Sep. 26, 2021

Bringing Down The House

If the decibel level of the sound doesn't crack the plaster,
if it doesn't shatter the filaments in the nearest light bulbs,

If it doesn't pass through brick walls to where it's plainly audible a thousand yards down the road, 
                                                        ... THEN IT ISN"T LOUD ENOUGH!"

We organists are usually sensitive to this issue even without reminder notes being left for us at the console (photo).

In offering our music for praise and worship in the churches the idea is not to run the rats out of the barn.

The idea is to provide enough sound to sufficiently support the congregation without swamping the singers or having them taking alarm at hearing their own voices and stop singing.

There is a general misunderstanding of Ps. 33:3 which in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible is unfortunately translated from the original Hebrew as " ... play skillfully, with a loud noise."

A better translation of this verse can be found in the Today's New International Version (TNIV) and certain other newer translations which is " ... play skillfully, and shout for joy."

When there is a praise and worship team formed of guitarist, bass guitarist, drums, and keys sometimes the KJV translation is understood and acted upon quite literally.

Zealous musicians can get to thinking that unless they play at full tilt they won't be showing their love for God enough.

What results can be a very loud and raucous performance that no one in the building, if they're fully honest about it, appreciates.

A WORD TO THE WISE:  Adapt your way of working to fit the situation.

When a bass guitarist is part of the praise and worship team whoever is playing the keys, whether seated at the organ or at a portable keyboard, needs to stay out of their space, stay off the pedals, and try to keep their left hand no lower than the tenor register.

They may not want to, but they need to.

If the organist or keyboardist plays along with perfunctory indifference just as they would without a bass guitarist it will be impossible for the listener to hear any individual bass notes at all in the jumbled cacophony of low sounds.

It will turn the music into a contest -- bass guitar vs. pedals/left hand -- in a head-to-head struggle, elbowing each other aside to occupy the same room, constantly bumping, colliding, and crossing in the same narrow runway throughout the entire song, and the audience will come away thinking they've just been listening to Glen Gould on speed.

We adapt our way of working to fit the situation.

Share this page