Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Old School Song Writing

Psa 59:1 To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David; when Saul sent, and they watched the house to kill him. Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me.
Psa 59:2 Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men.
Psa 59:3 For, lo, they lie in wait for my soul: the mighty are gathered against me; not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O LORD.

You know that the Psalms, the Tehellim, are the song book of the Old Testament. Written by David, Solomon, Moses, Heman, Asaph, Jeduthan and Chenneniah, and some unascribed authors, they are a collection of songs written primarily from real life situations.

We find David, for instance, penning his poems upon the occasions of his repentance, his exiles, his fleeing for his life, contemplating the grandeur of creation, etc.

Here, David is once again in danger of his life as Saul's men have him holed up in his house and ready to end his life. Instead of wishing for the destruction of his aggressors, he prays rather that they get confused and wander off, seeing that God is on the throne. Nice sentiment!

I am intrigued that David is in his house, not on the phone with the 911 operator, not preparing his weapons in case they break in, not observing them on his security cameras, but singing praises to God and writing music!

Now, I know that some of the songs being written these days are legitimate and blessed tunes born from real life situations. But let's face it, most songs are written to make someone some money. They are cheap, classless attempts combining empty words, tired out themes, monotonous chord progressions producing uninspired results. But hey, the songwriter's gotta make a buck, right?

Unfortunately, I am not just referring to rock, hip-hop and country. I am talking about some of the music that will be crooned on Christian radio, produced by praise teams and presented by soloists behind the pulpit.

How many songs does the church have? How many ways can you manipulate the 12 chromatic notes of the scale into a new song? There are only 26 letters of the alphabet, only so many time signatures, key signatures. Millions of songs have been produced. Thousands have become useful. Hundreds are blessings.

It all comes down to a few things for this music aficionado, does the song make sense? Is it a blessing? Is it real, born from truth or circumstance? And will it stand the test of time?

I guess David has to rank among the top singer/songwriters of all time. He is also known as the sweet singer of Israel. Old school!

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