We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Contemporary Music Demands Immediacy

The contemporary spirit is defined not so much by a style as by its demand for immediacy.  This is what has happened to us in our mass-media-saturated culture.  Anything that fails to give immediate satisfaction, that demands some reflection, is going to be perceived as unsympathetic to the needs of modern man.

Leonard R. Payton, "Reforming our Worship Music," p.12


Anonymous said...

So very true.

Something else that does not appeal to modern man - becoming a true musician requires discipline and diligence. It takes hard work and perseverance to learn how to properly play an instrument, including the ability to read music, understand key and time signatures, utilize dynamics, comprehend music theory, and perhaps even learn how to compose music. It also takes humility and engenders accountability when one subjects oneself to a teacher, who corrects errors and provides instruction.

It's easier to "wing it", again because it gives more "immediate satisfaction". Especially when one is "self taught".

But it is FAR more rewarding in the long run to have put in the necessary effort to truly become a musician.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Well, I'm going to play devil's advocate for a minute. :oD

I'm a musician, having played the Highland bagpipes for 32 years now. But, I only know the 9 notes of the pipes, although learning them I understand time signatures and that the rest of the notes on the scale go higher or lower than mine. I have no sharps or flats either, so I don't know how to read those. Don't comprehend music theory and I don't know how I'd utilize dynamics.

I agree with discipline as for learning, practicing, and playing -- especially with other pipers. And with the band I'm still taking corrections and instruction from the pipe major!

Anonymous said...


Is there a way to listen on-line to you playing your bagpipes? I think that would be uplifting to a lot of folks!

Anonymous said...

No need to play the devil's advocate, dear friend! I meant no personal insult to you. Since bagpipes are typically not the instrument of choice used to lead church worship (HAHA!), I would not expect you to know more than the capacity of your own instrument. :oD For the record, I know nothing about pipes, other than I like to listen to them. After reading what you wrote, I did have to do some homework, and actually looked up the notes of the pipes. G A B C D E F G A was what I found for Great Highland Bagpipes. I read that bagpipes are non-chromatic instruments, and are tuned completely differently than other instruments. Nonetheless, a few of the notes of the pipes scale actually are sharps, but it is not notated as such on the music. Finally, as I learned, bagpipes are very complex to learn to play and take significant dedication. So I know you are disciplined! Of course, I would expect no less from you, given what I know about you from interacting with you on your blog. :oD

In my comment, I was talking specifically about the attitude in the church that I've seen. Dedication and discipline to study music does not appeal to many. I really believe it's one of the reasons why worship music today is so lackluster. It's easy to memorize and play the repetitious drivel by ear. It takes time and effort to learn to read music, etc, but those who can, are able to be of so much more use for worship. A church truly does benefit from having formally trained musicians.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...


I've not recorded anything. I know there are recordings people have made, and I've been on TV on several occasions, but never seen on the 'net. However, there are two videos on the 'net where I am playing with a band I was a member of from 2009 to 2014 (I moved to another band because the old band was concentrating on competitions and I don't really have the time or money, for that).

Anyway, Back in March of 2012, we played in a concert with The Chieftains in Cedar Falls, IA, and someone in the balcony recorded it (illegal) and posted it here:
My wife is a snare drummer (the red drums) and is third from the left (the one with glasses) and ends up far left with a close up. At about 1:36 they close up on the pipers. In the line (pipe sergeant is at the top), I'm third face from the top; when they close up, I'm the one with the puffy cheeks almost at the top.

Then in May 2013 we competed in Springfield, IL and Chicago. Took first place in our grade in Springfield, and one of the band member's family posted a video here:
(some of us older pipers have competed in higher grades-- I've taken first place in solo grade 4 and have competed solo grade 3, and the pipe major has competed grade 2) As we march in, I'm in the second rank, second from the left side of the video (2nd from the right of the band), my kilt colors are the same as the rest of the band but a slightly different set so the squares are larger. The one in front of me, with the reds/purples, is a member of another band also.

So these are the only videos of me on the 'net that I know of, and i'm playing with everyone else!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Carolyn,

I was only playing devil’s advocate to demonstrate that being a good musician doesn’t mean you have to know all that stuff :oD

I have played several times for church worship, as “special music.” You’d be surprised how many hymns sound great on the pipes. There are some good settings for many, but most I had to transcribe/transpose myself, since, as you noticed, regular piano settings don’t work for the pipes. (I also have shuttle pipes which play the same as the Highland pipes but are for indoor use, and I’ve also played them for worship - they go great with violin).

The old saw about learning the pipes says you are best starting at about age 7, but I started at 32. The saw says the making of a piper takes 7 years learning, 7 years practice, and 7 years playing before you can be considered a piper. I started in Jan 1983, so I’m a genuine piper.

I know you were talking about the attitude, but I couldn’t resist.

Anonymous said...


Oh I KNOW hymns sound exceptional on the pipes. I used to have a recording of the Royal Scottish Pipe and Drum band (something like that) of Amazing Grace. WOW! It was AMAZING! Pipes are definitely excellent for special music.

Yes, you can be a good musician without knowing everything, but it's helpful to the church to have those that do have formal training.

Congrats on your perseverance to becoming a genuine piper! PTL!


Bro. Nick Nicholas said...

About the power of musick - which Satan knows full well

“Let me write the songs of a nation, and I care not who writes its laws.”
Damon of Athens, one of Plato’s contemporaries

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Bro Nick,

Yep, I'm very familiar with that quote, and it is so right on. Luther had a similar statement.