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David Pinnegar

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God is like the Organ
« on: July 13, 2011, 10:26:14 AM »
Hi!

I suppose that the largest lesson that the Great Teacher gave us was the power of analogy: in the parables it's clear that if one understands something at one level it can give a parallel insight into something larger and more complex.

God is like the Organ.

There are many different types of Organ but we experience the manifestation of the Organ in the sound. It's a sound that is constant, it does not die away. I have written elsewhere upon the subject of drums and guitars being unsuitable for Church music, and appreciate that that argument is flawed even if the Heavy Metal Stairway to Heaven seems to me to be a perverse way of finding eternal peace. . . . The organ is an expression of eternity, expressing itself from the still small voice through to the roaring wrath or celebration. The Organ is the manifestation of God.

St John's Gospel - in the beginning was the Word . . . I have seen translations "in the beginning was the Law" and "in the beginning was the Sound". Of course we are nowadays locked into the concept and tyranny of literacy that we forget that the word was not the written word, as we expect, but the sound of the spoken word. In the beginning was the Sound and the Sound was with God.


There are many types of organ, some with mechanical action, very direct, others acting on a breath of wind pneumatically whilst others use the magic of electrification to achieve the sound at a distance. Some have low, delicate wind pressures whilst others have high pressures and sounds more akin to tuned ships' foghorns.

We all have our pet likes and hates, as religions always have, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hindoo, Buddhism and one will always be villified, for the sake of it, as that's the human way of keeping the herd together and keeping movement. It's for this reason that fashion in the organ world changes, classical, baroque, romantic, early 20th century, eclectic . . . each having their devotees.

Of course at the moment on the forum there's a very interesting discussion about designing a small but comprehensive organ and deciding what stops it should have. The stops have to relate to each other and fit together in an harmonious way, the sounds have to blend to create music and, reading Colin Pykett's articles about the harmonics of Principals and the missing harmonics of stopped and harmonic flutes, slotting the harmonics together so that they work. This is the understanding of the work of God resulting in the manifestation of God. As we see in that discussion about composing the stops in the building of the instrument, some souls Know whilst others have to read an instruction book whilst others learn from the communication of one to another. This is a Trinity of the knowing of the Father, the teachings of the Son and the communication of the Holy Spirit.

As players, too, we have to do the Work of God in producing Sound and we have to know which stops to pull together . . .

:-)

The Organ is God, God is the Organ - long live the Eternal King of Instruments!

Best wishes

David P
« Last Edit: July 13, 2011, 12:24:02 PM by organforumadmin »
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

David Pinnegar

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Re: God is like the Organ
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2011, 08:30:20 AM »
the Indian religion is spelled "Hindu". "Hindoo" is a somewhat derogatory term for Regency-era Orientalism, as exemplified by Brighton Pavilion. Also, Stairway to Heaven (I assume we're talking Led Zeppelin here) is hardly heavy metal, even by the standards of its time... it's just a rock song. In its time, bands like Budgie, Black Sabbath and, not long after, Motorhead, were much more heavy metal.

Hi!

I took the Empire spelling, which subsisted through all publications up to the second world war, very deliberately as people like to take the smallest excuses for identifying the most minor of differences in order to effect their own superiority in the same way in relation to organs people make the same identifications to rubbish one against another.

Quote
"one will always be villified, for the sake of it"
It's a quirk of the human psyche well explored by William Golding's "Lord of the Flies". Love of God, the definition of which is by some merely the deepest concept of Love, requires an internal Jihad in order for human beings to raise civilisation above the jungle of the animals. On http://www.organmatters.com/index.php/topic,732.msg3342.html#msg3342 I explored the extent to which the nihilist philosophy of the Fetish of Consumption offered by the purity of material comforts can reduce the human existence to that of the animal kingdom unless relieved by the enlightenment of wider perspectives.

No band can be accused of being less Heavy Metal than Led Zep. It's not the sort of music that creates the greatest peace in my life, nor competes in ability to inspire deep thought than much of Couperin, Bach, Saint Seans and in particular, although not an organ work Mahler 4th Symphony which finishes with a vision of Heaven.

Best wishes

David P
« Last Edit: July 14, 2011, 09:02:41 AM by David Pinnegar »
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

revtonynewnham

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Re: God is like the Organ
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2011, 10:15:11 AM »
Hi

Some interesting ideas David.  I do wonder, though, about the analogy, given that the Hydraulus (the direct ancestor of the modern pipe organ) was used in gladiatorial games where Christians were thrown to lions and so on!  Maybe the organ and it's once widespread use in the Christian church (in the West at least) could also be seen as a picture of God's redemption - the turning from "evil" use to use for God's glory.

Every Blessing

Tony

Barry Williams

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Re: God is like the Organ
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2011, 12:08:12 PM »
 Organs have been (and still are) a major area of dispute in churches.  Oliver Cromwell, a most musical man, had a well-known organ removed from its ecclesiastical location and put in a secular place, where it could be used for entertainment.  He had at least one professional organist on his staff.  (A certain Sultan currently has two!)

Clergy, traditionally, are taught, probably rightly so, that the devil has but two methods of entering a church.  The first is by sliding down the bell ropes.  The second is by crawling out of the organ pipes.

Here I disagree with Tony, albeit most respectfully, for Tony is an outstanding theologian.  The organ has but a very short history in worship and only for a tiny minority of the total proportion of services held.  The Orthodox Church eschews instrumental music in worship, except in America, with spectacular results.  The Znameny Chant is wonderful and Russian Orthodox Music is utterly glorious.  (So is the liturgy, and I am not one for complex liturgy.)  Many wonderful services are held according to the Book of Common Prayer, at 8 am, without any music at all. 

It is a great pity that the organ has had only a partial life away from churches - concert halls, schools, colleges and homes.  Perhaps that is where the future lies.

I am with you, David, rather than Voix Cynique, on Heavy Metal, which has always interested me.  It is a great pity that, by and large, churches have ignored contemporary music, such as Heavy Metal, Riff, Rave, Bop, Pop, etc, and indulged themselves in 'comfortable' music that fails to challenge, such as Songs of Fellowship.  Years ago churches wanted Geoffrey Beaumont and pretended it was modern.  Now, they want Singers and Seekers in ecclesiatical garb.  It is all quite dishonest.  Whilst this goes on, the Orthodox Church continues, unchanged, with its glorious tradition, as does the Book of Common Prayer, though often (and wrongly) relegated to a mid-week or early morning 'slot' . 

There is religious life without organs!  (Which is why BF, BM & L and I have an organ at home, so that we are not tied to a church.)

Barry Williams

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Re: God is like the Organ
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2011, 03:40:01 PM »
Hi

We do seem to be drifting well off-topic - but never mind, that's what tends to happen on web fora!

Firstly, I did say the "Western" church - i.e. excluding the Eastern Orthodox churches and their derivatives (such as the Ukrainian rite Catholic church just down the road).  I'm well aware of the differences in worship tradition, and the use of organs, was AFAIK unknown in UK Free churches until the 1850's.

As to rock/pop etc in church - it is happening, but as is rightly pointed out, often a couple of decades behind mainstream society (I remember the publication of the "20th Century Church Light Music Group" books - and thought then (in the 1960's) that the music was more 1920's in style!).  However, there are some encouraging signs of churches - mainly the "Emerging Churches" - who are using truly contemporary musical styles in worship.  The Bible doesn't specify what sort of music is appropriate in worship - but it does have a lot to say about the attitude of mind of the worshiper!  Perhaps it's just as well that the Bible doesn't specify too much about worship styles - if it did, we'd be, presumably, singing Middle-Eastern style songs in Hebrew or Aramaic!  The Psalms in particular mention all classes of instruments - just look at Ps 150. 

Given that God is a God of creativity, then He created in humankind the ability to create music - hence (in general) all music that is performed for His glory is acceptable to Him.  Obviously, lyrical content rules out some songs - but not musical style per se.  If a particular style of music or worship genuinely helps people to "connect" with God, then there can be no valid objection to its use.  The problem is that, as human beings, our personal likes and dislikes come into the equation - and what helps one group of people to worship may have the opposite effect on another group.  Neither are right - neither are wrong.  Sometimes it takes an effort of will to say "I will worship God despite not appreciating the style that's used.

One of the good points about Christian denominations and different Church traditions is the variety of worship styles that mean hopefully that most people can find something that they're reasonably comfortable with.  What I do find unhelpful are those who seem to think that poor technique and lack of preparation in worship is acceptable to God. 

Every Blessing

Tony

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Re: God is like the Organ
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2011, 06:00:11 PM »
Hi

You may not find contemporary Christian music helpful - that's fine - but please remember that thousands of others do.  It can't be judged by the "standards" of Western classical music - and, for instance, nor can Indian classical music.  Conversely,   classical music can't be judged by the "standards" of pop, rock or indeed any other genre.  This is exactly what I was saying earlier - there is a need to realise that just because "I" don't like something that doesn't mean that it's bad!  Personally I dislike Grand Opera & Classical song - but I wouldn't want to ban - or even criticize - them, nor those who do like such things.

There are plenty of traditional hymns where the words leave a lot to be desired - but most of them have fallen by the wayside, as is already happening with CCM songs from the 1960's - and even more recent ones (and in some cases I say "good riddance").  There are also some CCM songs that I won't use because the theology is poor - but then, the same can be said for at least one hymn in the most recent Baptist church hymnbook "Baptist Praise and Worship"!

And as for your last statement - I suppose that's the traditional Catholic influence - but consider what the Bible says:- "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—" (Ephesians 2:8) - and also take a close look at the Epistle of James.  We cannot work out our salvation - Christ has done all that's required on the cross.  We have to accept His free gift - and then, and this is where the real work starts, follow His example and study the Bible - and good works should then follow.

Every Blessing

Tony

David Pinnegar

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Re: God is like the Organ
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2011, 09:16:46 AM »
Clergy, traditionally, are taught, probably rightly so, that the devil has but two methods of entering a church.  The first is by sliding down the bell ropes.  The second is by crawling out of the organ pipes.

Dear Barry

:-) Quite right - with the heresies that I write here by now the Clergy must know that to be true and doubly so too on account of my taking exercise on the ropes as well as the pedals . . . It's no wonder that few of them have joined the forum to take issue with these heresies as clearly they know their source and want to supp only with a long spoon . . .   :)

(I came into this response as Court Jester - opon the value of which I place high account as a cozy comfortable consensus is a stagnation in which there are no new ideas, and certainly none allowed to be raised. The freedom of thought permitted only to the jester and the madman permits the excuse by which influences can be instruduced and destructive or violent revolutions can be avoided. For this reason I crave indulgence of jest and madness.)

However, it's also no wonder that the Clergy so much nowadays want to eradicate organists from their midst for they have reason to fear from the expanded minds that organists must have in order to play their instrument  ;) and on account of this  :o praise bands must be so much easier to control,  8) and their music played being less able to access areas of deep thought, be people who are more easily taught what, rather than how, to think. I have a fundamental objection to the kindergarten evangelism which tells people what they have to think in order to be Christian - and I am sorry to have to say, at the most considerable risk of offending many people, that the way of guitars and drums is more associated with simplistic christianity than is the mysticism of organs.

As Christianity is not a set of rules to be taught to do, but a way of life to think, then I persist in asserting that the use of organ music leads to a deeper christianity, to the point that it departs from what the clergy are saying so much that it alienates the organist into thinking that they are an atheist - or a non-practicing Christian. Indeed the reverse is true.

Indeed the reverse is true, should we like to take issue with other types of Organs in the analogy of my first post. I am fortunate enough to have a bootleg recording of Led Zep playing with musicians in Bombay where also my wife and I enjoyed Raga at the Royal College of Music there (and as I write this think fondly of Victoria Station and send commisserations to all suffering as a result of what went on there a day or so ago). Raga leads one into a higher state of mind. But it is the music of
with Aulos (not of course in Raga), Kithera, Cithera, (Zither), Citar, Kitar, Guitar and tambour, tabla - etc - no doubt you'll be able to fill us in on the greek forms of drum
and the worship of Apollo whose followers achieved ecstasy in the course of their worship, no doubt by means of music and meditations on light but also possibly with a little help from eating Acanthus leaves as most certainly would have done the followers of Dionysus
who took over the temples of Apollo for half the year when Apollo went away.

The Clergy would tell us that these worships are the work of the devil (and I cannot pretend that the madness and violence introduced through the worship of Dionysus is what we would regard as the work of God) : they cannot use the Devil's music and at the same time tell us that it's fit for sacred worship . . . True Raga leads into a trance, but I would argue the superficial nature of 20th century pop music is far from that.

Perhaps one can only understand the symbolism of the Bible when one has started to understand how the Iliad was bible to the ancient Greeks - and therefore accept the Greek myths as being part of the understanding of God - and indeed this was the whole mainspring of the Renaissance out of the 1180 invasion of Toledo.

I mentioned the effect of the Clergy in turning away organists who work with God - (returning to the analogy of the music of the organ in its order and harmony being the manifestation of God) - into thinking they are atheists or non-practicing christians. It has been a privilege to have been in contact with a forum member in recent weeks who explained that various things in his life had caused him to focus more on god. He prays to god, seeks guidance and his faith is growing as he finds that god responds in actions and clearly in every respect the term "walks with god" applies. Yet he is persuaded to tell me that he is a non-practicing christian. Non practicing? Christianity being a way of life . . . He's a practicing christian by any measure . . .

The Clergy might well find that God resides in the organ pipes . . .  :)

Best wishes

David P

Postscript - Tony and VC - thanks so much for stimulating me into dangerous territory!  :)
« Last Edit: July 15, 2011, 09:36:09 AM by David Pinnegar »
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

pcnd5584

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Re: God is like the Organ
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2011, 01:53:19 PM »
Hi

You may not find contemporary Christian music helpful - that's fine - but please remember that thousands of others do.  It can't be judged by the "standards" of Western classical music - and, for instance, nor can Indian classical music.  Conversely,   classical music can't be judged by the "standards" of pop, rock or indeed any other genre.  This is exactly what I was saying earlier - there is a need to realise that just because "I" don't like something that doesn't mean that it's bad!  Personally I dislike Grand Opera & Classical song - but I wouldn't want to ban - or even criticize - them, nor those who do like such things.

There are plenty of traditional hymns where the words leave a lot to be desired - but most of them have fallen by the wayside, as is already happening with CCM songs from the 1960's - and even more recent ones (and in some cases I say "good riddance").  There are also some CCM songs that I won't use because the theology is poor - but then, the same can be said for at least one hymn in the most recent Baptist church hymnbook "Baptist Praise and Worship"!

There is much good sense here, Tony. I, too, dislike opera (and country and western and - having spent a few years in house churches such as Ichthus, playing either piano or drum kit for Graham Kendrick - contemporary Christian worship songs). As you say, we have no right to ban them, just because we do not like them.

However, I have noted a tendency of the type of person who does like this kind of music, to 'lecture' me on why I should like it, in preference to this old 'boring cathedral-style stuff.' This I find both ignorant and equally offensive. This is an observation - not simply my opinion.



And as for your last statement - I suppose that's the traditional Catholic influence - but consider what the Bible says:- "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—" (Ephesians 2:8) - and also take a close look at the Epistle of James.  We cannot work out our salvation - Christ has done all that's required on the cross.  We have to accept His free gift - and then, and this is where the real work starts, follow His example and study the Bible - and good works should then follow.

Every Blessing

Tony

At the risk of appearing to be the Devil's Advocate, surely Philippians 2:12b-13 ('...work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good ...') exhorts us to do precisely that?

(I am also mindful of the warning not to use the scriptures for one's own ends....)
« Last Edit: July 15, 2011, 02:17:29 PM by pcnd5584 »
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revtonynewnham

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Re: God is like the Organ
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2011, 03:31:19 PM »

However, I have noted a tendency of the type of person who does like this kind of music, to 'lecture' me on why I should like it, in preference to this old 'boring cathedral-style stuff.' This I find both ignorant and equally offensive. This is an observation - not simply my opinion.]

Hi

Sadly, the converse applies n the attitude of many who prefer "traditional" church music.

Every Blessing

Tony





Holditch

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Re: God is like the Organ
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2011, 07:35:54 PM »
I sometimes worry that as I profess to be an Atheist I am not really best placed to comment about what style of music is right or wrong for church worship but the way I see it is that all styles of music must be accepted as long as they do not offend.

If the church is to be all welcoming and accepting it must reach out on every level. Music is a common language understood by the most simple to the most sophisticated of intellects. As it is such a wide-ranging feature of our world then not everyone can be expected to like every aspect, and opinions will differ.

I much prefer the organ to be the main instrument within a church however in the diocese that I play in there are a limited number of organists so a group has formed of young musicians who play guitar, drums and keyboards. The formation of this group and the music that it plays has encouraged more young people to join the church. Some have joined the group or some just attend because they now recognise the style of music; surely both are good things?

We need to be careful that our enjoyment/enthusiasm for the pipe organ does not make us think that we are on some form of higher intellectual level than people who may not enjoy or completely understand traditional organ music.

I also think that our musical taste change as we grow older. I may get some flack here and it may not be “cricket” as far as we lot are concerned, but guitars, drums and keyboards are a lot more attractive and exciting to the younger generation than pipe organs are.

Having said that, I am sure that if the pipe organ were presented in a way that could excite and enthuse the younger generation of new churchgoers, especially in churches where pipe organs have been rejected, then this would help readjust things and cement both types of music.

So to answer David’s question, “God is like the Organ”, God is in every musical instrument because we all have unique minds, understanding and thoughts, and certain sounds and music unlock different things in different people. (However being an Atheist I suppose I am not really meant to understand that!)

Many thanks
Marc
Dubois is driving me mad! must practice practice practice

David Pinnegar

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Re: God is like the Organ
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2011, 01:07:20 PM »
Hi!

Thanks for all these interesting expressions of opinion. . . The Organ is worth talking about . . . As are the places where they normally reside . . . !

Perhaps the conclusion of all we read above is that all expressions of music, and of God alike, should be tolerable as possibly one level of understanding leads to another even if it is in reaction to Kendrickism . . .

Another way of saying this, however, is that no branch of any belief in God, even Atheism which I do not think can possibly deny the fundamental laws of matter and physics (and in which I say is God), can say that it's is exclusively supreme, as many sadly do. All should acknowledge that they are merely steps on the way and not destinations in themselves. All are fixed compasses on the path as tools, rather than  the path itself which is perhaps only directed by our lives . . .  just as Four Foot tourist information http://www.organmatters.com/index.php/topic,730.0.html fills in the missing harmonics of the hollow pipe of the Stopped Diapason.

Best wishes

David P
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Re: God is like the Organ
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2011, 05:56:13 PM »
Hi

Commenting on Voix Celeste's last post (primarily), there are 2 reason why people of all ages feel comfortable & able to worship easily in any given church.  In order of importance they are:-

1) The welcome and genuine fellowship & friendship offered (Yes, I know there are some who just want to hide in the crowd - but that's a different issue.)

2) a style of music/worship/churchmanship that helps them connect with God and grow in the Christian faith.

I'm not at all surprised about the growth in catholic churches - and indeed other denominations & individual churches that are exploring the more "spiritual" aspects of faith, rather than the intellectual focus on knowledge and teaching that has characterized most of the church - to some extent at least - over the past 2-3 centuries (or more).  This is seen in the growth of interest in - sadly often false - spiritualitites in contemporary society (New Age, for example - along with many other things).

That's not to say that knowledge of the faith - and indeed some theology - isn't important - Paul tells Timothy to "study to show yourself approved by God ..."  but neither can we say that the "spiritual" experiential side of worship isn't important.  It's not, ideally, an "either/or" but a "both/and".

Paul says "I become all things to all men so that by all means some might be saved"  No one form of worship or (Christian) spirituality is any more - 0r less - valid than any other.  I just wish that those who happen to prefer one particular style of worship/churchmanship or whatever would realise that other forms are equally valid!

Every Blessing

Tony

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Re: God is like the Organ
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2011, 01:55:57 PM »
Quote
this bands music , just by far and away speaks to me more than anything i've ever heard in my life. I feel communion in this song, although i'm in no way religious.

In another topic on this forum the "pop" band Arcade Fire was mentioned. The above quote was extracted from a comment on Youtube about their song "Intervention"... and next to it...

Quote
I love the organ!

And an organ loaded with French Romantic pipework by the sound of it...  although a certain instrument in the South of France our Forum Administrator is fond of would certainly have no trouble at all accompanying the band in performance of this particular song :o ;D 8)

And my point is ???   ???

Okay, Arcade Fire did mix in some drum, cymbal, (acoustic) guitar along with the vocals "over" the pipe organ-- tastefully I may add--  :o


Quote
Having said that, I am sure that if the pipe organ were presented in a way that could excite and enthuse the younger generation of new churchgoers, especially in churches where pipe organs have been rejected, then this would help readjust things and cement both types of music.

Are "Secular" musicians  beginning to rediscover the "magic" of the pipe organ ???

So... Who is really "behind" who ???

A parable... Racing cars on an oval racetrack... So, Who is a "lap down in front of the pack" ???

For truly innovative religious musicians with an eye to the future may want to consider how better to make use of the pipe organ in "contemporary" worship, lest the "praise band" without organ seem "old fashioned" ;)

Eric
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The objective is to reach human immortality—that is, to create things which are necessary to mankind, necessary to the purpose of the existence of mankind, and which have become the fruit that drives the creation of a higher state of mankind than ever existed before."

 


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