From heavenly Harmony by Ken Myers

Column

From heavenly Harmony

Trinitarian Love & Music

The experience of music offers countless opportunities for marveling. When we hear a performance that abounds in technical skill and expressiveness, we admire the performer's native abilities and the commitment, discipline, and sacrifice required to cultivate such gifts. Acknowledging that they are beautiful gifts (and not simply adaptive capacities that evolved for the sake of sheer survival) presents another layer of wonder: how good God is to be such an extravagant Giver!

Unless the performance is entirely improvised, behind it is a process of composition that requires quiet craftsmanship and thoughtful construction, animated by imagination and personality. In the simple pleasure of a well-shaped melodic line, or the dramatic sense of anticipation and fulfillment in an extended harmonic progression, or the interplay of contrasting textures (solo, then chorus; high voices, then low voices), or the overarching symmetry and confident architectural quality of an extended musical structure—when we hear something truly well-composed, we rightly respond with wonder at the intellectual and emotional capacities of the person who composed it. How marvelous: giftedness and a Giver, gratuity issuing in gratitude.

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Ken Myers is the host and producer of the Mars Hill Audio Journal. Formerly an arts editor with National Public Radio, he also served as editor of Eternity, the Evangelical monthly magazine, and This World, the quarterly predecessor to First Things. He also serves as music director at All Saints Anglican Church in Ivy, Virginia. He is a contributing editor for Touchstone.

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