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Offline Timon

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modernizing hymns...
« on: March 01, 2012, 11:46:37 AM »
Ive mentioned it before here, but what I do to earn most of my living is travel and play music with my band.  We mostly do worship music for Churches and the events they are having. (camps, conferences, etc.)

We are about to start working on a new record and I was wondering if it would be cool if I tried to us some Orthodox hymns as lyrics.  It doesnt seem like it would be a problem, but I didnt know if it would be wrong or heretical to hear rock n roll versions of these hymns or prayers.  I know we dont want to bring protestantism into Orthodoxy, but would it be ok to attempt to bring Orthodoxy into protestantism?? I just cant deal with writing these sappy little love songs that you hear on contemporary radio today.  I need something with some substance and sound theology!
Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

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Offline primuspilus

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2012, 11:50:30 AM »
I once thought about taking an Orthodox hymn and listening to the various choir parts and transposing them into instrumentals. I think the low tones in a byzantine or russian chant would sound awesome on my fretless Carvin.

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2012, 11:53:50 AM »
If your band is a conventional rock sort of band, it might be hard to adapt the hymns as they're prose-poems- you'll have to do some drastic rewriting to versify them. The Anglican hymn-writer John Mason Neale did this with many Orthodox hymns, maybe you can get some ideas by perusing his works.

Better yet, read the hymns, read the psalms, get some inspiration, and then write your own hymns informed by these sources. A good lyric should read well as poetry on the page and not just sound nice set to music.

Offline Timon

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2012, 12:02:56 PM »
Thats true.  And thats a good plan.  I always try to be careful when making up my own stuff though.  Im not really a great writer, but maybe some good, solid inspiration will help.

We mainly do work for middle and high school kids.  So the music we have written in the past is just really cheesy pop-rock that middle schoolers buy.  We actually have never done a "worship" record before as we have always found it rather challenging.  Since we are starting to do more gigs for Churches these days, we figure we should have one.  I just dont want to throw something together just so we have something to sell and make money off of like we have in the past.  If we are going to actually write a record like this, I want it to be theologically sound rather than the "oh, that sounds nice" type of writing thats so common these days. 
Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

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Offline scamandrius

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2012, 11:06:28 PM »
Ive mentioned it before here, but what I do to earn most of my living is travel and play music with my band.  We mostly do worship music for Churches and the events they are having. (camps, conferences, etc.)

We are about to start working on a new record and I was wondering if it would be cool if I tried to us some Orthodox hymns as lyrics.  It doesnt seem like it would be a problem, but I didnt know if it would be wrong or heretical to hear rock n roll versions of these hymns or prayers.  I know we dont want to bring protestantism into Orthodoxy, but would it be ok to attempt to bring Orthodoxy into protestantism?? I just cant deal with writing these sappy little love songs that you hear on contemporary radio today.  I need something with some substance and sound theology!

Don't do it.  Just, don't do it.  You don't need to modernize hymns or put them to campy care-free music so that kids can get into them.  The worship wars in the various Protestant denominations have taught me one thing:  kids can spot fakes.  And they know that the campy music they hear on Sundays is campy and fake and it's little wonder why so many of them stray.  I cannot even begin to contemplate an Orthodox hymn set to a blues progression--it just doesn't work.  So, please, don't do it.
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Offline biro

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2012, 12:17:54 AM »
I think I'd only play that kind of thing away from church. At home, at a gig or something, but not in the services.

Offline Maximum Bob

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2012, 12:48:05 AM »
There is contemporary Orthodox Christian music. I listen to the Ark   http://www.myocn.com/ark/ all day on my computer at work.
They play artists like Peter Jon Gilquist, Eikona, Ron Moore, Phil Baquie, etc.
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Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2012, 08:36:43 AM »
Ive mentioned it before here, but what I do to earn most of my living is travel and play music with my band.  We mostly do worship music for Churches and the events they are having. (camps, conferences, etc.)

We are about to start working on a new record and I was wondering if it would be cool if I tried to us some Orthodox hymns as lyrics.  It doesnt seem like it would be a problem, but I didnt know if it would be wrong or heretical to hear rock n roll versions of these hymns or prayers.  I know we dont want to bring protestantism into Orthodoxy, but would it be ok to attempt to bring Orthodoxy into protestantism?? I just cant deal with writing these sappy little love songs that you hear on contemporary radio today.  I need something with some substance and sound theology!

Don't do it.  Just, don't do it.  You don't need to modernize hymns or put them to campy care-free music so that kids can get into them.  The worship wars in the various Protestant denominations have taught me one thing:  kids can spot fakes.  And they know that the campy music they hear on Sundays is campy and fake and it's little wonder why so many of them stray.  I cannot even begin to contemplate an Orthodox hymn set to a blues progression--it just doesn't work.  So, please, don't do it.

I'm glad that you are advocating the eradication of four part harmony and Western-style choral music.  No need for Rachmaninoff's  compositions in the Orthodox Church. 

If I understood the original post correctly this is about an artistic reworking rather than for liturgical use. 

Offline Orthodox11

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2012, 10:00:40 AM »
I'm glad that you are advocating the eradication of four part harmony and Western-style choral music.  No need for Rachmaninoff's  compositions in the Orthodox Church.

When modernising and westernising of liturgical music happen in Holy Russia, it is with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Offline Timon

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2012, 11:13:32 AM »
This was definitely NOT intended for liturgical purposes.  I would NEVER advocate using modern rock 'n roll hymns/prayers in the divine liturgy.

I was talking about attempting to incorporate more Orthodox theology into protestant, western style music.  Im the only non-protestant person in the band.  My point was that these new tunes coming out these days are so watered down.  You can tell there was very little inspiration from Scripture, hymns, prayers, or patristic writings.  I was just wanting to incorporate some Orthodox stuff into these new songs we are going to start working on.  I thought about taking actual prayers or hymns and putting them to modern music.  But I have found out, as many have warned, that its actually not that easy to do.  So now I am just going to get inspiration from these sources and make sure any songs are theologically sound.

And just once more incase you missed it: I was not suggesting using modern music in any liturgy.
Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

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Offline Timon

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2012, 11:15:08 AM »
And I realize you may just disagree with that style of worship.  It can be very "self focused." But thats not the discussion I am trying to have.  We get hired to do a specific task.  I just figured if thats what we are doing anyways, we might as well try and slip some Orthodoxy in there somewhere! :)
Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

— Chrysostom

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Offline Fotina02

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2012, 12:31:49 PM »
Metropolitan Hilarion used Orthodox liturgical texts in his compositions St Matthew Passion and Christmas Oratorio. He states specifically that they are not intended for liturgical use but can be "missionistic". I think they are very beautiful and inspiring.

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2010/12/hilarion-alfeyev-st-matthew-passion-no-1/

Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2012, 01:00:59 PM »
Ive mentioned it before here, but what I do to earn most of my living is travel and play music with my band.  We mostly do worship music for Churches and the events they are having. (camps, conferences, etc.)

We are about to start working on a new record and I was wondering if it would be cool if I tried to us some Orthodox hymns as lyrics.  It doesnt seem like it would be a problem, but I didnt know if it would be wrong or heretical to hear rock n roll versions of these hymns or prayers.  I know we dont want to bring protestantism into Orthodoxy, but would it be ok to attempt to bring Orthodoxy into protestantism?? I just cant deal with writing these sappy little love songs that you hear on contemporary radio today.  I need something with some substance and sound theology!

Don't do it.  Just, don't do it.  You don't need to modernize hymns or put them to campy care-free music so that kids can get into them.  The worship wars in the various Protestant denominations have taught me one thing:  kids can spot fakes.  And they know that the campy music they hear on Sundays is campy and fake and it's little wonder why so many of them stray.  I cannot even begin to contemplate an Orthodox hymn set to a blues progression--it just doesn't work.  So, please, don't do it.


Yeah, it's always puzzled me that "contemporary worship" seems to consist of 30 yr. old songs.
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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2012, 01:13:16 PM »
Who knows best what the young generation wants? Baby boomers of course.

Offline Nigula Qian Zishi

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2012, 02:08:06 PM »
HAHAHAHAHA! Great replies!
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Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2012, 03:24:51 PM »
Who knows best what the young generation wants? Baby boomers of course.

Absolutely! We are forever young, after all!
"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

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Offline Maximum Bob

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2012, 07:06:04 PM »
And I realize you may just disagree with that style of worship.  It can be very "self focused." But that's not the discussion I am trying to have.  We get hired to do a specific task.  I just figured if thats what we are doing anyways, we might as well try and slip some Orthodoxy in there somewhere! :)
Sounds good to me for the very little my approval is worth. I gotta say Trisagion Prayers by Ron Moore is one that I've found not only fun and moving but was a great help in memorizing the prayers.

Yeah, it's always puzzled me that "contemporary worship" seems to consist of 30 yr. old songs.
30 years old? You been out of the Protestant worship scene for awhile? ;)
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Offline Knee V

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2012, 12:20:49 PM »
My less-than-humble opinion:

What should our culture's folk music be? Godless? Humanistic? Hedonistic? Or perhaps something that is compatible with the Orthodox gospel?

I encourage you to put Orthodox spirituality into a medium where more people will access it.

Offline mabsoota

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2012, 04:26:28 PM »
timon, tell stories in yr music, not actual liturgy.
coz the prostrating and peaceful worship doesn't quite go to the tune of
'yeah yeah yeah screech bang bang i wanna bow my sweet cute knees...'

but i know what u r getting at, u want to reach people in yr music, so u can tell (ideally true) stories of people's lives.
eg. 'sophie broke down when he walked out, he even took the dog with him (yeah yeah screech bang) so lonely inside she thought she'd died, so she ran ran ran (screech bang etc. etc.) then ended up in church one day etc. etc.'
(don't worry i won't give up my day job, i know i'm not a song writer, i'm just giving u ideas...)
u could tell of roman soldiers who were martyrs if u don't get "sophie's" permission to give her testimony to rock music.

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2012, 05:36:08 PM »
And I realize you may just disagree with that style of worship.  It can be very "self focused." But that's not the discussion I am trying to have.  We get hired to do a specific task.  I just figured if thats what we are doing anyways, we might as well try and slip some Orthodoxy in there somewhere! :)
Sounds good to me for the very little my approval is worth. I gotta say Trisagion Prayers by Ron Moore is one that I've found not only fun and moving but was a great help in memorizing the prayers.

Yeah, it's always puzzled me that "contemporary worship" seems to consist of 30 yr. old songs.
30 years old? You been out of the Protestant worship scene for awhile? ;)

You mean it's up to 40 now? Y'know, when the mega-churches aren't just straight playing radio hits from 15 years ago (Because LP's "One Step Closer" is sooo spiritually significant on, like, a lot of really deep levels)?
"Funny," said Lancelot, "how the people who can't pray say that prayers are not answered, however much the people who can pray say they are."  TH White

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Offline Timon

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2012, 10:58:24 PM »
Quote
'yeah yeah yeah screech bang bang i wanna bow my sweet cute knees...'

this will be on our next record! ill make sure you get a royalty check! :)
Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

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Offline Timon

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2012, 11:01:41 PM »
My less-than-humble opinion:

What should our culture's folk music be? Godless? Humanistic? Hedonistic? Or perhaps something that is compatible with the Orthodox gospel?

I encourage you to put Orthodox spirituality into a medium where more people will access it.

Thanks!  The more I think about it, the more I realize its probably not a question I needed to ask.  Im attempting to write songs that hopefully young people will eventually sing along with and worship with.  Again, the argument over styles of worship isnt what I am trying to have.  These Churches that hire us are going to do what they do anyways.  I just figure why not sing Orthodox theology rather than these cheese-ball style tunes out these days.  

And again, we arent attempting to serve the Divine Liturgy in an "updated" or "rock n roll" manner.  Thats not at all what I am suggesting.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2012, 11:02:38 PM by Timon »
Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

— Chrysostom

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Offline Maximum Bob

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #22 on: March 05, 2012, 01:25:03 AM »
And I realize you may just disagree with that style of worship.  It can be very "self focused." But that's not the discussion I am trying to have.  We get hired to do a specific task.  I just figured if thats what we are doing anyways, we might as well try and slip some Orthodoxy in there somewhere! :)
Sounds good to me for the very little my approval is worth. I gotta say Trisagion Prayers by Ron Moore is one that I've found not only fun and moving but was a great help in memorizing the prayers.

Yeah, it's always puzzled me that "contemporary worship" seems to consist of 30 yr. old songs.
30 years old? You been out of the Protestant worship scene for awhile? ;)

You mean it's up to 40 now? Y'know, when the mega-churches aren't just straight playing radio hits from 15 years ago (Because LP's "One Step Closer" is sooo spiritually significant on, like, a lot of really deep levels)?

 :laugh: I was thinking more in the direction of 29 years but you may have a point.


Timon, more power to you keep us updated. I for one would like to hear some of these songs when you get them, done.

I'll mention too that our priest and our bishop were in a contemporary music group together, that did Orthodox lyrics, before they became who they are now. It's fun to hear some of their old tunes dusted off after the meal on Church feast days.
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Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2012, 12:14:11 PM »
Yeah, it's always puzzled me that "contemporary worship" seems to consist of 30 yr. old songs.
30 years old? You been out of the Protestant worship scene for awhile? ;)

Yes, and I thank God for it!

"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2012, 03:18:35 PM »
Yeah, it's always puzzled me that "contemporary worship" seems to consist of 30 yr. old songs.
30 years old? You been out of the Protestant worship scene for awhile? ;)

Yes, and I thank God for it!


Modern christian worship needs just a few ingredients:


1. Some fake hipster looking guy
2. A taylor guitar
3. A capo set waaaaaaay too high
4. G chord followed by C chord spamming

Then just add overly-emotional kids and yeast, let rise and you have......well...yeasty kids with boring music......

PP
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Offline Timon

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2012, 05:10:42 PM »
Yeah, it's always puzzled me that "contemporary worship" seems to consist of 30 yr. old songs.
30 years old? You been out of the Protestant worship scene for awhile? ;)

Yes, and I thank God for it!


Modern christian worship needs just a few ingredients:


1. Some fake hipster looking guy
2. A taylor guitar
3. A capo set waaaaaaay too high
4. G chord followed by C chord spamming

Then just add overly-emotional kids and yeast, let rise and you have......well...yeasty kids with boring music......

PP

Youre exactly right.  Just strum those 2 chords (maybe going to the 6 on the pre-chorus) over a four-on-the-floor kick pattern and youre golden!  Make sure everyone knows how long you spent on your hair too.
Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

— Chrysostom

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Offline Maximum Bob

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2012, 08:24:15 PM »
You all spent time on your hair? All I ever did was wash and head-bang til dry. ;D But maybe that was just me. Was I the only one who used to head-bang in church?  :laugh:
Psalm 37:23 The Lord guides a man safely in the way he should go.

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Offline Timon

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2012, 12:42:37 AM »
You all spent time on your hair? All I ever did was wash and head-bang til dry. ;D But maybe that was just me. Was I the only one who used to head-bang in church?  :laugh:

To clarify, in my post I wasnt referring to myself. Haha.  Just poking fun at the stereotype! Im not really much of a "cool hair" guy.  I stay out of the fancy salons and just wait until the Great Clips coupon shows up in the mail...
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 12:43:12 AM by Timon »
Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

— Chrysostom

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Offline akimori makoto

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2012, 01:23:18 AM »
You all spent time on your hair? All I ever did was wash and head-bang til dry. ;D But maybe that was just me. Was I the only one who used to head-bang in church?  :laugh:

To clarify, in my post I wasnt referring to myself. Haha.  Just poking fun at the stereotype! Im not really much of a "cool hair" guy.  I stay out of the fancy salons and just wait until the Great Clips coupon shows up in the mail...

The hair that gets me in trouble at church ...
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.

Offline Maximum Bob

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Re: modernizing hymns...
« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2012, 03:37:36 AM »
You all spent time on your hair? All I ever did was wash and head-bang til dry. ;D But maybe that was just me. Was I the only one who used to head-bang in church?  :laugh:

To clarify, in my post I wasnt referring to myself. Haha.  Just poking fun at the stereotype! Im not really much of a "cool hair" guy.  I stay out of the fancy salons and just wait until the Great Clips coupon shows up in the mail...
Ahhh, a coupon man, my wife would like you.
Psalm 37:23 The Lord guides a man safely in the way he should go.

Prov. 3: 5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.