I was sent Keith and Krystyn Getty’s Christmas newsletter a couple of days ago, as I guess many of you reading this were (available from http://www.gettymusic.com). In the e-newsletter this month there was a link to the great song/hymn ‘O Church Arise’, strange I thought because I was expecting a new song and ‘O Church Arise’ is widely sung and very well known already? Then I noticed who arranged the version….Tim Hughes!
Copy and paste the link below in your web browser and see what you think…
Some thoughts from me…
1. The arrangement makes it more song than hymn, which for certain demographics is fantastic, especially given those people will be singing great meaty theology as a result.
2. The song is great to listen to, but to sing it is nearly impossible. Any bloke attempting singing this in F (originally in D) should be warned, ‘your vocal chords will be damaged in the process’!
This begs the question, ‘should artists with squeaky high voices’ record in keys that few can sing along to? Of course men can sing along but at some point they will resign themselves to that embarrassing ‘drop an octave’ moment, after already straining every stomach muscle and vocal chord to reach the ‘oooh oooh’s’ of the bridge! I thought songs like this were written to build up the church, to encourage them to ‘sing Psalms hymns and spiritual songs in your heart to the Lord’ (Eph 5:19). Perhaps the ‘in your heart’ of Eph 5 is consider literal by some artists and therefore it doesn’t matter what key they record in because as you listen to the track in the car, you can sing along ‘in your heart’ without making a noise!
Perhaps also another question emerges regarding recordings and its role in the church – should recording artists always record in keys that are singable or can they choose whatever key suits their voice best?
Something to consider…if they can raise the key from D to F (as in Tim Hughes’ version above) does that suggest that many recording artists consider that listening is as good for the church of God as singing? Is that right and does that show itself in different constituencies and in what ways? Would love to hear your thoughts?