Monday, October 3, 2011

Tune Up Our Heartstrings; We'll Sing a Song of Six Wings

Well, attempt number two at a congregational song is miles closer to the target than the first, but I still don't think I've hit it.

This one's got the unfortunate working title that you see at the top of this post. The title alone borrows from one well-known hymn and an bizarre English folk song, and the lyrics (as you will see) pull from the broad span of the Bible as well as moments from my amateur's imagination of physics, child-birthing, and obscure English idioms. The very end of this recording is lifted wholesale (and played incorrectly) from another well-known hymn.

General wordiness is not necessarily a problem; plenty of good hymns have been heavy on the verbiage. But I think this one may just not be focused enough on a single topic to invite the singer into meaningful meditation on the nature of God. It's sort of a fly-over tour of the whole span of scripture with a verse devoted to each person of the Trinity. There's also a weird implication in the line "until we learn to sing along, we'll sing..." implying that the refrain is a sort of sub-par hackneyed way to praise. The implication is intentional, but as a critique of my own laziness in writing a chorus, not of the song of the strange creatures in Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4.

Critical self-reflection on the part of a singer of a song is tremendously important if it leads to repentance. Critical self-reflection on the part of a songwriter has no place in the song itself.

Also, on the whole, this just doesn't repeat anything enough. And I think the melodic range is too wide. And there are too many vocal ornaments...

Oh, and it still sounds terribly sad. That's mostly my voice; in the mouth of another singer in the midst of a full rock band this might be pretty lively.

We'll see where I end up next!

Tune Up Our Heartstrings; We'll Sing a Song of Six Wings (<-again, click here to listen)

"You spoke a word.
The emptiness heard and burst into being.

You called the tune
every sun, every moon, and every atom is ringing.

Tune our hearts to play your song
until we learn to sing along.

You called down a storm.
You dreamed of its form before the waters broke.

You cried out as you died
the opening line of a psalm your father wrote for You!

Tune our hearts to play your song.
Until we learn to sing along, we'll sing...

'Holy holy holy is the Lord God Almighty.'

You breathed into our lungs.
You burned on our tongues and set fire to the endless void.

You called out our names.
The mute and the lame will sing and dance for joy in You!

'Holy holy holy is the Lord God Almighty.'

'Holy holy holy
Lord God Almighty
All thy works shall praise thy name
in earth and sky and sea.

Holy holy holy
merciful and mighty
God in three persons
Blessed Trinity.' "

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