Article:"Science in Songwriting?"; Album and Book Reviews; Free Song Download
to Digital Worship News, Edition 56. This issue includes four resources. The first is an article "Science in Songwriting?", examining what statistics may tell us about effective songs. Second is a review of an Advent album called "Light Has Come". Third is a book review of "The Spiritual Brain"! Finally, we have a FREE Song download of the WorshipTogether song "Follow The Light"! We think you'll enjoy all four resources!
blessings, Kim Gentes
ARTICLE: "Science in Songwriting?"
...Recently, I decided to see if anything can be learned from gathering statistics on a broad sample of praise and worship songs. I was eager to find if there were any details in the statistical information about songs and lyrics that could give us hints about effective songwriting- specifically in the church/worship context. In my research, I used a baseline of over 6500 published songs including all of the most popular songs used in churches. I studied things such as lyric phrases, writing voice, theme, number of authors and more.
...details of the study will be published later, but I thought it might be good to release some initial thoughts to those of you who are songwriters, since a great deal of "mystique" is often attributed to the craft. This article will focus just on lyrics, since this is a good place to start for lyric writers. The foundation of lyrics is the individual words we use (vocabulary), the kinds of words they are (verb, nouns, adjectives, etc.) and the effectiveness of the words we choose in our songs....
...vocabulary development is not happening through worship songs. We are not learning new words (most likely) by listening or singing worship music. I don't think this is a surprise for anyone. The language of songs in worship and praise has been historically founded on Biblical texts and the language used there (because it was translated) maybe less verbose and articulate in English than if we were writing a new work (say a novel) using the entire breadth of the English language.
Beyond how many words are used I looked at what words are used most often, and what words actually were most effective in being used in songs that were used in churches. First, the most popular words used in those songs ...
Advent is not a word you hear outside of traditional and denominational Christian settings a lot. But as the recent millenium has brought so many changes, we see much of the non-traditional and non-liturgical church groups reaching into the ancient traditions of the Christian church and mining the wisdom of our forebearers in the faith...
...Musical worship of advent often focuses on the anticipation of the coming savior, the light rising in the darkness of this world, and preparation of our hearts for His appearing. It is in that spirit that the recent EP "Light Has Come" seems to present it's finely crafted songs for the Advent season.
WorshipTogether releases the "Light Has Come" EP with six modern worship songs that focus on the light, hope, glory and joy of the advent season not by headlining it with artists. Instead it chose to release a compact collection of very focused songs from its songwriters, keeping the arrangements and presentation accessible and reproducible for churches. Recorded crisply, but with the songs as the focus, one gets the idea this was meant more as a resource to churches coming to Advent than to consumers looking for radio hits...
...If you are wondering where you might find some great new songs for the Christmas/Advent season, and you are in contemporary worship context, you should definitely consider the songs on this new album from WorshipTogether, "Light Has Come".
"The Spiritual Brain" by Mario Beauregard, Denyse O'Leary is subtitled "A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul", but it represents as much a philosophical examination of modernity and materialism as it does a thoughtful examination of the brain and its abilities/limits explored by scientific methodological rigor.
Before the authors enter deeply into tests, hypothesis and results, they delve deeply into the conundrum of how the current scientific community predisposes itself to the modernist and materialist worldview, even (at times) in the face of scientific evidence that points elsewhere. The authors seek to expose some of these philosophical foundations to allow them to confront some of the underlying worldview issues...
...In this work, Beauregard appropriately confronts the philosophical constructs of materialism before getting to the scientific theories, experiments and studies. He does this to explain how the scientific findings are being interpreted through the materialist mindset, and bent to reinforce the same...
A big thanks to our friends at WorshipTogether/EMICMG who have granted us permission to give you access to the audio and chord chart for the song "Follow The Light" as a free downloadfor a limited time directly here, so you will find it below.
Follow The Light is written by Marc Byrd, Trey Heffinger, Sarah Hart and is a wonderful song for worship in the coming Advent season. If you haven't had a chance to here or hear it, download it here. Included is an audio MP3.
Free Song Download "Follow The Light" from WorshipTogether