Today is Sunday, and I am listening to what could easily be confused as funeral music. DW is her ward's chorister; she is a very serious and sober person (she calls it being "dignified"), and always practices the songs she has planned to lead. This morning she was practising a sacrament song (I no longer know the names of the sacrament hymns, even if I recognize the melody), and it sounded like I was in a funeral home while visiting the body of a deceased friend--a slow, mournful dirge, painful to sing at that tempo. Then I was reminded that, by the time I left the church, virtually ALL Mormon hymns, even the happy ones, had been reduced down to slow, mournful tempos that became a chore to sing. I was always embarrassed for us whenever there were visitors in the midst, knowing that in their respective churches the songs were lively and happy, as the Christian message is supposed to be.
The Mormons' messages are like my wife, serious and sober, deprived of any happiness, because dammit!, the Lord is an angry, serious, and sober deity who hates it when people are happy during worship. For me, this all changed when I began attending the UU church in Augusta, GA, where our music was happy and lively, yet still dignified. No dirges.
(Joe Patchen, a local jazz pianist in Augusta, was the church pianist, who would send us off after church with a concert-quality piece, often classical, but sometimes a jazz piece. On Halloween or Christmas, it was that Peanuts' jazz tune called "Linus and Lucy." The congregation would laugh when it began, then sit and listen to the whole tune before applauding and finally standing and leaving. God, I really miss that, come to think of it. It is among only three things I miss about Georgia. I'd still be attending the UU if there were one within a reasonable distance. The only one is 45 miles away, meeting at 9am.)
Last ward I attended there was never joyful singing. But then, knowing that you're there to hear speakers rehash conference talks or else hear updates on the same 'testimonies' as last month really aren't joyful occasions.
to sing faster. It drove my "husband" nuts as he plays the piano and organ.
My daughter used to play hymns on the piano all the time. This was when we weren't going to church. My son hid the hymn book. Not like she looked very hard as it was under the love seat cushion. I'm not sure what I did with it when I found it.
Hymns, choir music, opera choruses are written with phrasing, indicated by commas in the text and/or musical stanzas, to give the singers a chance to breathe. Phrases are often planned to give extra meaning to the song. What I'm saying, is that a good church hymn breathes, and has life in it.
The Mormon songs are so slowed-down, that average singers have to take two breaths instead of one. The MoTab takes it further, by staggering their breathing, so there are no breath-pauses at all.
Since the "correlation" disaster, the new hymn book lowered the key of a lot of the hymns, taking away their brightness, and making them sound solemn and heavy. I was told that the average singer couldn't reach the high notes--like--all of a sudden people were born with different vocal cords? What happened to the hymns is what happened to everything else, as a result of correllation. All the brightness, uniqueness, creativitiy, and color was blended together, to become that "average" neutral gray,
I was an organist, too, and we are told to always follow the chorister. I've had choristers complain that I was "rushing" them. I got around that, by bringing my metronome to practice. I told the chorister it was to keep me from rushing, but it was actually to keep the chorister from dragging so much. Choristers seem to have big egos. They actually have BRAGGED to me that they never had any musical training, like, they felt just blessed with talent, without practicing or even reading the music.
Mormons are like that. They are experts in psychology, and have no use for trained therapists. They freely give each other marriage advice. They think they know how to raise children, because they give birth to so many. They have created the new PISS program for teens, using micromanaging techniques, manipulation, peer pressure, humiliation, fear, criticism, and focusing on shortcomings, instead of strengths. By reviewing this new program, you can tell that no qualified educators, teachers, no gifted writers of curriculum, no experts in child or adolescent psychology were consulted. Arrogant Mormons think all they have to do is pray about it.
Imagine having the arrogance to think Mormon music is superior to The Great Remantic Composers, and those old Gregorian Chants, and old Christian hymns, and folk music, throughout time; and lovely contemporary music, movie scores, children's songs, hard rock and soft rock, and metal, etc. There are and have been so many with real talent--how can the Mormons limit their music to only Mormon-written music? Other churches have paid professional organists. I studied piano all my life, since age 5, and the organ from age 14, and I still took lessons, off and on, so I could play nice preludes and postludes. The learning made it interesting for me, and kept the music fresh. By the time we resigned from the cult, I was hating all of my callings, music included.
I've long complained - even going back into my very TBM days about how depressing hymns are in the church. They are indeed sung like funeral dirges, slow and catatonic.
For example, take Welcome Welcome Sabbath Morning - a song that is supposed to be light and cheery. It is sung at such a slow and ponderous tempo that one nearly falls asleep while attempting to sing it. Its a great example of the church today... something that has to be done with little joy.
One thing I actually liked about church is singing the hymns. I have found over the years, they seem to be going slower and slower.
There is something wrong with my throat so I can sing at a faster beat, but if I have to go slow and draaaaaaaaaaaawwww...OOOOOOOOOuuuuuuuutttttt. EEEEvvvvvvveeeeerrrry wwwwwoooooooooooooooooooord. I just can't do it.
I end up just saying the words at my own pace, like William Shatner doing poetry night or something.
My ward organist would play classical pieces as a thoughtful form of prelude music. Then it all stopped. This was a couple years after the green puke inspired hymnal arrived. The organist was in the middle of the piece (I was a priest sitting in front of the sacrament altar) when the kerfuffle took place.
A member of the bishopric leaned over the first row of seats to get her attention. She stopped.
-That is not church approved music. Please adhere to the new directive to only play church hymns.
The organist replied, "I thought it was reverent and inspirational."
-That's not the point. We must follow the guidelines issued from Salt Lake. The brethren have spoken on this matter.
"I would like some time off. I have been serving as organist for ten years. I will speak with the bishop after sacrament."
And indeed she was released and the new organist couldn't play worth a darn. She would play wrong notes and even get lost during the hymn.