My Purpose

My Purpose

The purpose of this blog is to help people understand that music can be more then just entertainment, and what those things are. I want be able to help people with this blog. I don't know everything about music, I am still studying it, however, I will share what I have found. I hope you will be enlighted and edified by what I have to share. I worry that some people might turn a deaf ear to my blog if they read something on this blog that they don't agree with. I respect your beliefs. I don't agree with everything I read either. But I know you can find something that can help and interest you, if you just keep reading.

"Quotes Worth Mentioning"


When asked where his inspiration came from, Johannes Brahms said, "I immediately feel vibrations that thrills my whole being. These are the Spirit illuminating the soul power within, and in this exalted state, I see clearly what is obscure in my ordinary moods: Then I feel capable of drawing inspiration from above, as Beethoven ... Straighway the ideas flow in upon me, directly from God, and not only do I see distinct themes in my mind's eye but they are clothed in the right forms, harmonies, and orchestration. Measure by measure, the finished product is revealed to me when I am in those rare, inspired moods." "The powers from which all truly great composers like Mozart, Schubert, Bach and Beethoven drew their inspiration is the same power that enabled Jesus to work his miracles. It is the same power that created our earth and the whole universe"
("Talks with Great Composers", Arthur M. Abell)

"Give me power over he who shapes the music of a nation, and I care not for who shapes it laws"
Napolian Bonaparte

“Intellectual enlightenment consists of instruction in the arts, numbers, history, speech, and government. Music consummates a man’s life, giving his rituals meaning. Music has a trensforming effect on its listeners, and should be the first principle of government.” -The Teachings of Confucius.

I quote some remarks between,Gene R. Cook, and Mik Jagger made a few years ago:
Cook: "I have the opportunity to be with a lot of young people. Many say your music does not affect them adversely in any way. Others say it effects them in a very bad way. What is your opinion? What is your impact?”
Jagger "Our music is calculated to drive the kids to sex. It's not my fault what they do. It's up to them. I'm just making a lot of money.”
Cook: He was in Mexico making a profane and pornographic music video because the cost is 1/3 there. In addition it is easier to produce such videos there at the moment. He explained that though such videos with explicit sexual behavior is illegal on US national television, it soon will be, and they want to have the videos ready. Now not only audio pornography can be portrayed, but they can view it as well. He was making more money this way."
Jagger:“It doesn't matter what you do in life, there are no rules. There is no god. You can take whatever you want. It doesn't matter."

"To encourage literature and the arts is the duty which every good citizen owns to his country."
George Washington

"Music has the power of producing a certain effect on the moral character of the soul, and if it has the power to do this, it is clear that the young must be directed to music and must be educated in it."

(more qoutes to come)

PLEASE NOTE: It would greatly benefit the reader to follow blog postings from the first post to the most recent. Using the Blog Archive in the left column of the page to jump to the oldest posts. For now I will see if I can find a way to display the posting in chronilogical order, first post to the latest post.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Christian Development

(this is some information that I received from Dr. Michael Ballam, this information is unedited notes of Dr. Ballam, hence there are the spelling error and typos. It is my intent to not edit them for the purpuse of not risking to change the meaning of the text. It is my desire to inform you of these errors so as to not take away any credibiliy from Dr. Ballam because of possible impressions that these mistakes may have on people to lower his credibility.)
That struggle between the secular and the sacred in music has plagued organized religious observation for centuries. The first manifestation of Christianity which grew out of the Jewish traditions of a Jew from Nazareth named Joshua (or Jesus in Greek) who took the Law of Moses (the Torah) to another level. His followers called themselves Christians. The Roman Catholic Church becomes the first manifestation of this form of religious celebration. Like their Jewish counterpart, early Christians, chanted the gospel in various ways. Principally it was done by the Priests and the Nuns, with some responding from the congregation. It was chanted in the ancient language of Latin. There were many priests and even popes who were compelled to use popular music to entice the public into the church for Sabbath worship. Often secular music would be used to set sacred texts. This was very disconcerting to Pope Gregory, 590 AD, who determined it was not appropriate to set sacred words to secular music, or to music with such complexity as to obscure the text or the worshipful nature. He decreed that music needed to be plain. We refer to this tradition as Plain Song or Plain Chant. It is also called Gregorian Chant. In 1985 while performing with the Santa Fe Opera, I was approached to sing in one of the Catholic Churches there. I was quite astonished by what I witnessed. I participated in the celebration of the Mass in which a Jazz/Folk combo of electric guitar and drums accompanied popular and folk tunes that had been used to set the mass. I will never forget the “jiving” that took place when the Agnus dei qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis (Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world have mercy on us, was set to the popular folk tune Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore. It had a jarring effect on me to see people snapping their fingers and swaying back and forth in a jubilant posture as they were singing words of contrary meaning and magnitude. Were they seeking supplication, or enjoying the music? After the meeting I spoke to the priest about his choice. He said the “new music” had raised the numbers in the congregation. More seats are filled, but there are challenges associated as well. There are numbers of people coming in off the street to enjoy the music not to worship. Picnics are held during the service, shorts and even swimming suits are worn, I even witnessed some parishioners becoming publicly amorous during the service. Where is the balance. Clearly Pope Gregory was not the only concerned party in history about this subject. I am not sure that there is a religious denomination that does not address this question on a regular basis. This was one of the deciding questions asked by Martin Luther which caused his separation from the Roman Catholic Church. Luther asked about participation: why should the congregation not be able to worship in their vernacular (native language)? Why should they not be able to read the scriptures in their vernacular as well? Should they not have some participation in the service, by singing and maybe even speaking? Such questions caused his separation from the mother church, and a new form of religious observation began. A more participatory form of Christianity taking his name would emerge, called the Lutheran Church. Musical practice in the church changed as well. The mass is a celebration of Jesus Christ. The first movement is the only one to use Greek words, Kyrie eleison, Christe elison, Kyrie eleison, meaning Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us. Notice the use of the number three, which has mystical and sacred meaning in the church. Often the number three is prominent in musical settings in the church. There is a deep association with the trinity, the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Some movements of the mass have few words such as Sanctus, santus, sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth, meaning Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts. Notice again the repetition of three. The Credo, on the other hand has many words...I believe in one God, Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible... That movement usually uses an economy of music with each syllable getting only one note, in order to get through the text with dispatch. The dilemma of musical choices in the church was compounded by the need to get financial resources necessary to keep the church solvent. In most services within the Christian church there is a time for offertory, when a plate is passed through the audience with the hope that donations will come forward. It is through this means that the church operates and maintains itself, hires the clergy and operates it’s charitable causes. Sometimes these different sources of funding are generated through more than one offertory during the service. Regardless of how the financial resources are gathered, it has been important for the clergy to keep the congregations associated to the service and thereby philanthropic. The era of concerts and in particular public performances using religious themes wherein admission was charged is a relatively new convention. The great stories of religious nature have been set to music since the beginning, but it was not until the 17th Century when public consumption of this form of art carried with it an admission price. Such public events sometimes took place in the churches, and sometimes in concert halls, though there were few of those until the 18th century. J.S. Bach wrote hundreds of hours of original music every year to be used every Sunday in his churches in Weimar and Leipzig. He had no intention of becoming famous for it, or to be paid for it. He did it as his service to the church for which he taught in the boys school during the week. He was given housing and sustenance for his labors. It helped raise his 27???? children. He often wrapped their lunches in the music from the previous services. He did not envision being published or having influence outside his small circle. Had it not been for Felix Mendelssohn, who discovered quite by accident his Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. Matthew (The Saint Matthew Passion), that the world became acquainted with the corpus (body) of Bach’s writings. Due to the financial resources of Mendelssohn through his grandmother and father, he was able to publish and perform many of the monumental works of J.S. Bach. We will examine his works in greater detail later. Born the same year, 1685, very nearby was Georg Friedrich Händel. His life was quite the opposite of Bach’s. Händel had every intention of being famous and wealthy. He pursued one of the most remarkable careers in operatic composition in history. His operas such as Julius Caesar, Rinaldo, and Ottone are still performed today with regularity and great success. Händel was always interested in money and fame until the end of his life when he wished to write a monument. He wanted to convey his deep religious feelings with an oratorio of epic proportion. He solicited the help of a fried to cull out of the Old and New Testaments beautiful segments related to the life of Jesus Christ. He would suffer a stroke before it’s creation, and suffer great financial setbacks in order to produce it, but The Messiah is his crowning achievement. He spent 28 days re-writing previously existing pieces from former operas, setting them with new texts. Nein, ich werde nimmer trauen becomes For unto us a child is born, etc. He re-wrote duets to become choral pieces, arias to become duets, and so forth. The task was herculean. There have been few efforts in human history equal to this one. After completing the Hallelujah, he came out of his chamber, having eaten almost nothing during those many days and said to his man servant, “I have seen the hand of God!” Was he serious?

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