I’ll be using Christianity as my religion of focus, seeing as tomorrow is Sunday and I’ll be singing spiritual songs of our own soon anyway! According to the textbook, Christianity was legalized in Europe in the 4th century and was thus the focus of most songs during the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods (Resonances, pg. 393). As we know, Gregorian chant was first used in the church as a way to sing praise and memorize verses in the Bible, starting with the “Canonical Hours” that the textbook explains was an eight hour service that included a chanting of all 150 Psalms usually in Latin. As the Reformation takes hold and the church does what it can to preserve itself, Giovanni da Palestrina creates the “Mass Ordinary” that sets the precedent for our modern-day liturgy, containing five parts that must be sung or spoken in Latin during the service. In the Baroque era, Bach invents cantatas for the Lutheran church, a multi-part work for voice and instrumental accompaniment, which “reflected on the Biblical readings for the day, interpreted their meaning for the congregation, and prepared listeners to understand and appreciate the sermon.” (Resonances, pg. 414)
Perfectly enough, my boyfriend and I had been discussing a song we last heard a while ago on the K-Love radio station, one that specifically plays “Christian music,” that they haven’t played again since. I went to searching on YouTube and found it the same night!
It was just so different from the other songs that the radio station had on repeat that I instantly found it one of the best (and I don’t usually indulge in songs that dig into the religion all that much.) My favorite part is most definitely at 1:02, where the singer lets his falsetto lead into a small pause until the chorus swells with a crescendo to the namesake of the song. I don’t know what key this would be called, but it’s in that space between major and minor that just makes a song sound so powerful and motivating! Clearly, as the title and lyrics could tell you, the song is all about praising God and finding salvation/a new life through him. The style of this song isn’t exactly what you’d hear at a more traditional church, but you could probably catch it at a more contemporary setting.
And as an extra throw-in for the theater lovers, my favorite Sight and Sound track to date!
Just to rant for my own personal fun, Sight and Sound has got to be the most exciting Christian-related thing I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. It’s as if Broadway turned to the Bible for inspiration and brought it to the stage. The stage itself is built wall-to-wall, so instead of just one straight ahead of the audience, curtains reveal an extension of it to the left and right! Live animals are used in productions! Set pieces are moved in real time and, in the case of “David,” gigantic props are used. Goliath was made life-sized and he moved without looking like it took a lot of effort! My congregation went to go watch the David show as a part of our yearly summer outing, making this the eighth Sight and Sound show we’ve watched (wow!) The scene with this track, “Bathsheba,” in particular stuck with me the whole ride back to our hotel just for how ethereal the vocals were.