Friday, March 2, 2012

"Moved to heartier song...in the hands of a good organist"

Kevin DeYoung, in "Don’t Ditch the Organ," excerpts a couple of paragraphs by Harold Best, once Dean of the Conservatory of Music at Wheaton College, arguing that the proper use of the organ in Christian worship helps us to worship in song. An excerpt from the excerpt:
.... Without any doubt, the organ is the most naturally supportive instrument for singing that Western culture knows of. Its very design and its intelligent use in hymn singing are meant to accomplish one purpose: to support singing by the intelligent use of registers chosen to fill in the cracks–to provide both an underpinning and a blossom to the work of the congregational voices. The result is synergy: the whole greater than the sum of the parts. People are moved to heartier song without being overpowered or displaced, and their natural untrained voices are significantly validated and enhanced. True, there are those times when the organ soars above and beyond its normal collaborative task in the provision of free accompaniments and occasional iterations of brilliance and dash. But in the hands of a good organist, these should be reserved for those momentary or seasonal and festive times when clear hymnic water is turned into the polyphonies of rich wine. An organ does not have to be gargantuan to accomplish these tasks—not when it is well designed and properly played. (Exploring the Worship Spectrum: 6 Views, 73)