Why does style and instrumentation in corporate singing matter?

Why does style and instrumentation in corporate singing matter?

Church music style and instrumentation

Answer: Because it’s not about style and instrumentation. Interestingly, two different blogs commented on the centrality of the singing in corporate worship, and how important it is that the congregation singing is the main game.

Firstly, T. David Gordon at Second Nature (HT: Carl Trueman):

‘Congregational praise is a commanded duty that can be audibly discerned; we should hear congregational praise when it is sung, and nothing else (choir, organ, marching band, bagpipe) should be permitted to obscure the thing that is commanded.’

Secondly, Justin Taylor quotes Piper and Smith at Between Two Worlds. Here’s Piper:

‘Thirteen years ago we asked: What should be the defining sound of corporate worship at Bethlehem, besides the voice of biblical preaching?

We meant: Should it be pipe organ, piano, guitar, drums, choir, worship team, orchestra, etc. The answer we gave was “The people of Bethlehem singing.” … If Bethlehem is not “singing and making melody to the Lord with [our] heart,” (Ephesians 5:19), it’s all over.

The sound of the congregation singing is the main sound at Hills Bible Church when we sing to God. It has been partly a lack of resources and partly deliberate that we have a very simple music ensemble during corporate worship. The best feedback could I get about the music of a Sunday is “I couldn’t even hear the lead singer. The congregation drowned them out.”

Picture credit: some rights reserved by Capt Kodak

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