. One of my favorite manly hymns is A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.

"And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him."

As my 5 year old yells out at the end of that stanza - "JESUS".

zack said...

Awesome post... I thought I was the first and only person to refer to contempory "praise and worship" music as "effeminate" ditties. I have to admit I don't have a background in music theory/history and so I have a hard time actually making the connection technically, they P&W songs have always just struck me as being sissy songs both because of ftheir form and content, I was wandering if you could point me toward any resources that back this up technically? Thanks. Zack