Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why marketers need to write liturgical music

It's been two years since we've seen changes to the Roman Catholic Mass, and, even though the new responses are now second nature to most, the liturgical music misses the mark.

To be clear, I'm not talking hymns, I'm referring to things like the Gloria, the Sanctus, etc. that had to change when the language of the prayers changed.

Before I go any further, I must be perfectly blunt. I am not a musician. I do appreciate good music (which is subjective, so don't get in a huff about my opinion). My musical abilities are more than non-existant, but less than abundant. I enjoy "making a joyful noise to the Lord," and let's just leave it at that.

I don't think the music we have in church is appropriate for its purpose. I think evidence of this is the fact that two years later, most people in the congregation, and the occasional choir member, can't remember the tune or timing. I see this at our home parish and at parishes we visit when traveling.

It may indeed be great music, which is testament to the fact that there are great composers out there. But I think they totally miss who is supposed to be singing the music. People like me. Average Joes and Janes. It's not meant to be a musical performance. It's meant to get everyone there singing and praising God.

Which is why I think the Church should employ a team of marketers and jingle writers to compose liturgical music. How many times have you had a jingle stuck in your head all day, and you can't stop humming it? Lots! Sure, they may not be the most musically complex or cultured pieces ever written. But they are written to make sure the average person can understand it, hum or sing along with it, and remember it so you can go buy their product or service.

How great would it be if everyone had the Gloria stuck in their head all day?

Instead, we're stuck mumbling through music because it's too complex for the average person. In an attempt to make music more, well, musical, more sophisticated, and overall more interesting, we have instead made music something the congregation sits back and listens to because we can't keep up with the level of performance.

Let's make church music accessible for everyone to sing and give the Lord the praise He is due. Bring on the marketers.

No comments:

Post a Comment