Monday, October 17, 2005

Music: A Serious Question of Very Little Consequence

Does anybody have an explanation for the prevalence of songs written in a three-beat meter (sorry if I'm butchering the lingo) about the second coming of Christ? I just noticed yesterday how many there seem to be:
1. "Is It the Crowning Day?"
2. "Jesus Is Coming Again"
3. "Some Golden Daybreak"
4. "What If It Were Today"
5. "One Day"

I might have thought there was a connection between the time period when both this genre of song and this musical style was popular, but these songs seem to span about 100 years. Is this a coincidence? Am I making something out of nothing? Is a calliope the instrument that will signal our Lord's return? Will we ride into the sky on merry-go-round horses? But I digress . . .


Unk said...

I can only think of how 2 goes - but that one is driven by a deep desire to dance with Jesus that perhaps never used to exist in the past?

Ben said...

Only a waltz or minuet, of course.

Ima Onkey said...

It's the "oom-pa-pa;" it reminds us of the Trinity!

Larry said...

Interestingly enough, until a recent blog article connecting one of these songs (or a similar one) with a calliope, the thought would have never entered my mind. And I have sung these songs my whole life. I never even thought of a calliope. Perhaps I need to spend more time at worldly amusements in order to make those connections.

As for the meter of these songs, it is hard to tell what came first. Sometimes, a tune gets in a head and the words flow from it. Sometimes, the words get in the head and a tune is constructed for it. I don't think there is a right and wrong. And I would be wary of reading something sinister in the meter of a song. These songs are particularly my favorites anyway.

Larry said...

BTW, my comment about worldly amusements was a joke.

Chris said...

Too funny. When I was a teenager and we would sing "Coming Again" in church, some of us would sing "om-pa-pa".

Ben said...

I realize I am partially to blame, but this really is a serious question if anyone out there has an answer. Don't let that stand in the way of the frivolity, of course.

Ima Onkey,

Is that your real name or did you leave off the "d"? Seriously, if the form of the message should fit the content of the message, why would a songwriter use a form that would point to the Trinity in a song that focuses on one person of it? Hmm.


Who else talked about the calliope thing? I thought everyone else used the merry-go-round analogy. Aren't there any original thoughts left? I thought I had one.

robert said...

I wouldn't make too much of the 3/4 time in some second coming hymns and gospel songs. There are others in 4/4 time. For example:
Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending
Will Jesus Find Us Watching?
There'll Be No Dark Valley
When We See Christ
What a Gathering!