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Musical atrocities in church

03 August 2018

August 2nd, 1918.

A CRITIC has taken us to task for dwelling so much and so often on Church music. He says that people who stay away from worship will not be brought in by music however good. We do not recall ever having said that they would. But there is another way of considering the question. Is there any reason why we should incur the risk of keeping people away or of driving others out by reason of the musical atrocities to which they must submit if they come or stay? The case of the well-disposed, but musically sensitive person cannot safely be disregarded. Nobody — not even our critic, we should think — would for a moment contend that the Church services, musically considered, come anywhere near to the ideal. To improve them would certainly be worth while; even the extra trouble it involved would be well expended. For there is no use in singing if it has no joy in it; still less is it right to cause pain that could so easily be spared them to people whose nerves are jarred by uncouth sounds and whose taste is offended by musical ugliness. It is in the interest of the regular worshipper that we go on demanding reform. Good music, by which we do not necessarily mean elaborate music, we desiderate, not as a lure to attract the “blue-domer” and other “variers from Church”, pious or otherwise, but as an uplifting aid to worship and devotion.


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