Our lives, our music

Music has been with humans for a very long time.  It is more than entertainment. It has been used by humans of all generations to motivate, soothe, and comfort. It does not only create an emotional experience but also a spiritual one. Music has the power to alter perception, tinker with consciousness, and induce ecstasy in human beings.

Have you ever wondered how life would be without music? I think such a question could have led Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche to conclude that “Without music, life would be a mistake.” Although I tend to agree that music is a paramount ingredient in life, I somewhat disagree with Nietzsche’s conclusion as it is an exaggeration of the obvious.

Victor Hugo quipped that “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.” There comes a time when words alone fail us. There comes a season when we cannot remain silent and the only way to express ourselves is through music.

Albert Einstein words capture my feelings best, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think of music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”

Old is Gold

I belong to the regiment of those who have a propensity to old music. This penchant has pervaded my very being to the core. Some years back I tried to collect old gospel music hits and at least ended up with a good number that I occasionally listen to. These include AIC Makongoro, Arusha Town Choir, Daudi Petero, Machakos Town Choir, Sengerema Choir, Festus Mwini Kimuyu, Nkinga NCC Christian Choir, Alex and Mary Ominde, The Mwauras, Reuben Kigame, The Kassangas and Kilimanjaro Revival. I still throw in contemporary here and there. I am indeed an old soul, isn’t it?

You will agree with me that we have songs that were produced years ago but the message behind still resonates with us strongly. I mean one can listen to that kind of music year after year. At the same time, we know some hits that appeared and disappeared like morning dew. What makes one hit stays in public square more than the other? I do not have an answer to this question.

Singing a new song

Moses wrote and sung unto the Lord (Exodus 15). His ‘heavy tongue’ and the ‘heavy mouth’ did not hinder him from making music to His God. We always have an excuse for not doing what we ought to. The transformation that is brought about in our lives by God is too profound to leave a person the same way. The quiet one start shouting, the chatterbox becomes quiet, the simple gain wisdom and the stutterers become eloquent.

A dozen of scriptures in the Bible exhorts us to sing a new song to the Lord. Some of them are as follows.

Psalm 96:1, ‘Sing to the LORD a new song; Sing to the LORD, all the earth.’

Psalm 33:3, ‘Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.’

Psalm 98:1, ‘O sing to the LORD a new song, For He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.’

Psalm 149:1, ‘Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, And His praise in the congregation of the godly ones.’

Isaiah 42:10, ‘Sing to the LORD a new song, Sing His praise from the end of the earth! You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it You islands, and those who dwell on them.’

Singing a new song to the Lord means living our lives in perpetual worship. A new song represents a new way of thinking, a fresh way of doing things and a novel lifestyle. Thus a ‘New Song’ to the Lord is a new approach to the Seat of Mercy. It is a new lifestyle that is catalyzed by the knowledge of God and characterized by His joy. It is the act of living in His mercies on daily basis. It is the desire to leave the past behind and stretch forth to new heights. We sing a new song when we work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

A good song/music must follow a rhythm that appeals to the listener. Our listener, in this case, is God. Our pattern of life should be structured in a way that our Heavenly Father is pleased with it. Our rhythm should conform to His word. We cannot afford to have a life pattern that meanders from north to west and east to south.

It is not easy to put our lives in harmony. But our new song demands harmony. The instruments we play must be consonant with each other. Harmony in our daily affairs results in a synchronized lifestyle. This kind of life is what pleases God. It is a new song to our God.

‘……How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!’

Psalm 133:1

Our style or genre should always show the change that Christ has wrought in us. Duplicitous life only serves to deter others from coming to Christ. When we manage to master our genre well and live it out loud as it were in our genes, then we leave a legacy that speaks louder than words.

Melodrama is not part of the new song. Instead, melody should rule. Melody is the king. Sing your main melody and only allow other performers to play an accompaniment that compliments you. A song that has a poor melody does not convey purpose.

In addition to the above, a good tempo must be struck. One should know when to go slow, moderately, fast or very fast. We cannot afford to run unendingly. Sometimes we need to pause and reflect, stop and rest. A slapdash movement shows a lack of focus, tenacity and willpower. It may also depict a lack of foresight, hindsight and insight.

These are hard stuff. I am also a sojourner like the rest.

“Music is … A higher revelation than all Wisdom & Philosophy”
― Ludwig van Beethoven

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