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Do you need to *believe* what you sing?

GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere) 13 Mar 03 - 11:59 AM
GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere) 13 Mar 03 - 11:53 AM
denise:^) 13 Mar 03 - 11:12 AM
John P 13 Mar 03 - 09:48 AM
Sam L 13 Mar 03 - 09:25 AM
GUEST 12 Mar 03 - 10:45 PM
Snuffy 12 Mar 03 - 08:47 PM
Sam L 12 Mar 03 - 10:09 AM
Reverend Georgie B 12 Mar 03 - 12:50 AM
mousethief 12 Mar 03 - 12:49 AM
Podger 12 Mar 03 - 12:13 AM
Murray MacLeod 11 Mar 03 - 11:08 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 11 Mar 03 - 10:15 PM
Little Hawk 11 Mar 03 - 08:37 PM
Mark Clark 11 Mar 03 - 08:24 PM
Roughyed 11 Mar 03 - 07:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Mar 03 - 07:17 PM
Burke 11 Mar 03 - 06:17 PM
Bill D 11 Mar 03 - 05:41 PM
GUEST,Grab 11 Mar 03 - 05:36 PM
Joe Offer 11 Mar 03 - 05:30 PM
Merritt 11 Mar 03 - 05:18 PM
denise:^) 11 Mar 03 - 03:59 PM
paulo 11 Mar 03 - 03:49 PM
paulo 11 Mar 03 - 03:48 PM
*daylia* 11 Mar 03 - 03:17 PM
Joe_F 11 Mar 03 - 03:08 PM
dick greenhaus 11 Mar 03 - 02:52 PM
Joe Offer 11 Mar 03 - 02:47 PM
*daylia* 11 Mar 03 - 02:34 PM
Bill D 11 Mar 03 - 02:23 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Mar 03 - 12:55 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Mar 03 - 12:16 PM
Bill D 11 Mar 03 - 12:05 PM
GUEST,Russ 11 Mar 03 - 12:02 PM
Bill D 11 Mar 03 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,The O'Meara 11 Mar 03 - 11:29 AM
IanC 11 Mar 03 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,The O'Meara 11 Mar 03 - 11:27 AM
greg stephens 11 Mar 03 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,The O'Meara 11 Mar 03 - 11:20 AM
Pseudolus 11 Mar 03 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,Russ 11 Mar 03 - 11:16 AM
PeteBoom 11 Mar 03 - 10:58 AM
GUEST 11 Mar 03 - 10:50 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Mar 03 - 10:49 AM
Sam L 11 Mar 03 - 10:43 AM
Wolfgang 11 Mar 03 - 10:38 AM
Amos 11 Mar 03 - 10:33 AM
greg stephens 11 Mar 03 - 10:14 AM
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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere)
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 11:59 AM

Quickly found.
Non-Friendly Silent worship
I don't know who this is written for, as it assumes knowledge in the reader which I have not, nor have been able to find.
And surely God is able to reach people through something sung by an atheist?
Too many wall-builders rather than bridge-builders around, I think.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere)
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 11:53 AM

Apart from actually feeling that singing that you believe something you don't is not in line with letting your yea be yea and your nay be nay, I think that site is terrible. Terrifying, even. It isn't about people singing about things they don't believe, it's about other people deciding that they don't believe them. It makes me want to tart myself up and strut down to one of their places of congregation and croon Amazing Grace at them like Eartha Kitt. Or Fenella Fielding. I wouldn't be very good at it, but....
This Apostate Hour... Anyone feel like starting a radio show under that title?
Joe, not only did he not like Catholics much, but I don't think he liked anyone who wasn't Southern Baptist. Or from his own neighbourhood of the South. Or his church. Maybe he had doubts about the people in the next pew, too.
You know that joke about the guy on the steps of the church praying that he be let in to join it, and God answering that he can't do much to help because he's been trying to get in for years?
It also reminds me of another site I chanced on, on the evil of accompanied singing in church. I'll try to find it.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: denise:^)
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 11:12 AM

In response to Joe's comments on people 'shooting down' songs that they don't like, or approve--
We had a woman in our group, wonderful in many respects, but she decided that "Lord of the Dance" was a terrible song, and no one should sing it.

She had no trouble introducing songs in HER native language, or songs that reflected HER beliefs, but she had a fit about other people asking for this one--and she could be VERY pushy, and make her opinions known QUITE vocally.

Now, we had a woman in our group, too, who was particularly attached to "Lord of..."   She learned it from her mother as a child, and they used to sing it together before her mother died of a brain tumor when she was in high school.

I just sort-of stepped in, and said that if we were giving people choices, then they got their choice, and those who wished to could sing along. If not, you could *not* sing along--but bashing other people's choices was NOT an acceptable alternative.

I got a little grumbling, but it became the standard practice. (Most folks sing everything.)

Now, I have a little trouble singing, "Banks of the Ohio." Senseless carnage, if you ask me... (but I'll let you sing it if you want!;^)

Denise:^)


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: John P
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 09:48 AM

Here's a concept: those who think it's hypocritical to sings songs one doesn't believe are being hypocritical when they sing songs they don't believe. Those who doen't think it's hypocritical to sing songs one doesn't believe aren't being hypocritical when they do so.

I have to say that one of my major peeves is people telling what I should and shouldn't play and how I should or shouldn't play it. I've been listening to the folk police for years telling me in a reproving manner that I'm not playing traditional music traditionally (as if I was trying to!). Lately I've been hearing the message police tell me that many old traditional songs are inappropriate for modern, ethically advanced audiences. In particular, songs about violence against women and Christian songs sung by non-Christians seem to bring out the policeperson in many of us.

Obviously a song has to move me in some way or I don't even consider it. But I am moved more often by a great melody or an unusually poetic set of lyrics than by any "message" the song has. I agree with what Fred Miller said earlier in this discussion: "I generally don't care too much for the aspect of art that is all about delivering messages." I'm much more interested in art that delivers art.

My wife and I did a Christmas album a few years ago. It was all old traditional and early music, and it was all music that completely thrilled us in one way or another. The "messages" of most of the songs strike me as far-fetched to say the least. The words and music used to deliver the messages were glorious, and as such drew me to perform them. I just can't find any problem with a non-Christian singing a Christian folk song in a folk music setting. Note to Christians: if you don't want people singing your songs, stop writing them. One of the great things about music is that it gets out of boxes and goes flying around, peering into nooks and crannies, grabbing people and being grabbed. It just won't politely be what you think it should be, or stay where you put it.

John Peekstok


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Sam L
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 09:25 AM

here's an acting technique, from Sanford Meisner, who had some notable students. About how to play a feeling or belief you don't have, or an experience you don't know, he says it's like you're a farmer way out in the country, and the nearest companionship is many miles away. But between here and there are a great many sheep....


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 10:45 PM

I find with me that it's not a matter of will, it's a matter of chemistry. I am physically unable to sing songs I cannot "stand behind" (this is different from "believing in", but I'm not sure how). This physical reaction has been with me since age 11 or 12. I left the high church choir at that age after going the regular route of Christian - Deist - deist - atheist, and they threw me out of the scouts at about the same time for refusing to salute their flag. I have never been able to sing the British national anthem and when I emigrated to Canada, found I couldn't sing that one either. These physical restraints are linked to what I "think", in that I don't disagree with my body on any of these or other songs. My singing tends these days to be didactic or lecturelike, so I can sing a really vile song if I can explain to my audience why I think it's vile. The songs I can't stand behind are the ones that are to my mind dishonest in one way or another. This would include "Will the Circle be Unbroken" or all of Stan Rogers' oevre, for example.

I wouldn't recommend this position to anyone else, and I can't say that the prevailing tendency in this thread - that singing is akin to acting - is wrong. All I can say is that I can't do it!

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Snuffy
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 08:47 PM

There are some great songs about foxhunting, whaling, the Irish "troubles", etc, where I heartily disagree with the sentiments expressed, but I find them great songs to sing and can believe them enough (but only while I'm singing them.)


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Sam L
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 10:09 AM

The distinction I make is not between believing or believing in something, but merely between believing, and talking about or singing about believing. Those are just different things, that are connected, sometimes, but very unreliably.

I generally don't care too much for the aspect of art that is all about delivering messages. Artists aren't postal workers--well, sometimes, but it's not the point. Artists don't have any particular authority to tell anybody anything, but they can know their own business, words, colors, sounds, elephant dung, or whatever little bits of the world they use, and know the world a little, and draw comparisons about things from what they discover by playing with that stuff. And they can be more or less convincing to you or me, or not.

   I have my doubts whether people who think you need to believe what you sing to "put it across" could reliably pass the pepsi challenge by listening to singers whose convictions they don't know. And I promise I can sing things I do believe wholeheartedly and still be utterly unconvincing--it doesn't make me a better singer. I think people can be inspired by their beliefs, and try harder, care more, and do better, but it's not magic, or extra credit. It's just art.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Reverend Georgie B
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 12:50 AM

You better believe it when you are singing it, or you are just repeating the words. I don't mean you have to be a christian to sing "The Old Rugged Cross", but you'd better have an understanding of what the lyrics mean and try to put forth the feeling required by the tune or you are doing a disservice to the music. And we can't have that, now can we?


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: mousethief
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 12:49 AM

Well said, Jerry.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Podger
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 12:13 AM

You don't have to believe what you sing but you most certainly have to believe that the song is worth singing.

As an athiest I sing many religious songs because they are good songs but there are also songs which I don't sing because they could be personally offensive.

I love bawdy songs but certainly don't agree or believe in a lot that goes on in them.

They ground and ground that faithful hound

from Tenerife to Dover


Just because I enjoy singing the song doesn't mean that it's really my cup of tea.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:08 PM

If it were necessary to believe in what one sang, we would never hear another whaling song ever again. That would be a "consummation devoutly to be wished".

btw, Fred, It was John Wesley who said "Why should the devil have all the best tunes?"

Murray


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 10:15 PM

Alright folks!...

I'm fond of Irony in music, and I compose songs that are 'full of it' ;^)... Yes, even the basic premise of some of my songs is ironical... and, whether or not people laugh or cry (or feel inspired to 'kill' the messenger), the irony itself is somewhat comunicative... I do not believe that the events and situations in the songs are righteous or good... Often, I would not want to be any of the characters... but the scene is set for the making of a point that is nonverbal. This is constantly done in literature, movies, visual art, and common social encounters, and is not to be confused with snideness... which is thinly veiled meanness... I *believe*...

I *believe* that irony is an effective vise for the enhancement of creative thought... It certainly has been for me! It is all through the Ballad collections I've seen and heard, and keeps me comming back!

All the Best! ttr


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 08:37 PM

Yes. The only exceptions are when I sing something humorous or satirical...or just for fun...or because someone else is enjoying it and I can add a harmony or something. But generally, yes, I need to believe what I sing. And I do.

There is no rule so stringent that it cannot be usefully tempered by making the odd deviation to the contrary...

- LH


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 08:24 PM

Joe, I thought I knew all the usual verses to “Blow Ye Winds in the Morning” but I don't recall anything offensive or graphic… surely you don't mean the blubber hooks verse. I'd have left too but not before a giving loud rendition of “Sam Hall.”

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Roughyed
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 07:20 PM

I don't think it's about believing, but connecting. If a song means something to you, even if it's not what you may think it originally was intended to mean, why shouldn't you sing it? If it means nothing to you at all, you have no business singing it.

I remember reading once that when you are listening to music you should be a Mason when you listen to Mozart, a Pagan when you listen to Wagner, a Communist when you listen to Shostakovich etc.(I paraphrase but you get the point I hope)


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 07:17 PM

Maybe there is a distinction between believing something and believing in something that is relevant here.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Burke
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 06:17 PM

Oh, those terrible Victorian hymns! Our choir rehearses the hymns during choir practice & before the service. When we do one of those I can already tell you what three people will be really happy to be doing that great old hymn that we don't sing often enough; and what 3 people will be gagging over the music & sentiment. Me, I just laugh at the situation. The Episcopal Hymnal has them in small doses & in that measure, I enjoy them because they are fun to sing. I don't think they are good music.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 05:41 PM

" and they stopped me"
..goodness! I have almost never seen that happen!...Those ladies should be locked in a room with that Baptist from my link and they could all sing to each other...*grin*...I'd give a dollar for a video of the results!


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,Grab
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 05:36 PM

Don't know that you have to agree with the person totally, but I do think you have believe they've got a valid viewpoint. For an example, "Come out you Black and Tans" is a song I could never sing, any more than I could sing a hypothetical song "let's go and shoot a nigger". A song about personal choice (eg. religion) is one thing, even songs about desperation and the spirit of the times (eg. union songs) may be OK even if the sentiments are stronger than you yourself would support - you can appreciate both of them and join in. But songs expressing pride in racial hatred, violence, bullying etc are things I don't know how anyone can sing along to.

As an aside, I have to say that I don't know if the Devil's got all the good music, but the stuff they play at the churches I've been to (Xmas and Easter - we go to keep our mum happy) is *really* bad. I mean, only half a step up from "Baa baa black sheep" kind of bad. I know there are good religious songs out there, which kind of forces the question - why are there so many bad ones (especially the *terrible* Victorian ones), and why do they still get sung? Age and religiousness-of-author are no guarantee of song quality...

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 05:30 PM

I belong to a couple of song circles that do community singing from the Rise Up Singing songbook and other lyrics people bring in. For a time, one circle was dominated by women who were into New Age stuff. If some outsider chose a song that didn't suit the ladies' sentiments, they'd sit and act bored, talk loud, and play with the pets.
I tried to sing "Blow Ye Winds in the Morning," and they stopped me. I'll admit it's a bit graphic, but their reaction was too much. I left.
I sing for the joy of singing, and I don't take the content of the songs too seriously. If it's a good song, or if it's interesting, I'll sing it. I sing for the sake of the song, not to make a statement.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Merritt
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 05:18 PM

For me, there has to be something in a song that I can invest my self in. Something that I can become a part of. This might be a:

~ beautiful melody
~ harmony on the chorus
~ story in the lyric
~ funky bass line that drives the song
~ a core value expressed..freedom, justice,..
~ childhood memory that resonates
~ something..

Just added Good Night, My Someone (from the Music Man) to my play list. Matters of taste can be disputed, but for me besides having a simple, almost elegant chord structure and a decent melody, this is one I sang as a lullaby to my kids many years ago. I can immerse myself in the song.

- Merritt


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: denise:^)
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 03:59 PM

I guess it depends on what you mean by *believe.*

I belong to a folk music group, and at our December meeting, many sing holiday songs (as you might well imagine). We have a little 'open stage' segment, where we can perform songs for each other, and we often collaborate on performances.
I have joined with some of my Jewish friends to sing songs like "Light One Candle," and "Rock of Ages" (which is different from "Rock of Ages, cleft for me..."), although I am not Jewish. Likewise, some of them have joined me on Christmas songs, although they are not Christian. No one has ever batted an eye.

You can join in a song and be believeable, I think, if you have *respect* for the tradition from which it hails. This does not extend only to religious songs, but to any song that comes from a culture not your own.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: paulo
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 03:49 PM

P.S.   This is the first time I've offered more that one comment on a thread.

paulo


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: paulo
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 03:48 PM

My god this is starting to be a long thread.

Adding to what I said earlier - I sing a variety of songs, These include gospel type songs, must of which come from the "shakers".

I sing them with gusto, (now there's a word,) and I also have attended religious services and happily joined in the hymns, because a good song is a good song.   But I'm an agnostic, not an athiest.
So I can accept the basic sentiments of the song - that there is a higher authority - whilst I don't believe, I accept the belief of others.

I still claim that if you believe in the sentiments of the song you can put it over better.

Paulo


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: *daylia*
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 03:17 PM

It just occurred to me that if it were necessary to *believe* what I sing, I could never sing my national anthem again.

"With glowing hearts we see thee rise
the true north strong and free (??)
From far and wide O Canada
we stand on guard for thee"(???)

Bah humbug! With what? To quote Spaw, one Mountie and two flying squirrels?

Sorry bout my bitchin folks ... too much politics today I guess.

daylia


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Joe_F
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 03:08 PM

I do not believe the statements in the hymns. And surely, no-one would pay a nickel to hear me sing one. But they have solid tunes, and the words are well, sometimes magically well, put together. It it parasitical of me to enjoy singing "Abide with Me" on that account? I think not; because it is also an exercise in respect for the comforts of many people whose lives have been far harder than mine.

There is a scene in the movie _Elmer Gantry_ (I don't think it's in the book) where the hypocritical white preacher sings with a black congregation he has happened on. I suspect he was not a hypocrite at that moment.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 02:52 PM

As I recall, some Lutheran named Bach did a pretty fair job composing (and performing) Catholic Masses.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 02:47 PM

Kan't be done, daylia.

Sorry, the devil made me do it.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: *daylia*
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 02:34 PM

Hmmm - wonder if Kant got in on merit!


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 02:23 PM

yes, perhaps so, McGrath...I believe IN "The Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals" (Immanuel Kant) *grin*..ol' Kant thought you could prove that righteous behavior was 'right' without any particular religious authority, and I tend to favor that approach.

If I die and discover that there is an afterlife and 'Heaven', my goal is to get in on merit. Sure would be nice if it happened...I'd LOVE to hear Mahalia Jackson sing again.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 12:55 PM

Maybe there's a useful distinction to make between believing something and believing in something.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 12:16 PM

There you go, Bill... we do Hallelujah Side, too. black version, but probably similar... haven't heard it by the Stoneman Family..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 12:05 PM

oh..POOH!...one missing 'i' and I turned it all to italics...maybe some nice clone will fix it. [fixed...-Joe-]

I also wanted to say that sometimes I sing Gospel songs because I know they WILL be appreciated by someone who does believe that message....I do a rousing version of "Halleujah Side" (the Stoneman family version) on the autoharp.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 12:02 PM

Greg,

My point is that singing a song is not always JUST singing a song.
When it comes to religious songs, it might not be such a good idea simply to ignore their basic purpose.

If you wanted to be consistent, then if you have a problem with reciting the Nicene Creed, you should also have a comparable problem with singing "What a Friend..." That is NOT to suggest that consistency is a necessary or desired component of human behavior.

Uh oh! Just had a thought. Fight it. Fight it. Can't resist....

It seems like some sort of "truth in advertising" rule should apply here. If you're not a believer perhaps you should preface the performance of a religious song with a disclaimer.

Something like, "The opinions expressed in he following song are not necessarily those of the singer. The song is being performed purely for it's entertainment value. All claims about the true nature of reality found in the lyrics of the song, whether explicit, implicit, logical consequences, or presuppositions thereof, are not necessarily claims which the singer would affirm. Any results of its performance other than entertainment and non-religious bonhomie, including but not limited to conversion, healing, faith-strengthening, etc. are not the intentions of the performer and the performer cannot be held accountable for such results."


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:51 AM

well, I went to bed about post 17 or so, and it is fascinating what has happened thru the 'night'...

the clearest 'short' expression of what I think was Willie-Os comment...
"I don't have to believe what I'm singing. I only have to believe that the person who wrote it believed it!".....if the song moved someone, and I like the musicality (am I coining a word?), then I can sing the song with them.

I cannot, though sing some of the modern 'hymns' I hear (briefly) on TV on places like the PTL network...(they even offend that fellow who did that web page).

But, Jerry, I would sure sing some with you, if I knew them! It is a rather uplifting feeling to not be judged, and to to feel like I am trusted and accepted for what I am, rather than what I believe or don't believe. Songs...especially well-crafted songs...celebrate feelings and document humanity, and help us gain perspective about it all.....yes, I would sing "Blackleg Miner", but I would be careful WHERE I sing it, and would explain that I sing it BECAUSE it is a powerful song, not because I take a position on it.

I sing several of the Orange/Green Irish songs, including one called "One Sunday Morning" that I use as an example of powerful music gone wrong.

At memorial services for my mother-in-law a few years ago, I stood and sang "Only Remembered" and "Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown" with tears running down my cheeks, because they represented her. It was good to attend a service for someone, feeling like they would have enjoyed it if they were watching...whether *I* believed they were or not.

I have enjoyed reading all these comments, and I know exactly what greg stephens means about not "havent a clue what I was singing about"..but lost in the 'feeling' anyway.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,The O'Meara
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:29 AM

See comments on gremlins, above.

I meant "Doesn't IT depend on...


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: IanC
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:28 AM

Greg

I wouldn't swear to anything on a Holy Bible. It says there:

Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths. But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

(Matt 5:33-37)


*The Truth Is More Holy Than The Book*


;-)


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,The O'Meara
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:27 AM

Bloody Gremlins anyway! I hate when that happens.

Doesn't depend on what you're trying to do? If you're trying to convince an audience of something it seems you ought to believe what you're singing, but if you're simply entertaining them it doesn't much matter.

Eh?

O'Meara


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:22 AM

Yes, i would have a problem reciting the Nicene Creed. Singing a song is singing a song. Reading out an affirmation of belief, in a context where people would assume that if you're saying it, you mean it, seems different to me and I wouldnt do it. I will sing "My name is Captain Kidd". I would not swear to that effect on a Holy Bible.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,The O'Meara
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:20 AM


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Pseudolus
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:18 AM

I think it depends on the venue. If you are there to perform then I agree with Thomas the Rhymer who said that singing a song is akin to acting. you need to "sell" your performance. If you are leading a congregation, it sure makes things a lot more believable if you really believe, unless of course you're a REALLY good actor!!

I play the drums in a contemporary Christian Praise and Worship group at my church and I truly believe that my relationship with God is as good as it ever has been. And it's not just the music. I've said this at church before, it's the music that got me there but it's the fellowship, the praise and my renewed faith that keep me there.

Everyone has their own style and their own relationship with the Church and with God. If staying with "that ol time religion" works for the writer of the article, so be it. For me, I have found my nitch. It's funny too, I try to make a point of going to at least one Sunday service (traditional) a month in addition to the Saturday's that I am there, and I get so much more out of them now than ever before.

But, to answer the original question, no I don't think you have to believe. It's easier if ya do, but not impossible if ya don't


Frank


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:16 AM

I really like the acting analogy. I think it works with something like "The Great Silkie."

However, it it important to remember that religious songs are INTENDED to be expressions of belief. In this case they are are much more like creeds/professions of faith than scripts.

So, if, as a non-Christian, you don't have a problem singing, e.g., "What a Friend We Have in Jesus", would you have a problem reciting, e.g., the Nicene Creed.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: PeteBoom
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 10:58 AM

Reflecting a bit on Jerry's GREAT post (kudos btw) - a large number of non-Christians I know, including athiests, demonstrate "Christian" values in their life far better than a fair number of self-proclaimed "Christians." Having been told to my face that I am NOT a Christian, that I AM a "devil worshiping Papist", I expressed thanks to that person. Then told them I'd pray for them and asked them to pray for me (ya should-da seen 'em turn PURPLE - I thought they were goin' to bust a vein!) 8^)

An awful lot of folks have talked about how most music does not "require" believing for you to sing it. If there is a song with a "message" that I don't agree with or do not embrace, then the question goes back to what I said before - am I presenting this song to others (the audience) who may or do agree or am I singing the song for myself or in a song-circle? In one instance, I would sing it, no problem - if the song has basic merits in its own right. In the other instance, probably not.

Pete


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 10:50 AM


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 10:49 AM

I'm sure I would have, Greg!!! I have a fair amount of African gospel which I picked up when my wife and I were in Ghana two years ago... beautiful stuff.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Sam L
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 10:43 AM

I think it was Martin Luther who said Why should the devil have all the good tunes.

Since I like fiction, and tend to include "true stories" in that category, I don't need to "believe" something to sing it, but I have to identify with it somehow, or I don't want to sing it, or have any idea how to do it. I'm not a fan of monotonous earnestness in folk or anything else, and I think being all swept up with personal passion will usually make a singer less convincing, rather than more. I've written first-person songs that I don't want to be identified with the "I"-- although they also aren't in a spirit of ridicule. I have trouble commiting to some lines in some songs I like, usually because they seem to me to be arch, contrived, or out of the general tone or psychology of how I understand the song.

   In good fiction, you don't identify with the "hero" or what they say or think, by projecting your face into a their face-hole for a childish photo, dressed up as the hero in a story-book. You identify with the creative mind that made it, to the extent you can, because that's what's real in fiction. And ideally there's a sense of shared discovery, rather than some self-appointed sage or saint lecturing at you. It may be illusory sometimes, but I like it.

   So, if the singer discovers something in a song, and can convey it, there you are.

   The stuff about not loving the world is in the new testament, as I read it, and people may understand it different ways. Someone may well take it to mean Sing tunes, but not any bouncy, fun ones. And to judge from some church picnics, it may also seem to mean Eat cookies, but only the most awful, uniformly tasteless ones you can find. I suppose it's a sort of measured, careful, compromise with the world. Okay then, I guess that's one way to do it. But I'd rather get these local chocolate chip cookies... I think you have to go to confession afterwards. And I resist them altogether, when I have the strength.

I think there's a certain intensity of identifying with material that is tied to "star" quality in some performers. Something drives them to find just the right tempo, build dramatic moments, resist overdoing things, or else they're willing to overdo things and can unexpectedly commit afresh to old cliche's, whatever--they find interesting qualities. It seems to me some people are reliably more interesting to listen to, apart from any techniques or any other particular kind of know-how. And others of us can do everything "right" and still make it come out wrong.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 10:38 AM

The comparison with acting is compelling. Or think of opera singing, for instance. Many operas could never be performed if the singers would have to believe everything what they are singing.

Johann Georg Reißmüller is a very conservative man, former co-editor of one of the most conservative German newspapers, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. As a hobby he sings early GDR hymns of the 'comrade Stalin, thou are the light' type, the songs of his youth. Hilarious lyrics, from today's point of view, combined with still beautiful tunes (Eisler, for instance, as composer). He sings the songs without any audible irony, as good as he can deliver them. He just happens to think that this obsolete part of the German culture should not be lost.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Amos
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 10:33 AM

Nicely written indeed, Jerry! Applause and affection,

A


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 10:14 AM

Jerry: boy would you have enjoyed being round our house when the Zimbabweans came round and started singing gospel. You would have just expl...o...o...o...o.ded.


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