Monday, July 12, 2010

#170 Dramatic key changes


After singing the chorus nine times in a row the worship team likes to kick it up a notch. Literally a notch, one step up from the key they were just in. The key change always occurs towards the end of a praise and worship song and signifies that the end is nigh.

Church-flavored drama sweeps the sanctuary. You might get goosebumps or nausea, depending on your personal resonance or baggage surrounding the whole church thing. The worship team is really getting into it now. Every eye closed, every expression pained! You may feel the key change was intended to work your emotions, and you may be right.

7 comments:

Laura said...

What? Merely a ploy to work my emotions while simultaneously proving that a worship team is essentially a one-trick pony, from a musicianship POV? As a classically trained musician, this is one thing (among many) that make me immediately turn off when I attend any worship service or event that has a worship team/band.

Just discovered your blog today, btw, and love it. So many repressed memories this is bringing back......as well as codifying things that make me uncomfortable about my hyper-evangelical sister-in-law......

Stephen_Joseph said...

hey :) I love your blog. a friend showed it to me the other day. lots of really funny and very true things. I applaude you. lots of memories of stuff like this. I think the church needs some people to point out things like this, and as a Christian and a relatively skilled musician, this kind of thing bugs me to see and I love that other people see it too and are willing to point it out. I had one comment though, I do think this might come across as rather pretentious, but hear me out. What do you think is the best way to do something about all these things? lots of people talk about them and make fun of them (which is fine. critique away), I was just curious how you think we can change the church and maybe make it more relevant to this generation of people (like myself) who are tired of seeing these things that Christian sub-culture likes that tend to instead make me rather nauseous. Augstine once said "the church is a whore, but she's still my mother." I just think it's important to stand behind one's criticism of the system and not just laugh at the little kid in the corner, ya know? I mean, it feels good, don't get me wrong. I do it all the time. haha. just a thought. great blog, though. keep it up. love to hear your comments not because I think you're doing anything wrong I just want to know how different people think we can evoke a little change because I'm curious and I care about the church. love to hear your thoughts.

stephy said...

Hey, thanks for asking. I think the most important thing is to talk about it and have a forum where people can be honest about their experiences with the culture. I do not think at all that there should be a mission to 'fix' this sort of thing because the only change that will do any good occurs in individuals, organically, from their own convictions and that only comes from talking together. I also have to say that I do not, NOT, think that the church needs to be changed in any way to be made 'more relevant' to people in certain subcultures. The church is under Christ and He is its author and bridegroom and defies cultural implications. Christian culture is an effective distraction from doing actual church that the Bible talks about.

Calah said...

I've read all of these before but I'm reading them again for a good laugh. This one is soooo true. I'm not a musical genius or anything but a good 10 years of childhood music lessons has at least enabled me to roughly determine when there is a key change and worship bands totally <3 this technique. Normally by the point they have a key change I'm so sick of the repetition that I'm looking at my watch to determine how long we've been singing the same song.

Ian "Buzzsaw" Barnes said...

I have played in a lot of church bands, and I love a good bull session about worship music. As far as key changes go though, I have never experienced something as awful as described. Key changes are common in pop and country music (at least back in the day). Of course they are going to elicit some sort of response, one being the arroused state of a band who pulled of a smooth modulation and made it sound bitchin. That said, I have played for the past two years in a Baptist church where I am pretty much the only white guy. It is a lot different, and the key changes are a lot different. Everything for the most part is different. Sometimes in the baptist church we will change keys 6 or 7 times! The choir director will point up in the air, then the band and choir hit that! It is absolutely insane! Also the fact that the band does not practice, or even know which songs are going to be played before the service starts. Lastly, the pastor read some definitions of "Baby's daddy" he found on Urban Dictionary on Fathers Day. It made me feel quite comfortable. Love the blog btw.

Brandt Dotson said...

I'd like to get to church after praise and worship is over, but then you can't find a place to park or a good seat. Speaking as a musician who has played in both secular bands and church bands, praise and worship just seems shallow, predictable and manipulative to me. 'Praise' doesn't mean a fast song, and 'worship' doesn't mean a slow song. I dislike the key change, and I dislike when musicians 'quietly play in the background' at the end of a sermon. And I intensely dislike being bullied into raising my hands in the air. It's not for me. For a religion that talks a lot about God seeing only what's in your heart, they seem to be awfully concerned about the 'outward appearance' of worship. Hmm. I think I'm on to something here. Maybe I'll go blog about this myself.

Anonymous said...

Okay, am a random Internet drifter-by leaving an old comment on a dormant post, but you might be interested to know that some musicians call this sort of thing a Truck Driver Gear Shift. Because once you know to listen for it, it's as obvious and unsubtle as an 18-wheeler changing gears.