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Divine Grace Bible Church

The Christian life can only be lived by grace

Our Music

img The great composer Johann Sebastian Bach said, "The aim and final reason of all music is none else but the glory of God and the refreshment of the spirit." Our church is blessed to have gifted singers and skillful instrumentalists, both professional and lay musicians, who participate in our ministry week after week. It is our goal to present music that glorifies, edifies, and ministers to the saints who worship with us. "And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear, and will trust in the Lord" (Psalm 40:3).

Our music is a combination of contemporary and reformation hymns to appreciate the old and the new.

Our Hymns and Songs

img Luther began to compose hymns in 1523. The number of hymns written by Luther is still disputed, but there were four collections, and he did write at least 36 hymns. He often translated Latin texts, which the people would recognize from the familiar melodies they had sung in the past. Luther also used the Leison and extended them in some manner. Finally, he used translations of the psalms, selections from the Scripture, and poems that reflect his own feelings. The built-in repetition of most hymns (they were in AAB or bar-form structure) helped congregations memorize them. The choral tunes were not at first harmonized; the custom became eventually for the congregation to sing the melody while the choir sustained other parts. The chorale style was later adopted by secular and non-secular composers.
     Just as Luther used music as an educational tool to educate believers and non-believers as well, music is also used as a learning tool today. This is evident in contemporary church services and in school. Familiar melodies of childhood songs are often used to remember information. For example, in fourth grade the elements were memorized to the tune of "One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians." Everyone knows the Mickey Mouse Club's ending: M-I-C...See you later...K-E-Y...Why? Because we like you! M-O-U-S-E. And finally, most elementary school children can recite all of the States with "Fifty-Nifty United States." In the same way Luther used familiar tunes to aid in comprehension, we also use music as a learning tool today.
     In addition to using music in schools, contemporary churches continue Luther's attempt to reach more people using music and participation in the service. The radio now has Christian rock stations that blare groups such as DC Talk, Jars of Clay, and others. The message is the same, but the form of music has changed over the years to meet the needs of those listening. Luther had attempted to make his music like that which was popular among the youth, in order to replace bad messages with good. "Jesus Loves Me" and "Amazing Grace" are melodies that are easily recognized by the average individual. Just as Luther strove to make melodies and words more familiar to the public at large, we still do this as well today.
     Martin Luther's hymns are still widely used today, and the obvious contribution of the chorale is still evident in all types of music. Bach wrote chorales during his service to St. Thomas' Church in Liepzig, and even reset some of Luther's hymns. Instrumental chorales are widely used by composers in all time periods, including Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Shostakovich, Brukner and many more. The AAB form is still widely used and Luther's implications on notation and phrasing are also common to this day. His four-bar or eight-bar structure occur frequently in compositions and remain the norm for hymns. Without this basic premise in music, rules for theory in Baroque would not have been derived, had Luther not implemented the chorale style into his services so well. In turn, music would not have progressed as rapidly, without set rules to deviate from, all stemming from the popularity of the Lutheran hymns.
     Martin Luther's contributions to music are invaluable, and all stem from his splitting from the Catholic Church in 1517. Because of Luther's contributions, we have ideas that carry over to today's own radio, where Christian rock uses the vernacular to allow full understanding of the messages of the church. School children are taught ideas in song to help them remember and understand concepts just as Luther wanted everyone to be able to understand and contemplate the message of the church. And finally, the popularity of the chorale is still as prevalent in churches and music as it was shortly after Martin Luther compiled the Lutheran hymnbook.