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THE ASAPH MUSIC LETTER
ENCOURAGING BELIEVERS TO SET AND MAINTAIN A BIBLICAL MUSIC STANDARD
To the chief musician and his choir
Vol. 2--No. 1--October 31, 2002
(Go easy on your eyes. Print this letter for a more enjoyable read.)
"CONGRATULATIONS!"--Praise the Lord, we've made it one full year with this newsletter. Many of you have sent your comments, and we are grateful. Thank you for all your kind remarks.
In our last issue dated July 31, 2002, we confessed we hadn't delivered an interview with Mr. Dean Wilder as was promised, because we lost contact with him. Several weeks ago we began an effort to try to re-establish contact with Mr. Wilder through his friend, Mr. Ovid Young, who arranged many of the Hale & Wilder duets. Through the help of Mr. Young's personal manager, Linda Miller, we discovered that Dean Wilder had graduated to Heaven September 30. Below we share with you his obituary from "The Oregonian."
DEAN BORING WILDER
A funeral will be at 1 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7, 2002, in Ross Hollywood Chapel for Dean Boring Wilder, who died Sept. 30 at age 63.
Mr. Wilder was born Dean Boring on Nov. 10, 1938, in Portland. He took Wilder as a stage name. He graduated from Milwaukie High School and Cascade College, and received a master's degree in music from the New England Conservatory of Music. He was an opera singer who won several awards for singing lead parts, including for the New York City Opera Company and the Goldovsky Opera Theater. He was the retired director of vocal studies at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. He returned to Portland in July. In 1984, he married Mary Jane Whitehead.
Survivors include his wife; daughter, Anne; and brothers, Erwin Boring and Glen Boring.
Our prayers are with the Boring family in their time of bereavement.
In this issue we continue with our final segment of our music philosophy in sharing a checklist for a biblical musical performance and a short essay on "One Christian's Philosophy of Music," by Mrs. Becky Browning. Oh...and don't miss the Christmas items on sale now through Asaph Music. We've wedged them right in there between the checklist and the essay.
Until next time...
OUR PHILOSOPHY—BIBLICAL PERFORMANCE CHECKLIST--(Last in the Series)—
I. Checklist for the Music: Is it...
1. In the words
2. In the attitudes portrayed
B. Scholastic: Does this music teach, uplift, edify, encourage, or admonish?
C. Spirit-filled: Is the music consistent with the Holy Spirit's leading -- does the music point people to Christ or to the
D. Sound in Doctrine: Does this music teach sound doctrine?
E. Separated: Is this music clearly not worldly?
F. Superior: Is it excellent? Is it your best?
G. Sacred: When I stand before God (as revealed in Scripture--be careful that you have the right view of God "The fear
of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom"), will I be glad I listened to/performed/performed in the manner I did this
II. Checklist for the Musician: Am I...
A. Holy: Am I Scriptural --am I right with God? Am I aware of the Lord's presence as I sing?
B. Holy Spirit Filled: Am I filled with/directed by the Holy Spirit?
C. Non-Hypocritical: Do I live what I am singing about?
D. Hard Working: Have I thoroughly prepared?
E. Honoring God: Am I using a God-honoring style? Is it the best that I can do?
F. Humble: Do I have a servant's heart, or do I perform for the praise of men?
G. Helpful: Am I doing my best to communicate? Am I concerned about edifying?
CLICK HERE—To see Christmas selections by Glenn & Jan Christianson, Ron & Shelly Hamilton, Alan Ives, Frank Garlock, Shannon Steele, Hale & Wilder, Foundation Brass, John Marshall Family, Lloyd Smith, Joan Pinkston, Dottie Jacquot and more!
ONE CHRISTIAN’S PHILOSOPHY OF MUSIC--Music is one of a Christian's many good gifts from God. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (Jas. 1:17). Not only does the Word of God recommend music in many passages, but it also commands us to sing, to make use of musical instruments, to speak to ourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, to make melody in our hearts to the Lord.
The Scriptures imply that we can learn from Nature (for example, I Cor. 11:14; Ps. 19). Nature (God's created world) itself seems to teach us that God is the Great Composer and Conductor; for Nature has melodies, harmonies and rhythms of its own. These are illustrated by the song of a bird, the sounds of the forest, and the rhythm of waves. Only occasionally does Nature lash out with a clap of thunder or the roar of a hurricane or tornado.
Because God is not the author of confusion but is the God of order and design, anything that is true "music" reflects His order and design. Therefore, the melodies (and lyrics), harmonies and rhythms of a Christian's music should be in accordance with, and not contrary to, the melodies, harmonies and rhythms in God's created world.
Melodies should be attractive; that is, they should have variety, they should have smooth vocal progressions, they should often be sweet and always be sensible: they should resemble the melody of one of the songbirds of God's Creation.
Harmonies should be in accordance with the Highest Intelligence. Discords should be infrequent. Chord progressions should most usually be smooth. Chords built on as many different scale steps as possible should be utilized for the sake of variety.
Rhythms should usually be smooth and predictable, as are most of the rhythms in Nature. Only occasionally should an off-beat occur, as only occasionally in Nature does the rhythmic lapping of the waves on the seashore give way to a tempest.
As Nature provides tension and release in probably all its life forms and physical forces, so music should imply not all intensity and not all relaxation, but a balance of the two.
As the spirit of man should control his mind and both his mind and his spirit should control his body, so the melody (and lyrics) of music should be dominant over the harmony, and both the melody and harmony should be more prominent than the rhythm. Scientific studies have shown that the melody of music ministers to the spirit of a man, harmony appeals to his intellect, and rhythm appeals to his flesh. Therefore, a proper order of melody (and lyrics), harmony and rhythm should be integral in the thinking of a Christian who is concerned that he be spiritually, and not carnally, minded (Rom. 8:6).
A Christian should avail himself of as much musical training as he possibly can. Many Old Testament Scriptures speak of playing skillfully on the instruments. We are otherwise exhorted to "approve things that are excellent" (Phil. 1:10). We are ambassadors for the King of Heaven and should represent Him with as much "fine tuning" as is available to us (II Cor. 5:20). God never places a premium on ignorance or lack of training.
We should "do all to the glory of God" (I Cor. 10:31) and never be vainglorious (Phil. 2:3). We should "love not the world, neither the things that are in the world" (I John 2:15). We should avoid sensuality, even "the appearance of evil" (I Thess. 5:22)--crooning, breathiness, slurring of notes.
Our music should appeal to the spirit of man, first and foremost; therefore, the melody and lyrics should dominate. Second, our music should appeal to man's mind; therefore, harmonies should be sensible, and discords should be infrequent. Last of all, the rhythm of our music should indicate that we are alive unto Christ, but dead to the flesh; that is, music should have a pulse, but rhythm should be subservient to melody (with its lyrics) and harmony.