Sorry I’m late again
I was busy doing this 😛
Sorry I’m late again
I was busy doing this 😛
Let’s worship together!
Posted this on Wednesday by mistake instead of Thursday but it’s all good 😄
Now you know me and my juxtaposition of sexual activity and expressive worship. Well in my travels in academia doing my PhD in Womanist Theomusicology I came across something quite insightful that has really changed the way I worship. The idea came from a response to an interview question found in an ethnographic study by Travis Cooper (2011) Masters Thesis from Missouri State University: “Ecstasy and the Kinesthetic Body: An Ethnograhpic Study of Contemporary Pentecostal Worship”.
When analysing the responses Cooper received from the qualitative questionnaires regarding the worship techniques and ideas of Pentecostal Christians, Cooper found that one Pastor said something that really struck me. He related worshipping Jesus to a husband and wife having sex. Now, stay with me….!
The Pastor warned that when worshipping Jesus we should not perusing a good knees up with some songs that make us feel good. Instead, the pastor said we should be pursuing a relationship with Jesus. The same way a husband should not be having sex with his wife just for his own sexual gratification he should be having sex with his wife because he loves her.
The pastor said the following:
“…the ultimate goal for sexual relations between a husband and wife is not simply pleasure or childbearing, but facilitation of love between the two agents in the physical act of intercourse, so it is with worship.” (Cooper 2011, pp.182)
I learnt soo much about worship and love in that one profound sentence. There’s just so much I could say but I really think that sentence says it all. We should be thinking about Jesus when we are worshipping not looking to pleasure ourselves with little ditty’s that make us feel good.
So here’s how my worship practice has changed: Instead of sitting there singing/playing songs that make me feel good I think of Jesus more of a lover that I am pursuing. So I think well this should be about Jesus, what does Jesus want? How can I make Jesus happy? What can I do to make us closer?
Sometimes I just play the guitar to Jesus now because I think well, maybe Jesus just wants to listen to some music same as we humans do! Also, I try to improve my professional practice because I feel like Jesus wants me to improve.
When we worship and love our spouses it should be about the other person and getting to know them better not about ourselves.
Remember, pleasure should be a consequence of the pursuit not the other way around!
This morning I was praying to Jesus and playing my guitar and the thought crossed my mind:
I have never stopped to appreciate that I have been given musical talents because they have always been there.
I also started playing a song I wrote when I was a girl and noticed that I was able to play it a lot better and another thought crossed my mind:
I have gotten better at the guitar, I have never stopped to thank Jesus for improving my gifts, they haven’t just stayed the same I have actually improved.
Let us who are musicians be thankful to Jesus for actually giving us the gifts in the first place and also let’s take time to actually appreciate Jesus for helping us to improve. When I first started playing the guitar as a little girl of about 8 my little hands were too weak and my fingers were too short to hold down Barre Chords (here’s a handy link to what that is for the uninitiated). I used to avoid playing F major like the plague and I would have avoided B minor but my voice was so high pitched anything I was going to sing was always in D so I just had to be in pain hah hah hah hah. I can laugh about it now but at the time I really struggled lol.
Below is a prayer I have written for those musicians who want to thank Jesus for their gifts:
Thank you for the gift of music. I pray that one day you will perfect Your work in me so that through my music ministry every love song will be about You. Thank You for giving me the gift to perform and for helping me to improve. Thank You for blessing me with experiencing joy when encountering all of the different timbres, rhythms and tonalities. Thank You for harmony as well as the beautiful contrast of switching between minor and major tonalities. Thank You for all of the different instruments and for providing me with access to instruments and tuition and mentors.
In the name of King Jesus Christ. Amen
Couldn’t let you go without showing me performing a worship song I wrote (back before I cut my hair lol):
p.s. the Instagram vid below is a snippet of me having late night worship in my room, this week. I’m dyspraxic so I struggle to get the coordination needed for picking the strings but Jesus has really helped me. The picture is black because it was after midnight and I couldn’t be bothered to put on the light but you can hear me 😉
Here’s a whistle stop tour of why Christians sing in church:
A History of Christian Worship
The early church was comprised of Jews who had accepted Jesus as the promised Messiah. Therefore, to understand what contemporary Christian worship is and why it is there, one must look at historical Jewish worship, as this is the foundation that modern Christian worship is based on.
The beginnings of Jewish music are not known, what is not shrouded in mystery is known by what the Bible tells us (Barton 2014, p.7). The book of Psalms is full of many musical directions of how to worship God, however, as there are no sound recordings or musical notation related to the musical directions in the psalms, we can only speculate as to how they would have sounded. The first mention in the Bible of music, a musical instrument and a musician is when a woman called Adah gives birth to her son whom she named Jubal, in Genesis 4:20-22:
“ Adah gave birth to Jabal, who was the first of those who raise livestock and live in tents.  His brother’s name was Jubal, the first of all who play the harp and flute.  Lamech’s other wife, Zillah, gave birth to a son named Tubal-cain. He became an expert in forging tools of bronze and iron. Tubal-cain had a sister named Naamah.” (Genesis 4:20-22 NLT)
Here, we are introduced to three primary professions on earth, apart from tending the Garden of Eden, like Adam. Those who work with livestock (v.20), the musician (v.21) and the craftsman in bronze and iron (v.22) (Barton 2014, p.9).
The Hebrews, (as they were known before they arrived in Israel), were given instructions to worship God in the books of the Law, which, at the time, also involved animal sacrifice. They were told what to sacrifice and when but no specifics was given regarding worship (Williams 2018, Origins of Christian Worship).
There are a few examples describing how worship was lead in the Bible but again we do not know how it sounded. We read early on in the Bible that after leaving Egypt, Miriam, the sister of Moses, took a timbrel and led the other women, who also had timbrels and to praise God in Exodus 15; 20 and 21. In Leviticus, we are introduced to the Shofar, this is a Rams horn which was blown by a priest on feast days. The Shofar is still played today and sounds like a trumpet or horn. In Numbers 10:1-10, we are introduced to another kind of horn, the silver trumpet, like the Shofar, this is not strictly a musical instrument but is also only used by the priests who blew it to signal to the Hewbrew’s that they were moving the camp.
Fast-forward many generations to the book of Samuel we discover that there were prophets who were also musicians. Saul met them following an encounter with Samuel:
“When you arrive at Gibeah of God, where the garrison of the Philistines is located, you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the place of worship. They will be playing a harp, a tambourine, a flute, and a lyre, and they will be prophesying. (1 Samuel 10:5 NLT)
Music was also used for therapeutic reasons, David played the harp for King Saul, conducted under what has become known as the Psalmist anointing, which is “…the power coming from God in the music to drive evil spirits away” (Barton 2014, p.9):
And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp. Then Saul would feel better, and the tormenting spirit would go away. (1 Samuel 16:23 NLT).
Later, once David became king and he brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem there was dancing; singing; they were playing lyres; harps; tambourines and other percussive instruments (2 Samuel 6:5) and Rams horn’s were played in 2 Samuel 6.15. David also assigned men from the Levite clans to sing and play music in worship to God in the tabernacle, (which at the time was a tent), 24 hours a day and they did so until his heir and son Solomon built a temple made of brick (1 Chronicles 6:31-32). In fact, the whole of 1 Chronicles 25 also shows us that David appointed entire families from the Levite clans to play music, this would have amounted to several thousand singers and musicians (Barton 2014, p.9). David also appointed a choir leader, who functioned, I imagine, much in the same way as a modern choir leader (1 Chronicles 15:16) (Nehemiah 12:46). When David established the Ark of the Covenant in the Tabernacle, he personally paid for musicians out of his treasury:
“ David appointed the following Levites to lead the people in worship before the Ark of the LORD–to invoke his blessings, to give thanks, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel.  Asaph, the leader of this group, sounded the cymbals. Second to him was Zechariah, followed by Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel. They played the harps and lyres.  The priests, Benaiah and Jahaziel, played the trumpets regularly before the Ark of God’s Covenant.” (1 Chronicles 16:4-6 NLT)
Before David’s Tabernacle (tent) was erected worship was quite solemn, as directed by Moses and involved animal sacrifice. In David’s Tabernacle worship livened up. This could have been because David was quite a creative and passionate person. The Bible tells us that he was a poet, harpist and singer, as well as a shepherd, King and warrior. The Bible also tells us that David also appeared to enjoy dancing as well, see 2 Samuel 16:14 (Barton 2014, p.15).
Once, Solomon, David’s son and heir had built the Temple of the Lord, he celebrated this with music, 120 priests playing trumpets and God responded to this by filling the Temple with His presence:
“ And the Levites who were musicians–Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and all their sons and brothers–were dressed in fine linen robes and stood at the east side of the altar playing cymbals, lyres, and harps. They were joined by 120 priests who were playing trumpets.  The trumpeters and singers performed together in unison to praise and give thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments, they raised their voices and praised the LORD with these words: “He is good! His faithful love endures forever!” At that moment a thick cloud filled the Temple of the LORD.  The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the LORD filled the Temple of God.” (2 Chronicles 5:12-14 NLT) (Barton 2014, p.9).
The instruments used in the Temple worship in King Solomon’s times were:
Kinnor – A Harp or Lyre – a plucked string instrument probably with 12 strings. It is the national instrument of Israel still today.
Ugav – a flute or shawm – a wood instrument
Tof – a small tambourine-type instrument often played by women
Machalat – The nature of this instrument cannot be established
Shofar – Ram’s horn
Pa’amon – Bells
Chatzotzerah – The Silver trumpet which God told Moses to make and used to signal the onward movement of the Hebrews in the wilderness and at other festival times – blown only by priests.
The tabret (or trimbrel) – was probably a small hand held percussion instrument (Rothmüller 1967) (Barton 2014, p. 16).
Following the destruction of this temple and the exile and return of the Israelites to Israel, worship changed slightly but the basic elements remained the same and there were still many musicians, Ezra records that 128 singers returned from exile with him (Ezra 2:41), later there were 200 women and men singers (Ezra 2:65). Nehemiah records in Nehemiah 7:67 that the singers were so numerous that they built villages around the capital to accommodate them and they were given a quota of food each day (Nehemiah 11:23) (Barton 2014, pp.17-18). What changed was the tone of worship during the exile of the Israelites from their own country to Babylon by the Babylonians. Singing in the synagogues was briefly banned, possibly due to the sorrow of exile as well as the rise of emphasis on the law by the Pharisee’s Some things were added, like the formalized order of public prayers, still used in Synagogues today, was established by the Great Assembly of Jewish leaders. This is known as the synagogue system (Barton 2014, p.19).
Historical Liturgical Synagogue Worship
The following are institutionalised liturgical practices from the synagogue system:
The Cantor was the leader of chanting prayers, psalms and scriptures in the synagogue, which became the dominant form of music in the synagogues for many centuries, following the lifting of the ban on singing in the synagogues. The chant was a liturgical practice that involved a number of syllables being sung to each note of a short melodic line that is repeated throughout the passage being read/sung. The cantor would take contemporaneous melodic patters or compose his own melodies. Chanting of Psalms was often done antiphonally with two choirs groups to lead the congregation. Rabbis did not allow women to sing, so all music was male led by men and boys and chanting was monophonic. The scales differed depending on the spatio-temporal location of the synagogue as the local folk music culture often influenced the Cantor’s musical creations (Barton 2014, p.21).
In the Cantillation the cantor or leader singer of a synagogue sings the declamatory form of the weekly text of the Torah, and the Prophets (Nevi’im) using pre-existing musical phrases. The musical phrases are chosen according to the text and book of the Bible being cantillated. There is no rhythm as different musical motives are combined together. Although there is reason to believe that cantillation goes back as far as Ezra in the Bible times – about 2,500 years ago – most melodies used today are no older that about the 15th or 16th century (Rubin and Baron 2006, pp.67-69) (Barton 2014, pp.21-22).
Jewish Liturgical Modes
A set of musical modes are called ‘Nusach’ which can refer either to a set of modes, melodies and also a set text or prayer. These modes or melodies link the prayer to a time of year or day and also indicate what prayer is to be sing or recited. These melodies became standardized, as did the prayers associated with the melodies. The Three main modes are: Ahavah Rabbah, Magein Avot and Adonai Malach. Today they are improvised from time to time) (Barton 2014, p.22).
The prayers of the Synagogues were chanted usually led by a Cantor and a male choir (if available). The Cantors usually sang in a florid and melodious style that was either of their own devising (before the modes became formalized) or influence by the local culture’s melodic lines. After the formalizing of the prayers the following forms emerged and remain until this day in the modern synagogues:
Piyyut: – a Jewish liturgical poem that is sung, chanted or spoken. A lot of Piyytim are poetic in character and often follow the order of an acrostic poem using the Hebrew Alphabet in order at the beginning of each line.
Zemiros: Jewish Hymns sung in Hebrew, Aramaic, Yiddish or Ladino, sung at holidays, the Shabbat meal on Fridays or any other day.
Nigun: religious songs sung by groups that involve voice and with no formal words; syllables such as bim-bim-bam or ai-ai-ai are sung.
Pizmonim: Traditional Jewish songs associated with Middle Eastern Sephardic Jews – but are also among the North African and Mizrahi Jews. Texts may come from the Old Testament or by poets. They are composed to praise God and contain traditional teaching. They are often sung at religious rituals or festivities such as circumcisions, weddings Bar Mitzvahs or other ceremonies.
Baqashot: a collection of songs and prayers sung by Sephardic Jewish communities during Shabbat, but also may be recited during the long weeks of winter) (Barton 2014, pp.22-23).
That’s all folks!
Barton, B. 2014. The Music of the Jews: An Overview. Fellowship Diploma dissertation. National College of Music, London.
Rothmüller, A. M. 1967. The Music of the Jews; an Historical Appreciation. South Brunswick: T. Yoseloff.
Rubin, E. and J. H. Baron. 2006. Music in Jewish History and Culture. Sterling Heights. MI: Harmonie Park.
Williams, B. ‘Origins of Christian Worship’ Academia Web site, at: <https://www.academia.edu/26562401/Origins_of_Christian_Worship > 15 October 2018
I really need to give people more notice for these things lol.
So I am really tired for a number of reasons, firstly, you know when I did those two gig’s last month? Sorry the footage from the other one is coming. Well. I made a whole load of new friends from that and I’ve been busy hanging out with them LOL. Basically I’ve seen them at least once every week since we met lol and just got a phone call asking if I want to hang out this week with another bunch of people I met then as well. So that’s what I’m doing instead of gigging at the moment lol.
I will get back to gigging maybe end of the year or sometime next year lol. The other reason why I’m tired is just PhD related lol. Which is also another reason why I haven’t done anymore gigs for now.
Anyway, hope everyone is having a good week. I have an alternative gig tonight! I will be here, giving a seminar on my PhD research at 6pm tonight. Be there if you want to hear me talk about my research and ask me hard questions lol
Time – 18.00 – 20.30
Venue – B29 Malet Street which is basement of Birkbeck college main building
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet Street, Bloomsbury
London WC1E 7HX
Fee – £0.00
For more info – http://www.bbk.ac.uk/maps/
If you need help getting there comment on this post and I’ll try and help direct you, well try at least lol!
Just thought I would feedback from last weekend!
Yeah totally had a great and awesome time playing with everybody! If you are interested in me harping for you head to my other website: www.ridethefaderproductions.com and drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Back-story, my friend Sally Cranham (read about her project Feathers and Whirlwinds here) contacted me a month ago about something going on at Pilgrims Hall again. Sally invited me to play there before! Last time I played my Clarinet as well as my harp!
I took a picture of my feet!
I have an electro-acoustic harp, basically, it’s the same principle as an acoustic guitar, it’s an acoustic instrument that it has a pick-up in it. That means that it can be amplified the same as an acoustic guitar. That also means I can plug it into an effects pedal and I have!! Hehehehe.
Yeah it was totally awesome people were really into the music we played and most importantly we all worshipped God! It was the 50th anniversary celebration of Pilgrims Hall which is a Christian retreat and counselling/training centre.
The man who preached was bang on point with his theology I really enjoyed it! I must confess this is the first time I have ever restrung my harp before a gig by myself but Jesus helped me to do it. It’s not easy by the way…..
There is a nuance to playing the harp in a band. The clips will show you that I am not playing all the time. The reason for this is firstly, to play in an ensemble you have to understand arranging and not just your instrument but everyone else’s too. The harp occupies the same frequencies as the keyboard, guitar and bass but it is not as resonant (loud) and the timbre is soft (it doesn’t have a great deal of attack at all except for the top end). So I have to pick spaces where the music is quieter to play but I also have to be mindful that I am not doing what the piano can (harp and piano music is the same except harp chords are only 4 notes deep in each hand). Firstly because it’s not gracious to dominate the team! Secondly because the piano does what it does better than the harp (chords, string pads on a synthesiser, generally being loud lol ect). Even if the harp is loud, the timbre is so soft that it will either muddy the mix played too much or just make everything else seem loud by doubling everyone else’s notes. Less is more 🙂 So I have to play at times using techniques that everybody wants to hear when they see a harp that are idiosyncratic to the harp and or only the harp can do well, like a Glissando (which the harp does better than the piano) and occupy frequencies that are resonant in the harp (like the higher pitches), that others can’t or don’t have a directive to play when there are spaces in the music, (there’s no point me even bothering to play mid frequencies when the acoustic is playing, the harp gets lost in the mix it’s soo soft). Improvisational harping takes quite a lot of thinking:
My Harping History!!
I write songs for the harp, remember this from 2015!?
I’ve been making some experimental harp music!
I’ve played the Harp for a wedding!
And I’ve played the harp as part of a worship band for various people many times:
I also like to play it for fun!
Well that’s all folks! If you are interested in me harping for you head to my other website: www.ridethefaderproductions.com and drop me an email at email@example.com
I will be playing my harp at Pilgrims Hall on Saturday evening for their 50 Year Celebration. See their website for further details: https://www.pilgrimshall.co.uk/
Pop down this Saturday from 2pm if you want to see what’s going on or if you merely want to see me harp pop down just for the Evening Celebration which is at 7pm!
If you want to book me visit my other website www.ridethefaderproductions.com.
Be there or be square!
So as we know I’m doing a PhD in Music, in the area of Theomusicology & Feminist Musicology and some other things, with a practical element to it. So one of the things I’m looking at is how women and sex is represented in music as my project is interested in sexual politics (in a metaphorical sense) but in a literal sense sexual politics is also about sex. In response to my findings I’m going to produce some songs on the topic. The practical portfolio will have songs on various topics relating to women and music and theology. It will make sense when you read my thesis. Here’s a paraphrased summary of what I’ve learned, the full academic essay will come later.
I chose the topic of marital sex as a context for my section on women, music and sex. My intended outcomes for this song are to present women/wives as strong, mutual/equal with men/husbands, sensual/emotional beings that enjoy sex and have their own opinions and sex drives and sexual desires that are just as important as the man’s within the context of marital sex. Furthermore, as I am a woman of colour, I am writing from the perspective of a woman of colour and I hope that my piece along with the values therein, will address the negative stereotypes about women of colour that perpetuate within Western contemporary songs about sex. In Western popular songs about sex, women of colour are usually represented in the most abased and course way. Furthermore, songwriters have an irritating habit if sexualizing the ways in which women of colour are often discriminated against, race, gender and class, by presenting them as the hot abused poor baby mamas *rolls eyes*, or one night stands, never anything good etc. Instead I, have written and performed a song, from the perspective of a woman of colour about being in a sexual relationship within the socio-economic status and security of being a wife, the lyrics talk about saying “I do” and rings etc. (you don’t have to be some guys baby mama, why are we always shown as the baby mama and not the wife?) and not a victim in sexual activity but a willing, consensual, active and committed participant. (N.B. I am not and have never been married this is just in the fictional narrative of the song).
As mentioned earlier, this song is about the joys of marital sex, as experienced by two fictional newly-weds. It follows the metaphor, imagery and form of ‘Song of Songs’ which is also called Song of Solomon, my favourite book of the Bible, (talking about gardens, fragrant spices, greenery, little foxes, having sex outside, it’s all in Song of Songs lol). Song of Songs is actually about the love between a dark skinned woman and King Solomon.
Song of Solomon 1:5 [NLT]
I am dark but beautiful, O women of Jerusalem- dark as the tents of Kedar, dark as the curtains of Solomon’s tents.
It also represents a counter-cultural approach to romantic relationships between men and women, as it is in fact the woman who pursues the man. I tried to reflect this in arranging it for a female singer and making the tone of the lyrics, that of someone who is a pursuer and initiator of physical intimacy. I also show the woman as initiator as well as mutual consenting participant, instead of a passive participant or victim. The lead vocal (the woman/bride) vocalises decisions about her own sexual desires and needs. You can find the woman in Song of Songs doing the same thing. The theomusicology comes in the narrative of the lyrics which implies that now they’re married they can have sex when and wherever they want to lol (within reason), which is a Christian theological standpoint (I’m a Christian btw). So it implies restraint and commitment before coitus, not after.
I also decided to make it walking pace because I found that most songs about sex and women, especially sex with or about or by women of colour, have quite a strong beat and lyrically emphasise the fun of sex with chauvinistic, misogynoir lyrics that often contextualise the woman and the act within the erotic, encouraging male brains to switch to autopilot, focussing entirely on the physicality and pleasure of sex, not the love. My piece is a response to these negative things I found. It is slow(ish) to be meditative, slow down the heart rate and give the listener space to clear their minds and think. The listener should not get carried away by eroticism but instead wrapped up in the sweetness, sensuality, thoughtfulness and intentional nature of the act of marital sex. Looking forward to adding this to the the final portfolio! So this is a sonic, feminist, womanist critique of pop music about women and sex, using the lived experience of a woman of colour as an analytical tool for reflection. I am trying to promote the knowledge of women by uncovering the lost narratives of our experience, like a Foucauldian genealogy.
Well done for reading, here’s the track! It’s called “I Hope The Neighbours Don’t See”
You can also listen on SoundCloud. Follow this link to play or play the embedded player below:
I have a playlist on YouTube. Follow this link to play or play in the embedded player below:
The Middle 8/Bridge is inspired by a conversation I had with a middle aged man who told me that when he first got married as a young man, he gave his wife a Hickey on her neck and someone from his church saw it and told him, “now you’re married you can do that where it don’t show” hah! lol
Lots of love
Here is a redacted excerpt of what I’m doing for my PhD. Enjoy!
My research will involve human participants and I have every intention of making sure that my research is conducted in a manner that abides by the principles of research ethics and accords with the law of the land. I have made it a priority to be vetted by the Disclosure and Barring Service, a legal requirement for working with children and vulnerable adults, as I work with children and people in the local community as part of my career. I do not intend to involve participants who are particularly vulnerable or unable to give informed consent like children, the elderly or people with learning disabilities. […] I will always make sure that any participants I choose to talk to understand why I am talking to them and I will make sure that I obtain their consent before including their opinions in my study. Furthermore, I will give all participants the opportunity to remain anonymous if they so wish.
My study will not involve discussion of sensitive topics such as sexual activity and drug use, however, this may come up in the course of my study as I will be talking to adults but such topics are not the intentional foci of my research. This study will not involve recruitment of participants, (including staff), through a Local Authority Department of Social Services or through the NHS, as there will be no invasive or intrusive procedures such as blood taking from participants or the administration of drugs, placebos or other substances, e.g. food substances or vitamins. Consequently, it is also highly unlikely that there will be any physiological stress, pain or more than mild discomfort likely to result from my study. However, due to the topics I wish to discuss with participants […] my study could induce psychological stress or anxiety in participants who are particularly sensitive to the subject matter and could have negative consequences beyond the risks encountered in normal life.
There will be no issues regarding the status of my clearance with the Disclosure and Barring Service, as I am subscribed with the DBS Update service, which automatically checks and updates my eligibility to work with children every year. This study will not be carried out in an NHS or Social Care environment […] ”
Love Catherine x