Different voices

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

David Lyon from the song writing collective ‘Satellite’, gives us a few thoughts to ponder this Christmas.

The wonder of the Christmas story, of God Incarnate and the Infant Holy should never fail to leave us breathless from gratitude and expectation as we experience the revelation of love come down again and again. If the impact of these truths has been blunted by relentless consumerism and the burden of fickle extravagance, we perhaps need to rediscover the joy of what it means to encounter the Child in the manger... read more

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Landmarks in Scottish Church Music: Scotland in the Sixties And Seventies (part 6)

Douglas Galbraith gives us the last of his six part series landmarks in Scottish Church Music by taking us on a whistle stop tour of the Sixties and Seventies.

DDG cmqThis sixth and final article is unashamedly autobiographical, a real blog. Banished are the cool academic appraisals (you didn’t notice!). Now is the time for the distorted memories, hindsight, and nostalgia. I was there!

The nineteen sixties was the decade of the ‘hymn explosion’, a flowering of new hymn writing that reverberates to this day... read more

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Make the Most of What You’ve Got (or how to do worship with 3 flutes and a ukulele)

IMG_20150507_203239443Suzanne Butler looks at some unlikely praise band and instrumental combinations.

Many of you will have an instinctive awareness and appreciation of how spirituality, music and the business of living are intertwined. Even in secular society there is no shortage of mugs and fridge magnets featuring such gems as:

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. (Victor Hugo)

Country music is three chords and the truth. (Harlan Howard)

And thank goodness for the leavening brought by a sense of humour:

[An intellectual] is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger... read more

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Two’s Company

This article was first published in the Different Voices magazine.

DSC02886If your church praise band is looking to broaden its musical horizons, take the advice of Robin Hill and get out a little more.

There is much to be said for gifted praise bands. They add a new dimension to our worship of God. They encourage young people both musically and in terms of congregational involvement. And – let’s not forget it – they are just a whole lot of fun... read more

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Landmarks in Scottish Church Music: The Four Church Hymnaries (part 5)

Douglas precentorDouglas Galbraith continues his series ‘Landmarks in Scottish Church Music’ with a history of the four church hymnaries.

The Four Church Hymnaries

The Church Hymnary title is a global ‘brand’ which not only has stood for breadth and variety of content but also for the careful choice and editing of both text and tune. As such it takes its place among the great hymn collections and continues Scotland’s generous contribution to the praise of God throughout the world. Its four editions were published in 1898, 1927, 1973, and 2005... read more

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Jeremy Begbie Interview

At a recent lecture in Edinburgh Jeremy Begbie spoke about ‘Thinking in Sound’ and challenged our ‘visual’ ways of thinking about faith. Phill Mellstrom managed to speak to him briefly about his musical influences and how his own faith has been impacted by music.

PM: So I suppose a good place to start would be explaining in your own words who you are and what you do. Just to give people a flavour of that.

JB: Well, I’m a teacher at heart... read more

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Hildegard of Bingen

Rebecca Tavener gives an insight into Hildegard of Bingen.

Which is your Hildegard? She seems to have as many personae as Barbie: Ecology Hildegard; Physician Hildegard; Visionary, Teacher, Artist, Poet, Abbess, Correspondent, Composer or Historian Hildegard, they’re all aspects of one of the most fascinating and complex women of the middle ages and, whether you are Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox or just a music-lover, it was an event for all musicians when Pope Benedict XVI announced her elevation to the status of saint and doctor of the church, the first composer to be so honoured... read more

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Worship: What’s in it for me?

This article was first published in the Different Voices magazine.

The former Administrator of St Mary’s RC Cathedral, Edinburgh, Mgr Michael Regan, asks what place personal satisfaction should have in choosing how we shall worship.

In the consumer society in which we live, one of the criteria for success is the issue of customer satisfaction. Are you pleased with the product? Has it lived up to your expectations? Is it good value for money? Would you recommend it to someone else?.. read more

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Some Observations on the Principles and Practice of Hymn Accompaniment

This article has been reproduced, with permission, from The Hymn Society Bulletin, No 284 (Vol. 21, No. 3), for the Summer of 2015.

Ian Sharp imageIan Sharp considers the role of the accompaniment of sacred song in a variety of contexts.

Partnership in life and in music

We don’t have to look far to find attributes of what it feels like to be accompanied. Being alongside someone or something is what makes much of life a comforting and dynamic experience. Horse and carriage, love and marriage; you can’t have one without the other... read more

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The Marks of True Worship

This article was previously published in Different Voices magazine.

Peter Donald takes us to the heart of the Church.

What happens when we worship together? With the offering of worship to God one of the most distinctive features of Christian life, we not only ‘live and move and have our being’ in God, we consciously own it. We gather expressly to make something of it. Where there are Christians, there will be worship.

But how will God be worshipped? There are all sorts of possibilities suggested through Scripture and Christian history... read more

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