The 800 HIS-LOVE Ministry
THE SCIENCE OF MUSIC
by Gordon Simkin
The following article is the combination of individual studies printed in our monthly newsletters. Since each section was written independent of the next one (in most cases), there is not the best organization and there is some duplication. Nevertheless, the material presented is valuable, and it has been verified by a music professional as correct.
There is much confusion over the subject of the Christian and music. This is not limited to Seventh-day Adventism. Most so-called Christian radio stations have the idea that it is only the words that count, and that the musical accompaniment is "amoral". That is, music alone is neither right nor wrong. Is that true? Is it only a matter of what someone likes or dislikes? Is there such a thing as a scientific way to know about good and bad music?
It was my privilege to be raised in a conservative SDA home (a 4th generation SDA), and with 4 older sisters. My mother was a piano teacher, and my sisters all took a fair amount of musical training. My next older sister (Irene) majored in music in college (La Sierra College). So I grew up with much music in my family. I observed some conflict on this subject very early in my schooling. My teacher for grades 4 to 6 was a favorite teacher for many of her students, and her principles were accepted by most of them. She taught us a lot about music. I learned to enjoy church hymns and the old masters, often called the "classics".
As I went to SDA Academies and then to College, I found even more conflict about what music a Christian should (or should not) listen to. Having taken piano in grade school, then trumpet and baritone (euphonium) in private lessons, and having played in academy and college bands, I had much more exposure to many views on music. Probably one of the best experiences related to this subject was a college class called "Music Literature", taught by Harold B. Hannum. In his class, he taught many basic principles, and demonstrated them to us.
One of the many reasons why I married the young lady that I did (Joan), was that she had almost identical music standards as I had. As time went on, we observed the "creeping compromise" in the music produced by Chapel Records, and music which was performed in churches and in evangelistic meetings; and we observed that no longer was any music standard being taught to students in SDA schools. When we would go to campmeetings, the music that emanated from the "book tent" or building (now called the ABC) was increasingly offensive and Satanic! Yet most of the members and leaders at these meetings felt that there was no problem with this music, maybe they even believed that music was indeed "amoral".
Periodically there were articles in the Review about music, but there was rarely any type of official stand taken for or against any musical style. In 1955, as the "Rock and Roll" music of Elvis Presley (and others) was becoming popular, there was much division in the SDA churches where I attended over this music style. I quit dating one young lady at an SDA church in Baltimore, Maryland, solely because she listened to that type of music and would not consider that it might be bad for her. It seemed that every year, the SDA produced music was becoming closer to that of the world, until the time came when there was little evidence of any difference between SDA music and that of any other religious, or even some non-religious performances. This was one of many subjects that Joan and I wrote to church leaders about, trying to help correct the laxness that had come in. But, for the most part, all our pleas fell on deaf ears, just like all of our pleas for doctrinal purity and truth in many other areas.
There was one time in 1971 when a particularly annoying article was published in the Review, which caused me to go to the library and do extensive research on this subject, and then write a lengthy letter to the editors. It took me too long to complete that letter. There were so many letters to the editor, that the Review printed a number of letters with the note that no more commentary on this article would be published-the case was closed. I received that Review just after mailing my letter. This large quantity of responses from the readers should have told the Review and our leaders, that there was a desperate need for the church to publish and promote a meaningful music standard. One that could be understood and used by all who wanted to improve their music listening.
QUESTIONS TO ANSWER
Above I asked the question, is music amoral? In other words, is the music alone never good or bad, is it merely a matter of personal likes and dislikes? Before answering that question, I want to mention a fact about music that you probably know, but never had it put into words. Unlike words, which must be understood and processed by your conscious brain before they affect you, music can bypass your conscious processing center and leave its influence on you without your knowledge, choice, or even wanting it to. Oh, you may say, it doesn't affect me that way. I always think about the music I hear. Really?
Unless your stores are different than those I shop at, there is usually background music playing. Why? Because such music increase the store sales! Musak, a background music business, has provided specially tested music for stores and other businesses. Do you always listen to that music, or do you just try to ignore it, especially if you don't like it? Many people are not even aware that there is music there. More than once, Joan and I have told a store employee that we object to the music being played. On some occasions, it was turned down or even turned off. Music while you are on hold at businesses you call is also very common today. Do you ever comment about the music you have to hear while you wait? I always try to comment, good or bad. I have even complimented a business for having good old silence on hold.
Then another dramatic example of the subliminal effect of music on people, is the music used along with any type of documentary, historical, religious films, and movies (of course). The movie makers are professionals at knowing what type of music to play to fit the scene-often just before the scene changes, to prepare you for what is coming. Some of this music is based on its previous use (typically, underwater music has an eerie, sonar-like sound to it), but much is based on the direct effect of the music style on the average human. Most people know that certain music styles can cheer them up, while other music styles can make you feel less cheerful. And these music styles affect most people the same way.
To support this principle, I quote from John Beaulieu, in a book called "Music and Sound in the Healing Arts". He states on page 14 that "music has the power to by-pass our conscious focus or attention. We can actually become the music. And conversely, we are what we listen to"! We always knew that "we are what we eat", and "by beholding we become changed", but this idea may surprise us at first. In this same book, this author states that The Ayatollah Khomeine understood this fact, so that when he became the leader of Iran, one of his first acts was to outlaw ALL music other than traditional Iranian music. These quotations are taken from Dr. Juanita McElwain RMT-BC, in her book titled "The Power of Music".
And it is not only the melody and harmony of the music, but how it is played--the performance style--that makes a difference. The same hymn, played in different ways, even with all the same notes, can evoke different feelings on the listener. When Joan and I had been married less than 2 years, we moved to Idaho Falls, Idaho (where I worked at a nuclear test reactor). The church pianist was a converted "Mormon". But she had never been taught anything about true Christian music. We had not been there but a few weeks, when someone chose "Shall We Gather at the River" for the next song. This dear lady did not know what she was doing, but she played with the strongest dance rhythms that I have ever heard for that tune. Joan and I both had the same immediate reaction--we wanted to get up and dance in the aisle! Now we were not dancers. I had never danced, and Joan gave up dancing at 16 when she joined the church. We did not yield to our feelings, but sat there in shock. Later we talked to that lady, and she only partly understood what she did; but as far as I know, she never played that way again on any hymn. Indeed the music spoke to our feelings without any trace of our conscious processing. This is the scariest fact about music, if indeed music is NOT amoral.
So what evidence is there that music alone (without any words) can be right or wrong, Christian or sinful? What was it that first got the attention of Moses as he came down from Mt. Sinai with the tables of stone the first time? He heard the "noise of the people" (Ex. 32:17) which Moses defined as "the noise of them that sing . . . and the dancing" (vs. 18,19). This was music used to worship the golden calf. Is that amoral music? And no doubt you remember that story of the 3 Hebrew worthies, who were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. What was used to help them submit to the king and worship his image? You remember, "all kinds of music" (Dan. 3:5, etc.). The music played in both of these stories helped to condition the people to sin.
And the children of Israel did not learn their lesson about music at Mt. Sinai. No doubt, you remember the story of Baalam. This story is one of the favorite of many children--the talking donkey. But how did it end? God did not allow Baalam to curse Israel, but only to bless Israel. But what did Baalam tell Balak after that? In PP 707 we read: "He [Baalam] counseled Balak to proclaim an idolatrous feast in honor of their gods, and he would persuade the Israelites to attend, that they might be delighted with the music, and then the most beautiful Midianitish women would entice the Israelites to transgress the law of God, and corrupt themselves, and also influence them to offer sacrifice to idols." It should be obvious that the music was used to degrade the judgment of the Israelite men, so that "the most beautiful Midianitish women would entice the Israelites to transgress the law of God"! Is that possible? YES.
But, you may think, just because a bad use was made of music does not make that music wrong. And I would agree. But I would say that it certainly puts a cloud of suspicion on that music. But we still have not answered the question, is music alone neutral (amoral) or is there right and wrong music? Can it affect our moral character?
What do we find from modern inspiration? Much! Here are a few samples: "Satan has no objection to music if he can make that a channel through which to gain access to the minds of the youth [or anyone else]." (1T 506) "They [the young, or anyone can] have a keen ear for music, and Satan knows what organs to excite [by the music] to animate, engross, and charm the mind so that Christ is not desired." (1T 497) This is Satan using music to reduce your resistance to temptation. Note that the first quote shows that Satan uses music as "a channel through which to gain access to ... minds" and the second quote shows that Satan uses music to "charm the mind". Doesn't this sound like direct access to the mind by the music?
DOES SATAN USE MUSIC TO HIS ADVANTAGE?
Many years ago I was counseling some teenage and older girls. They were totally untrained in the area of music. I warned them that it is possible for a boy friend (or anyone else) to take them to where certain kinds of music are being played (maybe even his own home), and that the music can reduce their ability to resist immoral advances. Recently I had wondered if I was wrong, since I had forgotten where I had learned that. In restudying this subject, I have re-learned that indeed certain kinds of music (even without words) can reduce your resistance to temptation, as the above quotation indicates, "Satan knows what organs to excite".
Then in 1T 506 we read: "Angels are hovering around yonder dwelling. The young are there assembled; there is the sound of vocal and instrumental music. Christians are gathered there, but what is that you hear? It is a song, a frivolous ditty, fit for the dance hall. Behold the pure angels gather their light closer around them, and darkness envelopes those in the dwelling. The angels are moving from the scene. Sadness is upon their countenances. Behold, they are weeping. . . . When turned to a good account, music is a blessing; but it [music] is often made one of Satan's most attractive agencies to ensnare souls." (Emphasis supplied; please read all of pages 497 and 506 in 1T.) There is no doubt that words were also involved here, but is a "frivolous ditty, fit for the dance hall" only an immoral poem? Most likely not. If Ellen was speaking only about the words, why wouldn't she mention the words? The frivolousness is no doubt in the words and the music. Note that it is the music, and not the words alone, that makes music "fit for the dance hall". As mentioned previously, it was the way in which the music to "Shall we Gather at the River" was played, and not anything to do with the words, that made Joan and I want to dance in church. I wonder if the angels left that church, weeping? How serious to send our angels away! More on dance music below.
By now it should be clear that since music can be used by Satan to gain access to our minds, and to weaken our resistance to sin, there certainly is wrong or sinful music, whether religious or not. Music is not amoral. So how are we to know what music is safe to listen to? I'm sure none of us want to become ensnared by Satan with his kind of music. To fully answer that question is not easy, but I will try to share much of what I have learned over the past 50 or so years on this subject.
So far we have determined that Satan uses music to his own benefit, and that if we are not careful, he can use music to weaken our resistance to temptation. We concluded that some types of music must therefore be wrong to listen to. Closely related to this is the method used by many people in their music choices. The common attitude seems to be that if I like a certain piece of music, it must be OK, since I'm a Christian. I personally was brought up in a home with good music standards, and was taught more about good music in grade school, academy, and college; but I still fell into this trap. While I was in college, there was a popular musical selection on the radio that I liked so much that I bought the record (the only popular music record I ever bought!). After I got married, I played it once to Joan, and she was shocked, and pointed out that it was jazz. As I thought about it, I knew she was right, and I had to get rid of it. It was not good music, and I had allowed my emotions to get in control and bypass my intelligent decision about that music. As I said before, one thing that brought my wife and I together was our similar music standards. What a blessing this has been.
IS MUSIC I LIKE ALWAYS GOOD?
I have known a number of people who base the music they listen to (or perform) only on what they like and dislike. It is evident to me that there are few if any people today who can determine what is genuinely good music, based solely on what they like or dislike. Being (or becoming) a Christian does not automatically make a person know what is good and bad music. Does a new Christian automatically know what kinds of food or drinks are good and bad? Of course not, that is why we teach them about healthy foods and drinks. The Bible says that "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge"! Hosea 4:6. Some may know that alcohol is bad.
We all must gain some knowledge of the principles of good music, and make an intelligent decision on what we listen to. Because I have studied this subject for decades, I have learned that there is music that I like which is not good, and there is music that I do not like which is not bad. Even though I can usually recognize bad music styles in just a few notes, I still sometimes start to listen to some music on the radio, only to discover a few seconds or even minutes later that it is not good music.
Since I started writing this music paper (while we were in Florida), I was left at home while Tim and Joan went to Tennessee, as I was not well enough to make a long trip. But Hal Mayer from Hartland College was going to be at the Living Waters Church near where I was that Sabbath. I was not sure if I should go or not. So I prayed that if I should go, I would have a good night of rest (I had not had a good night of rest for over 3 weeks). I had a normal night of rest, praise God, so I went.
Come to find out, Hal was giving a two-part seminar on the subject "Music in the Balance". I had heard Hal speak on music before, and I knew he had a lot of good information--a lot that I did not have available. God knew I needed to be at those meetings. So I want to share the major features of his nearly 4-hour seminar on music. It will help to document many of the things I have already stated, and give some very important basics to help you determine good and bad music. The seminar was video taped (with a camcorder), and I have copies which I can share with anyone who wants to hear and see the full presentation. They include some recorded examples of good and bad music, which I cannot put into a newsletter. I will be putting these two tapes, along with the PC video on music with Dr. Gene Swanson, on one video for your study if you request it. A donation of $5 or more would be appreciated.
MUSIC IN THE BALANCE
So here is a summary of Hal Mayer's "Music in the Balance" at Living Water's church, April 8, 2000. I have added a few comments of my own, but I think they are obviously my own comments. After reading Eph. 5:10, which tells us to prove what is acceptable, he then applies this Biblical principle to prove one aspect of what music is acceptable. He started out with a study on the science of the brain. You may know that the frontal lobes (Cerebrum) are just behind your forehead, and is where judgment, reason, will, conscience, thinking, and decision, etc. occur. This part of your brain must be "king", or in control, for one to be a Christian. (Unfortunately, this part did not get on the video.)
The main part of your brain (called the Cerebellum), is where your physical actions are controlled. You can readily see that if the physical part of your brain takes control, or becomes "king", you will do anything it tells you to do! Could this be why Ellen White (writing God's messages to us) tells us that those who can learn to totally control their appetite, can gain victory on every other point? See 3T 491, 492.
There are two small portions of our brains called the Thalamus & Hypothalamus, and these are where our emotions live. Again, what happens if (or when) our emotions become "king" and control what we do? I'm afraid that we all have had the experience that after some undesirable event, we realize that we had given way to our emotions, and said or done a number of things that we now regret. How important it is to yield all of self, which includes all of our brain, to the Holy Spirit every morning. Remember that our thoughts and feelings make up our moral character (see MYP 92), so anything that affects either our thoughts or our feelings will affect our moral character, and since our character is all we take to heaven, it must be perfect. Then Hal shows that all dance music goes directly to the seat of our emotions (the Thalamus and Hypothalamus), so this music affects our emotions first. Hal points out why. Research has shown that dance music (all styles) elevates emotions to an unnatural level, which makes an emotional high. In other words, they make emotions "king". In this way, dance music invades the master brain by attacking our emotions as we listen to the music. Hence, dance music can take control away from the proper "king", the frontal lobes! How serious this can be!
Next Hal reports that when stores first started to use background music, they tried a number of music types. When they played march music, people would be hurried along, buy only what they came for, and hurry out of the store. But if they played dance music, that would cause the average customers to slow down and buy more than they had planned to buy! Yet he later shows that dance music is exactly the music of Satan! So music in stores (and on hold on the telephone), are matters to pray about so that these uncontrollable music sources do not allow Satan to invade our minds. Prayer may be the primary protection that we have in these cases. You should also be sure that you do not actively listen to that music.
Then Hal discusses what types of music are dance music, and what are some of the recognizable characteristics of dance music. Music does not have to be used in a dance hall to be dance music. Some of you already know what some types of dance hall music sounds like, but did you know that Swing, Jazz, Rock (all kinds), Blues, Country & Western, etc. are all also dance music in a technical sense? I can hear someone say: Country and Western? that is my favorite! In fact, there has been much Country and Western and some Swing and Jazz music on SDA programs for years, especially 3ABN! Oh, someone says, that is true of the modern music (that all these music types are dance music), but I only listen to older music of these styles. It is true that the modern versions of these styles are worse, but unfortunately, the characteristics which make the music bad is still present in essentially all (if not all) of the older music, ever since the inception of each style.
Note that it is how music is performed that makes the main difference. And if dance music is performed without the characteristics that make it dance music, it ceases to be dance music. When "Shall We Gather at the River" is played properly, there is no desire to dance to it, although it is one of several marginal hymns, because it is so easy to play in the dance music style.
Hal points out other effects of dance music, showing that it is intoxicating and even addicting, making it very hard to give up. It reduces resistance to temptations, and through certain rhythms, it can produce a mild form of hypnosis. These characteristics were pointed out on John Osborne's Celebration videos. And then Hal points out the most serious effect that dance music may have on us: it can elevate hormones in the body, especially sex hormones, and therefore sensuality. This is why if a boy takes a girl to the dance hall, immorality often follows. Of course, the intimacy of many dance styles contributes to this effect, as well. They both go together. I had a friend in Idaho that was hired to clean the parking lot of a High School the morning after the biggest dance of the year. He told me that the parking lot was covered with used condoms--and this was in 1961 or before. Hal points out that in the case of Baalam and the immoral apostasy just outside of Canaan, that the children of Israel were "beguiled [hypnotized?] by music and dancing" PP 454, 455.
Next Hal points out that all music urges motion, but what type of motion is determined by the rhythmic pattern, the performance style. When you hear a march, it inspires leg and arm motion, your torso remains generally vertical. That is why it is called a march, you tend to march (walk in rhythm) to the music. But dances inspire torso motion (hips and/or shoulders left and right), which is sensual motion. A 3-year old will dance (swing its hips) to dance music, even though it has had no training, because that music is carnal.
Another effect of dance music Hal explains is that everyone does their own thing--that is, anything goes; and it unites that which should not be united. A married man and woman who have never met before can easily dance sensually together. But really good music promotes the right kind of unity. When you sing hymns in a church setting, it helps to unite spouses and the whole church group. Just think about it. When you come into a strange church and they are singing a hymn, especially a familiar hymn, don't you immediately feel closer to that group? You can join in on the singing and become a proper part of that group.
Hal then points out that John Diamond, a newager, researched much on music's effects. He did not want to use the study for Christianity, but for new age benefits. Many of Hal's facts come from this research. Related to music is the modern forms of meditation. Did you know that there is true and false meditation? In the false variety, one is taught to empty their mind of all conscious thought. What does the Bible say will happen when the house is swept clean and nothing is placed inside? Seven times as many devils move in (see Matt. 12:43-45). But true meditation fills the mind with godly thoughts. Meditating on God's word is very beneficial. The same is true of music. If you just let go and listen to the devils music, he will fill the mind and take control. We want to keep the mind filled with good thoughts and to hear good music.
NATURAL VERSES SENSUAL MUSIC
After this foundation, Hal shows one type of dance music style as compared with good music. This requires a limited amount of music theory. If you have a hymnal, turn to "Onward Christian Soldiers" (page 612, new SDA Hymnal, or page 360, old Hymnal). Note near the left of the top line of music that there is a fraction, 4/4. The top 4 means 4 beats to a measure, and the bottom 4 means that a 1/4 note (quarter note) gets one beat. Don't worry if you don't understand that. Put these two together, and we see that there will be 4 quarter notes in each measure. A measure is the space between two vertical lines through the music. The first four notes are all quarter notes, and there are four of them in that measure, matching the words "Onward Christian". We normally sing that measure with a little emphasis on the first syllable of each word, like this: "ON-ward CHRIST-ian". This is the basic characteristic of good music rhythm. Hal calls it "natural music", which always has the emphasis on the 1st & 3rd beats. He points out that this harmonizes with normal body actions, breathing, and heart beat; but not with sensual feelings. However, if you reverse the emphasis and make it "on-WARD christ-IAN" then you have dance music rhythm, putting the emphasis on the 2nd & 4th beats, which does not harmonize with breathing and heart, but with sensual feelings.
Hal quoted two Rock stars in what they claim for Rock music: Rock star Arthur Brown says all soul music is sex. Rock star Jimmy Hendrix says he can hypnotize people with music, then at their weakest point, he can preach into their subconscious whatever he wants.
If these "stars" know what they are talking about, and I believe that they do, then it should be obvious that it is very dangerous to listen to common popular music of today--even if it has religious words! Satan has not failed to take advantage of "religious" music--by hypnotizing people with the music, and then preaching doctrinal error into their subconscious! I have enough problems keeping my mind free from error without letting "contemporary Christian music" confuse me more!
With the prevalence of Rock music today on almost every radio and TV station, even so-called Christian stations, in stores, and even on hold on a telephone; is there any wonder that immorality and crime are at an all time high? Music, of course, is just one of the factors promoting these crimes. It should be obvious by now that there is no such thing as "Christian Rock" any more than it is proper to have a "temple prostitute". You can never change bad music into good music by using good words with it. But how much more dangerous is bad music with erroneous words, as you might hear on a so-called Christian Rock radio station or recording? So let us avoid one of Satan's music traps, by eliminating all forms of Rock and dance music.
But bad words can certainly destroy otherwise good music. Around 1980, some Rock music composer took the melody from a good classical music selection, put it to Rock rhythms and beats, and put Satanic words to it. When someone heard me play the original classical music, who had never heard the melody except in that Rock style, they thought I was losing my way! Certainly it was not good for them to hear that otherwise good music, because it brought strong memories of the bad music they had heard. There are a few pieces of good music that I do my best to avoid, just because of the bad memories that they bring up. This problem may be present with anyone who has gone to operas. Much opera music by itself is not bad, but the acting and stories that go with it are bad. Of course, a lot of opera music is also dance music, and it may be difficult to distinguish, for anyone not sensitive to the various styles and the effect they have. As a general rule, I try to avoid opera music, even that which is free of the dance music style. However, since I have never gone to any opera nor listened to the whole of any opera score, I could own a few musical selections which are from operas and yet not know it.
EFFECTS OF MELODY AND HARMONY ON THE MIND
Hal explains that melody creates thought processes which keep our intellect (frontal lobes) king. Harmony affects the emotions and is the body, breadth, depth, or texture of music--and must not become king. He states that rhythm affects the physical part of our mind and must not become king. (More on these later.)
In Volume 1 of the Testimonies, pages 496-513 is a section titled "Address to the Young". It has many references to music, as young people usually have problems with resisting the popular music of their day. But the principles apply to all of us. Hal quotes a few portions of that section, which I quote here, but not exactly as he did. The commentary is my own:
1T 510 "No one who has an indwelling Saviour will dishonor Him before others by producing strains from a musical instrument [not words] which call the mind from God and heaven to light and trifling things." Have you heard "light and trifling" music? How about the music of a merry-go-round, old player-piano music, and other such secular music?
1T 506 "Satan has no objection to music if he can make that a channel through which to gain access to the minds of the youth [or anyone else]. . . . When turned to a good account, music is a blessing; but it is often made one of Satan's most attractive agencies to ensnare souls. When abused, it leads the unconsecrated to pride, vanity, and folly." Here again, since music can "ensnare souls", we must be very careful what music we listen to, so that it cannot ensnare our souls! It is not amoral!
1T 497 "They [the young] have a keen ear for music, and Satan knows what organs to excite to animate, engross, and charm the mind so that Christ is not desired. . . . The introduction of music into their homes, instead of inciting to holiness and spirituality, has been the means of diverting their minds from the truth. . . . Music, when not abused, is a great blessing; but when put to a wrong use, it is a terrible curse." When it says that "Satan knows what organs to excite", it should be clear that music definitely affects some organs of our body. She continues with: "to animate, engross, and charm the mind so that Christ is not desired." Does not this describe a form of mind control which Satan uses through music? How important it is that we do not chose the devil's music, lest we yield our mind to his control! How important that we learn more about good and bad music. It should be pointed out here that it is possible to make a bad use of good music. On page 506 of 1T, there is a sentence that describes one such way, that we need to be very careful about: "Music has occupied the hours which should have been devoted to prayer." Let us be sure that we do not spend so much time on good music that we do not have time for Bible study, prayer, proper meditation, and sharing.
Next Hal quotes from Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, page 339: "A view of one such company was presented to me, where were assembled those who profess to believe the truth. One was seated at the instrument of music, and such songs were poured forth as made the watching angels weep. There was mirth, there was coarse laughter, there was abundance of enthusiasm, and a kind of inspiration; but the joy was such as Satan only is able to create. This is an enthusiasm and infatuation of which all who love God will be ashamed. It prepares the participants for unholy thought and action. I have reason to think that some who were engaged in that scene heartily repented of the shameful performance." How many of you have attended a junior camp, campmeeting, or other SDA occasion where this description fits perfectly? I have, sorry to say. And I used to enjoy these times, despite my otherwise good music standards. How easy it is to be mislead. We must always be on guard against the devil, not only in music, but in all that we do.
At the fall of Adam, did Satan decide to ignore the use of music to deceive us, even though he had been the master of music in heaven? No, you can be sure that Satan did not and is not ignoring any method he can use to deceive us and cause us to fall and be lost.
IS THE DANCING OF DAVID JUSTIFICATION FOR DANCING TODAY?
Some people have pointed to the Bible where it speaks of David dancing (2 Samuel 6:14), and claim that it must be O.K. So Hal quotes from Patriarchs and Prophets, Page 707: "David's dancing in reverent joy before God has been cited by pleasure lovers in justification of the fashionable modern dance but there is no ground for such an argument. In our day dancing is associated with folly and midnight reveling. Health and morals are sacrificed to pleasure. By the frequenters of the ballroom God is not an object of thought and reverence; prayer or the song of praise would be felt to be out of place in their assemblies. This test should be decisive. Amusements that have a tendency to weaken the love for sacred things and lessen our joy in the service of God are not to be sought by Christians. The music and dancing in joyful praise to God at the removal of the ark had not the faintest resemblance to the dissipation of modern dancing. The one tended to the remembrance of God and exalted His holy name. The other is a device of Satan to cause men to forget God and to dishonor Him."
Hal gave an example of the incorrect use of music by an Adventist group called the Heritage Singers (Heretic Swingers), which used dance music, and caused many SDA young people to desire stronger dance music, all the way to Rock music. In other words, the Heritage Singers' (Swingers') music style, even though it may not have been "very bad", started all too many young people on the wrong road, which ended up at the worst kind of music. In fact, the Heritage Singers' music contradicted their so-called testimonies, and was more an excuse for a group to have fun than to actually witness for God. Any of us can make the same mistake today, if we are not careful, by doing a bad thing for an apparently good reason or by leading others astray, even if only by the music others hear us listening to.
Hal then addressed the issue of "cultural music". Isn't it all right for people of a different culture to maintain their own cultural music? Hal points out that we don't let people keep their old culture of drugs and alcohol, so why keep bad music? In fact, culture has nothing to do with what makes music good or bad. And I add, AMEN!
This completes my summary of Hal's presentation. If you want to hear (and see) his presentation, please ask us for the video on music, which will include both Hal's "Music in the Balance" and the 1990 study with Dr. Swanson on the "History of Adventist Celebration & Christian Contemporary Music". A donation of at least $5 to cover our costs would be greatly appreciated. As with any video request, be patient. If I do not have it already in stock, it may take a few weeks to get the time and place to duplicate it.
WHAT IS MUSIC
At this point it is appropriate to ask the question, what is music? I have used a number of musical terms, and maybe some of you don't even know what they mean. Scientifically, music is described by 5 characteristics: 1-Melody, 2-Harmony, 3-Rhythm, 4-Tempo, and 5-Timbre. As a general rule, these are given in the order of importance in making music. Any one of these can have a major effect on us if used wrongly. Let's examine each one briefly.
Melody can be described as that portion of the music which most people sing, whistle, or hum. It is the most obvious portion of music, and is primarily what we memorize. If I asked you to sing "What A Friend We Have in Jesus", I doubt if anyone would sing any portion of the music except the melody. And if someone played (or sang) only the notes of any other part (alto, tenor, or bass), you most likely would not recognize the music at all. Yet there is music almost devoid of melody--especially true of Rap, one of the worst forms of noise called music. Melodies should be smooth flowing, gentle, and usually not difficult to follow. Unfortunately, there are a number of "scripture songs" where the melody was written by someone with little or no training in music writing, and the melody is not smooth flowing. This is one of the reasons why some people do not enjoy scripture songs. Good melody is missing.
Harmony is defined as two or more notes played at the same time (which is then called a "chord"). There are two types of harmony, consonant and dissonant. Consonant harmony is a chord which sounds pleasant to most people when played alone. Dissonant harmony is a chord which sounds harsh or unpleasant to most people when played alone. When our oldest son was about 3 years old, he discovered by trial and error on a piano what note combinations (chords) sounded nice and which ones did not. Just for example, think of two adjacent notes played at the same time. If they are played with no other music, the sound is harsh, and almost non-musical. But when properly incorporated in a sequence of chords, it actually sounds nice.
Most people know what rhythm is, the pattern of musical emphasis. Whether you can detect it or not, all music has rhythm. A march usually has some drum or other percussion sounds which emphasize the musical beats, or rhythm patterns. Many people could not march to music that is not a march, because they do not sense the rhythm. But others can sense the rhythm of any music. Rhythm is used in musical scores to allow all the players of an orchestra or band, to play in (nearly) perfect timing.
Tempo is how fast the rhythm is played. In the 4/4 music described previously for "Onward Christian Soldiers", each quarter note would get one beat; and if it were played with 2 beats per second, it would have a tempo of 120 (beats per minute). If it were played with a tempo of 60, most people would consider it to be dragging, or too slow. If we played it with a tempo of 180, it would be considered as racing along. The tempo needs to match the music. Some composers specify the tempo of the music. A musician can use a metronome to tick off the exact tempo specified.
Timbre (which has nothing to do with trees) is the tonal quality of the musical sounds. A flute is nearly a pure tone, while a clarinet and a saxophone have many "overtones" or "harmonics", which give them a very different sound. It is the timbre of a sound that lets a trained ear tell what kind of instrument is being played. Most people can recognize a piano, trumpet, or chimes, by their very different timbre. But many people could not tell the difference in the sound of a violin and a viola, because the timbre is very similar.
NOTES ON MUSIC
Above I wrote about the five characteristics of music, and said I would write more. Here is a view from another author, from a book called "Notes on Music": by Carol A. Torres & Louise R. Torres (LMN Publishing International, Inc., no year listed).
Louis used to play and sing with "THE VAMPIRES", which became the "Band of the Week", with their picture and name on Times Square building. He writes:
Page vi "I soon realized we had a very special rapport with the audiences. They were literally feeding at our table; tied by unseen chains to our every word--moving, crying, laughing, loving, despising, cooperating, rebelling--at our mere suggestion, whether that suggestion was enunciated or only felt in the music." (emphasis supplied). Note that they were able to convey to the audience all these emotions by what the audience "only felt in the music". Here again, we see the importance of how the music affects our emotions--and therefore us and our thinking!
Then on page 17 he has a table (shown below) of musical elements and their uses. He calls them "harmonic use" and "disharmonic use". These two phrases are related to consonant and dissonant harmony. More on those effects later.
Then he writes on page 14: "Music is made by combining and balancing five basic elements. These are 1) MELODY-tones arranged to make a tune; 2) TONE COLOR [also called "timbre"] -the quality of the sounds produced by instruments or the voice; 3) HARMONY -the stacking of tones so as to create chords; 4) RHYTHM -a specific allotment of time given to a note or syllable in a verse and the time meter of a composition of music; and 5) TEMPO -how fast or slow the rhythm is to be played or sung.
"Though not obvious to the casual observer, all these elements consist of rhythmic vibrations and/or rhythmic cycles." [Emphasis his.]
ELEMENTS OF MUSIC AND PERFORMANCE
Element of Music - Harmonic [Proper] Use - Disharmonic [Bad] Use Melody Pleasing Melody Little or No Melody (can stand alone) (needs help) Tone Color Pleasant & Clear Harsh, Dirty Harmony Clean, Cluttered, Harmonious Chords, Lots of Dissonant Chords, Correct Intonation Incorrect Intonation (Sloppy) Rhythm Clustered About Frequent or Perpetual Syncopation and Fully or Polyrhythms; Monotonous Sympathetic to Main Beat: Variety Tempo Between 60 & 120 Too slow or Too Fast (mostly 70-80) Beats per Minute & Phrased Words Biblically Sound, Biblically Unsound Positive Repetitious, Sentimental Presentation Natural, Unaffected, From the Heart Dramatic
There are many good principles in this list. It would be possible to analyze each phrase, but that would take many pages. However, in future months, I will examine many of the most important points, along with some that he did not describe.
There are other sources than Hal Mayer for the effects of music on our brain. Although Hal's studies were the result of his studying other research, it was not always documented. So I thought a couple of other comments on this subject would be useful.
Edward Podolsky in Music For Your Health, (New York: Bernard Ackerman, Inc., 1945) pp. 26,27 wrote: "roots of the auditory nerves--the nerves of the ear--are more widely distributed and have more extensive connections than those of any other nerves in the body . . . [Due to this extensive networking] there is scarcely a function of the body which may not be affected by the pulsations and harmonic combinations of musical tones" (emphasis supplied). If he is right, and again I believe there is definite evidence that he is, then you can see how music without words may affect what you do and don't do. You can see why dance music makes one want to swing and sway--and dance.
Then Ira A. Altshuler, in a section called "A Psychiatrist's Experience With Music as a Therapeutic Agent," from a book Music and Medicine (New York: Henry Shuman, Inc., 1948, pp. 270, 271) writes: "music, which does not depend upon the master brain (centers of reason) to gain entrance into the organism, can still arouse by way of the thalamus--the relay station of all emotions--sensations and feelings. Once the stimulus has been able to reach the thalamus, the master brain is automatically invaded." You can see how these statements agree with Hal's study.
In the first Celebration video by John Osborne, he spoke of the evils of syncopation; but as I remember, he did not really define what it is. Over the years, I have heard two different definitions of syncopation. The most common one today is the same as the dance music style described previously, where the second and fourth beat (in 4/4 time) is emphasized rather than the first and third. In other words, dance music inherently uses syncopation.
But there is a different variety of syncopation that is just as dangerous. It does not exactly fit the above definition of dance music, and yet it is very similar. As far as I know, it is not in common use today. But some music does use it--although I cannot name any piece today that uses it, since I have always avoided paying any attention to this type of music. You remember that the 4/4 music described has four beats to a measure, and each quarter note gets one beat. If two notes are played in the time of one quarter note (twice as fast as the quarter note), they are called eighth notes (so two eighth notes are played one right after the other in the time of one quarter note). Now if I start the measure with only one eighth note, then three quarter notes, and finally one more eighth note to finish the four beats of the measure, I have syncopated that measure. Then the first eighth (short) note is normally not emphasized, so this also removes the emphasis from the first part of the measure. It is any rhythmic pattern where the beginning of the measure is not the beginning of the emphasis that creates the wrong emotional appeal. Decades ago, there seemed to be universal recognition of that musical pattern as being undesirable for SDA Christians to listen to. But when it is simplified to just 4 beats per measure with the dance music style previously described, it seems that the objections have largely vanished. Of course, objections may well have vanished from both styles of syncopation. But should it have vanished? NO! Right is right, and wrong is wrong. It matters not how it is disguised.
Over three decades ago, there was a Rock music star who became a Christian (not an SDA). He felt compelled to share his knowledge of Rock music with the Christian world. He traveled across this country giving lectures and he wrote several books. If there is any question left in anyone's mind about the evils of Rock music, the following statements should help to clarify the subject. This person's name is Bob Larson. In his book "Rock & Roll, the Devil's Diversion", he wrote the following on page 45: "The term `Rock and Roll' was coined by a Cleveland disc jockey who borrowed the phrase from the ghetto where it was used as a descriptive sex expression [described by others as sex in the back seat of a car!]. . . . The stress Rock and Roll places on the repetitive beat and syncopation undeniably labels it as African in origin." When the subject of rhythm is studied, more will be said about the "repetitive beat". All emphasis is supplied here and below.
Bob Larson also wrote on page 64 of the same book: "What a paradox is it that music can have both a savage and sedative effect. People react to music through their emotions. Music can even cause a person to do something irrational, something toward which he might otherwise have a natural antipathy. One song may bring tears to the eyes while another can fill the throat with shouts and cheers." No doubt he is here referring to both the music and the words, where the music writer has taken advantage of the music to emphasize the same effect as the words express. This can bring a "double-whammy" to the listener.
Then he continues on page 66: "Feelings of immunity from guilt can be achieved by listeners to Rock and Roll music. It has been proven that a man can commit a crime and then, by submitting himself to the proper music, erase from his conscience the pangs of guilt. . . . [Do you see why the criminal gangs love to play loud Rock music as they drive around?]
"One time after I had given a high school assembly lecture on Rock music a teenage girl who was a victim of epilepsy spoke with me. She told me that when I had given my musical demonstration of Rock and Roll that the music had nearly caused her to go into a seizure. She said she had to be careful not to be near any Rock and Roll music because of its harmful effect." What a testimony of the possible disastrous effects of music.
Then Bob describes a list of music-body effects, and on page 76 he writes: "The total effect of all these influences suggests that if they were properly manipulated a person's body could be conceivably `played' like an instrument. An arrangement could be conceivably scored to create a participation in a musical composition upon a total psychological and physiological level." And I believe that is exactly what is being done today, with some of the new forms of music.
In another Bob Larson book, titled "Hippies-Hindus and Rock & Roll", he writes on page 78 about a dance in Singapore with Rock & roll music where the teenage dancers became demon possessed. He observed it himself.
Another book of Bob Larson's is "Rock & the Church". He states on page 27 that "The world hates Christ as much as it did when the multitudes crucified Him. Don't be gullible! When Rock musicians speak and sing of Christ, be on the defensive. What they say may sound good at first but their ultimate aim is probably to discredit the Gospel and the person of Christ." On page 56 Bob says that "J. S. Bach, once said, `The aim and final reason of all music should be nothing else but the glory of God and the refreshment of the spirit.' With an aim like this in mind, how can the use of Christian Rock be justified at all?" On page 57 Bob says "Christian Rock uses the beat and the sound which even the secular world associates with promiscuous sex." And lastly on page 79 he repeats the principle that "Rock is more than a musical form. It cannot be disassociated from its immoral trappings. It is a social phenomenon that has contributed to the growing evils of our permissive society caught in the grip of a sociosexual revolution."
These reports, brought to Christianity by one who has "been there--done that", should remove any possible question remaining about the evils of all forms of Rock music, and separate the true Christian, especially an SDA Christian, from anything to do with Rock music and its derivatives, including ALL so-called Christian Rock. There should be no doubt that all such music is of, by, and for the devil and his control of people. But what about other music? Are there more than just the syncopation and Rock music styles that are dangerous or harmful? Yes, there are, and we will look at each element of music and see how it influences us.
REVIEW ARTICLE RESPONSE
Near the beginning of this paper I referred to the Review article in 1971 that evoked many letters to the editor, including one from me. But mine was too late, as they had closed commentary on that article.
However, they saw a lot of truth in my letter, and asked me if I could write it up as a stand-alone article for future publication. They wanted it condensed to half or less of its current length, and I could not find a way to make it that short and still say what needed to be said. So nothing was ever submitted for publication.
There were other efforts on the part of the General Conference of SDA's (GC) to help form a music standard, but none have been adhered to at all. About the time my music article was unable to be prepared for publication, it was announced that the 1972 Fall Council in Mexico City would study the music subject, and they asked for inputs. So I rewrote my letter for their study and submitted it. Later, they told me that there was another study sent to them, which took a similar stand, and they thanked me for my study. After that Fall Council, a report was printed in the Review, which seemed to me to be a good foundation for a genuine Christian music standard. Some of the conclusions in that Review report were based on those two studies. At first, I was elated; but as time went on, the music quality continued to get worse. It became obvious that the studies and that report were only exercises in futility. No one seemed to take them seriously. There was no effort by the leadership to make any real music standard. In fact, standards as a whole were in the process of being removed, not improved!
The Review report was mostly if not totally ignored by most musicians who I know or have heard perform ever since, including Prophecy Countdown (PC), John Osborne and Ralph Henderson in particular. I should, in all honesty, take the position that these PC men did not intentionally violate those principles, but rather that they did not ever study them--and the GC leadership is at least partly responsible.
In 1976, Paul Hamel wrote a book entitled "Ellen White and Music, Background and Principles". It was sold for many years, but seemed to also have no effect on SDA music. Then in 1988 the White Estate at the GC published the E. G. White compilation titled "The Voice in Speech and Song", which brought a number of her statements about music together in one place. But again, there are very few musicians who use that as a guideline for their musical selections.
PROPHECY COUNTDOWN MUSIC
In 1993, when I was considering working for Prophecy Countdown, I nearly refused to even talk to them because their music was not good Christian music. And this was over 2 years after the start of the "Celebration" series of videos, in which wrong music was talked against by PC; but PC did not even make its music match its own teaching on this subject.
There was some improvement in their music between the first 1993 satellite broadcasts and their music a year later, but it was still not as it should have been.
At the 1993 Steps to Life campmeeting in Ragu, Kansas (west of Wichita), I met a lady who also expressed concern about the PC music. She stated that PC had become a de facto standard for Historic SDA music, and any style that PC used was "OK" for others to copy. She asked if I could help to get her invited to PC to put on a seminar on the subject. Unfortunately, PC was not interested in learning anything more about music, as its leaders had the idea that they already "knew it all". I even gave the PC leaders a letter on the subject at the risk of losing my job. But they interpreted my letter as if it was from someone else, and I was merely the agent passing it on. That other person was fired that same day (or very soon thereafter), even though the reason for the firing was not given as having anything to do with my letter or music. During my two years at PC, I had a number of phone calls from satellite and video viewers who were also concerned about the lack of a real Christian music standard at PC. Most of the music broadcast by Prophecy Countdown Television Network was not only not in accordance with PC's own videos (mentioned above), but was also not in accordance with the standard recommended by the 1972 Fall Council. But as I said, essentially no one paid any attention to that report, and certainly not PC or its musical performers.
The following is most of my letter (slightly edited) to the PC Board, which was totally ignored:
"Dianne and the PC Board,
"This letter is written after much prayer and is presented for your prayerful consideration.
"Everyone at PC agrees (I believe) that feelings alone are not to be used to determine God's will for us. In other words, what one likes or dislikes is not the standard of what is good or bad. The world seems to believe that if it tastes good, eat it; if it feels good, do it; etc. This results in justifying much evil.
"Also, we agree that the results of something should not be a standard as to whether it is good or bad. The clearest example is NLP. The facts are that it works and can be used to produce results that appear good. Yet, we would not use NLP (intentionally at least) to do any part of the Lord's work, not even to raise money for the purchase of WCSN.
"Our staff supports the principles of the original (historic) SDA truths. Individual differences are normal and expected, so long as the fundamental messages and methods remain correct. But are there any historic principles, or may I call them 'standards' that are not as easy to define as the 23 spiritual principles on the baptismal certificates? Diet and dress are two examples. There are certain clear taboos, but there are a number of 'gray' areas where one person is offended by another person's 'standards'. Should not all PC staff be very careful to apply all the Spirit of Prophecy counsels to avoid needless offenses?
"The same principle applies to at least one other subject. Is there an area where it seems that feelings and results are the standard rather than studied principle? Yes, there is. This subject, even more than diet and dress, seems to evoke more emotion and less logic than do subjects like the nature of Christ. And just to name it will likely cause emotions to be raised. What is it? It is music.
"The world recognizes the hypnotic effect of some music on people, and they use it for this desired effect. Yet we seem to feel that the results of our music is what counts, even if the results are the product of this hypnotic effect. Is it possible that there is not a basic music standard here at PC that is based solely on principle? Is there any way to know such principles, or even the historic SDA music standard? I believe the answer to both questions is yes. I base that on the fact that a test showed that I have a higher music "IQ" than science "IQ". Also I have studied music (not performance) since 1941 (including college classes on music, the science of music, and much library study since college days). . . . A number of PC supporters have talked to me about this subject--at their initiation. Many consider PC music to be the de facto standard of good Christian music for historic SDA's. And I'm not talking about words. Concerns have been expressed about the music of Bob Silverman (which is much better now than at first) and some of the sound tracks played, which have been perceived as being too close to Rock and Celebration music styles.
"One of those objecting to some PC music is a professional, with masters and PhD degrees in music and its effect on people. She is perhaps the most knowledgeable person of the effects of music in the entire SDA world. She has personally spoken to me about this subject. She presents seminars on music and is willing to do such at PC, have them video taped, and shared with all those interested. Her seminars, called "Music Therapy", include: 1. Benefits of Music, 2. Music in Worship, 3. Harmful Effects of Music, 4. Mind Control Through Music, and 5. How to Choose Music. Her seminars use lectures, discussions, and demonstration of actual effects of music using psychological equipment. It is my conviction that we could all benefit by hearing her seminar.
"Because of PC's ever-expanding use of music and the importance of not misusing music, I believe it is very important that PC seriously study this subject to better glorify our Saviour through our music."
How sad that PC ignored this request for genuine study of the music subject. No one knows for sure (except God) what the long-term effect might have been if PC would have studied the music subject thoroughly, and taught it to all those watching (and those listening on audiotape).
Dr. Juanita McElwain
This lady's name is Juanita McElwain. Here are some excerpts from one of her books that I have. The first book is titled "The Power of Music". In chapter 2, titled "Benefits of Music", she writes on page 5:
"'Power? in Music? Music is good entertainment. Music is in the mall; it's in the doctor's office, dentist's office; it's on TV and radio all of the time; it's in restaurants; it's everywhere. How does any of that have anything to do with power?'
"Power in music. Think of the following examples.
"A mother sings a soft, soothing lullaby and a baby falls peacefully asleep. A student arrives home full of tension from a stressful school day and a few minutes of light flute or string music drains the tension and leaves her relaxed but alert.
"A man is tired in the morning and dreads the day of work ahead of him, but a peppy march stirs him with energy for the day.
"A young boy burst through the front door full of anger, but when he hears Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony playing on the stereo, his anger is released by the powerful music.
"Young students may be restless and find it difficult to settle down to study. A recording of a Bach Brandenburg Concerto or a Scarlatti Sonata or maybe Handel's Water Music will help the mind to focus, to plan and execute its thoughts.
"Waking up to a clock radio which is playing beautiful, quiet music which brings one slowly into a new day can be helpful. If string or flute music puts you back to sleep, try something a bit more peppy.
"Happy music that is light and airy played during meals will promote good digestion.
"A woman wakes in the middle of the night; restless, unable to go back to sleep, she reaches down and pushes the play button on her cassette recorder. In a few minutes she drifts off to sleep to the sounds of piano and flute improvisation mingled with sounds of ocean waves.
"A woman with a severe headache listens to a recording of American Indian wooden flute for thirty minutes and goes on her way refreshed, headache forgotten and gone.
"A teacher leaves the classroom at the end of a rather difficult day feeling dull, lethargic, slightly depressed. In her car she reaches over to turn on the car radio which provides buoyant strains of Mozart. In less than a minute's time, she is smiling and enthusiastic about the rest of her day."
Did you know about any of these benefits of good music? I learned to go to sleep to music while I was in grade school. My mother would come in after I was asleep and turn my radio off. During my recent illnesses, I was having severe problems in going to sleep and staying asleep. During that time, I just about memorized every piece on several audio cassettes, as I played them over and over, to aid in going to sleep. Without them I would have been much worse off. For years, I would come home from work, sit down at the piano, and fiddle with the keys. This would help me relax from a busy day at work. No, I don't really play the piano, but I do enjoy trying to play music on it.
Dr. McElwain continues on page 6 with this:
"Music has become accepted as a therapeutic intervention worldwide. Historical studies show that this has always been true if only in an informal way. Now Music Therapy is a recognized and well-organized profession with reaches out to a broad range of populations and applications. Some of the people with whom music therapists work include mentally ill, mentally retarded, geriatrics, physically handicapped, visually impaired, hearing impaired, juvenile delinquents, those in criminal correction systems, people in hospitals, coma and brain-injured patients. Music is used with child-birth and in kidney dialysis centers. Music is used for medicinal purposes more and more frequently."
On page 8 and 9 she writes summaries of information from a variety of sources (all listed in her book, but too many for me to list here): "Investigation has shown that music affects digestion, internal secretions, circulation, nutrition, respiration, and even the neural networks of the brain. . . . Music can change metabolism, affect muscular energy, raise or lower blood pressure, and influence digestion. . . . Certain music causes hens to lay more eggs and cows to give more milk. Two experiments, one in the Soviet Union and the other in Canada, revealed that wheat seeds grew faster when treated with tones. The Canadian wheat with music grew three times as large as untreated wheat. The Soviet wheat germinated faster, was more frost resistant, and yielded more grain with music. . . . Studies of Singh in India found that constant exposure to classical music caused plants to grow at twice their normal speed."
If music has this much power on plants, is it not very reasonable to believe that music can also have a powerful influence on people?
MORE ON THE 5 CHARACTERISTICS OF MUSIC
You may remember that I was starting to write on the 5 characteristics of music. Since most of what I have to say on these 5 areas will be based on information in memory, without time to research it all now, it is better when I can find some such information from current sources. So here is a little from Dr. McElwain. She is referring to the same source (Tame) that she summarized above. She writes on page 8: "Tame cites researchers as discovering that consonant and dissonant chords, different intervals and other features of music affect man's pulse and respiration - depending upon their rate and upon whether their rhythm is constant, or interrupted and jumpy. Blood pressure may be lowered by sustained chords and raised by crisp, repeated ones. The larynx becomes tightened during a descending series of chords."
Then she quotes from Don Campbell in a 1991 book titled "Music Physician for Times to Come", pages 100-102 (quoted on her pages 8 &9): "Assagioli offers the following explanation of the effects of the various elements of music:
"Rhythm affects both the body and the emotions. Since organic life is based on various rhythms such as rhythms of respiration, heart-beat, muscular movements, activity and rest, various bodily functions, even the rhythm of cells, molecules and atoms, it is not surprising that the rhythm of music influence organic rhythms. Musical rhythms stimulate or calm organic rhythms, creating harmony or discord. Also the psychological life of an individual has rhythms which are affected by the rhythms of music. These include rhythms of elation and depression, alterations of sorrow and joy, of fervor and lassitude, of strength and weakness, or extroversion and introversion.
"Tone has both physical and psychological effects. Sound has power over inorganic matter, being able to cause geometric figures to form on sand and objects to shatter. This indicated the impact it must have on bodices.
"Melodies are an ideal means for expressing emotions. The also arouse sensations, images and urges, and influence the nervous system, respiration and circulation.
"Harmony results in either a harmonious blending or a jarring discord, both of which have definite physiological or psychological effects. Dissonances in modern music are the expressing of discord, conflict and crisis.
"Timber or tone color is the special quality of sound of an instrument or the human voice. These evoke special emotional responses.
"A strong interest in musical uses in medicine has developed in recent years. Music is being used in dental treatment and surgical operations. It has been found useful for peptic ulcer patients who are so tense and nervous that routine medical sedatives are not effective. It is used in numerous ways in hospitals."
Then on page 10 she puts all music into three categories:
"1. Music that helps you and gives you strength.
"2. Music [that] does not do much of anything for you ('blah music')
"3. Music that definitely hurts and weakens you."
"Good music has power to provide many kinds of beneficial uses for everyone.
"'Blah' music is a waste of time and energy, and we could all do without it.
"'Music that definitely hurts and weakens you.' [includes] rock music."
By the way, in a book that is only 42 pages long, the last 7 pages are all the bibliography of authors she references in this little book!
You can begin to see how very important it is to listen to good music and not bad music.
Since writing the Science of Music for January 2001, I have had two special events. First, someone sent a copy of one of our newsletters to Dr. & Mrs. Swanson. Mrs. Swanson promptly contacted me, and we have been in correspondence since. She and others have pointed out that Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi has published a book on music, which is very good. Second, someone gave a copy of our newsletters to a personal friend of Dr. McElwain. He called me and gave me her phone number, and now I have been in contact with her also! Thanks to those who made these contacts possible. As yet, I do not have any new material from them to share, but I will soon. Dr. McElwain told me more about Dr. Bacchiocchi's book on music. She was asked to write a chapter for it. Dr. Bacchiocchi wrote about one-half of the book, and had several different music professionals write a chapter. However, after promising Dr. McElwain that he would pay her for her work, she wrote a chapter for him on "The Effect of Music". She worked very hard to get it ready in his format and on time. Then she sent it to him--but he never contacted her again. She never got any pay or even a thank you. She was devastated. However, she has now published that chapter as her third book. Her first two books, "The Power of Music" (quoted from in January) and "Rhythms of the Gods" are available for $5 for both; the new one, "The Effect of Music", costs $5. Her address is: Dr. Juanita McElwain, RR 1, Box 10E, Kerens, West Virginia 26276.
A few months ago, I described the 5 characteristics of music: 1-Melody, 2-Harmony, 3-Rhythm, 4-Tempo, and 5-Timbre. The writers (the Torres's) whom I quoted called these 5 elements: 1-Melody, 2-Tone Color, 3-Harmony, 4-Rhythm, and 5-Tempo. You can note that there is only one difference, and that is my #5 (Timbre) is his #2 (Tone Color). These are just two expressions for the same thing.
Repeating what I wrote before, it is the timbre of a sound that lets a trained ear tell what kind of instrument is being played. Most people can recognize a piano, trumpet, or chimes, by their very different timbre. But many people could not tell the difference in the sound of a violin and a viola, because the timbre is very similar. A flute is nearly a pure tone, while a clarinet and a saxophone have many "overtones" or "harmonics", which give them a very different sound.
OVERTONES AND HARMONICS
What, you may ask, are "overtones" or "harmonics?. These are two words for the same thing, but they are defined differently. Harmonic is a scientific term, while overtone is a musical term. To understand these terms, one must get a little technical, as it is necessary to understand these terms a little to understand some of the characteristics that make some music good and other music bad, aside from the rhythm pattern. Every note on the piano (the scale) has a different frequency. So we must describe frequency first. If you stretch a rubber band, and have someone pull the middle of it sideways and let go, it will vibrate back and forth making a somewhat musical tone. How fast it vibrates depends on the thickness, length, and tension of the rubber band. How fast it vibrates in each second is the frequency. Piano tones are made in the same basic way, except it is a steel wire, and it is tuned by how tight it is pulled. The number of vibration per second determines the pitch, with faster vibrations being a higher pitch. There is more than one standard scale, and for the purpose of this paper, I will use 256 vibrations per second as "middle C".
Now back to harmonics. When the hammer hits the "middle C" piano string, it not only vibrates at 256 cycles per second (Hertz or Hz), the "fundamental", but it also vibrates at 512, 768, 1024, 1280, 1536, etc. These are harmonics: the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, etc. (They are also called the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth overtones, but from here on I will use only harmonic terms). Essentially every musical instrument makes many harmonics, but the relative volume of each of these harmonics is what makes up the timbre, or tone color. The flute has very weak harmonics, while the saxophone has many prominent harmonics. Stringed instruments also have many prominent harmonics, but the pattern of relative volumes of these harmonics is different than the saxophone. Old Hammond organs had pull-bars for each harmonic, so that the organist could adjust the relative volume of each harmonic to simulate various instruments.
From the Torres's table above:
Element of Music Harmonic Use Disharmonic Use Tone Color Pleasant & Clear Harsh, Dirty
His terms "harmonic" and "disharmonic" are not the same as my above use of the word harmonic. His use is based on the term "harmonious", or proper and improper uses of tones. All of the five characteristics of music are interrelated, but here we are trying to describe the effects of the sound made by the instrument. There is no instrument that I know about that automatically makes bad sounds. Some are easier to play in a wrong way, and combinations of instruments can become bad. The Torres's describe that as "harsh, dirty".
The best example I can give in writing of "harsh, dirty", is many reed instruments (saxophones, clarinets, oboes, bassoons, etc.) without any balancing instruments, especially if they are played in "close harmony" (more about that later). The saxophone may be the easiest instrument to play in a harsh or dirty way. It was designed for that purpose, making it difficult (but not impossible) to play in a pleasant and clear fashion.
Before I continue this series, I'm going to make some other corrections to previous articles. Dr. McElwain has read the whole series, and has made a few comments that I want to share. Early in the series, I quoted this:
1T 510 "No one who has an indwelling Saviour will dishonor Him before others by producing strains from a musical instrument [not words] which call the mind from God and heaven to light and trifling things." Then I wrote: "Have you heard 'light and trifling' music? How about the music of a merry-go-round, old player-piano music, and other such secular music?" That was not a good choice, as both merry-go-round music and player piano music can be good music. I was thinking of specific examples, but of course, you could not know what was in my mind!
Later I wrote: "Melodies should be smooth flowing, gentle, and usually not difficult to follow. Unfortunately, there are a number of 'scripture songs' where the melody was written by someone with little or no training in music writing, and the melody is not smooth-flowing. This is one of the reasons why some people do not enjoy scripture songs. Good melody is missing." Note that I wrote "one of the reasons why". Dr. McElwain elaborates on that statement with this sentence: "Practically all the elements of the scripture songs are bad including their jazziness." I totally agree, and find few scripture songs that I can endorse.
In commenting on the syncopation rhythms, she wrote: "Yes, all kinds of syncopation are in common use today. In fact, there are syncopations that are so complicated that we don't even mention them, and I for one, do not try to analyze them. However, one that is just as common as the syncopation you talk about in 4/4 is that in 3/4 with the accent placed on the 3rd beat." She also wrote: "By the way, if anybody finds themselves swaying during the music in church, they'd better take a good look at it." I might even add, get up and leave! Again, thank you Dr. McElwain for your help.
Now back to the Elements of Music being discussed last month. The next element is Melody. Again repeating what I said before, melody can be described as that portion of the music which most people sing, whistle, or hum. It is the most obvious portion of music, and is primarily what we memorize. If I asked you to sing "What A Friend We Have in Jesus", I doubt if anyone would sing (by themselves) any portion of the music except the melody. And if someone played (or sang) only the notes of any other part (alto, tenor, or bass), you most likely would not recognize the music at all.
THE TORRES'S DESCRIBED MELODY AS:
Element of Music Harmonic Use Disharmonic Use Melody Pleasing Melody Little or No Melody (can stand alone) (needs help)
What makes a melody pleasing? For most people, it is one that: 1. Can be memorized easily, 2. Does not jump all over the keyboard too rapidly, 3. Is not repeated too much, and 4. Fits the rest of the music, and the words, if it has any. How easy a melody is to memorize is partly dependent upon you, and to that extent it is a personal variation, not a definitive quality of music. But if some music you listen to is much harder to memorize than other music, you might want to change your listening habits. Again, you relax better with music that you have memorized, and you can anticipate what is coming next.
Repetition can have a hypnotic effect, and if that is added to other bad effects, it can exaggerate the problems with that music. Many hymns have a four line melody, the with first, second, and forth lines almost alike. It is doubtful that any of these limited repetitions have any harmful effects, even when you sing four verses in a row. The repetition that I am speaking of is usually shorter than that, and repeated many times with little or no variation. John Osborne gave an example of that in one of his early celebration videos. In that video one aspect of rhythm was added to the short repetition, where the tempo was increased gradually, making the music faster and faster and also louder and louder. This is especially bad in its potential for a hypnotic effect. If I was in a place where such music was being played, I would want to jump up and leave.
It is difficult to define in writing all the ways that a melody does or does not fit the rest of the music. One way is that the melody should be the most prominent part of the music. If you have difficulty hearing the melody, the rest of the music does not fit. If the melody is hidden by harmony or percussion sounds, it does not fit. And harder to describe, if the melody and the harmony are not complimentary, they don't fit. Here again, the effect is to produce stress in the listener; and if there are words, it detracts from the ability to listen to the words. The words and the music should give the same message, which almost all Contemporary Christian Music does not do. One could safely say that it is impossible to find any Rock music that matches any Christian message. In her letter to me, Dr. McElwain wrote this: "An extremely important matter is to be sure that the words and music match. There are some pieces in our church hymnal which distress me exceedingly, when they have very solemn words with swingy, very rhythmic tune." I will try to get some examples soon. Even good music and good words do not always fit together. Just for one example (of many possible), try taking the words of the verse only to "Onward Christian Soldiers!" (page 612 in the new Hymnal, page 360 in the old Hymnal) and sing it to the music (which has the identical rhythm pattern) of "Take Time to Be Holy" (page 500 new Hymnal, page 603 in the old Hymnal). You will find that the impact of the words is destroyed, as the words and the music do not fit.
NOW TO THE TORRES'S DESCRIPTIONS AGAIN:
Element of Music Harmonic Use Disharmonic Use Rhythm Clustered About and Fully Frequent or Perpetual Sympathetic to Main Beat, Syncopation or Polyrhythms; Variety Monotonous
On page 19 (of their "Notes on Music" book) the Torres's write: "Exposure to 'harmonic' music reinforces the rhythmic cycles of the body, balancing processes, synchronizing nerve messages, bringing moods and emotions into a rest state of homeostasis, as well as enhancing coordination.... Exposure to 'disharmonic' music-whether it be the 'tension' caused by dissonance and 'noise' or the unnatural swings of misplaced rhythmical accents, syncopation, and polyrhythms, of inappropriate tempo-can result in a variety of changes including: an altered heart rate with its corresponding changes in blood pressure; an overstimulation of hormones (especially the opiates or endorphins) causing an altered state of consciousness . . . and improper digestion."
Note that the good use of rhythm they describe, is "Clustered about and fully sympathetic to the main beat, variety." In other words, the rhythm supports the music and fits in, not the other way around. Also, there is variety in the rhythmic patterns. No doubt you have all heard some (typically) piano accompaniment where there is an incessant, consistent pounding of the keyboard. That type of rhythm is anything but proper, and becomes dominant over the melody. It also has a lack of variety. This is an example of disharmonic use of rhythm.
Now note that the poor use of rhythm not only uses some variety of syncopation, and maybe a monotonous pattern, but may also have "polyrhythms". What is that? You may know that "poly" usually means "many", and here that is what it means-many rhythms all at the same time. These interwoven rhythms cause not only many types of syncopation, but also cause musical and mental confusion. May I call that musical Babylon? They certainly do not result in good music.
Everyone that has heard a march, knows that a march has a consistent rhythm. I wrote the following about rhythm earlier: "Most people know what rhythm is, the pattern of musical emphasis. Whether you can detect it or not, all music has rhythm. A march usually has some drum or other percussion sounds which emphasize the musical beats, or rhythm patterns. Many people could not march to music that is not a march, because they do not sense the rhythm. But others can sense the rhythm of any music. Rhythm is used in musical scores to allow all the players of an orchestra or band, to play in (nearly) perfect timing."
In music, there are many different rhythm patterns in use. In describing music styles, I wrote a lot about "4/4" music, which should have the ONE, two, THREE, four pattern. Just above, Dr. McElwain mentioned the "3/4" rhythm, which should be ONE, two, three, etc. Then there is the "6/8" pattern, which should be used as ONE, two, three, FOUR, five, six, etc. And there are many other variations including but not limited to 2/4, 6/4, 9/8, and even 12/8 to mention a few. Most of these are used in our church hymnals. None of these patterns are inherently bad or good. But how they are used makes all the difference in the world. None of them should have any significant syncopation.
Today, much of the popular music seems to be more beat than music! It does not matter much what the beat pattern is-even a good pattern-if it dominates the music, it will also dominate you. The beat should never dominate any music, especially not any Christian or religious music.
Many years ago, H.M.S. Richards, Jr. was presenting a talk on music at a Springville, Utah SDA campmeeting. He was reporting the effect of the musical beat rate (speed) on the listener. He related the beat rate of the music to the normal beat rate of your heart, which for most of us is about 60-80 beats per minute. If I remember correctly, he said that when the musical beat rate is a little faster than your heart, it tends to perk you up; but if it is a little slower, it tends to depress you. But if it is a lot slower, it tends to excite sexual desires.
Again from the Torres's book, on page 21 they write; "If the tempo of the music is faster than the normal tempo of the body, the consequences are generally a quickening and over-stimulation of the body processes. Likewise, the opposite is true of a very slow-tempoed music. Such results have led some to conclude that 'tempo may be the most important factor for our hearts and our heads. Our hearts normally beat 70 to 80 times per minute. Most Western music is set (coincidentally?) to this tempo.'"
Most popular music today, including so-called Contemporary Christian Music, is built on rhythm-instead of being built on a good melody, with rhythm to support that melody. What it does have is rhythm with some melody in there somewhere if you search for it. Now granted, I may be exaggerating a little, but I think you get the point. If you hear such music from a distance, what is it that you hear first? The beat usually, or the rhythm. Yet if you approach a church with someone playing the piano or organ, you may not hear the beat or rhythm first, but the melody will come through loud and clear about as soon as you can hear the music. That is how any good music will be perceived-with the possible exception of a march. But even then, you will find that the melody in most marches is still well balanced with the beat (usually drums). But even with marches, you will not find the types of beats or rhythms that you find in modern music. Again, the march rhythm fits the music.
Let us be careful to keep our music beneficial, and not destructive.
There is one area of the music elements that I have not emphasized yet. That is harmony. This may be one of the most frequently ignored elements.
Now to the Torres's descriptions again:
Element of Music Harmonic Use Disharmonic Use Harmony Clean, Harmonious Chords, Cluttered, Lots of Dissonant Chords, Correct Intonation Incorrect Intonation (Sloppy)
For most people, those statements may not mean much. And it is very difficult in writing to describe what is "Harmonious" and what is "Dissonant". But for those who know a little about music and music theory, it is somewhat obvious. But there is still a wide range of opinion on exactly what is O.K., and what is bad--and why. Now I don't pretend to be able to define these things so perfectly that all musicians will agree with me. But this is one of the main subjects that I wrote about to the 1972 Autumn Counsel, which I mentioned near the beginning of this series.
Early in this series I wrote "At the fall of Adam, did Satan decide to ignore the use of music to deceive us, even though he had been the master of music in heaven? No, you can be sure that Satan did not and is not ignoring any method he can use to deceive us and cause us to fall and be lost. Did Satan know about consonant and dissonant harmony? You can be sure he did, and he still does--more than you and I can imagine. If there is a way to use dissonance to his advantage, don't you believe he will do it? Then we need to learn all we can about dissonance, and follow the principles that we learn, whether in just listening, or in giving a musical performance."
To review the general idea of "Harmonious" and "Dissonant", we need to repeat the definition of harmony from a technical basis. Harmony is any two or more different notes (tones) played at the same time. If any of those notes are too close together, it is "dissonant"; while if they are spaced correctly, it is "consonant". Consonant harmony has the same meaning as the word "harmonious" as used by the Torres's above. When I first wrote about harmony, I wrote this:
"Consonant harmony is a chord which sounds pleasant to most people when played alone. Dissonant harmony is a chord which sounds harsh or unpleasant to most people when played alone. When our oldest son was about 3 years old, he discovered by trial and error on a piano what note combinations (chords) sounded nice and which ones did not. Just for example, think of two adjacent notes played at the same time. If they are played with no other music, the sound is harsh, and almost non-musical, or just noise. But when properly incorporated in a sequence of chords, it actually sounds nice."
The facts are that dissonant chords should always be "resolved". That is, a consonant chord must follow the dissonant chord which completes the sound sequence. But when one dissonant chord follows another, over and over, most of them are never "resolved". The British Broadcasting Corporation on shortwave uses a short musical phrase to identify itself. It is three chords, B-7th, B-7th, C-major (BBC). That is two (identical) dissonant chords resolved into a consonant chord.
It is said that a composers wife (from many decades ago, I think the composer was Wagner) used to get her husband out of bed in the morning by playing a dissonant chord on the piano and nothing else. Her husband would jump out of bed, and run downstairs to the piano and play the resolving chord! He could not stand to allow that dissonant chord to go unresolved. And we should be just as desirous to have it completed.
In most hymns, the next-to-the-last chord in the song--or even in every phrase--is a dissonant chord, which is resolved by the last (or next) chord. Can you image stopping a hymn one chord before the end? How would that sound to you? It would be unfinished. Where will you be if your salvation is not finished at the end of probation?
This is not just a religious principle. Good secular music also follows this principle. PBS radio has a very popular classical music program called "Adventures in Good Music" with Carl Haas. It is an hour-long program. About 2 years ago, he had a whole program on the 7th chord (again, that is a dissonant chord). On that program, Carl stated that under no circumstance should any music ever end with an unresolved 7th chord. Yet today, much of the Contemporary Christian Music ends with a 7th chord, and even music that is not in the rock style often does the same. John Osborne and Ralph Henderson (and others), along with their accompanists, often ended music on such a dissonant chord which left the listener in suspense, and affecting your feelings negatively.
LETTER TO THE GC OF SDA
Now I am going to quote (slightly edited) from my letter to the General Conference (of SDA's) Autumn Counsel (held in Mexico City in 1972) which primarily studied the subject of SDA music. That counsel did just what it should have done; but essentially no one paid any attention to it and the leaders never pressed the issue, which has allowed the addition of rock music into the SDA church. As I said above, it is very difficult to describe in writing what a sound is. This next section may not mean much to those who don't already know the sound of dissonant chords. Now to my letter:
"Now it is time to get into a music theory class. We all know that God created 'the heavens and the earth, and all that is them is', and that all true science is in perfect harmony with creation. Therefore, the science of true music was also created by God in the beginning. Since the science of math is highly organized by man, and music is highly mathematical, we may find some very basic facts about music using math.
"Ask someone with a violin what happens to the pitch of a note if he stops the string half way between the bridge and the neck. They will tell you that it will raise the tone by one octave. Also, if they could stop it only 1/4th of the distance from the bridge, it would be two octaves higher--and 1/8th would be the three octaves up. This is because, when the length of a vibrating sting is reduced by one-half, the number of vibrations per second is doubled. It is this 2-to-1 relationship that makes an octave. It does not matter if it is from 16 to 32 or 8,000 to 16,000, this doubling makes an octave. Let us relate some note names to some numbers for further discussion. Sixty-four vibrations per second (called Hertz, or Hz) is low 'C' on some scales. The exactness of this tuning is not critical (there is more than one set of numbers used), but the use of this number (64) simplifies the math.
"Let us use that 64 Hz note as a reference. One octave higher is 128 Hz, two octaves higher is 256 Hz (middle 'C'), three octaves up is 512 Hz, and four octaves up is 1024 Hz (high 'C'). All of these tones are called harmonics of the first one. The 64 Hz note is the 'fundamental', and the other are the 2nd, 4th, 8th, and 16th harmonics. Note that for these four octaves, many harmonics are missing; the 3rd, the 5th to the 7th, and the 9th to the 15th.
"Now we must analyze these harmonics. Remember that any two notes are an octave apart when their frequency ratio is 2-to-1. Therefore, every even numbered harmonic (divisible by 2) is an octave above a lower note. So if we study only the odd numbered harmonics, we will include all notes, just leaving out octaves.
"Why all this concern about harmonics? Because this is how God created harmony. Note that the two words have the same root. Webster defines harmony in music as 'the pleasing combination of two or more tones in a chord'. That which is harmonious is therefore left to the listener, and what he thinks is pleasing. Years ago, there was no argument on that point. But today, many ears have become so insensitive through misuse, that opinion is no longer a safe guide to harmony.
"We can compare this with what some people consider to be pleasing to the sense of taste. One ad stated 'when you eat too well, demand (stomach upset relief product)'--as if desirable eating 'well' and illness go hand-in-hand. It is not safe today to determine our physical nutrition based solely on what we like, enjoy, or find pleasing. The results of such a diet is well known. Note that a person who was raised on a perverted diet will detest many good foods--while enjoying to the utmost that which will produce ulcers, and do other bodily harm. Likewise, the person who was raised with or has adopted a 'diet' of bad music is not capable of determining proper harmony by merely listening and comparing to their own likes and dislikes.
"This is where math and harmonics must be used. You may not be aware that our scale is not exact, but a compromise. The 'tempered scale' was made because in perfect scales, C-sharp and D-flat (the same key on our pianos) are not really the same tones. In fact, the G played in one key may be different than the G played in another key! As a result of this fact, there would have to be literally dozens of keys in each octave, making a keyboard very large and very difficult to play.
"Our less than perfect ears are not usually capable of sensing small errors under most circumstances. Therefore, musicians and scientists compromised to select the tones of our scale today. (A trained ear can hear the imperfections of the tempered scale.) The western world has divided each octave into 12 half-step tones, tempered to approximate averages, not exact numbers (105.94631% tone to tone). This resulted in a very usable scale and a great simplification of keyed instruments such as the piano, and organ [and electronic keyboard].
"Pythagoras, who was born in 580 B.C., was probably the first one to recognize the mathematical relations of harmonious tones. He is better known for the geometrical relationship in right triangles called the Pythagorean theorem (which all geometry and many algebra students learned). It states that the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the two sides. Don't worry about what that means if you don't already know. If you make a triangle with the three sides, 3 inches by 4 inches by 5 inches, the angle between the two shorter sides will make an angle of exactly 90 degrees, which is exactly one-quarter of a circle. This unique triangle is called a 'perfect triangle'. These three numbers--3, 4, and 5--are the only single digit numbers that can achieve this pattern. It was also called the 'magic 3-4-5' triangle by early Egyptians. They used this principle as the only method for making accurate right angles (square corners) as far back as 2000 B.C.! This is a fact of creation--God made it that way.
[Here is how they could make a 90 degree angle: they would take a rope, and carefully tie 13 knots at exactly equal distances making 12 equal segments. Then they could put the 4th or 5th knot on a stake where they wanted the 90 degree corner, pull the short end out to the fixed side, and put both the 1st and the 13th knot on a stake at the point on that line where the short rope was tight. Then they would take the 8th knot and pull it until both parts of the remaining rope were tight. Presto, they had a 90 degree corner, and they could stake that 8th knot tight, leaving the three stakes at that 90 degree angle. The musical tones can also be represented as a circle for each cycle. In fact, an oscilloscope--an instrument to see electrical voltages--can be set up to show circles for musical tones. Although the musical circle cannot be divided by triangles, the relation of the harmonics has a similar "fit". Therefore, this mathematical "perfect triangle", is applicable to music as well.]
"And it is true that this 3-4-5 relation of harmonics (not note sequences) in music makes the 'perfect harmony', and can be applied in only two ways. In our example above with 64 Hz as our reference, the 3rd harmonic is 192 Hz (191.78 tempered). This is the note named 'G'. The 4th harmonic is 256 Hz or 'middle C'. The 5th harmonic is 320 Hz (322.54 tempered), which is the note named 'E'. These three notes played in ascending order--C, E, G--make the C-major triad. Adding the next higher C makes the full C-major chord. All true harmony is built on this foundation. Of course, this same basic principle may again be applied in all of the different keys; start with any key other than the 'C' key, and the same pattern will fit just the same.
"Let us study the remaining odd-numbered harmonics, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 15. There is no special mathematical relationship that fit these together. The 11th and 13th harmonics are nearly half way between the tones of the tempered scale, and they are thus 'quarter tones' which are not used in western music at all. The 9th and 15th come close to the tempered scale tones. They are D and B respectively. Note that C to D is a whole tone, and B to C is a half tone (no black key between them on the piano). It is well known that two tones close together (like adding B or D to the C major chord) make dissonance. Webster defines dissonance in the music as 'a chord that sounds harsh and incomplete until resolved to a harmonious chord'. Such combinations of tones so close together are properly used as 'seasoning' in the transitions from one chord or key to another one, but their harshness makes them unsuitable for continual use.
"The 7th harmonic has purposely been left to last. The octaves of the 3-4-5 triad--the 6-8-10 combination, which are still the foundation of God's perfect triangle--are split by the 7th [and the 9th, for that matter, used more today than years ago], making a 6-7-8-10 [or a 6-8-9-10] pattern which in turn makes dissonance out of harmony. 'Wait a minute', you may say. 'You said almost every hymn uses the 7th in the next to the last chord, sometimes in every phrase'. True, but this seasoning is not used alone, only in transition to a complete end. It is a dissonance which is resolved into a harmonious chord for a conclusion; it does not leave you hanging, waiting for more to come. It is the over use of the added 7th that is the Devil's delight.
"Let us examine the theory of the 7th just a little more. The true 7th harmonic (of 64 Hz) is 448 Hz. But the tempered scale tone is 456.14 Hz, which is a 12% error in relation to one tone of our 12 tone scale (of half tones). The true 7th harmonic is harsh (448 to 512-the 8th harmonic or the nearest C-is 64 Hz), but the tempered 7th is even more harsh (closer, 456 to 512 is 56 Hz). Yet today, many musicians add this harsh, compromised tone (B-flat in our example) excessively to other people's music. They seem to think that their perverted appetite is a better judge of musical quality than the original composer. Contemporary compositions usually use this added 7th too often. This is one more reason why most contemporary music is so objectionable. There are both psychological and physical effects of the too frequent use of dissonance, which are too involved to be studied here.
"Let us consider a few more facts on this subject. When you strike a key on the piano, a hammer hits a sting to make it vibrate, which makes the tone. The string vibrates primarily as a long single string, but it also vibrates in two pieces, three piece, etc., which are its harmonics. However, the design of the piano is such that the hammer does not produce any significant 7th harmonic in its tone. This is done because of the fact that it is widely recognized that the inharmonious sound of the 7th harmonic is not suitable for continual use. And then the Devil encourages us to add it back in (on a tempered and slightly worse chord), after God has given us the intelligence and ability to leave it out.
"The Hammond Organ [no longer being manufactured] is a good example of tones that are manually adjusted to produce the desired sounds (such as brass, strings, flutes, etc.). It has 'draw bars' for the fundamental (64 Hz in our example) and many of its harmonics. However, Mr. Hammond also recognized that nobody should use the 7th harmonic as a part of every note played, so he did not design the organ with a draw bar for the 7th [or 9th] harmonic. It just isn't there. This is one of the objections to some of the modern electronic organs, they have no way to eliminate this 7th harmonic from their tone generators. They are not able to produce the clean tones needed for quality music. [This problem has been solved today.] Their tones fit the dance hall and the theater much better than the church.
"There is one place where the 7th harmonic is continually present (although not prominent). The chime, by its very design, is a tone composed of essentially all harmonics. The volume of each harmonic is less than the next lower one, but the 7th is still loud enough to contribute to its overall sound. It results in a beautifully balanced tone when used alone, or in carefully selected pairs. But their sound becomes very jumbled and confused when several chimes of different tones are all played at the same time--as in a 3 or 4-note chord. This is caused by the many harmonics fighting with each other. They have true harmonics, but each chime is tuned to the tempered scale, so their harmonics do not perfectly fit any other chime except the octave.
"Now let us return and examine the second way of applying the 'magic 3-4-5' triangle to music. Those who know the Hammond organ also know that I left off reference to one draw bar. It is the one that is an octave lower than the fundamental tone (which would be 32 Hz in our example). This is called a 'sub-harmonic', where one divides the reference tone frequency to determine a new tone.
"For further analysis here, it is best to use 'high C' (1024 Hz) for our reference. Again, dividing by 2,4,8, and 16 (etc.) are octaves, each one lower than the last one. Dividing 1024 by 3 we get 341.33 Hz, which is 'F' (341.72 tempered). The 4th is again two octaves down, or middle C. The 5th is 204.80 Hz which is 'A-flat' (203.19 tempered). These three notes make the F-minor triad. All music written in any minor key is built upon this division pattern. The 'perfect triangle' used with either harmonics or sub-harmonics makes perfect harmony. Isn't it odd how it all fits together when based on math and the 'perfect triangle'? NO, it is not odd. That is how God created it. Beautiful, and perfectly balanced.
"But what about other odd number divisions? Of course, the 6th is just one octave lower of the 3rd sub-harmonic , so again we only need to look at the odd numbers from 5 to 15. Once again the 11th and 13th are unused quarter tones. The 15th is C-sharp, the 9th is A-sharp, and the 7th is a poor fit to our tempered D. Here again, the 7th is one whole tone less than an octave, splitting the triad in the middle. None of these odd numbered harmonics really fit anywhere other than for transient use.
"The excessive use of chords with the added 7th [and 9th] has now become as common in the church as coffee has become in the world. Some people say that it must be alright, because everyone is doing it. They show that music which was not acceptable years ago is common-place in the church today, and therefore it must be good. They extend this line of reasoning to say that we should not condemn rock in the church. There is no end to this kind of logic. They fail to recognize that the Devil is at the helm, and that the admission of such slushy music is not any license to admit more junk. The music (some of which is produced on Chapel and Bridge records) that pours out over our (SDA) college radio stations--and is played by evangelists and evangelistic associated groups--is not a new step toward a better way of winning people, but a giant step toward the Devil and his ways. Sure, there are converts; the Lord will work when He can, despite our errors.
"The Devil also produces many false converts which then infiltrate the church with more loose standards. Look at the immoral dress that is in the church--even on the platform. These are the same kind of people who brought bad music into the church. They are many of the ones who are and will be lax in other areas. Some dance. Most watch TV, even the movies that no SDA would think of going to see a few years ago. All too many participate in promiscuous sex. Why not? That is what all this modern music and dress is all about! The heavy jungle rhythm, the rebellious disharmonics, the wild noises and excitement, the entertainment--these are all part of the Devil's attempt to trap Seventh-day Adventists in anything which can be made to look harmless, but isn't." (End quoting from my letter to the GC.)
SDA MUSIC STANDARD?
How hard I tried, along with many others, to get the General Conference of SDA's to really promote a genuine music standard. If the report from these meetings had been officially adopted by the General Conference in session, and followed around the world, how different things could be today. The "Celebration" movement could have never started under such a standard. But most if not all Adventist "standards" have been eliminated today. Everything (almost) goes!
Above, I printed a portion of my letter to the Autumn Counsel of 1972 which studied what Seventh-day Adventist music should be like. That counsel did a good job, and published their findings both in the Review and Herald, and in a separate pamphlet titled: "Guidelines Toward a Seventh-day Adventist Philosophy of Music". That pamphlet is not copyrighted, so I am going to publish it here. Hopefully, you will STUDY this material and apply the principles in all your music, in and out of church, during the Sabbath hours and during the week. I would like to suggest that all of Historic Adventism adopt these guidelines for all of our music. Here is their report as published in that pamphlet. Quoted as follows:
Voted, That the following guidelines for a Seventh-day Adventist Philosophy of Music be adopted:
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has come into existence in fulfillment of prophecy to be God's instrument in a worldwide proclamation of the Good News of salvation through faith in the atoning sacrifice of God's Son and of obedience to His commands in preparation for our Lord's return. The lives of those who accept this responsibility must be as distinctive as their message. This calls for total commitment by each church member to the ideals and objectives of the Church. Such commitment will affect every department of church life, and will certainly influence the music used by the Church in fulfillment of its God-given commission.
Music is one of God's great gifts to man and is one of the most important elements in a spiritual program. It is an avenue of communication with God, and "is one of the most effective means of impressing the heart with spiritual truth."-Education, p. 168. Dealing as it does with maters of eternal consequence, it is essential that music's tremendous power be kept clearly in mind. It has the power to uplift or degrade; it can be used in the service of good or evil. "It has power to subdue rude and uncultivated natures; power to quicken thought and to awaken sympathy, to promote harmony of action, and to banish the gloom and foreboding that destroys courage and weakens effort."-Ibid., pp. 167, 168.
Those, therefore, who select music for the distinctive purposes of this Church must exercise a high degree of discrimination in its choice and in its use. In their endeavors to meet these ideals, more than human wisdom is needed. Turning then to revelation for guidance, the following general principles are revealed:
GUIDELINES TOWARD A SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST PHILOSOPHY OF MUSIC
The music should:
1. Bring glory to God and assist us in acceptably worshiping Him. (I Cor. 10:31)
2. Ennoble, uplift, and purify the Christian's thoughts. (Phil. 4:8; Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 594)
3. Effectively influence the Christian in the development of Christ's character in his life and in that of others. (MS 57, 1906)
4. Have a text which is in harmony with the scriptural teachings of the Church. (Review and Herald, June 6, 1912)
5. Reveal a compatibility between the message conveyed by the words and the music, avoiding a mixture of the sacred and the profane. 6. Shun theatrical and prideful display. (Evangelism, p. 137; Review and Herald, November 30, 1900)
7. Give precedence to the message of the text which should not be overpowered by accompanying musical elements. (Gospel Workers, pp. 357, 358)
8. Maintain a judicious balance of the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual elements. (Review and Herald, November 14, 1899)
9. Never compromise high principles of dignity and excellence in efforts to reach people just where they are. (Testimonies, Vol. 9, p. 143; Evangelism, p. 137)
10. Be appropriate for the occasion, the setting, and the audience for which it is intended. (Evangelism, pp. 507, 508)
There is much that is spiritually uplifting and religiously valid in the music of the various cultural and ethnic groups; however, the musical tastes and practices of all should conform to the universal value of Christ-like character, and all should strive for oneness in the spirit and purpose of the gospel which calls for unity rather than uniformity. Care must be exercised that worldly values in music which fail to express the high ideals of the Christian faith be avoided.
The above principles will serve as effective guidelines in the choice and use of music for the varied needs of the Church. Certain musical forms, such as jazz, rock, and their related hybrid forms, are considered by the Church as incompatible with these principles. Responsible persons involved in the Church's broad ranging music activities, either as leaders or performers, will find little trouble in applying these principles in some areas. Certain other areas are much more complex and a more detailed discussion of the factors involved follows.
I. CHURCH MUSIC
Music in the Worship Service
Worship should be the primary and eternal activity of mankind. Man's highest end is to glorify God. As the worshiper comes to the house of God to offer a sacrifice of praise, let it be with the best possible music. Careful planning of every musical elements of the service is essential so that the congregation is led to be a participant and not a spectator.
The hymns used for this service should be directed to God, empathizing praise and utilizing the great hymns of our heritage. They should have strong, singable melodies, and worthy poetry. The pastor should take a keen interest in increasing the quality and fervor of congregational singing. "Singing is seldom to be done by a few."-Counsels on Health, pp. 481, 482. Christian experience will be immeasurably enriched by the learning and use of new hymns.
Where there is a choir, meaningful anthems chosen from master composers of the past and present, sung by dedicated and well-prepared musicians, will add much to the service and assist in elevating the quality of worship.
Instrumental music, including organ or piano, should harmonize with the lofty ideals of worship, and be chosen carefully from the best materials consistent with the ability and training of the player. The instrumentalist responsible for accompanying congregational signing has an especially great responsibility to set the right standard in all his contributions, be they preludes or postludes, offertories or other voluntaries or accompaniment of hymns. He is in a unique position to raise the level of worship music in his church. If in the service there should be vocal solos or other special music, preference should be given to material with scriptural texts and music that is within the singer's range of ability, and be presented to the Lord without display of vocal prowess. The communication of the message should be paramount.
Music in Evangelism
Music used in evangelism may also include gospel music, witness music, or testimony music; but there should be no compromise with the high principles of dignity and excellence characteristic of our message to ready the people for the second coming of Christ.
The music chosen should:
1. Direct the hearer to Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
2. Prepare the way for the presentation of the message from God's Word, or continue its appeal, evoking a response from the hearers.
3. Be played and sung by those whose lives are consistent with the message they bear.
4. Be a vehicle for the deep impression of Bible truth which will inspire a positive change in the life.
5. Be presented in a carefully planned, orderly manner.
6. Be simple and melodic, and presented without emphasis on personal display.
7. Give precedence to the preaching of the Word both in emphasis and in allotment of time.
8. Maintain a balanced appeal to the emotion and intellect and not just charm the senses.
9. Be understandable and meaningful in content and style for the largest possible cross section of the audience.
Music in Youth Evangelism
In the field of youth witnessing, most of the above suggestions apply. Consideration also needs to be given to certain aspects that are unique to this area.
Young people tend to identify closely with the music of the contemporary youth culture. The desire to reach these youth where they are with the gospel of Christ sometimes leads to the use of certain questionable musical idioms. In all these idioms, the element which brings the most problems is rhythm, or "the beat".
Of all the musical elements, rhythm evokes the strongest physical response. Satan's greatest successes have often come through his appeal to the physical nature. Showing keen awareness of the dangers involved in this approach to youth, Ellen G. White said; "They have a keen ear for music, and Satan knows what organs to excite, to animate, engross, and charm the mind so that Christ is not desired. The spiritual longings of the soul for divine knowledge, for a growth in grace, are wanting."-Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 497. This is a strong indictment of the way in which music may be put to a use that is in direct opposition to God's plan. The previously mentioned jazz, rock and related hybrid forms are well-known for creating this sensuous response in masses of people.
On the other hand, we have many traditional folk music idioms which have been respected as legitimate branches of the musical stream. Some of these are acceptable as vehicles for expressing the Christian witness. Others, which might find acceptance in a Christian secular atmosphere, may be inappropriate for bearing the Saviour's name. Still others may fall completely outside the Christian's experience. It must be clear, then, that any form of "folk" musical expression must be judged by the same general principles as all other types discussed in this document.
"Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God's ideal for His children."-Education, p. 18. Those who strive for this high ideal and who lead in youth witnessing will find guidance through prayerful study of music by the aid of the Holy Spirit.
In addition to the problem of rhythm, other factors affect the spiritual qualities of the music:
Vocal Treatment-The raucous style common to rock, the suggestive, sentimental, breathy, crooning style of the night club performer, and other distortions of the human voice should be avoided.
Harmonic Treatment-Music should be avoided that is saturated [excessive] with the 7th, 9th, 11th, and 13th chords as well as other lush sonorities. These chords, when used with restraint, produce beauty, but when used to excess distract from the true spiritual quality of the text.
Visual Presentation-Anything which calls undue attention to the performer(s) such as excessive, affected bodily movement or inappropriate dress, should find no place in witnessing.
Amplification-Great care should be exercised to avoid excessive instrumental and vocal amplification. When amplifying music there should be a sensitivity to the spiritual needs of those giving the witness and of those who are to receive it. Careful consideration should be given to the selection of instruments for amplification.
Performance-The primary objective in the performance of all sacred music should be to exalt Christ rather then to exalt the musician or to provide entertainment.
Music in the Home
1. Music education and appreciation should begin early in the life of the child through:
a. The introduction to great hymns and gospel songs in the informal happy experience of family worship.
b. The establishment of right listening habits through home audio equipment which includes carefully selected music.
c. Attendance with the family at music concerts with standards conforming to those outlined in this document.
d. The proper example and influence of parents.
2. Family singing and participation in family music instrumental ensembles should be encouraged.
3. Experiments in writing poetry and song compositions might be encouraged.
4. A home music library of wisely selected materials should be established.
5. It must be recognized that Satan is engaged in a battle for the mind and that changes may be effected imperceptibly upon the mind to alter perceptions and values for good and evil. Extreme care must therefore be exercised in the type of programming and music listened to on radio and TV, especially avoiding that which is vulgar, enticing, cheap, immoral, theatrical and identifiable with trends in the counterculture.
Music in the School
1. In preparing and presenting music for religious functions, school administrators and teachers should work with the students in a way that will uphold the musical standards of the Church.
2. Witnessing and folk music groups going out from campuses should receive sponsorship and guidance from those appointed by the administration, be they music faculty members or others.
3. Directors of radio stations on Seventh-day Adventist campuses and those who are responsible for the selection of music played over institutional public address systems should choose music that is in conformity with the philosophy of music as expressed in this document.
4. Music teachers in school ensembles and in private teaching activities should make positive efforts to teach music literature that may be used in church and in soul-winning activities.
5. Because one of the primary objectives of school music appreciation courses is to teach discrimination in the light of divine revelation, instructors in these classes on all educational levels are urged to include information in the art of making qualitative value judgement in the area of religious music.
6. Efforts should be made by the local church and conference to close the culture gap. To this end the trained music personnel of the schools should be used in musical training and activities so that the lofty ideals of worship might be effectively promoted.
7. Musical presentations in Seventh-day Adventist educational institutions should conform to the standards of the Church. This applies to local talent as well as to visiting artists, ensembles and music on entertainment films.
II. SECULAR MUSIC
Music "rightly employed, . . . is a precious gift of God, designed to uplift the thoughts to high and noble themes, to inspire and elevate the soul."-Education, p. 167.
The Seventh-day Adventist life-style demands that the individual Christian exercise a high degree of discrimination and individual responsibility in the selection of secular music for personal use, solo, or group performance. All such music should be evaluated in the light of the instructions given in Philippians 4:8: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." He will also keep in mind the warning given by Ellen G. White in Testimonies to the Church, vol.1, p. 497:
"I was shown that the youth must take a higher stand, and make the Word of God the man of their counsel and their guide. Solemn responsibilities rest upon the young, which they lightly regard. The introduction of music into their homes, instead of inciting to holiness and spirituality, has been the means of diverting their minds from the truth. Frivolous songs and the popular sheet music of the day seem congenial to their taste. The instruments of music have taken time which should have been devoted to prayer. Music, when not abused, is a great blessing; but when put to a wrong use, it is a terrible curse."
The Christian will not sing songs that are incompatible with the ideals of truth, honesty and purity. He will avoid elements that give the appearance of making evil desirable or goodness appear trivial. He will try to avoid compositions containing trite phrasing, poor poetry, nonsense, sentimentality, or frivolity which lead away from the counsel and teachings found in Scripture and in the Spirit of Prophecy.
He will consider music such as blues, jazz, the rock idiom, and similar forms as inimical to the development of Christian character, because it opens the mind to impure thoughts and leads to unholy behavior. Such music has a distinct relationship to the permissiveness of contemporary society. The distortion of rhythm, melody, and harmony as employed by these styles and their excessive amplification dulls the sensibilities and eventually destroys the appreciation for that which is good and holy.
Care should be exercised when using a secular tune wedded to sacred lyrics so that the profane connotation of the music will not outweigh the message of the text. Moreover, the discerning Christian, when selecting any secular music for listening or performing which is not included in the above categories, will subject such music to the test of the principles given in the general principles outlined in this Philosophy of Music.
The true Christian is able to witness to others by his choice of secular music for social occasions. He will, through diligent search and careful selection, seek out that type of music which will be compatible with his social needs and his Christian principles.
"There must be a living connection with God in prayer, a living connection with God in songs of praise and thanksgiving."-E. G. White, letter 96, 1898 (Evangelism, p. 498).
Official Action of the Autumn Council of the
General Conference Committee
October 14-29, 1972
Mexico City, Mexico
End of quoting entire booklet. All emphasis in original.
As anyone can clearly see, if these guide-lines had been followed by leaders at all levels, and taught to members in all churches, there never could have been a "Celebration" church. There never would have been a need for videos showing the abominations that the wrong kinds of music have produced in the Adventist church today. When John Osborne made his first video about the Celebration abomination, he correctly titled it "The Greatest Crisis in the History of Adventism"! But the General Conference not only did not want to stop that Satanic worship style, they wanted to promote it; so they only reported that they were "watching it"-wait and see what happens. As a result of this "wait and see" attitude, the celebration movement has taken deep root-and now we can see what has happened!
THE SCIENCE OF MUSIC
The following is a condensation of the major points in this study over the last year. It is somewhat rearranged, and has a few new points included.
At the fall of Adam, did Satan decide to ignore the use of music to deceive us, even though he had been the master of music in heaven? No, you can be sure that Satan did not and is not ignoring any method he can use to deceive us and cause us to fall and be lost.
Despite the arguments of many people, including many SDA musicians, careful studies show that music without words can be sinful, or at least contribute to lowered resistance to sinning. Everyone knows (I believe) that music without words affects your thoughts and your feelings. We are told by God that "If the thoughts are wrong, the feelings will be wrong; and the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character." 5T 310 (emphasis added). Therefore, music without words can certainly affect our moral character, which is the only thing that qualifies us for heaven. This makes the music we listen to extremely important for our salvation, because we are what we listen to!
What do we find from modern inspiration? Much! Here are a few samples: "Satan has no objection to music if he can make that a channel through which to gain access to the minds of the youth [or anyone else]. . . . When turned to a good account, music is a blessing; but it is often made one of Satan's most attractive agencies to ensnare souls. When abused, it leads the unconsecrated to pride, vanity, and folly." (1T 506). "They [the young, or anyone can] have a keen ear for music, and Satan knows what organs to excite [by the music] to animate, engross, and charm the mind so that Christ is not desired." (1T 497). This is Satan using music to reduce your resistance to temptation. Note that the first quote shows that Satan uses music as "a channel through which to gain access to ... minds", and the second quote shows that Satan uses music to "charm the mind". This is direct access to the mind by the music.
By now it should be clear that since music can be used by Satan to gain access to our minds, and to weaken our resistance to sin, there certainly is wrong or sinful music-whether religious or not. Satan uses music to his own benefit, and if we are not careful, he can use music to cause us to loose our salvation. We all must gain some knowledge of the principles of good music, and make an intelligent decision on what we listen to.
In the studies that I reported in the news-letters for the last year: we found that our brain does not process music as it does words, but that the music bypasses the intellectual part of the brain (which should be in control) and goes directly to the emotional part of the brain, causing the emotions to take control. This is especially true for dance music styles such as Swing, Jazz, Rock (all kinds), Blues, Country & Western, etc. All of these music styles have other effects, and can become intoxicating and even addicting, making it very hard to give them up. They reduce resistance to temptation, and through certain rhythms, they can produce a mild form of hypnosis.
You can never change bad music into good music by using good words with it. But how much more dangerous is bad music with erroneous words, as you might hear on a so-called "Christian" radio station or recording? So let us avoid one of Satan's music traps, by eliminating all forms of Rock and dance music.
Some ask the question: "Isn't it all right for people of a different culture to maintain their own cultural music?" Culture cannot turn bad music into good music. Bad music is bad music in all cultures. Some cultures may have only bad music, and even as we teach against polygamy, we need to teach against bad music in all cultures.
What is music? Scientifically, music is described by 5 characteristics: 1-Melody, 2-Harmony, 3-Rhythm, 4-Tempo, and 5-Timbre. Any one of these can have a major effect on us if used wrongly. Let's examine each one briefly.
1. Melody can be described as that portion of the music which most people sing, whistle, or hum. It can be relaxing, boring, repetitious, exciting, exasperating, and even hypnotic.
2. Harmony is defined as two or more notes played at the same time (which is then called a "chord"). There are two types of harmony, consonant and dissonant. Consonant harmony is a chord which sounds pleasant to most people when played alone. Dissonant harmony is a chord which sounds harsh or unpleasant to most people when played alone. Any dissonance should be resolved, or completed. Music should never end on a dissonant chord. Too much dissonance within a musical selection can make one irritated or even aggressive. Yet much modern music is built on a heavy emphasis of dissonance.
3. Most people know what rhythm is, the pattern of musical emphasis. Whether you can detect it or not, all music has rhythm. A march usually has some drum or percussion sounds which emphasize the musical beats, or rhythm patterns. The rhythm of music has an effect on our bodies, since our bodies are also built on rhythms, such as heart beat and respiration to name only two.
4. Tempo is how fast the rhythm is played. Hymns should not by played or sung so slow that people loose interest in them. Yet they should not be so fast that they sound like a race.
5. Timbre (which has nothing to do with trees) is the tonal quality of the musical sounds. A flute is nearly a pure tone, while a clarinet and a saxophone have many "overtones", or "harmonics", which give them a very different sound. It is the timbre of a sound that lets a trained ear tell what kind of instrument is being played. No instrument is automatically bad, but some are much easier to play wrong than others.
The words and the music should give the same message, which almost all Contemporary Christian Music does not do. One can safely say that it is impossible to find any Rock (or dance) music that matches any Christian message.
Today, much of the popular music seems to be more beat than music! It does not matter much what the beat pattern is-even a good pattern-if it dominates the music, it will also dominate you.
Good music will follow a basic pattern where the melody is predominate, simple, and pleasing. The harmony will fit the melody with only transitory dissonance, never ending on a dissonant chord. The instrument selection, whether one or several, will blend together and support the melody. The tempo will also fit the rest of the music and be appropriate for the words, if any. There should be little or no beat present, except in march music where the rhythm will be emphasized by percussion instruments such as drums. The basic rhythm (the underlying count of 1-2-3-4, for example) may not even be evident for many people. They cannot march to some of Bach's music for example.
Please carefully listen to the ALL the music that you have, and carefully consider if it fits these principles and those printed last month. Be especially careful with music used for any phase of worship, whether used as background music, special music, or group singing.
Let us all be sure that the music, whether religious or secular, does not become a tool in Satan's hand to deceive us and lead us away from our Saviour.
For the next few months, I am going to give this space to Dr. Juanita McElwain. This month and next month, the topic is "Music and Worship", and their relation to the three angels' messages.
WORSHIP AND MUSIC
by Juanita McElwain, Ph.D., RMT (retired)
Music, worship, and counterfeits. A definition of terms may prove useful to assure that all readers understand these words in the same way.
For purposes of this paper, music is a gift of God. It is a wonderful gift God has given us, because He has given us a part of Himself. Everybody knows that God is love. And God gives us love, which is part of Himself. What about music? In Ex. 15:2 and in Isa. 12:2 it says the Lord is my strength and my song. God Himself is my song and He gives me music.
Everybody has their own ideas concerning worship, but a definition can be helpful. Leonard provides one such: "Worship is the central focus of a vital Christian faith, and the most distinctive activity of the church of Jesus Christ. The biblical words translated 'worship' (Hebrew shachah, Greek proskuneo) mean, literally, to bow down or bend the knee. Such was the ancient gesture of honor to a sovereign and superior authority. To worship is to offer the oath of covenant loyalty to the Great King, and to affirm our faithfulness as His servants. For this reason, the worship of God through Jesus Christ lies at the heart of all Christian expression." (Leonard, 2001, p.1, end notes next month. )
Now, consider counterfeits. One popular definition is that a counterfeit is a cheap imitation of the real thing. It's cheap and it's an imitation. Whenever there is something important that comes from God, Satan has to counterfeit it. So if you notice a counterfeit, take a good look at the real thing because it must be very important for Satan to bother counterfeiting it. Do counterfeits look nice? Do they sound nice? Certainly, they are glittery and beautiful and meant to attract. Counterfeits are not good things to have because they are not worth much, and can even be dangerous. You don't want to be found using counterfeit money, do you?
All through history, worship has been conducted in different ways, true worship and counterfeit, pagan worship. Even true worship has differed at different times and in different cultural settings. This paper does not have time or space to examine historical worships. Presently, we are concerned with worship in the last days, in our own time. God gives us information concerning the worship He requires in the final days. We find it in Revelation 14, in the "three angels' messages". In fact, that is one of the basic things they are all about. God does not leave any significant chance of our misunderstanding what He wants.
Look at the three angels' messages and read them through. Revelation 14:6-12. In the first message, verse 7, the angel says, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of his judgment is come and worship Him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." There is that word-worship. We are commanded to worship. And who is to be the object of our worship? The creator God. That is very plain. We are commanded to worship the one and only true God, the One Who down through history has repeated His covenant with us to be our God and to claim us as His people. This is the first big message for us.
The second and third messages tell us that there is someone we are commanded not to worship-the beast. The scope of this paper does not include identifying the beast, but the third angel's message tells us the consequences of worshiping the beast-nothing but bad things, horrifying things.
The end of that message tells the identifying marks of those who worship the true God-they keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus.
It is reasonable to say that all of these identifying marks and commands lead to the conclusion that the worship of God is the true worship and the only true worship. Also, the worship of the beast is the false or counterfeit worship. Everything that goes with the worship of the beast is false or counterfeit worship. Some of the things this involves include the false sabbath, and also the false, counterfeit music. Many other things could be included, but the emphasis of this paper is music, true God-based music, and false, counterfeit music.
Some may say, can you prove that music is a part of worship? There have been many people throughout history who have said that instrumental music should not be used. John Calvin, for example, claimed that the instrumental music used in the Old Testament times was meant for people who were tender and like children. But in New Testament times Christ has come and the church has reached full age, it would be only to bury the light of the gospel should we introduce the shadows of a departed dispensation. (Girardeau, 1983, pp. 63, 64).
What about music in worship in the last days, in the setting of the three angels' messages? Consider the following statements:
"As a part of religious service, singing is as much an act of worship as is prayer. Indeed, many a song is prayer." (White, 1903, Ed., p. 168). Many other quotations could be cited which include instrumental music. "Singing is just as much the worship of God in a religious meeting as speaking." (White, 1980, 3SM, p.333).
According to those quotes, worship includes speaking, prayer, and singing. Each of these aspects may be true worship or counterfeit worship. So music is an important part of worship, making it an important part of the three angels' messages, and what God wants from us in these last days. It does matter what our music is like. It matters very much. It shows our allegiance to God and our acceptance of His covenant or it shows our allegiance to the beast. God does not want anything counterfeit in His worship.
Let us examine exactly what music should accomplish in the worship service. Actually, it plays many roles.
First: Music sets the mood. People's thoughts, feelings, and emotions are controlled by the music. Alertness or sleepiness may be caused by the music. Music creates a proper frame of mind for the rest of the service. If a minister wants to introduce strange ideas of theology, he can use what we call "celebration" music to put the people into a hypnotic state, and then they accept and retain in their minds whatever he wishes-without even knowing it is happening.
Second: Music creates unity and harmony. People feel and think together because of the music. It is a kind of group entrainment (that word is not entertainment). Entrainment: scientists have discovered that when two rhythms are placed adjacent to each other, they tend to lock into each other and have the same rhythm. They first discovered this with pendulum clocks, back in the 1600's-if they were close together on the same shelf, the pendulums would start swinging the same. Since then we have learned that we can control all kinds of body rhythms with music. Just play the music with the speed or vibration you want and you can slow down or pick up the heart rate, or any of the many other rhythms in the body, including brain waves.
So if you play fast jazzy rhythms at the beginning of church, your whole body gears up to the same thing. Scientists have found ways to inject rhythms of whatever tempo they want and certain tones into musical recordings and people don't know they are there, but their brains accept them and respond accordingly. Maybe it even slows you down enough to become like zombies. One danger of this is that Satan can use his counterfeit in the accompaniment tapes, and nobody ever knows the difference. [Most such commercial tapes are unsafe-GS.] Recent research shows that group entrainment may take place. One study showed that in a university class the brain waves of the students entrained with those of the professor. This has serious implications for those who are using NLP to control others. "While preaching, praying, or conversing, some professed Adventist, who had rejected present truth used mesmerism to gain adherents, and the people would rejoice in this influence, for they thought it was the Holy Ghost." (White, 1882, EW, p.44). Now the scientists are showing us it can really happen. Do not think it is foolish imagination. Satan is using his false, counterfeit worship, and the music in it, to control people's minds. This fact makes it extremely important that we do not use Satan's music in worship-in fact, that we do not use Satan's music anywhere.
Third: Music creates a kind of people. You are what you eat, you are what you see, you are what you hear. You are the kind of music you hear.
Fourth: Music invokes the Holy Spirit and invites the presence of angels. In the book Evangelism, it says, "When the singing is such that angels can unite with the singers, an impression is made on minds that singing from unsanctified lips cannot make....The songs in which every word is uttered clearly, in a musical tone, are the songs that they [angels] join us in singing. They take up the refrain that is sung from the heart with the spirit and the understanding." (White, 1946, pps. 509, 510).
Fifth: Most important of all, music is an act of worship. This places it as a significant part of true worship, which then makes it an important part of the three angels' messages.
Following are a list of guidelines which are beneficial in choosing appropriate music for worship services.
1. Choose music which is worship centered.
2. Choose music which is Christ-centered, and not I centered. "In the heavenly courts there will be no song sung, To me that loved myself, and washed myself, redeemed myself, unto me be glory and honor, blessing and praise. But this is the keynote of the song that is sung by many here in this world." (White, 1923, TM, p. 456) [Originally written in Letter 73, 1896.]
3. Do not choose music which is harmful.
4. Choose music which will allow the angels to join in with the singing.
5. Do not choose music meant for entertainment. Music should not be chosen to please the senses. It should not lull or hypnotize. The mind can become so relaxed that it is willing to accept anything in the way of new theology or any false theories, because of the music played as "special music" before the sermon, or even as congregational singing. Be careful.
6. Do not choose music which is emotion-based or sensual. [Restudy all of the music articles we have published to understand this hazard better.] This path leads in the direction of the sex-orgies in the ancient pagan worship in the groves.
7. Do not choose music with false theology.
8. The music and the words should match. The music must be conformable to that which is being sung. The music either colors and reinforces the words or it contradicts them. One wrong example is so-called Christian rock.
9. Choose music which will draw each individual and the congregation closer to God.
What difference does it make what music we have in our worship services? If music is just basically entertainment, why do we have music in worship at all? Many people have said that music is just a matter of preference. In other words, just choose what you like. The problem is there is a big difference between various music selections. And it all goes back to God's music for God's worship, and Satan's counterfeit for Satan's worship.
A search of the Bible will reveal what God wants us to sing about. If music is an important part of the worship of God, He must have given us some instruction about it. There is a more complete review of these in my book The Rhythm of the Gods. The thing mentioned more often than anything else was praise. "Praise ye the Lord...let them sing praises unto Him with the timbrel and harp." Ps. 149:1, 3. "Praise ye the Lord, for it is good to sing praises unto God, for it is pleasant and praise is comely." Ps. 147:1.
The thing mentioned the next most frequently is Thanksgiving. "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O most High." Ps. 92:1. Does God get tired of hearing us thank Him?
Joyful Songs--"Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands. Sing forth the honour of His name, make His praise glorious." Ps. 66: 1, 2. "O let the nations be glad and sing for joy." Ps. 67:4.
Majesty--"They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord." Isa. 24:4.
God's Righteousness - "They shall abundantly utter the memory of Thy great goodness, and shalt sing of Thy righteousness." Ps. 145:7.
God's Power--"Be Thou Exalted Lord, in Thine own strength: so will we sing and praise His power." Ps. 21:13.
God's Mercy and Judgment--"I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto Thee, O Lord, will I sing." Ps. 101:1.
To God's Name--"So will I sing praise unto Thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows." Ps. 61:8.
Other verses give us the following: To the glory of God, God's goodness, Ways of the Lord, Science of Salvation, Psalms, Holy songs, Words of the Law, Prophecy, Songs of Triumph and Victory, Faith and Holy Cheer, Hope and Trust. And the final song for the future: the song of Deliverance.
It seems like God has given us plenty to sing about without resorting to the devil's counterfeit and songs about our own selves and our own feelings. It would be a good idea if we would try to practice now for the music of heaven.
I have a dream that some might like to share with me. Imagine a few SDA churches here and there who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus and are doing all they can to avoid the devil's counterfeit music, becoming serious about their music being God's music. Even a church or two could start it. What if these churches started making the music of their church Seventh-day Adventist music. How, you say, could you do that? Well, there is the list above that God gave us. With that, suppose we sing songs about the three angels' messages, about Christ's second coming, about the Sabbath, about the state of the dead, about the sanctuary, about the Spirit of Prophecy-the pillars of our faith. That's just a start. There are plenty of songs in our hymnal that we already know and more good songs that we could learn. For example, do you know the song about the judgment-page 415 in the new hymnal, "Christ the Lord, All Power Possessing," The first verse is about Christ returning to heaven, the second verse pictures the judgment, the third verse is about Christ coming back. The words were written by C. Mervyn Maxwell, the tune may not be familiar to you but it is popular in some other churches with different words. The tune is an exciting, vigorous tune and the song is well worth some effort to learn. After searching out all of the wonderful songs that are truly our own SDA beliefs, then learn to think the words as we sing them and breathe new life into them, our whole church will become invigorated. Speaking of thinking the words (accompanist and singers), in Education page 168, where we read that song is an act of worship and song is prayer, it continues as follow: "If the child is taught to realize this, he will think more of the meaning of the words he sings, and will be more susceptible to their power." (White, 1903, p. 168). And the older ones among us are not too old to learn the same lesson.
If the church members would like to have something new, there are a lot of good composers in the SDA church who could write songs for our churches to sing that are centered on our important beliefs. Probably they are already doing it, and we just seldom hear of them. Maybe a church (or even an individual) could commission a good SDA composer to write a piece especially for them. Be sure that the composer writes sound doctrinal words, and that the music is appropriate for worship. Such cannot be done by anyone who is hearing, absorbing, and writing the devil's counterfeits. If several churches took their new songs to camp-meeting with them and shared them-think what that might start.
Are you and your church singing God's music in your worship services, or is the devil's counterfeit music sneaking in among you? Is your music preparing you for heaven?
Girardeau, John L. (1983). Instrumental music in the public worship of the church. Havertown, PA.: New Covenant Pub. Society.
Leonard, R. C. (2001). Worship in the early church. Internet at: members.aol.com/laude-mont /wited.htm 4/15/2001
White, E.G. (1945). Early Writings. Wash., DC. Review and Herald Pub. Assoc.
White, E.G. (1903) Education. Mountain View, CA. Pacific Press Pub. Assoc.
White, E.G. (1946). Evangelism. Wash., D.C. Review and Herald Pub. Assoc.
White, E.G. (1980) 3 Selected Messages. Wash., D.C. Review and Herald Pub. Assoc.
White, E.G. (1923) Testimonies to Ministers. Mountain View, CA. PPPA
In many parts of this series, I have described several types of poor to outright bad music. However, except for the dance music styles (including all varieties of Rock, Jazz, Swing, and Country & Western, to name the most common types), which produce emotional weakness to immorality, I did not describe why the various music forms are bad . There are many other bad effects of poor and bad music upon our body, and even our character, and therefore our salvation. I have not mentioned most of the other effects, since I have little documentation to prove what I say.
The following article is based on very solid research and is documented, showing where you can go and study more if you wish. In my own studies and experience, I find more serious effects of dissonant music than is listed in this article. I have been asked about this, and at that time I only remembered the fact that excessive dissonance (including music ending in dissonance) produces excess stress. As I reviewed my memory on this subject, I realized that excessive dissonance can also produce aggression, anger, hatred, disobedience, and almost any other evil emotional effect (confirmed by Dr. McElwain). Don't forget the one statement I made near the beginning, that what one likes or dislikes in music has nothing to do with whether it is good or bad music. And don't think that I judge music by my likes and dislikes, because there are bad music styles which I like very much. One must make a studied decision on what music they will use based on principle, not emotions. That is why I have spent so much time on this one subject. But now to the documented article:
THE LANGUAGE OF MUSIC
by Juanita McElwain, Ph.D., RMT (retired)
"Music is a universal language." There is much discussion about the meaning and truth of this statement. Is it really true? If it is true, what does it mean? Some claim that it has a limited meaning, and that people in different world cultures understand music, but in their own culture. Some claim that it is not true at all and that music has no intrinsic meaning or moral effect, but is amoral. Others claim that music has much meaning and different music has different effects, such as happy, sad, uplifting, exhilarating and the list could go on and on, concluding that music has many differing and definite meanings. For example, "That was happy music, that was mournful music, that was patriotic music" etc. [We believe that some emotional reactions to music, occur only with certain individuals. For example: the same song may cause feelings of nostalgia in one person, but not in another. However, this does not deny that some emotional reactions are universal, as described below.]
For the rest of this paper, we will assume that there is a language of music, and an attempt will be made to determine what it is and how it functions.
David Tame (1984, p. 146) proposed that words are mere symbols of real things, ideas, etc., only symbols of real inner feelings. On the other hand, music conveys the very emotional essence or reality. In other words, music actually conveys the emotion itself, not just a symbol of it. This would explain why music has the effects it does on the body and mind. Tame continues by making this interesting claim: "Who can doubt that music influences our emotions? It is surely true that music is only listened to in the first place because it makes us feel something. But now this is very interesting, for if music gives us feelings, then these feelings-of uplift, joy, energy, melancholy, violence, sensuality, calm, devotion, and so forth-can certainly be said to be experienced. And the experiences which we have in life are a vitally important factor in the molding of our character.... Music molds character." [And therefore it molds our eternal future!]
This leads to the conclusion that the communication of musical language is more than the formal intellectual type of communication, but it also communicates feelings and emotions.
Clynes (1977) has spent many years studying how emotions are communicated in daily life, music, and the arts. He studied the biologic basis of communicating emotion. He invented a machine with which he can record the subtle ways of touch expression for different emotions, expressed with the pressure of a finger. He uncovered genetically-programmed brain and nervous system patterns for basic emotions like joy, anger, grief, and love. He found that he could identify and measure different emotions by finger pressure, just as one can measure and print out brain wave production or other body functions. He calls these "sentics", and the machine he developed a "sentograph". The emotions he worked with were anger, hate, grief, love, sex, joy and reverence. Each emotion produces a different shape and the print-outs are called a sentogram. A large number of subjects were studied. Consistent results were achieved regardless of age, gender or social strata. Then, thinking there might be cultural biases, he conducted the same study of essentic form in Mexico, Japan and Bali. The same results were achieved. The only problems were when no really adequate word could be found in translation. For example, in the Balinese language there was no word for hate. "Results of measurements of the Japanese and Balinese essentic forms confirmed the similarity of different cultural groups and supported the view that essentic forms are characteristic of human nature, regardless of race and culture. This is, of course, of inestimable value for the communication of emotions and qualities among all people of the earth. It is a documentation of our brotherhood, in terms of our common inheritance of unchanging, pure qualities of emotions and thus expressive forms, which are potentially programmed, so it seems, into every man." (Ibid, pps. 50, 51).
Combining the work of these two men, it is found that the same emotions are found internationally and that music directly communicates actual, not symbolic, emotions. This appears to be a strong foundation for the statement "Music is a universal language."
The next consideration is to discover how music can do this [be a universal language]. Here, again, this has been studied extensively by Cooke (1959). Cooke analyzed extensively many musical examples "to establish the terms of its vocabulary and to explain how these terms may legitimately be said to express the emotions they appear to." (Ibid. p. 34.) He started with the basic material, notes of definite pitch and showed "that musical works are built out of the tensions between such notes. These tensions can be set up in three dimensions-pitch, time, and volume: and the setting up of such tensions, and the colouring of them by the characterizing agents of tone-colour and texture, constitute the whole apparatus of musical expression." (Ibid. p. 34). The basis of the tonal tensions is the harmonic scale. A single note sets up a harmony of its own; and this harmonic series has been the (unconscious) basis of Western European harmony and the tonal system. This is the source of the tonal tension. Certain tones pull toward other tones. If the reader is interested, Cooke explains this at some length on page 40 and following; or a good music theory book will have an explanation.
Cooke found that specific things in the different elements produce specific emotions, and he gives many musical examples to illustrate this. In order to help the reader gain at least a small understanding of how these elements work, some examples will be given of each one. On pages 89 and 90, Cooke summaries the effects of the different tones of the scale as follows:
Tonic or first note of the scale is emotionally neutral; context of finality.
Minor Second: semitonal tension down to the tonic, in a minor context: spiritless anguish.
Major Second: pleasurable longing, context of finality.
Minor Third: stoic acceptance, tragedy.
Major Third: concord, joy, pleasure.
Normal Fourth: as a passing note, emotionally neutral. As a semitonal tension down to the major third, pathos.
Sharp Fourth: devilish and inimical forces. Used in connection with the devil and evil.
Dominant: emotionally neutral.
Minor sixth: tension down to the dominant; active anguish in a context of flux.
Major sixth: as a passing note, emotionally neutral. As a whole-tone tension down to the dominant, pleasurable longing.
Minor Seventh: mournfulness.
Major Seventh: violent longing, aspiration.
Volume: "The louder the music gets, the more emphasis is given to what is being expressed; and naturally, the converse holds good-the softer, the less emphasis.... When we get to pp or ppppp (as soft as possible) the composer achieves the emphasis of secrecy, forcing what he has to say upon our attention by making us strain our ears. In this way, Tchaikovsky stresses his despair at the end of his Pathetique Symphony, and Delius emphasizes the unutterable nostalgia which ends most of his works." (Ibid, p. 96)
Time: In music, time expresses the speed and rhythm of feelings and events: the state of mental, emotional, or physical animation. In music there is duple [double] time-one strong beat and one weak beat, and triple time-one strong beat and two weak beats. As a general rule, duple rhythm is more rigid and controlled; triple rhythm more relaxed and abandoned [waltz style, for example].
Rhythmic accent throws emphasis on a given note in the scheme of tonal tensions, and thus qualifies the emotional expression of a phrase of two or more notes-possibly being expressive of a burst of anguish. This is where syncopation can play a large role, especially in rock music.
Tempo is the speed at which a piece of music moves: the faster, the more animation. "The effect of tempo on emotional expression is clearly all-important, since every basic emotion can be experienced at many different levels of animation." (Ibid. p. 99). Joy may be tumultuous, easy-going, or serene depending on the tempo. Despair may be hysterical or resigned.
Even or jerky tempo also makes a difference.
Pitch also has an effect on emotions. Pitch can either rise or fall. To rise in pitch in the major [normal scale] is normally to express an outgoing feeling of pleasure, assertiveness, expressions of courage, battle music, etc. To fall in pitch in the major [normal scale] is normally to express an incoming feeling of pleasure, such as an acceptance of soothing comfort. To rise in pitch in the minor is normally to express an outgoing feeling of pain, possibly excited, aggressive affirmation of or a protest against, a painful feeling. To fall in pitch in the minor is normally to express an incoming feeling of pain: fierce despair, slow and loud; subjection to fate, also slow and loud.
These are a few examples of what the basic terms of musical vocabulary communicate to us. For an in depth study, the reader is referred to Cooke. (op. cit.) The presence of emotions in the elements still remains when they are put in the context of a piece of music. Cooke (ibid. p. 211) says, "Music is no more incapable of being emotionally intelligible because it is bound by the laws of musical construction, than poetry is because it is bound by the laws of verbal grammatical construction."
To summarize: In depth musical analysis by Cooke (ibid) shows that the specific elements of music produce specific emotions. Clynes (op. cit.) has conducted extensive research which demonstrates that in scientific research, the same emotions are produced world-wide. Tame (op. cit.) says that when listening to music, musical communication takes place directly through the specific emotions entering the listener. This confirms the theory that music is a universal language. This also explains why there is good and bad music, why music is not amoral, why some music has deleterious effects. If people understood this, it would make a difference in the arguments about what music is appropriate for church worship. This is true of all music-it will be beneficial or harmful. One needs to exercise caution in choosing music for one's home, for one's church, and any environment in which one spends time. Music can qualify or disqualify for heaven. [How serious!]
Clynes, Manfred. (1971) The touch of the emotions. NY: Avery Publishing Group, Inc.
Cooke, Deryck. (1959) The language of music. London: Oxford University Press.
Tame, David. (1984). The secret power of music. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books.
Last month we completed the series on "The Language of Music". Just in case there is anyone out there that has any interest in rock music, or friends who are interested in it, we are starting a series on this subject. Please share this with anyone you know who needs it.
WHAT'S WRONG WITH ROCK MUSIC
by Juanita McElwain, Ph.D., RMT (retired)
There are many people who have tried to determine what is wrong with rock music. One would expect a musician to determine this somewhat easier than other people, since musicians are immersed in music and know many things about music that the average person may not know. Many people, including some musicians, who struggle to determine what is wrong find first of all that the beat is the culprit. Of course, this is right, the beat is a culprit. However, frequently people seem to rest content with this--they have found the answer and so they go to extensive means to explain this to other people, thus making the idea "The beat is what is wrong with rock music" into a stereotype. They have people do all kinds of clapping to show what "normal" rhythms are like and what "syncopated" rhythms are like. The answer has been found and it is the only answer that is needed. These demonstrations and explanations are very good. The problem is that there are a number of other things that are wrong with rock music that are equally important, and by concentrating on only one problem with rock music, important problems are neglected, which sometimes apply to other music also. This paper will attempt to give a fuller explanation of problems with rock music and attempt to define and explain each one.
ONE: First of all, yes, the beat is a major problem with rock music. This involves syncopation. Syncopation is a misplaced accent. All music has beats, which often are regular beats that fit in the overall pattern of the steady on-going rhythm. The beats that we hear the most often are 4 and 3. Four can be subdivided into 2, and 3 can be expanded into any multiple of 3 such as 6, 9, or 12. There are regular or natural accents in music, which means you accentuate certain beats. If this concept is foreign to you, try clapping and counting 1,2,3,4. Each one (1) should be accented, with a lesser accent on 3. Now, try 1,2,3. Again, each 1 should be accented. Rock music uses syncopation, which is a misplaced accent. In rock music with 4 beats, the accents come on 2 and 4. In rock music with 3 beats, it comes on 3. So you say, "Aha, I have found the problem. It is syncopation." No, syncopation is used often in very fine classical, and other music. Then what is the problem? Yes, it is syncopation, when it goes on and on and on with a hard driving beat.
To examine this further, think about the 3 beat. Students used to learn to scan poetry in school. Each different rhythm had its own name. A 3 beat with the accent on the 3rd beat was called anapestic. This accent on the third beat-along with the accent on the fourth beat-is used the most frequently in rock music. There are also other beats which may be very complicated. Think about common rhythms around you. In the body, there are many rhythms: heart beat, brain waves, nerves, hormones; everything in the body seems to have a rhythm. The same thing is true in nature: ocean waves, wind, bird songs; a long list could be made. There are also other rhythms in the world. But none of these rhythms are syncopated. They are all natural and regular. Think of the heart beat: it goes LUB, dub, dub. It never gets tired of that and says I think I will go lub, dub, DUB for a change. No, no, that is rock rhythm and it is different.
Now, this is the point of the rock rhythm. The boy or girl or adult who listens to rock music receives it into their body, and the rhythm is foreign to all of the natural rhythms. When this foreign rhythm enters the body, the body rebels in some way, perhaps in many ways simultaneously. It can cause problems with the heart, which is valiantly beating away LUB, dub, dub. It can cause problems with the brain. This is the cause of many children having troubles with their school work. Actually, it can present problems to all parts of the body, even resulting in disease. When all of these strange rhythms of rock music suddenly appear in the body, they are contrary to all of the normal body rhythms, and this is the cause of the disease. It is similar to eating things which are literally foreign substances in the body. The disturbance is caused by what is called entrainment. When two rhythms are adjacent to one another, one locks on to the other and they beat together. If one puts a rock rhythm of lub dub DUB into the body, the heart which is beating LUB dub dub cannot change the rhythm of the music; so the rhythm of the music changes the rhythm of the heart, and problems will result with the heart or any other part of the body.
It can even cause problems with plants. Research by Retallack (Tame, 1984, p. 143) showed that rock music actually kills plants, while other music causes plants to thrive. Most animals, for example parrots, birds, skunks, raccoons and others, do not tolerate rock music. The unnatural rhythms or beats of rock music do cause problems with living forms of any kind in this world.
Indeed, a problem with rock music is the beat.
TWO: Another problem with rock music is the way in which it enters the mind and body. The variables constituting rock music-including rhythm or beat, emotion, sensuality, intervals and chords, among others-cause the music to enter the brain in a different manner than does any other music. One way of describing it, is that it may bypass the conscious thought process. Rather, it appeals to the sensual and lower nature. This may lead the listener to behavior which they would not consider under other circumstances. Is it rational to listen to music which affects the lower nature only?
THREE: Another major problem with rock music is the lyrics or words. In 1982 Haynes made a study of the lyrics of a large body of rock music, and categorized them by subject. The results were 5 major themes: SEX, DRUGS, REBELLION, FALSE RELIGION, AND SATAN. Much could be written about these themes, but few would defend them. Would any of you deliberately make a decision to spend time, or allow your children to spend time, thinking about any of these themes-for example false religion? Why not? These themes are not among the things God has instructed us to think about: "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report: if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Phil. 4:8. There is a very distinct contrast between these two lists.
An objection might be made that this study is now out of date. No other recent similar study seems to be available. Yes, but who would dare to say that the subjects of rock music have improved since that time?
Another answer might be that rock music becomes all right if it is "Christian Rock Music". A brief examination of this idea would be appropriate. First of all, the objections made previously to the music of rock music are still valid. The new words do not change the music. Secondly, the words of "Christian Rock Music" are not worshipful and uplifting. Perhaps, a few exceptions might be found through a diligent search, although even that might be questionable. The music and words of a song are wed together. They cannot be separated. The major effect of a song comes from the music more than from the words. It is the music that causes the listener to tap their toe, or dance, or feel good sensually, or whatever the effect. One proof is the number of people who claim that they don't really listen to the words of rock music, and that the words do not effect them. (Yet, they can recite or sing them if pressured to do so.) It is the music that imprints the song on the memory, and that triggers the memory at a later time. Actually it is very sacrilegious to put spiritual words or Scriptural words with rock music, because the two do not belong together. They are not matched.
FOUR: There are messages hidden in the songs of which the listener is unaware. These may take several forms. They are so subtle that many refuse to admit that they exist. But all of them have been documented. One form is backward masking. A rock fan could manually play a record backward, and distinctly hear these messages such as: "smoke marijuana", "Satan, Satan, Satan, he is god, he is god, he is god"; or in "Christian" Rock: "evil is near, stars are Satan." These messages may get through to the brain and remain there. Another means is what is called "subliminal messages." Here again, people tend to deny that these really do exist or really do work. They say, "Oh, they made a law against that." The fact is that unsuccessful attempts have been made to make such laws. Much could be written about how these work; but it is actually very simple to put them in music, as well as in visuals, and they are being used. Example: at the request of a church group, the author wrote to many companies (about 60) who produce "Christian" music accompaniment tapes, to inquire if subliminal messages were put into the tapes. All of them denied doing this, but some of them said that they would be happy to do so for such and such a price.
There are still other harmful effects of rock music.
FIVE: The composers and performers of rock music may instill at will into the listener any desired emotion. Rock musicians have claimed that their music is capable of causing emotional instability, disorganized behavior, rebellion, and even revolution. If one exposes his or herself to the music, the results will occur. There are natural physical and psychological causes for this which are a little complicated, therefore this subject will be treated more at length in a separate paper on the language of music. [Already printed, copies available.]
SIX: Spirit or demon possession. This is one aspect of rock music which probably receives more ridicule and skepticism than any other. Yet, it is literally true, and a good case can be made for it. If rock music comes from and is inspired by Satan, then it logically follows that those who are involved in it will be affected by Satan and his angels. A number of results will follow, including any of a variety of forms of demon possession. These may be physical or mental. A person's whole value system may be completely changed. A person's behavior may be totally changed. It may be described as conversion. When one is converted to Christ, there is a change and he/she becomes a new creature. So too, rock music through demon possession may convert a person to Satan (even unknowingly); and he too, will become a "new creature". Again, this subject is rather complicated and will be dealt with in a separate article on demon possession. [Yet to be published, but available now.]
SEVEN: An addiction is physical and/or psychological dependance on that which is not necessary for life. An addict is one who devotes or surrenders himself to something habitually or obsessively. There are those who spend great amounts of time, money, and effort on rock music. What causes rock music to be addictive? It releases adrenaline, which produces a high. There are strong similarities and correlations between rock music and drug use.
There was a study by Forsyth in Scotland which showed a significant relationship between identification with rave music, and life-time drug use (Forsyth, 1996). There are many similar studies. For example King (1988) found evidence that heavy metal music promotes and supports patterns of drug abuse, promiscuous sexual activity, and violence. Many more studies could be cited which show that there is a correlation between drug use, immorality, and rock music, not just words.
In addition to this, studies show that rock music itself can result in a high, psycho-physiologically similar to that caused by drugs. "The tempo of the voodoo drums has been known to make a listener powerless to resist the music's pounding beat.... At rock concerts when the tempo of the music hits a certain pitch, it brings psychological response which the audience is powerless to resist." The groove, group mind, entrainment, find your own word for it--when they lock up, you can feel it: you can feel the energy roaring from them. (Hart, 1990).
Rock musicians themselves recognize that rock music is addictive: two rock bands are named Jane's Addiction and Killing Addiction. A Christian rock group is called Vertical Addiction.
The parallels between the hallmarks of drug addiction and music addiction are striking. Not only are the psycho-physiological symptoms similar, but both are associated with a similar pattern of behavior and conditions. The evidence that rock music is addictive is nearly as strong as that for many addictive drugs.
To summarize: there are many serious problems involved with rock music. These include the hard, driving syncopated beat; it appeals to the lower nature; it uses lyrics that are nonproductive, if not destructive; it uses subtle hidden techniques such as subliminal messages; it uses musical elements in a way that it plays on people's emotions; it is related to demon possession, and it is addictive. Taken altogether, this is an interesting menu. Perhaps labels such as Harmful or Unfit for Human Consumption should be attached.
Forsyth, A. J. et al, "Musical Preference as an Indicator of Adolescent Drug Use," Addiction 92 (Oct. 1997) pp. 1317-25.
Hart, Mickey. (1990). Drumming at the edge of magic: a journey into the spirit of percussion. San Francisco: Harper.
Haynes, Michael. (1982)). The god of rock. Lindale, Tex.: Ministries and Publications.
King, "Heavy Metal Music and Drug Abuse in Adolescents," Postgraduate Medicine 83 (April, 1988), pp. 295-301, 304.
Tame, David. (1984). The secret power of music. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books.
DEMON POSSESSION AND MUSIC
by Juanita McElwain, Ph.D., RMT (retired)
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon: and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." Rev. 12:7-10.
The devil and his angels have been present in the earth ever since that time; traces of their presence and activity may be found throughout the entire history of the Bible, particularly during the time when Christ was on earth where we find numerous accounts of Christ casting demons out of people.
This presence and activity have not only continued into our day but have intensified. "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time."
"Be sober. Be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
The devil did not invent spirit possession. Jesus offers us oneness with Him. This is the kind of possession God has planned for fulfillment and happiness in our lives. As usual, Satan counterfeits every good thing and in this case he uses the very mechanisms to take control of man which God has provided for us to have complete possession by Him.
What is involved is the influence of some supernatural being in the lives of people. In order for this to take place some form of communication must occur in the form of the transfer of thoughts and feelings. Consider the following statement: "The brain nerves that connect with the whole system are the medium through which heaven communicates with man, and affects the inmost life." (White, 1903, Ed., p. 209). God must have created in us a mechanism whereby the Holy Spirit can communicate directly with each of us. This is a Biblical concept: "Know yet not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" I Cor. 3:16.
However, if one submits to the suggestions of an evil spirit, possession by that evil spirit will take place. It is reasonable to think that the mechanism designed by God for communication with the Holy Spirit may be taken over by evil spirits. Sargant (1974), a British psychiatrist, studied extensively the work of witch doctors, voodoo priests, and faith healers. He compared their methods with hypnotic trance and rock music festivals. Specifically, attention is diverted and fatigue sets in. Eager anticipation and high expectation of ecstasy also play a role. Individual will power is weakened.
Wade (1991, p. 47) examines transcendental meditation, hypnosis, glossolalia, and spiritism in connection with possession. He concludes: "It is my personal conviction that the normal human brain is capable of experiencing the functional relation to the Holy Spirit by a mechanism which is misused to achieve hypnotic trance. Furthermore, I believe this capacity of the mind of man was designed to permit communion with the Holy Spirit. God uses it when He gives dreams and visions to His prophets. He uses it in a milder, non-trance-like manner in providing normal spiritual guidance to His children through the conscience. This mechanism may be surrendered to the control of an evil spirit as occurs in voodoo spirit possession; or a human hypnotist may intrude into the relationship when he casts a spell over his subject."
Ellen White (Ministry of Healing, p. 243) strongly opposed the use of hypnotism: "The theory of mind controlling mind was originated by Satan.... It opens a door through which Satan will enter to take possession both of the mind that is given up to be controlled...and of the mind that controls."
Having established that spirit possession does take place, the possibility of the role of music in possession may be examined. Satan has always been highly involved with music, beginning in heaven. "Satan had led the heavenly choir." (White, Story of Redemption, p. 25). This suggests that Satan is the most intelligent being regarding music in our world. He knows how to make the best use of it to achieve his ends. He does things with music that seem strange and even impossible. After discovering some of these strange things in our day, the author has made extensive efforts to trace them as far back in history as possible. Considering the things that have evolved from such study it is possible to conjecture a little clear back to the beginning of the world. Could it be possible that Satan used a musical voice to hypnotize Eve? According to White (5BC, p. 1081), "Satan exercised his power of hypnotism over Adam and Eve."
The search for the use of music in devil possession resulted in finding two main avenues. One is the use of beats in music to call the spirits or gods. The other is the altered state of consciousness.
Much has been said and written by many people about the harmfulness of the beats in rock music. One of the most important reasons it is harmful is because it calls the demons. Again, the author was not able to completely trace this back to the very beginning. However, Wyoma, (1997) in teaching African Healing Dance says that "In the Yoruban tradition, the sacred elements of traditional African dance always relate back to a pantheon of gods, led by the supreme deity Olodumare, creator of the universe. Obatala - sky god and creator of the earth represents creativity and healing. Before addressing any of the deities, one must ask the blessings of Eshu, opener of doors and intermediary between gods and humans." This use of music goes far back in African history. It is also found in Indian history. The author has, in her possession, tapes of songs to the oldest known, original gods of India. These come from Tamil in the southern part of India and go back to the early time of Indian history.
From these countries, and particularly from Africa, the music and religion spread in the world because of the dispersion of people in slavery. Even though slaves, people preserved their loyalty to their religion through whatever means they could. There are three main religions which are still extant which grew out of this dispersion. In Haiti, it is called Voodoo. In Cuba, it is called Santeria and in Brazil it is called Condomble. In each of these religions, as in African and Indian religions specific rhythms are used to call specific gods. This is the purpose of the rituals performed. There are live recordings on video and cassette tape available of these rituals. Drums are played, there is dancing. A certain rhythm is played, depending on what god is desired and that god comes and possesses individuals. The same exact rhythms are used in each of the three religions named above, in African and Indian music, in rock music, and in music used in meetings of faith healers such as Benny Hinn. It seems as though the god is willing to come whenever called by anyone. The author used to ask, at music lectures, if the god comes to churches such as celebration when the god's rhythm is played in "Christian Rock Music" even though the people present do not realize that they were calling a god. There seemed to be quite a strong concensus that the god does come. However, the author kept an open mind concerning this until she was told a personal experience related to it. A member of her family said that her husband liked very much to listen to Christian music radio stations (probably country gospel and Contemporary Christian primarily). She, however, did not appreciate this music, so she banned her husband with the music to a bedroom with a closed door. As time went on, strange things occurred in her house. There were odd noises, and things moving unexpectedly. When she read one of the author's books, she said, "That is the answer. Cecil's music is calling the spirits into our house." So they determined to stop the music and immediately the strange occurrences also stopped. They did not know that they were calling gods into their house.
Not only is there documentation of such practices on video and tape, but descriptions are found in the ethnomusicology literature.
First of all, music is a necessary part of the ritual. Behague (1984, p. 250) says, "It is primarily through musical and dance performance that religious fulfillment takes place. While the traditional dogmas of Candomble maintain their African animistic nature, the supernatural function of sacred tools (such as drums and plants) is mostly established through the power of musical performance. Ritual songs, in effect, when performed at specifically appropriate times, make possible the expected results of the ritual, and operate as the essential sacrilizing elements of the religious compels [compelling force]. Musical performance therefore is the absolute prerequisite for the very existence and operation of Condomble religion."
Wilson (1992, p. 46) speaks of "...the soft style of possession, ingesting the rhythm of the music, just letting the Spirit take you. This is what the drum helps you do."
A primary purpose of the rituals is to accomplish a state of possession by one or more of the gods. The initiates not only serve the African gods, but become gods themselves or the horses of the orixas. The "horse" is the initiate who is possessed by the deity through the thought image of the deity coming down and "mounting" his or her devotee, who then assumes the personality of the god.
The role of the drums is to call the gods and thus bring on spirit possession which is the ultimate purpose of most rituals. Drums are usually played in a battery of three. The largest drum is played by the master drummer and is the most important, because it is specific in spirit possession. The dancers pay more attention to it than the other ones and respond to its calls.
Specific rhythms correspond to specific gods. Hart (1990) states that particular rhythms are supposed to attract particular spirits. An Orisha like Shango only comes when he hears his rhythm.
Courlander (1976) says that it is the rhythm identified with each god that is a primary instrument in summoning him and that no worship of the gods is possible without the rhythms that call and speak for the god.
Behague (1984, p. 231) says that the drums have the primary religious function of calling the gods, and thus of bringing on spirit possession.
McCall (1982) speculates that in the West African possession trance cultures we can catch an echo of the great Neolithic mother goddess culture that once stretched from Eastern Europe to the Sahara.
In all of these religions we find a spirit possession which is echoed, primarily through the beat of the music, in rock music, in faith healing, and in churches of all persuasions through rock music, Christian rock music, Contemporary Christian music, and country gospel. The devil has done a good job of infiltrating our culture, including our Christian culture, with spirit possession, which may be very real, even though people do not realize that it is happening to them.
[This next may be the most important part of all this series. Please study it carefully. -GS]
ALTERED STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
The other main stream technique in which the devil uses music to bring about spirit possession is that of the altered state of consciousness.
Wade (1991, pps. 74, 75) states "Thoughts naturally flit across the mind, and considering an idea generally brings up related thoughts. Occultists teach that, by visualization and concentration, this natural flow of thoughts can be interrupted. As this occurs, subjects slip into an altered state of consciousness which we have identified as the corridor of the mind." This is called by names as various as illumination, enlightenment, trance, tuning in, and hypnotism.
Wade says further (ibid) "Any type of concentration on sensual stimulation may alter consciousness. Music with a strong rhythm, or concentration on the relaxation of different parts of the body, can induce it. The apparently innocent concentration on a mental image of Jesus standing in your favorite spot can bring the same effect."
Before proceeding, it is important to understand the ways in which music facilitates an altered state of consciousness. One important element of the process is called entrainment. In 1665, the Dutch scientist Huygens noticed that if two clocks were placed next to each other, they would soon begin ticking synchronously and so was discovered the Law of Entrainment. Rhythms in close proximity will entrain. Because of entrainment, music is often used beneficially to control heart-rate and other rhythms in the body. Since this is true, it is also possible to use the rhythm of sound to control the rhythm of brain waves.
Neuro-chemical cortical brain activity may be measured. A set of descriptors has been developed as follows:
Beta = 14-32 Hertz or Hz per second (approximately in each case.) This is predominantly present (although neurons are constantly firing at all rates of speed throughout the brain) when the individual is attending to a task, particularly such a task as a mathematical one. This is also the state of the brain during critical thinking.
Alpha = 7-14 Hz. Per second. When Alpha is predominant the individual is in a relaxed state. There are some claims that hypnotism takes place in higher levels of Alpha. One description is alert relaxation.
Theta = 4-7 Hz. Per second. This condition is extremely relaxed. Meditation conditions could take place here. Lower levels might include approaching sleep.
Delta = .5 to 3 Hz. Per second. This includes a sleep condition. It is an extremely low level of brain activity.
Neurons are constantly firing at various rates all over the brain, but one of these levels may be predominant at any given time under given circumstances. Brain waves are vibrations measured in Hertz, or cycles per second.
Music is also vibration, which is measured in Hertz, which determines frequency or pitch.
Another element which the devil employs in his arsenal is that of difference tones. This is a phenomena commonly explained in psychology of music texts whereby a phantom tone is heard, also called a "beat frequency". Under certain conditions, when two tones are sounded simultaneously, a tone equal to the difference in Hz between the two tones may be heard even though it is not being played. If tones of 100 Hz and 106 Hz were sounded a phantom tone of 6 Hz might be heard. Or if a C and a G above it were played simultaneously, the C an octave lower might be heard.
To combine these three (entrainment, difference tones and brain waves), consider the following: notes producing difference tones of very low or small frequency could be played and embedded just below the audible sound of the music. When the listener hears the music the embedded difference tones (although inaudible to him) will entrain with the listener's brain waves, thus controlling them or causing them to match the difference tones. Without realizing what is happening to him, the listener's brain waves may be led to an alpha, theta, or delta state according to the whim of the "controller."
The author believes that the devil has probably been using techniques such as these since the beginning of the world and is still using them. McClain (1984, pps. 130, 131) suggested control by the use of musical effects by the Sumerians: "The Sumerians ruled that land from about 3500 B.C. to 2000 B.C. when hegemony then passed to the Semitic Babylonians who took over their culture "lock, stock, and barrel." That culture included cuneiform writing, a sexadecimal system of mathematics (based on 60 instead of 10), a pantheon of deities, a considerable literature, and a fund of musical instruments important enough to be classed among the divine principles.... And it is the Babylonian development of 'the greatest system of musical ritual in any ancient religion' which makes it imperative that we not neglect possible associations between her mathematics, her music, and her religion."
Galpin (1955) gives extensive descriptions of the major role of musical instruments in worship rituals in Sumeria. At least one instrument, the balag, was considered to be a god.
In Babylon, there is the example of instruments used to signal the people to worship the golden image. "That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up." It seems reasonable to think that the instruments served more of a purpose than just a signal. White (Christ Triumphant, p. 177) says that "The appointed day came, and at the sound of entrancing music the vast company 'fell down and worshiped the golden image.'" Speaking further of this White (7BC, p. 976) says "Force is the last resort of every false religion. At first is tries attraction, as the king of Babylon tried the power of music and outward show."
Doukhan (2000, pps. 48-9) recognizes this use of entrancing music. "The ancients knew how to use music to elicit a mystical experience. And indeed, music has long been associated with the use of drugs and the practice of mutilation to induce ecstasy, or unio mystica. Everything remains on the level of the emotions and the nervous system. Even today, thanks to the media, we can witness the effect of music on the masses. Singers and musicians exercise tremendous power over crowds of adoring fans. We no longer need lyrics or a coherent message to convince others. The phenomenon has even invaded religious communities. In reaction to the cerebral frigidity of traditional services, certain denominations have fallen into the other extreme. They spoon-feed and wash down the message by the continuous purring of background music. Believers, transported by the spirit, shout and cry out in delirious enthusiasm. Such an approach considers reflection unnecessary and outdated. It only smiles at absolute judgments. This episode in the book of Daniel warns us against a strictly emotional religion. Emotions can be a part of the religious experience only when united with reflection and thought. Adoration must involve the whole being, and to neglect one aspect could lead to bowing before an idol. Likewise, in the plain of Dura, the preachers of Babel do not waste time in dry demonstrations or arguments. Music suffices to trigger adoration, and its adherents live strictly in the present. Several times the passage explicitly stresses the dimension of the present."
Redmond (1974) traces goddess worship far back in history and in all parts of the world. A large part of the goddess worship was the use of the hand drum to call the spirits.
Tibetan bells, or Tin-Ssha's have been used in Buddhist meditation practice for many centuries. The two bells, which are rung together are slightly out of tune with each other. The difference tones between them lie somewhere between four and eight cycles per second. This is exactly in the range of the brain waves created during meditation and helps shift the brain to these frequencies. Tibetan bells are experiencing a popularity in western culture at the present time. (Campbell, pps. 228-9). .
Meso and South American people, mostly in the Andean area, for centuries made what modern archeologists call whistling pots. They were made by different cultures, living in separate geographic locations, some centuries apart in time. The pots are shaped like different figures such as human figures or animal figures, but all have spouts which when blown in pairs produce a distinctive sensation of auditory beats in the brain (the same phenomena of difference tones). Pots group acoustically by cultures, with the earlier cultures pitching their whistles in the lowest ranges, later cultures used higher pitches. Statnekov (1987), who spent years tracking and studying these pots produced replicas which he and other people used to achieve an altered state of consciousness.
This brings us to the present. Modern, twentieth century people, discovered an ancient usage of difference tones and entrainment and successfully used them to produce an altered state of consciousness. The present use of such techniques is not limited to this group of people.
Campbell (op. cit.) tells of a man named Monroe who first discovered the use of specific frequencies to entrain the brain because he was looking for an explanation for his out-of-body experiences and felt that sound could help others achieve similar states of consciousness. He discovered that certain frequencies which were in the same spectrum as brain-waves, 0.5 to 20 Hz could produce entrainment of brain waves. These are too low for the human ear to hear, but by using higher sounds he could produce difference tones. If the frequencies of two sound sources are applied separately, one to each ear, a "binaural" beat frequency is created. As explained above this is not an actual sound, but only a frequency difference between two actual sounds. The sound is "heard" within the brain itself: the binaural beat frequency is created by both brain hemispheres working simultaneously. The entrainment or frequency following response did not take place only in the area of the brain responsible for hearing, or only in the left or right hemispheres: the entire brain resonated, the waveforms of both hemispheres becoming identical in frequency, amplitude, phase and coherence.
A man who goes by the name of Brother Charles took advantage of this phenomena to improve meditation techniques. He has made audio tapes for this which he uses in his retreat in Faber, Virginia, a small town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He augments the music on his meditation tapes with two technologies: sound phasing and subliminal programming.
The subliminals he uses include such messages as the following: "I am one. I am love. I am peace. I am the source of my experience. I am existence... consciousness... ecstasy... peace." He says that these are mantras that have come down through 10,000 years in human experience, which make up a very holistic program of non-dual, I-Consciousness.
He defines sound phasing as "a vibrate sound, a tone that contains two tones, the top and bottom of the vibration. Phasing is the interval between the tones. The sound we call the interval is heard only in the brain. Your brain creates that sound from the two tones." (Harbula). He claims to be able to program the data bank of your brain.
This, of course, is difference tones.
Kelly Hutchison has produced and sells what she calls Mega Brain sync tapes. High Focus is meant to entrain high beta to produce lucid awareness, intense concentration and high energy. Total Relaxation entrains in the alpha range to induce a relaxation state. Insight entrains in the theta range and generates a feeling of profound peace and well-being. Sound Sleep leads to the delta range which will help to experience a deep sleep. High Coherence combines frequencies in all four ranges.
Considering the possibilities, the author has not been willing to use any of these in research. However, at a music lecture, she allowed a few students to try them for a few minutes, while monitoring their brain waves. Within a very short period of time, the students began producing the brain wave frequencies which were supposed to be on the tapes.
Tone wave generators have been built which can insert any difference tones in desired musical carriers. They are called binaural tone generators. They are available for anybody to purchase at a very reasonable price (in the low hundreds). The author called one gentleman who was selling such things and questioned him about them. They are very easy to use; they are the same method used by Brother Charles.
This means that this technique which can open the mind to demon possession is readily available to any who choose to use it and is to be found in video tapes, cassette tapes etc. which are being used.
The only protection available to counteract it is found in Isaiah 26:20 which speaks about the present days: "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be over-past."
Behague, G. (1984). Patterns of Candomble music performance: an Afro-Brazilian religious setting. In Behague, Gerard (Ed.), Performance practice ethnomusicological perspectives: Greenwood Press.
Campbell, Don. (Ed.)) (1991). Music physician for times to come. Wheaton, Il.. Quest Books.
Courlander, Harold. (1976). A treasury of Afro-American folklore, NY, Crown Publishers, Inc.
Doukhan, Jaccques B. (2000) Secrets of Daniel. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association.
Galpin, Francis. (1955). The music of the Sumerians and their immediate successors the Babylonians and Assyrians. Librairie Heitz: Strasbourg University Press.
Harbula, Patrick, (1987). Sounds of transformation: A talk with Brother Charles. Meditation, 2(4), pps. 20-29.
Hart, Mickey. 1990). Drumming at the edge of magic: a journey into the spirit of percussion. San Francisco: Harper.
McCall, Daniel F. (1982). Mother earth: the great goddess of West Africa. In Preston, James J. (Ed.), Mother Worship: Theme and Variations. Chapel Hill, NC: Univ. of North Carolina Press.
McClain, Ernest. (1984). The myth of invariance, the origin of the gods, mathematics and music from the Rg Veda to Plata. York Beach, MA:: Nicholas-Hays, inc.
Redmond, Layne (1997). When the Drummers Were Women. New York.
Sargent, William. (1974) The mind possessed: a physiology of possession, mysticism and faith healing. New York: Harper & Row.
Statnekov, D.K. (1987). Animated earth. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books
Wade, T.E. (1991) Spirit possession. Auburn, CA: Gazelle Publications.
Wilson, Sula. (1992). The drummer's path. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books
White, E.G. (1956) In 5 SDA Bible Commentary, Ed. Nichol, Francis D. Wash., DC: Review and Herald Publishing Co..
White, E.G. (1957) In 7 SDA Bible Commentary, Ed. Nichol, Francis D. Wash., DC. Review and Herald Publishing Co.
White, E.G. (1903). Education. Mountain View, CA:: Pacific Press.
White, E.G. (1909). Ministry of healing. Mountain View, CA:: Pacific Press.
White, E.G. (1947) The Story of redemption. Wash., D.C. Review and Herald Publishing Association.
2T 144 "How can I endure the thought that most of the youth in this age will come short of everlasting life! Oh, that the sound of instrumental music might cease and they no more while away so much precious time in pleasing their own fancy."
PP 459,460 "The opera, with its fascinating display and bewildering music, the masquerade, the dance, the card table, Satan employs to break down the barriers of principle and open the door to sensual indulgence."
1T 509 "I saw that all should sing with the spirit and with the understanding also. God is not pleased with jargon and discord. Right is always more pleasing to Him than wrong. And the nearer the people of God can approach to correct, harmonious singing, the more is He glorified, the church benefitted, and unbelievers favorably affected."
9T 144 "We are not to oppose the use of instrumental music in our work. This part of the service is to be carefully conducted, for it is the praise of God in song."
Ev 510 "In some of our churches I have heard solos that were altogether unsuitable for the service of the Lord's house. The long-drawn-out notes and the peculiar sounds common in operatic singing are not pleasing to the angels. They delight to hear the simple songs of praise sung in a natural tone."
1T 146 "I have been shown the order, the perfect order, of heaven, and have been enraptured as I listened to the perfect music there. After coming our of vision, the singing here has sounded very harsh and discordant."
Ed 167,8 "The history of the songs of the Bible is full of suggestion as to the uses and benefits of music and song. Music is often perverted to serve purposes of evil, and it thus becomes one of the most alluring agencies of temptation. But, rightly employed, it is a precious gift of God, designed to uplift the thoughts to high and noble themes, to inspire and elevate the soul.
"As the children of Israel, journeying through the wilderness, cheered their way by the music of sacred song, so God bids His children today gladden their pilgrim life. There are few means more effective for fixing His words in the memory than repeating them in song. And such song has wonderful power. It has power to subdue rude and uncultivated natures; power to quicken thought and to awaken sympathy, to promote harmony of action, and to banish the gloom and foreboding that destroy courage and weaken effort.
"It is one of the most effective means of impressing the heart with spiritual truth. How often to the soul hard-pressed and ready to despair, memory recalls some word of God's--the long-forgotten burden of a childhood song, --and temptations lose their power, life takes on new meaning and new purpose, and courage and gladness are imparted to other souls!
"The value of song as a means of education should never be lost sight of. Let there be singing in the home, of songs that are sweet and pure, and there will be fewer words of censure and more of cheerfulness and hope and joy. Let there be singing in the school, and the pupils will be drawn closer to God, to their teachers, and to one another.
"As a part of religious service, singing is as much an act of worship as is prayer. Indeed, many a song is prayer. If the child is taught to realize this, he will think more of the meaning of the words he sings and will be more susceptible to their power.
"As our Redeemer leads us to the threshold of the Infinite, flushed with the glory of God, we may catch the themes of praise and thanksgiving from the heavenly choir round about the throne; and as the echo of the angels' song is awakened in our earthly homes, hearts will be drawn closer to the heavenly singers. Heaven's communion begins on earth. We learn here the keynote of its praise."
White Estates compilation on music:
PH036 10-12 "Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; shew forth from day to day His salvation. I Chron. 16:23.
"Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Eph. 5:19.
"God is glorified by songs of praise from a pure heart filled with love and devotion to Him.--Testimonies, Vol. I, p. 509.
"Music should have beauty, pathos and power. . . . Let the voices be lifted in songs of praise and devotion. Call to your aid, if practicable, instrumental music, and let the glorious harmony ascend to God, an acceptable offering.--Gospel Workers, p. 325.
"Music was made to serve a holy purpose, to lift the thoughts to that which is pure, noble and elevating, and to awaken in the soul devotion and gratitude to God. What a contrast between the ancient custom and the uses to which music is now too often devoted. How many employ this gift to exalt self, instead of using it to glorify God? A love for music leads the unwary to unite with world-lovers in pleasure-gatherings where God has forbidden his children to go. Thus that which is a great blessing when rightly used, becomes one of the most successful agencies by which Satan allures the mind from duty and from the contemplation of eternal things. Music forms a part of God's worship in the courts above, and we should endeavor, in our songs of praise, to approach as nearly as possible to the harmony of the heavenly choirs. The proper training of the voice is an important feature in education, and should not be neglected. Singing, as a part of religious service, is as much an act of worship as is prayer.--Christian Education, pp. 62, 63.
"Music is often perverted to serve purposes of evil, and it thus becomes one of the most alluring agencies of temptation. But, rightly employed, it is a precious gift of God, designed to uplift the thoughts to high and noble themes, to inspire and elevate the soul.--Education, p. 167.
"Pray more than you sing.--Testimonies, Vol. I, p. 513.
"Angels are hovering around yonder dwelling. The young are there assembled; there is the sound of vocal and instrumental music. Christians are gathered there, but what is that you hear? It is a song, a frivolous ditty, fit for the dance-hall. Behold the pure angels gather their light closer around them, and darkness envelops those in the dwelling. The angels are moving from the scene. Sadness is upon their countenances. Behold, they are weeping. . . . When turned to good account, music is a blessing, but it is often one of Satan's most attractive agencies to ensnare souls. When abused, it leads the unconverted to pride, vanity, and folly. When allowed to take the place of devotion and prayer, it is a terrible curse. --Testimonies, Vol. I, p. 506.
"Satan has put vile songs in your mouths, and these you have sung, making your lips utter his praise.--Special Testimonies.
"Mothers, instead of seeking to give your daughters a musical education, instruct them in these useful branches which have the closest connection with life and health. Testimonies, Vol. II, p. 538.
"No one who has an in-dwelling Saviour will dishonor him before others by producing strains from a musical instrument which call the mind from God and Heaven to light and trifling things.--Testimonies, Vol. I, p. 510.
Other SOP material:
"The history of the songs of the Bible is full of suggestion as to the uses and benefits of music and song. Music is often perverted to serve purposes of evil, and it thus becomes one of the most alluring agencies of temptation. But, rightly employed, it is a precious gift of God, designed to uplift the thoughts to high and noble themes, to inspire and elevate the soul.
"As the children of Israel, journeying through the wilderness, cheered their way by the music of sacred song, so God bids His children today gladden their pilgrim life. There are few means more effective for fixing His words in the memory than repeating them in song. And such song has wonderful power. It has power to subdue rude and uncultivated natures; power to quicken thought and to awaken sympathy, to promote harmony of action, and to banish the gloom and foreboding that destroy courage and weaken effort.
"It is one of the most effective means of impressing the heart with spiritual truth. How often to the soul hard-pressed and ready to despair, memory recalls some word of God's--the long-forgotten burden of a childhood song, --and temptations lose their power, life takes on new meaning and new purpose, and courage and gladness are imparted to other souls! "The value of song as a means of education should never be lost sight of. Let there be singing in the home, of songs that are sweet and pure, and there will be fewer words of censure and more of cheerfulness and hope and joy. Let there be singing in the school, and the pupils will be drawn closer to God, to their teachers, and to one another.
"As a part of religious service, singing is as much an act of worship as is prayer. Indeed, many a song is prayer. If the child is taught to realize this, he will think more of the meaning of the words he sings and will be more susceptible to their power.
"As our Redeemer leads us to the threshold of the Infinite, flushed with the glory of God, we may catch the themes of praise and thanksgiving from the heavenly choir round about the throne; and as the echo of the angels' song is awakened in our earthly homes, hearts will be drawn closer to the heavenly singers. Heaven's communion begins on earth. We learn here the keynote of its praise. Ed 167,168
"After Balaam had returned to his place, and the controlling influence of God's Spirit had left him, his covetousness, which had not been overcome, but merely held in check, prevailed. He could think of nothing but the reward and promotion to honor which he might have received of Balak, until he was willing to resort to any means to obtain that which he desired. Balaam knew that the prosperity of Israel depended upon their observance of the law of God; and that there was no way to bring a curse upon them but by seducing them to transgression. He decided to secure to himself Balak's reward and the promotion he desired, by advising the Moabites what course to pursue to bring the curse upon Israel. He counseled Balak to proclaim an idolatrous feast in honor of their idol gods, and he would persuade the Israelites to attend, that they might be delighted with the music; and then the most beautiful Midianitish women should entice the Israelites to transgress the law of God, and corrupt themselves, and also influence them to offer sacrifice to idols. This satanic counsel succeeded too well. Many of the Israelites were persuaded by Balaam, because they regarded him as a prophet of God, to join him, and mix with that idolatrous people, and engage with him in idolatry and fornication. 1SP 326,327
"Those who witnessed these strange exhibitions in Saul recommended to him music, as calculated to have a soothing influence upon his mind when thus distracted. In the providence of God, David was brought to his notice as a skillful musician. He was also recommended for being a valiant man of war, prudent and faithful in all matters, because he was especially guided by the Lord. Saul felt humbled at times, and was even anxious that one should take charge of the government of the kingdom, who should know from the Lord how to move in accordance with his will. While in a favorable state of mind, he sent messengers for David. He soon loved him, and gave him the position of armor-bearer, making him his attendant. He thought that if David was favored of God, he would be a safeguard to him, and perhaps save his life, when he should be exposed to his enemies. David's skillful playing upon the harp soothed the troubled spirit of Saul. As he listened to the enchanting strains of music, it had an influence to dispel the gloom which had settled upon him, and to bring his excited mind into a more rational, happy state. 1SP 368,369
"It is your privilege, dear young friends, to glorify God upon the earth. In order to do this, you must direct your minds away from things that are superficial, frivolous, and unimportant, to those that are of eternal worth.
"Music was made to serve a holy purpose, to lift the thoughts to that which is pure, noble, and elevating, and to awaken in the soul devotion and gratitude to God. What a contrast between the ancient custom and the uses to which music is now too often devoted! How many employ this gift to exalt self, instead of using it to glorify God! A love for music leads the unwary to unite with world lovers in pleasure gatherings where God has forbidden His children to go. Thus that which is a great blessing when rightly used, becomes one of the most successful agencies by which Satan allures the mind from duty and from the contemplation of eternal things." PP 594
by Gordon Simkin
Those of you who were on our mailing list back in 2000 and into 2001 will remember a long series that I did on music and its effect on people. Recently, there have been two interesting articles on this subject. The first is not the effect of music on people, but it nevertheless shows the power of music.
The National Geographic magazine of June, 2004, in a special section titled "Behind the Scenes" (prior to page 1) in an article titled "Music Melts a Camel's Heart" tells of a camel that rejected its baby, a rare white calf. So the owners find a special musician, since they say "'The nomads have ways of communicating with their animals by singing and playing instruments,' says Byambasuren ["a student at Munich's Academy of Television and Film"], 'Music can convey emotions and show affection, things an animal can sense." (Emphasis supplied.) They did not report the actual result, but that lady and a friend are making a film titled "The Story of the Weeping Camel." That seems to indicate that the results were positive. Then there is an interesting comment about those nomads: "'The nomads' whole culture revolves around helping each other, That's such a good message for all of us.'" I agree.
But the more significant article is in the November, 2004 issue of Scientific American. First, let me remind you that this magazine is supportive of evolution, and I do not recommend it for the average person. However, it does have a number of non-evolutionary articles on pure science. The one I'm reporting on has no trace of evolution in it. The article starts on page 89 and is titled "Music and the Brain" by Norman M. Weinberger. Before I get into that article, I want to remind you (and inform new readers) of a few facts that have been previously determined about music and people, although not by the sophisticated methods now being used.
It has been shown by a number of different ways over the years that music (with or without words), has the same basic effect on all listeners. Now I'm not saying words have no effect, but only that the words, good or bad, do not change the effect of the music itself. This is why it is absolutely impossible to have "Christian Rock music". That phrase is the same in principle as saying a "Temple prostitute"! Or in other words, if the church provides prostitutes, it is O.K. That, of course, cannot be. Likewise, Christian words on Rock music will never make Rock music O.K.
One other related fact is that music bypasses your conscience processing, and produces its effect on your body with or without your choice. When you choose to listen to bad music, you are choosing to allow this effect without further consideration. That is why it is so important that we all learn to distinguish between good and bad music, so that we will not be influenced to do wrong by bad music. Yes, most of us in most situations will reject the wrong actions that music will influence us to do, but none of us know when the situation might occur where we would be deceived (one of Satan's most powerful tools today-deception) and led into sin by the music without even realizing it.
As science is getting more sophisticated in using electronic methods of studying the human brain, the results are further documenting the conclusions that have already been arrived at by less sophisticated methods. This referenced article above is just the beginning of this science, and has a long way to go yet. But its initial evidences are very interesting.
Again, one of the statements that I made was that excessive dissonance in music is not good. On page 90 is this statement: "Infants as young as two months will turn toward consonant, or pleasant, sounds and away from dissonant ones". It seems that a two month old is smarter than most adults today when it comes to these portions of good and bad music. Remember however, that all dissonance is not bad, only excessive dissonance, dissonance alone, or unresolved dissonance (which is lacking at least one proper consonant chord right after the dissonance which completes or "resolves" the sound).
This new research is using modern electronic methods of brain wave analysis to determine what part of the brain is active when certain things are happening. In this research, they can determine what parts of the brain are involved when one listens to music. "Collectively, studies of patients with brain injuries and imaging of healthy individuals have unexpectedly uncovered no specialized brain 'center' for music. Rather music engages many areas distributed throughout the brain, including those that are normally involved in other kinds of cognition. These active areas vary with the person's individual experiences and musical training."
This shows two very interesting facts.
1. Music can directly affect any part of the brain.
So what does that imply? If music can affect any part of the brain, which it clearly does, then it can affect our thoughts, feelings, actions, and therefore our characters! Remember 5T 310: "If the thoughts are wrong the feelings will be wrong, and the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character." and TMK 152: "Let the youth bear in mind that a repetition of acts, forms habits, and habit, character." Therefore, it should be obvious that music can directly affect our characters, which will then affect our eternal salvation, as "He who enters heaven must have a character that is without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Naught that defileth can ever enter there. In all the redeemed host not one defect will be seen." LHU 346
Further, your experience may affect how the music you listen to effects you. In other words, if you have done wrong in the past, the music you listen to may make it harder to overcome that wrong, or to avoid getting back into it again!
Some interesting facts from a 1953 event are also presented-a fact that I have always believed, but have not had such concrete evidence to show it true. This event shows "that music and speech were processed independently. After suffering a stroke in 1953, Vissaarion Shegalin a Russian composer [of music], could no longer talk or understand speech, yet he retained the ability to write music until his death 10 years later." P. 92. This is quite conclusive evidence that music and speech are not processed in the same way.
After that report is this: "...a more nuanced understanding, relating to two of the features that music and language share: both are a means of communication, and each has a syntax, a set of rules that govern the proper combination of elements (notes, words, respectively). According to Aniruddh D. Parel of the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, imaging findings suggest that a region in the frontal lobe enables proper construction of the syntax of both music and language, whereas other parts of the brain handle related aspects of language and music processing."
What is the "frontal lobe" of the brain responsible for? Have you read or heard the story on the front page of the "Health of the Nations" paper? This describes a lady who, through a serious accident, lost her frontal lobe of her brain. After that, she no longer had any knowledge of right or wrong, no conscience. But not only language, but also music goes through the frontal lobe. However, we consciously process language and have the option of rejecting and turning away from vial, immoral, and otherwise harmful conversation.
But music is not so easily distinguish because very few people have ever been trained in good and bad music like they have in good and bad topics for conversation. Therefore, few perceive that they must do their best to control what music they listen to. And please note that this has nothing to do with one's ethnic background. Music is a universal language, with the same music having very close to the same effects on all listeners-with or without words, or with words of any language.
This magazine author reports on some older research that he and a colleague (the late Thomas M. McKenna) did in 1980, which although the theory has been believed, this specific research was not noted before. They were studying a theory that brain "cells tuned to a specific frequency always respond the same way when that frequency was detected." To study this, they took 5 different notes and made several different "tunes" or "melodies" (sequences of those notes). They were studying the brains of cats, so they could make direct electrical connections to portions of the brain and study the effect. They "found that cell responses (the number of discharges) varied with the contour" the "melody" or note sequence, not the specific notes.
Melody is one of the five characteristics of music, and this research proves that different melodies, even using the same notes in different sequences, can effect the brain differently. They continue "Moreover, cells react differently to the same tone when it is part of an ascending contour (low to high tones) than when it is part of a descending or more complex one. These findings show that the pattern of a melody matters:..." And this is true for humans, and that is why some melodies are good and some are bad.
By the way, you do not have to listen to music for it to affect you. "Many of the same areas in the temporal lobes that were involved in listening to the melodies were also activated when those melodies were merely imagined." P. 93. So we need to control, to the best of our abilities, not only the music we hear or listen to, but also the music that we imagine silently in our thinking.
Then an interesting sideline was described: "...musicians' brains devote more area toward motor control of the fingers used to play an instrument....
"Musicians also must develop greater ability to use both hands, particularly for keyboard playing.... Again, the extent of increase is greater the earlier the music lessons begin. Other studies suggest that the actual size of the motor cortex, as well as that of the cerebellum-a region at the back of the brain involved in motor coordination-is greater in musicians." P. 94
Although Ellen White puts learning to cook and mend clothing above that of learning music, this research gives evidence that learning to play music can improve ones physical abilities.
Another item on Page 94 says that "Sandra Trehub of the University of Toronto recently found that babies as young as two to six months prefer consonat sounds to dissonant ones. Music learning appears to begin even earlier, however-in utero." So it is not only important what we listen to for ourselves, but expectant mothers have a dual responsibility, to themselves and their children. A well known Adventist Violinist (Virginia Jean Shankel Rittenhouse) was subjected to much violin music before she was born. Note this:
"The effect of prenatal influences is by many parents looked upon as a matter of little moment; but heaven does not so regard it. The message sent by an angel of God, and twice given in the most solemn manner, shows it to be deserving of our most careful thought." AH 255 And this certainly includes the influence of the music that the mother listens to while she is pregnant.
And here is clear evidence that music almost always has the same basic effect on all people-with some variations based on their musical history. This study "was the result of a 1997 study by Carol L. Krumhansl of Cornell University. She and her co-workers recorded heart rate, blood pressure, respiration and other physiological measures during the presentation of various pieces that were considered to express happiness, sadness, fear or tension. Each type of music elicited a different but consistent pattern of physiological change across subjects." P. 95
Again, in my paper, I reported that music goes straight into your system without your conscience processing of it, and it then produces the effect without you even knowing it. Here is a report that clearly shows this fact, also on page 95.
"...[A] woman known as I. R. (initials are used to maintain privacy), who suffered bilateral damage to her temporal lobes, including auditory cortical regions. Her intelligence and general memory are normal, and she has no language difficulties. Yet she can make no sense of nor recognize any music, whether it is a previously known piece or a new piece that she has heard repeatedly. She cannot distinguish between two melodies no matter how different they are. Nevertheless, she has normal emotional reactions to different types of music; her ability to identify an emotion with a particular musical selection is completely normal!"
Later on page 95 they have a section on the effects of good and bad harmonies (consonant and dissonant harmony). Don't worry about the names of the different portions of the brain here, just note that there are differences. "Consonant chords activated the orbitofrontal area (part of the reward system) of the right hemisphere and also part of an area below the corpus callosum. In contrast, dissonant chords activated the right parahippocampal gyrus."
Although the total effects are not yet shown in this research, it is clear that the two types of chords go to different parts of the brain, and therefore the effect of each can be very different. Previous evidence is that the dissonant chords, especially when either unresolved (not followed by an appropriate consonant chord), too many in a row, or at the ending of the music, have an undesirable effect on the emotions of most if not all people. So once again, let's all be very careful what music we listen to whenever we have a choice.
MORE ON BAD MUSIC
by Gordon Simkin
One of my sisters, knowing my interest in the facts about good and bad music, sent me a new booklet published by Amazing Facts (P.O. Box 1058, Roseville, CA 95678). It was written by a Karl Tsatalbasidis-an unknown person to me. Neverthe-less, I find it a very well written and researched book. It deals with one main area of bad music
Before I go on, I need to make a correction to one comment in my long series of articles on music. I wrote "There is no instrument that I know about that automatically makes bad sounds." This book takes the position that there is one kind of so-called musical instrument that can never be used to play anything but bad (or wrong) sounds, and after reading the book, I must agree. I will not quote much from the book, but ask that if you have any trace of a disagreement with the basic idea, please buy the book and study it for yourself.
The title of this new book is "Drums, Rock, and Worship." The author "lived the rock and jazz scene as a successful drummer for years until he was rescued by the simple sounds of a Carpenter's words." (Back cover.) He loved drums, and wrote that "The driving rhythms powered by the drums absorbed my attention, and all day long I listened to it dreaming one day it would be me powering those drums in a rock or jazz band." (P. 8.) He also wrote that "Eventually, I would be trained in Canada by the nation's most-renowned jazz musicians; it seemed I very much had everything going for me." (P. 5.)
Another comment on page 8 is: "In fact, it ['high energy' music-bands].... became my religion. Eventually he "was involved with four bands playing different styles of music-jazz..., fusion (meaning fusing rock and jazz together)..., '50s and '60s music, and a band called Indigo Blue that played in nightclubs hunting for a record contract." (P. 10, 11.)
I will not detail most of what he writes, but only quote one more portion-from his conclusion. "Like the guitar or piano, is it possible to play the trap set in a way that is acceptable for worship? No. While the guitar and piano can be played to give honor and praise to God, the trap set clearly cannot. It was designed to play solely rock or jazz, or some hybrid, and it cannot be used without turning even 'Amazing Grace' into a rock hybrid." P. 70.
If any of you do not understand the reason for this conclusion or do not agree, I recommend that you order the book and read it carefully. From my study, any group using the trap set is automatically inviting the devil in, and all the holy angels will leave when anyone invites the devil in. How serious. If someone invites the devil into a religious service, do you think he is going to leave? Are God's angels going to return before the devil leaves? Should we stay in a church with the devil in charge?!