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Do you need to *believe* what you sing?

Bill D 10 Mar 03 - 06:57 PM
breezy 10 Mar 03 - 07:00 PM
Murray MacLeod 10 Mar 03 - 07:16 PM
Mark Clark 10 Mar 03 - 07:35 PM
NicoleC 10 Mar 03 - 07:36 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 10 Mar 03 - 07:36 PM
*daylia* 10 Mar 03 - 07:38 PM
Murray MacLeod 10 Mar 03 - 07:44 PM
Mojo Willie 10 Mar 03 - 07:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Mar 03 - 07:54 PM
Bill D 10 Mar 03 - 07:56 PM
Frankham 10 Mar 03 - 08:16 PM
Snuffy 10 Mar 03 - 08:24 PM
Alba 10 Mar 03 - 08:25 PM
Blues=Life 10 Mar 03 - 08:28 PM
Don Firth 10 Mar 03 - 08:39 PM
harpgirl 10 Mar 03 - 08:49 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 10 Mar 03 - 09:03 PM
khandu 10 Mar 03 - 09:03 PM
harpgirl 10 Mar 03 - 09:10 PM
GUEST 10 Mar 03 - 09:25 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 10 Mar 03 - 09:31 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 10 Mar 03 - 11:08 PM
open mike 10 Mar 03 - 11:24 PM
Haruo 10 Mar 03 - 11:24 PM
katlaughing 10 Mar 03 - 11:27 PM
Troll 10 Mar 03 - 11:31 PM
PeteBoom 10 Mar 03 - 11:32 PM
GUEST,Kiwi Guest 10 Mar 03 - 11:32 PM
Amos 10 Mar 03 - 11:53 PM
Joe Offer 11 Mar 03 - 12:41 AM
mousethief 11 Mar 03 - 01:03 AM
John P 11 Mar 03 - 01:33 AM
GUEST,Billy 11 Mar 03 - 04:10 AM
GUEST 11 Mar 03 - 04:23 AM
IanC 11 Mar 03 - 04:42 AM
JennyO 11 Mar 03 - 06:02 AM
paulo 11 Mar 03 - 06:34 AM
Sandra in Sydney 11 Mar 03 - 06:59 AM
DonMeixner 11 Mar 03 - 07:20 AM
Murray MacLeod 11 Mar 03 - 07:58 AM
Amos 11 Mar 03 - 09:00 AM
greg stephens 11 Mar 03 - 09:14 AM
Willie-O 11 Mar 03 - 09:18 AM
paulo 11 Mar 03 - 09:29 AM
greg stephens 11 Mar 03 - 09:34 AM
Kim C 11 Mar 03 - 09:42 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 11 Mar 03 - 09:50 AM
Maryrrf 11 Mar 03 - 10:05 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Mar 03 - 10:09 AM
greg stephens 11 Mar 03 - 10:14 AM
Amos 11 Mar 03 - 10:33 AM
Wolfgang 11 Mar 03 - 10:38 AM
Fred Miller 11 Mar 03 - 10:43 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Mar 03 - 10:49 AM
GUEST 11 Mar 03 - 10:50 AM
PeteBoom 11 Mar 03 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,Russ 11 Mar 03 - 11:16 AM
Pseudolus 11 Mar 03 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,The O'Meara 11 Mar 03 - 11:20 AM
greg stephens 11 Mar 03 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,The O'Meara 11 Mar 03 - 11:27 AM
IanC 11 Mar 03 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,The O'Meara 11 Mar 03 - 11:29 AM
Bill D 11 Mar 03 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,Russ 11 Mar 03 - 12:02 PM
Bill D 11 Mar 03 - 12:05 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Mar 03 - 12:16 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Mar 03 - 12:55 PM
Bill D 11 Mar 03 - 02:23 PM
*daylia* 11 Mar 03 - 02:34 PM
Joe Offer 11 Mar 03 - 02:47 PM
dick greenhaus 11 Mar 03 - 02:52 PM
Joe_F 11 Mar 03 - 03:08 PM
*daylia* 11 Mar 03 - 03:17 PM
paulo 11 Mar 03 - 03:48 PM
paulo 11 Mar 03 - 03:49 PM
denise:^) 11 Mar 03 - 03:59 PM
Merritt 11 Mar 03 - 05:18 PM
Joe Offer 11 Mar 03 - 05:30 PM
GUEST,Grab 11 Mar 03 - 05:36 PM
Bill D 11 Mar 03 - 05:41 PM
Burke 11 Mar 03 - 06:17 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Mar 03 - 07:17 PM
Roughyed 11 Mar 03 - 07:20 PM
Mark Clark 11 Mar 03 - 08:24 PM
Little Hawk 11 Mar 03 - 08:37 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 11 Mar 03 - 10:15 PM
Murray MacLeod 11 Mar 03 - 11:08 PM
Podger 12 Mar 03 - 12:13 AM
mousethief 12 Mar 03 - 12:49 AM
Reverend Georgie B 12 Mar 03 - 12:50 AM
Fred Miller 12 Mar 03 - 10:09 AM
Snuffy 12 Mar 03 - 08:47 PM
GUEST 12 Mar 03 - 10:45 PM
Fred Miller 13 Mar 03 - 09:25 AM
John P 13 Mar 03 - 09:48 AM
denise:^) 13 Mar 03 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere) 13 Mar 03 - 11:53 AM
GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere) 13 Mar 03 - 11:59 AM
Mark Ross 13 Mar 03 - 01:17 PM
Felipa 13 Mar 03 - 08:44 PM
Blues=Life 14 Mar 03 - 08:14 AM
Felipa 16 Mar 03 - 04:20 PM
Gareth 16 Mar 03 - 06:19 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 16 Mar 03 - 07:13 PM
Blues=Life 16 Mar 03 - 10:20 PM
reggie miles 16 Mar 03 - 11:29 PM
toadfrog 16 Mar 03 - 11:34 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 17 Mar 03 - 12:08 AM
paulo 17 Mar 03 - 05:07 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 17 Mar 03 - 06:15 AM
Fred Miller 17 Mar 03 - 06:02 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 17 Mar 03 - 07:37 PM
Fred Miller 18 Mar 03 - 09:29 AM
Nathan in Texas 18 Mar 03 - 10:13 AM
Orac 18 Mar 03 - 11:01 AM
George Papavgeris 19 Mar 03 - 11:20 AM
JulieF 19 Mar 03 - 12:05 PM
Beccy 20 Mar 03 - 10:22 AM
Fred Miller 20 Mar 03 - 07:01 PM
Frankham 21 Mar 03 - 09:32 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 06 Jun 11 - 04:56 AM
Ebbie 07 Jun 11 - 03:43 AM
dick greenhaus 07 Jun 11 - 01:01 PM
Little Hawk 07 Jun 11 - 01:06 PM
lefthanded guitar 07 Jun 11 - 01:14 PM
John P 07 Jun 11 - 04:16 PM
Murray MacLeod 07 Jun 11 - 04:35 PM
JHW 07 Jun 11 - 05:17 PM
dick greenhaus 07 Jun 11 - 05:23 PM
Tootler 07 Jun 11 - 05:46 PM
Joe Offer 07 Jun 11 - 07:57 PM
John P 08 Jun 11 - 12:38 PM
lefthanded guitar 16 Jun 11 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Lighter 16 Jun 11 - 02:52 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 17 Sep 12 - 08:09 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 17 Sep 12 - 08:11 AM
Charmion 17 Sep 12 - 12:14 PM
GUEST,matt milton 17 Sep 12 - 12:45 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 17 Sep 12 - 12:55 PM
Gurney 17 Sep 12 - 05:42 PM
Ebbie 17 Sep 12 - 06:21 PM
Charley Noble 17 Sep 12 - 08:21 PM
Dave Hanson 18 Sep 12 - 03:31 AM
Joe_F 18 Sep 12 - 01:28 PM
CupOfTea 18 Sep 12 - 05:54 PM
Musket 19 Sep 12 - 07:25 AM
GUEST,belief 20 Sep 12 - 01:42 PM
Artful Codger 20 Sep 12 - 02:55 PM
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Subject: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 06:57 PM

...evidently so, for some, and you need to sing ONLY the things which will help others to believe!
I am not a religious person, but have enjoyed for years many songs with religious subject matter and history-especially Gospel; and Southern Gospel has always been a favotite. But I ran onto an article from a very fundamentalist Independant Baptist viewpoint that rather startled me. Some forms of the music are taken to task for being far too "worldly", "sensual"..even "boogie-woogie"! He names specific names and exhorts Christians to avoid such departures from the straight & narrow.

I know there are very wide differences in attitudes toward music AND religion, but this really defines a view I have seldom encountered, and I can't decide whether it is important, or just 'interesting'.

I really considered whether to put this in the 'BS' area, as it is perhaps more a religious concern than a musical one...but....

In any case, if you want to see what stirred me to actually start a thread, look here.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: breezy
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 07:00 PM

Yes of course you do or you're a hypocrite and a liar


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 07:16 PM

Of course you don't.

All that matters is that you believe in the song at the moment you sing it. Whether it represents your own real beliefs is totally irrelevant.

I could sing the Iraqui National Anthem and have people weeping ....

Murray


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 07:35 PM

Bill, I'm guessing that you're only asking about religious or gospel-based songs. After all, none of us believe that frogs marry mice or that people become sea lions.

I know at least one avowed athiest who is a regular member of a church choir just because he loves to sing in choirs. From my own experience, I've often done gospel “numbers” in a bluegrass set simply because it's traditional, in the genre, to include gospel selections and it provides a change of pace and a chance to include four-part harmony. My own theology, Eastern Orthodox, is radically different from Protestant theology and even farther removed from Holiness and Southern Baptist theology but that doesn't keep me from finding beauty in their expressions of faith.

I have performed with musicians who draw a line if a gospel number strays too far from their own beliefs but that is rare. More often heard is the question of whether gospel numbers should be included in a set if the venue serves liquor.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: NicoleC
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 07:36 PM

Nah. I don't consider myself a Christian really, but I thoroughly enjoy gospel and bluegrass with religious themes. The music speaks for itself.

Although I wouldn't suggest a Buddist (for example) take up a career as a Christian rocker... you may play and sing just fine, but it's bound to annoy your audience when they find out.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 07:36 PM

No. I do not. I am of the opinion that performance is somewhat akin to acting, and the genius dwells in being believable. However, it is much easier to be believable, when some part of your own experiences in life coincide with the gist of a song... and it could be any point of view contained in the song... This may be one of the *big* differences between Singer/songwriters and folksingers... Idontknow...whatdoyouthink? ttr


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: *daylia*
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 07:38 PM

Bill Your article is almost scary! "God's Word plainly forbids His people to love the world." And I hafta share 'His people's' unloved world?

Beam me up ...

I remember horrifying the membership of the Music Teacher's Association when I joined at age 20, by actually daring to perform and allowing my students to learn 'popular' music. One of them tried (vainly) to get me to change my ways by warning "Any music with a back-beat is sinful!"

But we were just so wonderfully addicted to that "sinful" boogie and blues and rock and pop ... did our penance by suffering all those scales and etudes anyway I figure!

daylia

PS I don't think you need to *believe* what you sing, but when I do it sure adds fervour (or something like that)!


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 07:44 PM

Everybody reading this thread has sung, at one time or another, "Will the Circle be Unbroken", with fervor, but I guarantee that only 1% of the people who have sung it actually believe it.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Mojo Willie
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 07:53 PM

Hey Thomas the Rhymer,

Its Mojo Willie Rymer here and I host a blues and soul concert series in the Niagara Region. My ancestors immigrated from the city of York sometime in the 1840's to Upper Canada. Thomas the Rhymer was a Norman laird who lived up in the border country and it was claimed that he had oracular powers and couuld turn quite a poetic phrase, hense his name. A distant cousin of mine, who belongs to the Cambridge histrical society, claims Thomas to be the originator of our family name. Is your surname name now spelt Rymer, Thomas? Perhaps we are distant cousins too!

Cheers,
Mojo Willie


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 07:54 PM

You've got to sort of believe it or at least suspend your disbelief while you are actually singing it, I'd say.

It isn't just religious songs this applies to, it goes for political songs well, and probably a few more as well. (Songs about people taking vengeance, for example.)

I'd also say there has to be some sympathy between what you feel yourself and what you sing. I could sing a song coming from a religious tradition I don't accept, but not one that preached hate. I could sing a song advocating violence in the cause of justice, though I'm a pacifist, but not one that supported repression.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 07:56 PM

fascinating...the first two responses were "of course you do" and "of course you don't"

'Most' musicians I know are in the latter camp, but I see some are clearly not.

Isn't there a saying something about "The Devil having all the best tunes"?


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Frankham
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 08:16 PM

Looking over the website with just a cursory glance I think that there is a lot of information about who invented what that's a bit skewed. Quartet singing for example existed in the black community for many years and was given show biz treatments early on. It wasn't just Baptist either. These forms of music have been around for a long time as liturgical or secular and often gone between the two.

I think that what a person believes has more to do about the selection of the songs or music rather than the music itself. In our program about the Civil War we sing both the Bonny Blue Flag and The Battle Cry of Freedom to show the fervor of both sides. We are not really into war songs per se but they are significant as part of American history which we feel is important for children and adults to know about. I don't think that actors or writers believe in everything that their characters do or say. I think that a person can be appalled at bloodshed and violence and still enjoy a Shakespeare play or opera. Or a well-made movie such as Scorcese makes.

The problem with evangelizing music is that it tends to disembowl it's content. The content may be negative but instructive such as some of the bloody ballads that trad folkies are used to hearing and singing. They actually were according to Lomax and others a kind of morality play....a don't-do-these-terrible-things in song. Take for example Woody Guthries "1913 Massacre" song. It's a well-written documentary on living conditions in those times. To place a religious value on that is to completely miss the point of why the song was written...as an insight to a serious social problem of how to unionize workers.

I think that attitude about what you are doing has a lot to do with it's reception.
If you sing a song to stir an audience into violence or anger that's out of control then maybe it has a destructive value. But the same song in a different context may have the opposite effect, bringing people together as when the ancient Greeks witnessed their tragedies as a kind of religious experience (not Southern Baptist). There are certain bloody ballads that I don't like to do because for me they're over the top but in certain contexts they might be useful to make a constructive point.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Snuffy
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 08:24 PM

You have to believe it while you're singing it, but not necessarily the rest of the time:

Sometimes you can get too far into the song and it takes over - last year I was singing the Foggy Foggy Dew and just got overwhelmed by it. I couldn't finish the last verse because I was choking back the tears.

WassaiL! V


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Alba
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 08:25 PM

You got to sing like you don't need the money,
Love like you've never been hurt,
You got to dance like there's nobody watching,
Gotta come from the heart if you want it to work!

I have to feel empathy on some level for the song I am singing wether it is religious or not.
Singing is storytelling with music so I have to believe in the story in order to make the listener listen..I think....don't know if that makes sense!
Alba


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Blues=Life
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 08:28 PM

"I could sing the Iraqui National Anthem and have people weeping ....

Murray"

Me, too, but in my case, only the musicians would be weeping. *G*

Blues
"A face made for radio, a voice for mime!"


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 08:39 PM

Urban-born and not being raised in what is usually regarded as "the folk tradition," I don't really regard myself as a "folk singer." A "singer of folk songs," yes. And to me, singing is very much like acting. Patrick Stewart never captained a star ship, Christopher Reeve never leapt tall buildings in a single bound, and Judi Dench was never queen of England, but they all did a good job acting the parts of those who did. When one sings, one plays a part. I don't have to a miner or a cowboy or a pirate or a whaler or pregnant and unmarried or have killed my girl friend or be dying from being "shot in the breast" to sing about such things. You don't have to be a former slave trader who saw the error of his ways and was born again to do a good job of singing Amazing Grace. All you need is some understanding of what was going on in that person's mind and emotions. Same for all songs.

The idea that "God's Word plainly forbids His people to love the world" is a complete crock!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: harpgirl
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 08:49 PM

I'm glad you posed this question at this moment, Bill. I have been intending to sing "What Does the Deep Sea Say", "Roll The Woodpile Down", "Nellie Gray", and "Follow The Drinking Gourd" in some upcoming events.

I am strongly attracted to these work songs, steamboat shanties or whatever. It seems so incongruous with what I grew up with, but I feel them deeply in a way I can't explain well with words. One of the things I do well when I perform is convey emotions, so I am going to have a go at it. But I still question myself, my motive, and whether or not I can properly convey what I want to about these songs...any ideas? harpgirl    (I felt like changing my name so I did!)


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 09:03 PM

This is a good topic. I direct a women's chorus, and we have sung gospel, Hindu, Native American, Islamic, Jewish, Yoruba, pagan, and secular songs. My own religious beliefs aside, I believe in the power of music to unite us, in the joy of singing in harmony, in the delight to the ears and the spirit when it just clicks and we feel the song pulsing through us. The women in my group represent a wide spectrum of beliefs and non-beliefs, and sometimes it's a stretch for some of them to sing about sin and salvation, for example. But we all believe in what we do in our group and in our community, and we let the music express it, sometimes in spite of and sometimes partly because of the words.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: khandu
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 09:03 PM

An Earlier Thread on this subject thread here!

I will not sing anything that goes against my conscience...and that includes many of the old hymns as well as most Contemporay Gospel.

Ken


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: harpgirl
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 09:10 PM

...that's very inspiring Allison. Thanks for that! harpycat


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 09:25 PM

Does a T.V. evangalist have to believe what he preaches?
Keep those greenbacks rolling in folks!
A singer sings a song and belief may be a bit irrelavent, but it's hard to express emotion if you're heart's not there. I wonder why a person would bother except maybe for the greenbacks?
                   slainte,
                      Sandy


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 09:31 PM

sorry, I keep losing that damn cookie!
         Sandy


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 11:08 PM

My one adult experience with organized religion was with a very metaphysical Christian denomination that probably has more in common with Buddhism than with conventional Christianity. One thing that I learned there is that it is quite possible to believe in the underlying truth of something like a hymn or a Bible verse without necessarily believing in its literal presentation.

I feel the same way about gospel songs. As long as I believe in the underlying message of a song, I'll sing it, even if it is presented in terms other than what I would have chosen if I had written it. I can do a song about meeting my mother in Heaven because I do believe in an afterlife, though I don't believe in the Christian concept of Heaven. I can do a song about giving one's soul to Jesus as a means of spiritual transcendence because I do believe in spiritual transcendence. I cannot do a song about giving one's soul to Jesus being the only way to be saved from damnation because I don't believe in damnation.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: open mike
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 11:24 PM

Once i was singing a song, and had an expression on my
face, to which a listener commented "You really feel the
song, don't you?" that was the best complimant ever!
I sometimes close my eyes when i sing, which makes it
difficult when in a group to see signals, give a nod to
a soloist to take a break, or generally communicate with
others when jamming. The best part of a song is when it
tells a story or conveys a feeling--then it has accomp-
lished the goal of exchanging information, teaching a
lesson, encouraging an emotional response.
I am still not sure how to explain this phenominon:
I recently heard a description of many musical people
who are Jewish who often sing heart-felt (Christian)
gospel numbers.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Haruo
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 11:24 PM

"World" is one of those words whose exegesis (scriptural or otherwise) is more complex than anyone realizes when actually using it in real life; it's almost like "love" that way.

Of course, the Independent Fundamental Baptists can be counted upon to glom onto the worst part of the semantic field and to assert dogmatically that it is the only valid one, because God says so.

Haruo

PS: I agree that for performer and audience alike, the willing (or inadvertent) suspension of disbelief is more important than belief per se. Whether God sees it that way I leave to those more skilled in effing the ineffable than I'll ever be this side of the Eschaton.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 11:27 PM

Frank, Animaterra, and Bruce, thank you. Well said!


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Troll
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 11:31 PM

I think it helps me to put a song over if I "believe" the message but it's not an absolute necessity. It's a job, just like acting. I only sing the ones I like when I'm alone, though.

troll


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: PeteBoom
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 11:32 PM

Depends on what it is, I expect - and whether you're delivering the song for an audience, or yourself. Different settings, different environments, I'm not opposed to singing a song whose politics I do not agree with, if there is merit in the song itself. Stuff that is just so much stuff, well, I tend to not do unless absolutely needed in the situation. Confused you yet?

Pete


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,Kiwi Guest
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 11:32 PM

Depends what you are singing, where you are singing and to whom . Many songs are just fun and don't have a particular message, this I view as pure entertainment. Some songs tell a story or describe history etc. However I would never sing a song that had a definite message unless I felt an empathy for what the song was about.
Beware I feel that some singers sing songs that have very strong messages, hence a strong impact on their audience, purely for the sake of gaining attention from the audience. This is an ego game.
If you truely mean it then let the world know.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Amos
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 11:53 PM

You don't have to believe it so much as you have to understand it -- which means a sensibility to the context and the importances that are built into it. This was summed up neatly by somneone who advised me when I was singing my second or third ever song -- at about 12 -- to sing as though I was "being there". Good advice.

A


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 12:41 AM

I'd like to repeat what Murray says, because it makes a lot of sense
All that matters is that you believe in the song at the moment you sing it. Whether it represents your own real beliefs is totally irrelevant.
I love gospel music, and I think I sing it pretty well. It's good music, and it's a pleasure to sing - that's whay I like it. It doesn't jive with my liberal Catholic thinking, so I wouldn't use it in worship. I guess I've been guilty of singing gospel to make fun of it at times, but that was more in my younger years. I've developed a genuine respect for the music.

As for the article that Bill linked to (click), I found it very interesting. It gave a great history of Southern Gospel, although from a negative perspective (the author sure doesn't like us Catholics, either). I think the author has a point, though - Southern gospel has become increasingly commercial over the years, written for commercial value rather than as religious expression. That's a problem. Then there's "contemporary Christian music," which has been hugely profitable - and an even bigger problem. People complain about the commercialization of religion and about how they're just out to make money. Well, the change in religious music is a direct reflection of that. Some people have come to realize that there is big money in religious music, and they're out to make it. And I think I'd agree with the author that Stamps-Baxter was one of the original perpetrators.

Still, there's a lot of that Stamps-Baxter music that's great fun to sing. I just wouldn't sing it in church.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: mousethief
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 01:03 AM

A fascinating topic. I don't have a lot to add to the discussion; just about everything that could be said has been. I do question if one can really convincingly sing "Jesus loves me" if one doesn't believe he does (or doesn't believe he even exists!). It reminds me of that quote, "Sincerity is the thing. Once you can fake that, you've got it made."

As for loving "the world" -- doesn't God love the World? John 3:16 and all that?

Mark Clark, where do you live? Blessed Lent.

Alex
(also E. Orthodox)


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: John P
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 01:33 AM

As someone who sings almost exclusively old traditional songs, it would be hard for me to find anything in my repertoire that I actually believe. The world has changed a lot since those songs were first sung. It is important to sing the song convincingly and with fervor, of course. But that is true of anything one does in any endeavor.

Breezy, I don't feel like a liar and a cheat. It's nice that you're willing to share your opinions, but it would be easier for others to pay attention to them if you voiced them as such instead of as certainties.

John Peekstok


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,Billy
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 04:10 AM

What a bunch of fakers and hypoctites I see on this site!
I don't believe you can genuinely call yourself a "folk singer" if you do not passionately believe (and not just at that moment) in all the words you are singing. These words may be your own or old or new but they have a message from someone who experienced the time and events in each song that can only be passed on by genuine emotion. In a public concert, if you are an atheist, don't sing religious songs. If you are religious, don't sing songs out of your faith.
Folk music had more than its share of fakers in the 60s "Folk Scare" when we had right-wing singers recording negro spirituals and Jewish performers singing Christian music. Just to make money. I don't believe real "folk" music will ever again be commercial because of the record companies inability to be able to regain control of this type of music. God (or your own deity or lack thereof) bless us!


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 04:23 AM

Billy you're too harsh!
My take on this is that you need to feel a song rather than believe it. And by the same token I believe that as a singer, by getting inside the song, you can get a taste of what it would be like to believe whatever variant of truth is embedded in the song.
Like an actor, you can suspend your disbelief and for a brief space of time empathise with what you find in the song.
So then it would be a good exercise in understanding for an atheist to sing a faith song & for a believer to sing an atheist song.

PS. I've never sung Will the Circle be Unbroken - but I'm very sincere whenever I sing Les Barker's Will the Turtle be Unbroken.......


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: IanC
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 04:42 AM

Course you don't ...

"King Arthur Had Three Sons"
"Auntie Mary Had a Canary ..."

You just have to enjoy it!

;-)


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: JennyO
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 06:02 AM

A lot of songs are just for fun, anyway.

But for songs which convey a serious message, I would prefer if it was one I believe in. I would seek out songs that resonate with what I believe. That's why I enjoy being in the Solidarity Choir so much. There are some which I definitely disagree with, which I would not sing under any circumstances.

As for that website (shudder), that's one I won't be subscribing to - ".....Elvis's indecent movies." - pu-lll-lease!

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: paulo
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 06:34 AM

Yes you need to feel a song when you sing it, but its a lot easier to feel the song if you also believe in the sentiments.   I sing a variety of songs, but when I sing anti-war songs or trade union songs I sing them with a lot more passion than I do others.   

Indeed when I've sang the Blackleg Miner I've been told that I sing the last verse with a lot of feeling - Thats because I believe in it.

Paulo
p.s. I've never sang "Will the circle be unbroken" either, but I sing "Miner's Lifeguard" which I do with passion.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 06:59 AM

Last year at The National (Folk Festival) I wasn't planning to go to the Hymns singing session as it wasn't my religion (tho I was sent to Sunday school until my teens). I went because the friend I was wandering around with was planning to go

It was a great singing session - & it turns out my friend was Jewish, knew far more hymns than I did & just loves singing them. We 2 non-believers had a great time, & that was where I met Hrothgar tho I didn't know it at the time. He runs the session & will be doing it again this year

sandra


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 07:20 AM

Amazing grapes how sweet and round,


That soon will raisins be,


Between my lips, across my tongue


In wrinkled ecstacy.

And I believe every word of it most passionately.

Don


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 07:58 AM

Paulo, you have never sung "Will the Circle be Unbroken", but you sing "The Blackleg Miner" with conviction, do you indeed?

I find "The Blackleg Miner" the most offensive song in the whole of folk music.

Let's hope for both our sakes that our paths remain uncrossed....

Murray


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Amos
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 09:00 AM

Bill:

The original article to which you linked is prfoundly misguided, historically inaccurate, and metaphysically cross-eyed and lame. It is the sort of obsessive control talk which makes facists out of people looking for God -- a bizarre conversion, indeed!

Guest Billy: I think you are mistaken about hypocrisy, perhaps due to a semantic confusion about th emeaning of the word "believe". I have never believed that there would be a day when the Saints would come marching in. But, I gotta tell ya, I can sing it with intention and complete involvement. Of course it may be that singing with intent and involvement and genuine compassion for the viewpoint of the song is what you mean by belief. I do agree withyou that taking the music of passion and sweat and rough living and polishing it up the way PP&M did to a degree of nicety never conceived in the original is some kind of sin, perhaps minor but nevertheless annoying.

Haruo -- you one very smaht guy, man.!!

A


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 09:14 AM

Well I was joining in last night with some friends singing in Shona and Ndebele, and I havent a clue what I was singing about (though some of it was about Jesus). Well,I was thoroughly enjoying the experience, and not feeling remotely hypocritical or dishonest. I dint know what it meant, but I would hazard a guess if I had known i would not have "believed" it. But I certainly believe in the validity of singing along with my friends.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Willie-O
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 09:18 AM

I don't have to believe what I'm singing. I only have to believe that the person who wrote it believed it!

You can win for your cause in the long run, even if the cause is totally wrongheaded and hopelessly lost, by writing the best songs.

OK, the Jacobites had a Pyrrhic victory...

W-O


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: paulo
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 09:29 AM

Murray

So you don't like the Blackleg Miner.

I have to wonder if you've ever lived or worked in a community that was dependant on one industry?   The thing is that in such communities everyone has to rely on each other and when an individual breaks the unity of that community they will not recieve approbation.
Communities by their nature will attempt to protect themselves.

The song itself is a threat, whether the events recounted ever happend or not I don't know.   It just lets scabs know that they're not welcome in the community.   An oppinion I concur with.

Paulo


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 09:34 AM

This question prompts me to wonder why I posted to a "favourite hymns" thread recently. Why do I have so much love for songs whose specific function is to promote belief in something I don't believe in? There seems to be at last a contradiction here, though I dont feel hypocritical in any way. I think this is a good place to drag Vaughan Williams into the argument : he edited the English Hymnal, arranging and selecting magnificent music, and presumably making the Church of England a more efficient organisation for promoting beliefs which he personally had no belief in whatever(or so I have read). I think the fact is that most musicians believe a great deal more deeply in music than they do in the various Gods on offer.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Kim C
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 09:42 AM

Well, that's a good question, isn't it?

I don't think I ever really thought about it. For me, the spirit of the music, the spirit of sharing it with people, that's what's most important. There are some songs that mean something to me personally, and others that are simply a matter of storytelling. I certainly don't condone that Willie Taylor's jilted lover murdered him and his new girl, or that Lord Randall's paramour fed him poisoned eels, but I love to tell those stories.

I think this is something that's entirely up to the individual.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 09:50 AM

"most musicians believe a great deal more deeply in music than they do in the various Gods on offer"

"A" (while strumming a C chord) "MEN" (while strumming a G chord)


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 10:05 AM

I have to concur that singing is like acting and sometimes you have to fake it, but it's easier to do if you believe in what you're singing about. However, as many pointed out lots of songs aren't about "believing" or "not believing" - they tell a story which may or may not have happened and they're just enjoyable to sing! Let's not forget that various religious denominations have practically banned music at one time or another - a great folly if there ever was one, I think. Music can truly exalt the spirit, but unfortunately there were some religious leaders who felt that spirit was not to be exalted, but squashed into a very narrow mold and restricted by all kinds of laws and prohibitions.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 10:09 AM

I'm glad that you asked this question, Brother Bill. You can sing with the Gospel Messengers anytime. We've often been at Festivals when our tenor wasn't able to make it, and we've had someone else sing the tenor harmony on a few songs. The most memorable occasion was at a NOMAD Festival, when Sandy Paton came up and sang a whole concert with us, with Frankie teaching Sandy the tenor parts on the spot. Joe, Frankie and I all knew that Sandy is an Atheist when we asked him to join us, and we had a great time. For us, we were singing a message. Sandy was singing a song. And that was fine.
On another occasion, we had someone we'd never met before sing a couple of songs with us, because he heard us singing in a stairwell, and was enjoying the music so much. For all I know, he could have been Jewish. We don't check credentials. This fall, when the Shellbacks Chorus comes over here, if we can get together with them, I've asked Colin, Sussex Carole and Noreen to sing with us, doubling up on harmonies with Joe, Frankie and Derrick. We're all excited about the possibility.

You and I come at this question from opposite directions Bill. And just as you are honest and straightforward about your beliefs, I will be, too. I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, and I am trying to live my life in as Christ-like a way as I can. You believe in honesty, generosity, the brotherhood of man, and in trying to live the most decent, loving, unselfish life that you can. You are a fine man, and someone I greatly respect and consider a friend. We may indeed come at life in a very different way, but I see the commoness in us, as I do in Sandy, Art Thieme and countless others who I have been blessed to know in my life. I see our common commitment to live the most honorable, selfless lives that we can, and at the heart of all of our lives is the desire to love and be loved. For me, God IS love. For you, and Sandy and Art and many others, love is love.

Does it make any difference whether or not you belive what you are singing, when you sing gospel? I believe it does. I've seen Frankie reduce people to tears, when he sings, "He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs." People are moved because they see the sincerity and depth of faith in Frankie's singing. He is often reduced to tears, himself and there are times when we can hardly keep singing because we are so deeply moved. And yet, we'd sing that song with you, Bill, and be happy to do it. We would sing what we believe, and you would sing what you believe.

So, for me the question isn't can you sing what you don't believe. The question is can you sing with someone if your beliefs are different? My answer to that, and the way that I live is, absolutely.

My wife and I watched one of our favorite movies the other night..Oklahoma. One of many favorite songs in the musical is The Farmer And The Cowman Should Be Friends. I think we should get Amos or Micca to write The Atheist and the Christian should be friends.

I've been in this forum over a year now, and even though I am here as a folksinger, I often feel that I am identified more as a Gospel Messenger. I read the endless threads on the desire for peace in the middle east. And yet, there are times when I don't see much peace in Mudcat. Sometimes, there's so much backbiting and bitching that I have to step back for a couple of days, because it can get so poisonous. Peace is everybody's business. It's easy to blast Bush and Blair (and I agree with just about everything that's said on here... except for some rather fuzzy conspiracy theories.) I am as upset and angry as the next person. But, where is the peace on Mudcat? What are each of us doing to bring peace here?

Can atheists sing gospel? Should Atheists sing gospel? Sure... sing what you enjoy singing. My only problem would be if someone is ridiculing what they're singing. But then, I'm not a great fan of ridicule. Someone could get hurt, doing that.

So, sing gospel and enjoy it. Christ was vilified for associating with the "wrong" people... even eating at their homes. I see us all as one, Bill, and I am proud to know you.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 10:14 AM

Jerry: boy would you have enjoyed being round our house when the Zimbabweans came round and started singing gospel. You would have just expl...o...o...o...o.ded.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Amos
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 10:33 AM

Nicely written indeed, Jerry! Applause and affection,

A


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 10:38 AM

The comparison with acting is compelling. Or think of opera singing, for instance. Many operas could never be performed if the singers would have to believe everything what they are singing.

Johann Georg Reißmüller is a very conservative man, former co-editor of one of the most conservative German newspapers, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. As a hobby he sings early GDR hymns of the 'comrade Stalin, thou are the light' type, the songs of his youth. Hilarious lyrics, from today's point of view, combined with still beautiful tunes (Eisler, for instance, as composer). He sings the songs without any audible irony, as good as he can deliver them. He just happens to think that this obsolete part of the German culture should not be lost.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Fred Miller
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 10:43 AM

I think it was Martin Luther who said Why should the devil have all the good tunes.

Since I like fiction, and tend to include "true stories" in that category, I don't need to "believe" something to sing it, but I have to identify with it somehow, or I don't want to sing it, or have any idea how to do it. I'm not a fan of monotonous earnestness in folk or anything else, and I think being all swept up with personal passion will usually make a singer less convincing, rather than more. I've written first-person songs that I don't want to be identified with the "I"-- although they also aren't in a spirit of ridicule. I have trouble commiting to some lines in some songs I like, usually because they seem to me to be arch, contrived, or out of the general tone or psychology of how I understand the song.

   In good fiction, you don't identify with the "hero" or what they say or think, by projecting your face into a their face-hole for a childish photo, dressed up as the hero in a story-book. You identify with the creative mind that made it, to the extent you can, because that's what's real in fiction. And ideally there's a sense of shared discovery, rather than some self-appointed sage or saint lecturing at you. It may be illusory sometimes, but I like it.

   So, if the singer discovers something in a song, and can convey it, there you are.

   The stuff about not loving the world is in the new testament, as I read it, and people may understand it different ways. Someone may well take it to mean Sing tunes, but not any bouncy, fun ones. And to judge from some church picnics, it may also seem to mean Eat cookies, but only the most awful, uniformly tasteless ones you can find. I suppose it's a sort of measured, careful, compromise with the world. Okay then, I guess that's one way to do it. But I'd rather get these local chocolate chip cookies... I think you have to go to confession afterwards. And I resist them altogether, when I have the strength.

I think there's a certain intensity of identifying with material that is tied to "star" quality in some performers. Something drives them to find just the right tempo, build dramatic moments, resist overdoing things, or else they're willing to overdo things and can unexpectedly commit afresh to old cliche's, whatever--they find interesting qualities. It seems to me some people are reliably more interesting to listen to, apart from any techniques or any other particular kind of know-how. And others of us can do everything "right" and still make it come out wrong.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 10:49 AM

I'm sure I would have, Greg!!! I have a fair amount of African gospel which I picked up when my wife and I were in Ghana two years ago... beautiful stuff.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 10:50 AM


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: PeteBoom
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 10:58 AM

Reflecting a bit on Jerry's GREAT post (kudos btw) - a large number of non-Christians I know, including athiests, demonstrate "Christian" values in their life far better than a fair number of self-proclaimed "Christians." Having been told to my face that I am NOT a Christian, that I AM a "devil worshiping Papist", I expressed thanks to that person. Then told them I'd pray for them and asked them to pray for me (ya should-da seen 'em turn PURPLE - I thought they were goin' to bust a vein!) 8^)

An awful lot of folks have talked about how most music does not "require" believing for you to sing it. If there is a song with a "message" that I don't agree with or do not embrace, then the question goes back to what I said before - am I presenting this song to others (the audience) who may or do agree or am I singing the song for myself or in a song-circle? In one instance, I would sing it, no problem - if the song has basic merits in its own right. In the other instance, probably not.

Pete


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:16 AM

I really like the acting analogy. I think it works with something like "The Great Silkie."

However, it it important to remember that religious songs are INTENDED to be expressions of belief. In this case they are are much more like creeds/professions of faith than scripts.

So, if, as a non-Christian, you don't have a problem singing, e.g., "What a Friend We Have in Jesus", would you have a problem reciting, e.g., the Nicene Creed.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Pseudolus
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:18 AM

I think it depends on the venue. If you are there to perform then I agree with Thomas the Rhymer who said that singing a song is akin to acting. you need to "sell" your performance. If you are leading a congregation, it sure makes things a lot more believable if you really believe, unless of course you're a REALLY good actor!!

I play the drums in a contemporary Christian Praise and Worship group at my church and I truly believe that my relationship with God is as good as it ever has been. And it's not just the music. I've said this at church before, it's the music that got me there but it's the fellowship, the praise and my renewed faith that keep me there.

Everyone has their own style and their own relationship with the Church and with God. If staying with "that ol time religion" works for the writer of the article, so be it. For me, I have found my nitch. It's funny too, I try to make a point of going to at least one Sunday service (traditional) a month in addition to the Saturday's that I am there, and I get so much more out of them now than ever before.

But, to answer the original question, no I don't think you have to believe. It's easier if ya do, but not impossible if ya don't


Frank


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,The O'Meara
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:20 AM


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:22 AM

Yes, i would have a problem reciting the Nicene Creed. Singing a song is singing a song. Reading out an affirmation of belief, in a context where people would assume that if you're saying it, you mean it, seems different to me and I wouldnt do it. I will sing "My name is Captain Kidd". I would not swear to that effect on a Holy Bible.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,The O'Meara
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:27 AM

Bloody Gremlins anyway! I hate when that happens.

Doesn't depend on what you're trying to do? If you're trying to convince an audience of something it seems you ought to believe what you're singing, but if you're simply entertaining them it doesn't much matter.

Eh?

O'Meara


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: IanC
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:28 AM

Greg

I wouldn't swear to anything on a Holy Bible. It says there:

Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths. But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

(Matt 5:33-37)


*The Truth Is More Holy Than The Book*


;-)


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,The O'Meara
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:29 AM

See comments on gremlins, above.

I meant "Doesn't IT depend on...


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:51 AM

well, I went to bed about post 17 or so, and it is fascinating what has happened thru the 'night'...

the clearest 'short' expression of what I think was Willie-Os comment...
"I don't have to believe what I'm singing. I only have to believe that the person who wrote it believed it!".....if the song moved someone, and I like the musicality (am I coining a word?), then I can sing the song with them.

I cannot, though sing some of the modern 'hymns' I hear (briefly) on TV on places like the PTL network...(they even offend that fellow who did that web page).

But, Jerry, I would sure sing some with you, if I knew them! It is a rather uplifting feeling to not be judged, and to to feel like I am trusted and accepted for what I am, rather than what I believe or don't believe. Songs...especially well-crafted songs...celebrate feelings and document humanity, and help us gain perspective about it all.....yes, I would sing "Blackleg Miner", but I would be careful WHERE I sing it, and would explain that I sing it BECAUSE it is a powerful song, not because I take a position on it.

I sing several of the Orange/Green Irish songs, including one called "One Sunday Morning" that I use as an example of powerful music gone wrong.

At memorial services for my mother-in-law a few years ago, I stood and sang "Only Remembered" and "Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown" with tears running down my cheeks, because they represented her. It was good to attend a service for someone, feeling like they would have enjoyed it if they were watching...whether *I* believed they were or not.

I have enjoyed reading all these comments, and I know exactly what greg stephens means about not "havent a clue what I was singing about"..but lost in the 'feeling' anyway.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 12:02 PM

Greg,

My point is that singing a song is not always JUST singing a song.
When it comes to religious songs, it might not be such a good idea simply to ignore their basic purpose.

If you wanted to be consistent, then if you have a problem with reciting the Nicene Creed, you should also have a comparable problem with singing "What a Friend..." That is NOT to suggest that consistency is a necessary or desired component of human behavior.

Uh oh! Just had a thought. Fight it. Fight it. Can't resist....

It seems like some sort of "truth in advertising" rule should apply here. If you're not a believer perhaps you should preface the performance of a religious song with a disclaimer.

Something like, "The opinions expressed in he following song are not necessarily those of the singer. The song is being performed purely for it's entertainment value. All claims about the true nature of reality found in the lyrics of the song, whether explicit, implicit, logical consequences, or presuppositions thereof, are not necessarily claims which the singer would affirm. Any results of its performance other than entertainment and non-religious bonhomie, including but not limited to conversion, healing, faith-strengthening, etc. are not the intentions of the performer and the performer cannot be held accountable for such results."


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 12:05 PM

oh..POOH!...one missing 'i' and I turned it all to italics...maybe some nice clone will fix it. [fixed...-Joe-]

I also wanted to say that sometimes I sing Gospel songs because I know they WILL be appreciated by someone who does believe that message....I do a rousing version of "Halleujah Side" (the Stoneman family version) on the autoharp.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 12:16 PM

There you go, Bill... we do Hallelujah Side, too. black version, but probably similar... haven't heard it by the Stoneman Family..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 12:55 PM

Maybe there's a useful distinction to make between believing something and believing in something.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 02:23 PM

yes, perhaps so, McGrath...I believe IN "The Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals" (Immanuel Kant) *grin*..ol' Kant thought you could prove that righteous behavior was 'right' without any particular religious authority, and I tend to favor that approach.

If I die and discover that there is an afterlife and 'Heaven', my goal is to get in on merit. Sure would be nice if it happened...I'd LOVE to hear Mahalia Jackson sing again.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: *daylia*
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 02:34 PM

Hmmm - wonder if Kant got in on merit!


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 02:47 PM

Kan't be done, daylia.

Sorry, the devil made me do it.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 02:52 PM

As I recall, some Lutheran named Bach did a pretty fair job composing (and performing) Catholic Masses.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Joe_F
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 03:08 PM

I do not believe the statements in the hymns. And surely, no-one would pay a nickel to hear me sing one. But they have solid tunes, and the words are well, sometimes magically well, put together. It it parasitical of me to enjoy singing "Abide with Me" on that account? I think not; because it is also an exercise in respect for the comforts of many people whose lives have been far harder than mine.

There is a scene in the movie _Elmer Gantry_ (I don't think it's in the book) where the hypocritical white preacher sings with a black congregation he has happened on. I suspect he was not a hypocrite at that moment.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: *daylia*
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 03:17 PM

It just occurred to me that if it were necessary to *believe* what I sing, I could never sing my national anthem again.

"With glowing hearts we see thee rise
the true north strong and free (??)
From far and wide O Canada
we stand on guard for thee"(???)

Bah humbug! With what? To quote Spaw, one Mountie and two flying squirrels?

Sorry bout my bitchin folks ... too much politics today I guess.

daylia


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: paulo
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 03:48 PM

My god this is starting to be a long thread.

Adding to what I said earlier - I sing a variety of songs, These include gospel type songs, must of which come from the "shakers".

I sing them with gusto, (now there's a word,) and I also have attended religious services and happily joined in the hymns, because a good song is a good song.   But I'm an agnostic, not an athiest.
So I can accept the basic sentiments of the song - that there is a higher authority - whilst I don't believe, I accept the belief of others.

I still claim that if you believe in the sentiments of the song you can put it over better.

Paulo


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: paulo
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 03:49 PM

P.S.   This is the first time I've offered more that one comment on a thread.

paulo


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: denise:^)
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 03:59 PM

I guess it depends on what you mean by *believe.*

I belong to a folk music group, and at our December meeting, many sing holiday songs (as you might well imagine). We have a little 'open stage' segment, where we can perform songs for each other, and we often collaborate on performances.
I have joined with some of my Jewish friends to sing songs like "Light One Candle," and "Rock of Ages" (which is different from "Rock of Ages, cleft for me..."), although I am not Jewish. Likewise, some of them have joined me on Christmas songs, although they are not Christian. No one has ever batted an eye.

You can join in a song and be believeable, I think, if you have *respect* for the tradition from which it hails. This does not extend only to religious songs, but to any song that comes from a culture not your own.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Merritt
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 05:18 PM

For me, there has to be something in a song that I can invest my self in. Something that I can become a part of. This might be a:

~ beautiful melody
~ harmony on the chorus
~ story in the lyric
~ funky bass line that drives the song
~ a core value expressed..freedom, justice,..
~ childhood memory that resonates
~ something..

Just added Good Night, My Someone (from the Music Man) to my play list. Matters of taste can be disputed, but for me besides having a simple, almost elegant chord structure and a decent melody, this is one I sang as a lullaby to my kids many years ago. I can immerse myself in the song.

- Merritt


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 05:30 PM

I belong to a couple of song circles that do community singing from the Rise Up Singing songbook and other lyrics people bring in. For a time, one circle was dominated by women who were into New Age stuff. If some outsider chose a song that didn't suit the ladies' sentiments, they'd sit and act bored, talk loud, and play with the pets.
I tried to sing "Blow Ye Winds in the Morning," and they stopped me. I'll admit it's a bit graphic, but their reaction was too much. I left.
I sing for the joy of singing, and I don't take the content of the songs too seriously. If it's a good song, or if it's interesting, I'll sing it. I sing for the sake of the song, not to make a statement.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,Grab
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 05:36 PM

Don't know that you have to agree with the person totally, but I do think you have believe they've got a valid viewpoint. For an example, "Come out you Black and Tans" is a song I could never sing, any more than I could sing a hypothetical song "let's go and shoot a nigger". A song about personal choice (eg. religion) is one thing, even songs about desperation and the spirit of the times (eg. union songs) may be OK even if the sentiments are stronger than you yourself would support - you can appreciate both of them and join in. But songs expressing pride in racial hatred, violence, bullying etc are things I don't know how anyone can sing along to.

As an aside, I have to say that I don't know if the Devil's got all the good music, but the stuff they play at the churches I've been to (Xmas and Easter - we go to keep our mum happy) is *really* bad. I mean, only half a step up from "Baa baa black sheep" kind of bad. I know there are good religious songs out there, which kind of forces the question - why are there so many bad ones (especially the *terrible* Victorian ones), and why do they still get sung? Age and religiousness-of-author are no guarantee of song quality...

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 05:41 PM

" and they stopped me"
..goodness! I have almost never seen that happen!...Those ladies should be locked in a room with that Baptist from my link and they could all sing to each other...*grin*...I'd give a dollar for a video of the results!


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Burke
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 06:17 PM

Oh, those terrible Victorian hymns! Our choir rehearses the hymns during choir practice & before the service. When we do one of those I can already tell you what three people will be really happy to be doing that great old hymn that we don't sing often enough; and what 3 people will be gagging over the music & sentiment. Me, I just laugh at the situation. The Episcopal Hymnal has them in small doses & in that measure, I enjoy them because they are fun to sing. I don't think they are good music.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 07:17 PM

Maybe there is a distinction between believing something and believing in something that is relevant here.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Roughyed
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 07:20 PM

I don't think it's about believing, but connecting. If a song means something to you, even if it's not what you may think it originally was intended to mean, why shouldn't you sing it? If it means nothing to you at all, you have no business singing it.

I remember reading once that when you are listening to music you should be a Mason when you listen to Mozart, a Pagan when you listen to Wagner, a Communist when you listen to Shostakovich etc.(I paraphrase but you get the point I hope)


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 08:24 PM

Joe, I thought I knew all the usual verses to “Blow Ye Winds in the Morning” but I don't recall anything offensive or graphic… surely you don't mean the blubber hooks verse. I'd have left too but not before a giving loud rendition of “Sam Hall.”

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 08:37 PM

Yes. The only exceptions are when I sing something humorous or satirical...or just for fun...or because someone else is enjoying it and I can add a harmony or something. But generally, yes, I need to believe what I sing. And I do.

There is no rule so stringent that it cannot be usefully tempered by making the odd deviation to the contrary...

- LH


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 10:15 PM

Alright folks!...

I'm fond of Irony in music, and I compose songs that are 'full of it' ;^)... Yes, even the basic premise of some of my songs is ironical... and, whether or not people laugh or cry (or feel inspired to 'kill' the messenger), the irony itself is somewhat comunicative... I do not believe that the events and situations in the songs are righteous or good... Often, I would not want to be any of the characters... but the scene is set for the making of a point that is nonverbal. This is constantly done in literature, movies, visual art, and common social encounters, and is not to be confused with snideness... which is thinly veiled meanness... I *believe*...

I *believe* that irony is an effective vise for the enhancement of creative thought... It certainly has been for me! It is all through the Ballad collections I've seen and heard, and keeps me comming back!

All the Best! ttr


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:08 PM

If it were necessary to believe in what one sang, we would never hear another whaling song ever again. That would be a "consummation devoutly to be wished".

btw, Fred, It was John Wesley who said "Why should the devil have all the best tunes?"

Murray


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Podger
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 12:13 AM

You don't have to believe what you sing but you most certainly have to believe that the song is worth singing.

As an athiest I sing many religious songs because they are good songs but there are also songs which I don't sing because they could be personally offensive.

I love bawdy songs but certainly don't agree or believe in a lot that goes on in them.

They ground and ground that faithful hound

from Tenerife to Dover


Just because I enjoy singing the song doesn't mean that it's really my cup of tea.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: mousethief
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 12:49 AM

Well said, Jerry.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Reverend Georgie B
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 12:50 AM

You better believe it when you are singing it, or you are just repeating the words. I don't mean you have to be a christian to sing "The Old Rugged Cross", but you'd better have an understanding of what the lyrics mean and try to put forth the feeling required by the tune or you are doing a disservice to the music. And we can't have that, now can we?


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Fred Miller
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 10:09 AM

The distinction I make is not between believing or believing in something, but merely between believing, and talking about or singing about believing. Those are just different things, that are connected, sometimes, but very unreliably.

I generally don't care too much for the aspect of art that is all about delivering messages. Artists aren't postal workers--well, sometimes, but it's not the point. Artists don't have any particular authority to tell anybody anything, but they can know their own business, words, colors, sounds, elephant dung, or whatever little bits of the world they use, and know the world a little, and draw comparisons about things from what they discover by playing with that stuff. And they can be more or less convincing to you or me, or not.

   I have my doubts whether people who think you need to believe what you sing to "put it across" could reliably pass the pepsi challenge by listening to singers whose convictions they don't know. And I promise I can sing things I do believe wholeheartedly and still be utterly unconvincing--it doesn't make me a better singer. I think people can be inspired by their beliefs, and try harder, care more, and do better, but it's not magic, or extra credit. It's just art.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Snuffy
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 08:47 PM

There are some great songs about foxhunting, whaling, the Irish "troubles", etc, where I heartily disagree with the sentiments expressed, but I find them great songs to sing and can believe them enough (but only while I'm singing them.)


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 10:45 PM

I find with me that it's not a matter of will, it's a matter of chemistry. I am physically unable to sing songs I cannot "stand behind" (this is different from "believing in", but I'm not sure how). This physical reaction has been with me since age 11 or 12. I left the high church choir at that age after going the regular route of Christian - Deist - deist - atheist, and they threw me out of the scouts at about the same time for refusing to salute their flag. I have never been able to sing the British national anthem and when I emigrated to Canada, found I couldn't sing that one either. These physical restraints are linked to what I "think", in that I don't disagree with my body on any of these or other songs. My singing tends these days to be didactic or lecturelike, so I can sing a really vile song if I can explain to my audience why I think it's vile. The songs I can't stand behind are the ones that are to my mind dishonest in one way or another. This would include "Will the Circle be Unbroken" or all of Stan Rogers' oevre, for example.

I wouldn't recommend this position to anyone else, and I can't say that the prevailing tendency in this thread - that singing is akin to acting - is wrong. All I can say is that I can't do it!

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Fred Miller
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 09:25 AM

here's an acting technique, from Sanford Meisner, who had some notable students. About how to play a feeling or belief you don't have, or an experience you don't know, he says it's like you're a farmer way out in the country, and the nearest companionship is many miles away. But between here and there are a great many sheep....


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: John P
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 09:48 AM

Here's a concept: those who think it's hypocritical to sings songs one doesn't believe are being hypocritical when they sing songs they don't believe. Those who doen't think it's hypocritical to sing songs one doesn't believe aren't being hypocritical when they do so.

I have to say that one of my major peeves is people telling what I should and shouldn't play and how I should or shouldn't play it. I've been listening to the folk police for years telling me in a reproving manner that I'm not playing traditional music traditionally (as if I was trying to!). Lately I've been hearing the message police tell me that many old traditional songs are inappropriate for modern, ethically advanced audiences. In particular, songs about violence against women and Christian songs sung by non-Christians seem to bring out the policeperson in many of us.

Obviously a song has to move me in some way or I don't even consider it. But I am moved more often by a great melody or an unusually poetic set of lyrics than by any "message" the song has. I agree with what Fred Miller said earlier in this discussion: "I generally don't care too much for the aspect of art that is all about delivering messages." I'm much more interested in art that delivers art.

My wife and I did a Christmas album a few years ago. It was all old traditional and early music, and it was all music that completely thrilled us in one way or another. The "messages" of most of the songs strike me as far-fetched to say the least. The words and music used to deliver the messages were glorious, and as such drew me to perform them. I just can't find any problem with a non-Christian singing a Christian folk song in a folk music setting. Note to Christians: if you don't want people singing your songs, stop writing them. One of the great things about music is that it gets out of boxes and goes flying around, peering into nooks and crannies, grabbing people and being grabbed. It just won't politely be what you think it should be, or stay where you put it.

John Peekstok


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: denise:^)
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 11:12 AM

In response to Joe's comments on people 'shooting down' songs that they don't like, or approve--
We had a woman in our group, wonderful in many respects, but she decided that "Lord of the Dance" was a terrible song, and no one should sing it.

She had no trouble introducing songs in HER native language, or songs that reflected HER beliefs, but she had a fit about other people asking for this one--and she could be VERY pushy, and make her opinions known QUITE vocally.

Now, we had a woman in our group, too, who was particularly attached to "Lord of..."   She learned it from her mother as a child, and they used to sing it together before her mother died of a brain tumor when she was in high school.

I just sort-of stepped in, and said that if we were giving people choices, then they got their choice, and those who wished to could sing along. If not, you could *not* sing along--but bashing other people's choices was NOT an acceptable alternative.

I got a little grumbling, but it became the standard practice. (Most folks sing everything.)

Now, I have a little trouble singing, "Banks of the Ohio." Senseless carnage, if you ask me... (but I'll let you sing it if you want!;^)

Denise:^)


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere)
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 11:53 AM

Apart from actually feeling that singing that you believe something you don't is not in line with letting your yea be yea and your nay be nay, I think that site is terrible. Terrifying, even. It isn't about people singing about things they don't believe, it's about other people deciding that they don't believe them. It makes me want to tart myself up and strut down to one of their places of congregation and croon Amazing Grace at them like Eartha Kitt. Or Fenella Fielding. I wouldn't be very good at it, but....
This Apostate Hour... Anyone feel like starting a radio show under that title?
Joe, not only did he not like Catholics much, but I don't think he liked anyone who wasn't Southern Baptist. Or from his own neighbourhood of the South. Or his church. Maybe he had doubts about the people in the next pew, too.
You know that joke about the guy on the steps of the church praying that he be let in to join it, and God answering that he can't do much to help because he's been trying to get in for years?
It also reminds me of another site I chanced on, on the evil of accompanied singing in church. I'll try to find it.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere)
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 11:59 AM

Quickly found.
Non-Friendly Silent worship
I don't know who this is written for, as it assumes knowledge in the reader which I have not, nor have been able to find.
And surely God is able to reach people through something sung by an atheist?
Too many wall-builders rather than bridge-builders around, I think.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 01:17 PM

I believe it was Dave Van Ronk who said, "I CAN TELL A LIE BUT I CAN'T SING ONE!'

Amen to that

Mark Ross


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Subject: almost believing - essay
From: Felipa
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 08:44 PM

Intro
Like many respondents on this thread, I do sing songs that don't represent my own beliefs. There are many variables and personal decisions over which situations I sing particular songs in, whether I sing them myself or just join in when other people sing, omitting or changing particular lines or verses, etc. Although I would sing a few songs tongue in cheek, usually I try to get an understanding of and feel for the song.

Changing songs
At times I change a song to make it more suitable to me personally, but often I see myself as the carrier of a song which tells someone else's tale. If it's an old historical song I will probably not make changes to suit my own beliefs and emotions. I heard Dick Gaughan say he gave up singing the old ballads which were all about royalty. I have no problem about songs about Kings and Queens and the like; in fact they are much brought down to earth in the soap-opera like ballads about their affairs! But I am uncomfortable with the analogies to monarchy in hymns, God is King and Lord!

I think the question of religious songs has been dealt with well enough. Another aspect which I won't discuss now, but would like to suggest to the rest of you, is any discomforts with gender-linked attitudes in songs (esp, but not only, sexist/chauvinist attitudes). Meanwhile, I'm going to discuss some points about political songs - particularly when you partially believe in the song.

violence in political songs
The Blackleg Miner has been mentioned a few times. There are songs like this which express more violence and hatred than I would like, but I can understand the hatred; in this case yes I would sympathise with the strikers even if I'm not comfortable making snide hints about the scab meeting his death. I could sing it.

I'm more comfortable with the somewhat ambivalent bystander attitude to the mob in "Italian Red Wine", a W Guthrie song about Sacco & Vanzetti. On the night of their execution, "I thought that the crowd would tear down the town, and I was hoping they'd do it just to change things around." I feel strongly (not ambivalent) about capital punishment and miscarriages of justice, so that's a song I can sing with conviction (pun wasn't intended).

Ireland
I live in Northern Ireland, where historical songs about past injustices can be very close to the bone because we still have political and sectarian violence. But while my heroes would be more in the Land League than in the Fenians, the famine song 'Skibereen' seems incomplete without the last verse in which the son of the emigrant tells his father that "the day will come when ... I'll be the man to lead the van beside a flag of green, and loud and high we'll raise the cry, revenge for Skibereen".

There's a somewhat similar song which I can feel a lot of empathy for: 'Come all You Bold United Men'. In Skibereen I think I could probably rewrite the last verse and put the emphasis on justice rather than vengeance. '... United Men' doesn't lend itself to such re-working. The narrator sees the family home seized and burnt by the bailiff, parents die in famine, is sent to the workhouse from which his only escape is to join the British Army and shoot Sepoys.

I told these sins to Father Ned, the murder the robbery
They are not sins for you he said, you only did your duty
So when my duty here was done, the journey home I made,
To find my friends were all dead and gone, so I joined the Pope's Brigade


Finally, the soldier returns to Ireland and joins the Fenians and feels for once he is fighting a just cause, but the Fenians were excommunicated. The song ends

Why should we be by Pope's decree, scorned, outlawed and banned
Because we swore one day to free our trampled native land.


I think the song helps us understand a group resorting to violence. I often sing it to myself, but I still wouldn't feel comfortable about performing at the local folk club"!

Dylan's 'Masters of War" did go down well at the folk club. I've been singing it a lot. I want it to be personal, so I sing 'you might say I'm naive' (I'm not all that young now). To be contemporary I sing 'will oil buy you forgiveness'. The last verse CAN be omitted but I feel angry enough to sing it, softened just a wee bit
'One day you'll die, I hope that day's soon ... stand by your grave til I'm sure war is dead.'[the original can be found in Mudcat threads]

Beyond belief
Nobody has mentioned believing in a song, but not feeling you deserve to sing it

- singing religious songs if you believe but don't feel you observe your faith well enough

- singing 'If you miss me at the back of the bus' if you've lived a life of comfort

The song I feel like that about is Holly Near's "It could have been me, but instead it was you..."
I do my wee bit of demonstrating and campaigning, but mostly I observe, learn and sing. I like to sing the song, yet I don't feel I'm either radical enough or activist enough to sing it.

Do you ever think/feel like that about songs?

Is the answer that you sing the songs in order to inspire yourself (and others) or that you shouldn't sing campaigning songs if you aren't fully committed to them?


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Blues=Life
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 08:14 AM

You know, this has turned into a very interesting thread. Felipa raises an interesting point, about changing a song so that you CAN sing it. I sing Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" as a blues song, not as country, and marvel at what may be one of the most evil lines ever written:

"When I was just a baby, my Momma told me, "Son,
Always be a good boy, don't ever play with guns."
But I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die."

I recently saw a special on a compilation album of Cash's work, where other artists were asked to interpret his songs. Keb Mo was asked to sing Folsom Prison as a blues song, so of course, I was fascinated to see how he did it. (Very well, of course!*g*) But his response was, "I can't sing it like that." The producer (who I believe was Ricky Scaggs) told Keb, "Johnny won't mind, make it your own." So he sang:

"When I was just a baby, my Momma told me, "Son,
Always be a good boy, don't ever play with guns."
They say I shot a man in Reno, but you know that was a lie."

Was this a right thing to do? Well, his version is well worth listening to. (Keb Mo is always worth listening to!) But I still sing the song as written. Although I have never shot a man in Reno, Lord knows I've been tempted a time or two. I CAN put myself into the shoes of a man who feels:

"I know I had it coming, I know I can't be free"

and therefore I can "become" that person while singing the song.
A great blues song, one of my favorites, and one that always gets a strong response from listeners.

Blues


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Felipa
Date: 16 Mar 03 - 04:20 PM

any more thoughts on my final questions?


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Gareth
Date: 16 Mar 03 - 06:19 PM

WeeeeeL, I've come to this thread a little late, But I've heard "The Blackleg Miner" Sung with gusto and feeling in Ystrad Mynach in 1983, and the "lads" wern't joking. (Paulo - are you from the valleys ?)

And I've heard Boyce's "In our Little Valley" sung with tears rolling down cheeks of hardened colliers, sorry ex-colliers, but no you don't have to believe it but it helps.

For my own part (thanks to a County Cork Granny) I can sing the "Ploughboy" or "Kevin Barry", with the same verve as the "Sash" and neither represent my belief.

It may help to beieve it, but IMHO it is more important to understand the origin and the motivation.

Gareth

Now, don't go near the Seghill mine.
Across the way they stretch a line,
To catch the throat an' break the spine
O' the dorty backleg miners.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 16 Mar 03 - 07:13 PM

I sing the line, "I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die," and don't confuse the song with my own personal beliefs. I think it makes the song more believable. The alternative sounds like the comic Rodney Dangerfield should sing it and say "I wuz framed!" If people can sing about Christ's crucifixion and not believe, why can't you sing about a killer who has no remorse?

I'm not promoting curiosity killing..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Blues=Life
Date: 16 Mar 03 - 10:20 PM

Jerry, I agree with you. And I think Keb Mo is saying exactly that: I've got the blues because I was framed. However, I'm not sure that the protagonist of Folsom Prison Blues has no remorse. I think that he killed in cold blood, and now realizes a) that he deserves what he got and b) that he wishes he hadn't done it. This song, as written, has so much depth, and I wish Keb Mo had sung it as written. And yes, I can believe it and sing it, even though I haven't experienced it.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: reggie miles
Date: 16 Mar 03 - 11:29 PM

There are as many reasons to sing songs out there as there are songs that have been written. Songs need to be sung or they become resigned to obscurity. It's our lot in life to sing them, we who choose to research, find, write and/or play them. If a song isn't sung who will hear it's message, whatever that message may be. The message can be read but then is it a song? It may be poetry. What if no one recites the poem? We give an essential spirit, a piece of ourselves that becomes part of the telling or singing, to that which we sing or recite. Without that spirit the words can still be read but some of the meaning can be lost or misinterpreted. Do we need to exactly mimic an authors intent or belief in our interpretation of any given work? Well I think that depends upon the work in question and who is doing the interpretation. The truth is there are no hard and fast rules to any of this. All an author can do is give birth to his work. No one can or should try to control it beyond that. Trying to do so will only invite disappointment. Any and all messages can become warped or twisted for good or bad by interpretation. Case in point, our religious institutions and their dogmas.

I say sing what you want and laugh at life's attempts to get the best of you.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: toadfrog
Date: 16 Mar 03 - 11:34 PM

Gareth: I couldn't agree more. That's a song with spirit, all right. And on this side we have:

I was born in old Kentucky
In Kentucky I was bred
But since I joined the NMU
They call me Rooshian Red!

Come join the CIO, boys,
Come join the CIO!


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 17 Mar 03 - 12:08 AM

Well said as usual reggie!

I'm not generally into changing lyrics... unless I wrote what I'm singing... but sometimes I'll get it wrong when I learn it, and then it's a struggle to 'make it right'... The problem I have with changing lyrics is basic... the song speaks for itself, and when we sing it, we are presenting someone else's experience and message. If you really need to change the lyrics in order to sing it, why not just write a new song that more explicitly describes your 'take' on things?

which brings me to the 'point'...

I can't 'be' someone else, but I can present a song that recreates a possible scenario, for the learning experience... The songs many of us sing about intolerable situations are, for me, moral scenarios and lessons that enlighten us about the 'inevitable' consequences brought about by unseemly behavior... curb those righteous feeling passions, you animal!

It is not condonement that I feel, but the powerful warning that empathy and disgust provide. You be the judge... you decide... each and every one... I strongly believe that these songs can stimulate a deeper questioning with which to cleanse our moral fabric, and come to terms with our own individual views. Catharsis. Each and every one of us can do it! ttr


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: paulo
Date: 17 Mar 03 - 05:07 AM

Gareth,
No I don't came from the valleys - but I do come from the North East (of England that is).
But as it happens I now live in South Wales!

Paulo


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 17 Mar 03 - 06:15 AM

You said it right, Reggie. I don't agree with people who say that music shouldn't be used to carry a message. If that was the case, you'd get rid of all gospel, and all protest songs. If people have a problem with gospel carrying a message, I wonder how many of those same people have gone to peace rallies, or see music as a way to work to preserve our environment. It's more a matter of being sensitive to your audience, and adjusting your music to meet their tastes. But then, if you're not sensitive to who your audience is, you won't find youself up in front of one very often.

My gospel group is the Gospel Messengers, not the Gospel Actors.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Fred Miller
Date: 17 Mar 03 - 06:02 PM

Jerry, I don't remember who said songs shouldn't carry messages. I just said that it wasn't what interested me. There's no need to get rid of any songs in that. You can appreciate a piece without taking it's message to heart, but, you may never really know how much the message it carries might have somehow inspired the very qualities you like in it.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 17 Mar 03 - 07:37 PM

You're absolutely right, Fred... you don't care much for songs with a message. When you said "artists aren't postal workers," i guess it ook that to mean that they shouldn't be delivering messages, but you also qualified it by saying, well, maybe sometimes." I think any singer worth his salt (or her) needs to respect their audience. There are songs (gospel and otherwise) that I wouldn't do in certain settings. But, at the same time as you said, sometimes it's important to express a view that might not be shared by your audience, because you never know what the lasting effect of music is.
But, I don't believe music normally converts anyone to a different view, whether it's politics, religion or environmental issues. and too often, it only turns people more against whatever message you're trying to deliver.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Fred Miller
Date: 18 Mar 03 - 09:29 AM

Well, I wouldn't even say I don't like songs with a message, it's just not usually what I like about them. I like some songs in languages I don't know, and though I don't have any idea what they mean, I can't help feeling I know what they SHOULD mean. I respect G.B. Shaw's idea that beauty is the bi-product of other activity, it makes more sense to me than to suppose something is good because it's true, or because I agree with it. And often, the more I share the sentiment, the more critical I am, especially with movies, which so often seem cynical, like commercials.

(I'm afraid when I said "maybe sometimes" artists are postal workers I was merely thinking of the painter Rousseau, who was a mailman, and the fact that I work at UPS.)


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Nathan in Texas
Date: 18 Mar 03 - 10:13 AM

One point that hasn't been made yet. Folkies are generally people who enjoy and appreciate other cultures. We listen to and applaud music that is sometimes alien and even annoying to those around us (ask my children!). We look upon other cultures as having the right to do things their way, even if their customs include things we personally find objectionable or even repugnant.

How about having the same view of the fundamentalist site linked above. It's a chance to look into the mind of, understand (okay, maybe not understand!), and get a taste of what people outside of our own little circle of friends think and believe in fervently. Would the negative comments and name-calling done above have been there if the site had been a non-christian religion? Sometimes our personal prejudices are too close to us for us to recognize

Nathan

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." --Jesus (John 13:31)


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Orac
Date: 18 Mar 03 - 11:01 AM

Of course you don't.. just be convincing. Otherwise we are suggesting that anyone who plays Hitler or Charles Manson in a film has to believe in the things they did which is clearly rubbish. You may well enjoy singing a great song that extols the joys of cocaine ... or hunting without agreeing with its sentiments. Over the hills and far away is a great song ... but its a recruiting song for the army.. you can be a pacifist and still enjoy singing the song.... this wouldn't make you a "hypocrite and a liar" as was unkindly suggested above.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 19 Mar 03 - 11:20 AM

a) Most people don't need to believe in the background to a song, its "input" as it were; but they have to sympathise, at least while they are singing it, with the message it projects - its "output". So one may well sing a religious song without being religious.

b) Or you may be able to sing a song because you sympathise with some of its message; this enables anti-hunt supporters to sing hunting songs, for example, if they can find some love of the countryside (say) in them.

c) Or you can sing a song in whose message you totally disbelieve, by suspending your belief temporarily, because you like (for example) the tune but not the lyrics.

So, any song, hymn, or national anthem becomes "fair game" - it just depends on the amount of integrity the singer has or wishes to portray. I would defend their right to sing it, in any case - but not necessarily in public, because...

...how about the listener? Some are indeed offended to hear their favourite hymn set to (in their view) inappropriate arrangements; or to hear their national anthem sung inappropriately by Roseanne. The singer cannot ignore such offense he/she gives. Because at the end of the day singing is a communication medium. If the sender and receiver do not agree on the style and content of the communication, then it shouldn't, cannot, happen.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: JulieF
Date: 19 Mar 03 - 12:05 PM

I would choose not to sing a religous song when it is my choice. However, I will join in if they are being sung to contribute to the atmosphere. In a similar way if I go to church for an wedding, funeral etc I will sing to the best of my ability as I am singing for whoever it means a lot to.

Similarly I would not sing certain Irish (or even some Scottish) songs round the English folk clubs because although I way enjoy them they would not be appropiate.   

I find it hard to relate to singing as acting. Probably because I don't see myself that way yet. I'm only just getting used to people asking me to sing! However, although some songs mean a lot lyrically to me it is the tune that matters most.   I don't now if this is atypical of most singers or not.

Julie


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Beccy
Date: 20 Mar 03 - 10:22 AM

I think that in order to be convincing, you need to believe it at least while you're singing it... It's like acting. I've done it many, many times! For that short period of time, convince yourself that you believe it. I'm sure a bunch of you have done a theatre piece where you had to either pretend you loved someone for whom you have no romantic feelings or convicingly kiss someone who repulsed you.

Beccy


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Fred Miller
Date: 20 Mar 03 - 07:01 PM

The acting comparison is interesting to me because it's something I need to improve on. How to set off in the right tempo, have the feel, the tone, conjure it up and go in loaded. I can get thrown by the environment and what's going on. You might want to play to that, to some extent, adjust to the mood of the room, the occasion, but I'm thinking that firmly projecting the tone is primary, adjusting it is a greater grace. I'm a pretty poor actor, my wife is quite gifted.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Frankham
Date: 21 Mar 03 - 09:32 AM

To me, context is everything. Why are you singing it?
We tell our audience that history presents the facts of what is was like to live in that time. Songs present the feelings of the people of that time.

Do I believe the words of "The Bonny Blue Flag"? No. But we sing it because it tells us something about the nature of the American Civil War. Same goes for "Unreconstructed Rebel".

There are a lot of songs that do not reflect my personal philosophy of life that we call folk songs. Songs of violence, murder, protest, anger, revenge, misfortune, sadness, and happiness and funny songs all that reflect the range of the emotions of people.
These are important not because you believe wholeheartedly in the message or it reflects your "deep philosophy, religion or convictions about life" but that it is as Shakespeare says, "A mirror to reality".
That's what good theater is about. The actor doesn't believe he is the character he portrays but he gives us an insight into another's world. This is good because we begin to suspend our judegements of people and allow their views to be heard. We can comment on them.

When we sing "Flag of blue, white and red, a man's got a right to earn his bread", we present it as an anti-union song and the way certain workers felt about being forced into taking sides. I personally am pro-union for the most part, particularly when it comes to the rank and file, not the execs. But in order to understand what it means to be pro-union, I believe that it's necessary to show the other side and let it be as convincing as it wants to be.

This is the case for me when it involves religious songs as well. How can you understand a play-party song unless you understand the music of a hard-shell Baptist?

A great actor is showing us humanity. It's the "mirror of truth" to reality.

This is an important thread because it means that people who listen to these songs can learn to appreciate them.

Sorry to be so long-winded but I think it's important to explain why we sing folk music.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 06 Jun 11 - 04:56 AM

One of my favourite songs is "Cat O'Nine Tails", which advocates the return ofthe cat o'nine tails as a punishment for juvenile delinquents. I sing it because it is catchy and the sentiments reveal a lot about the feelings of the older generation towards British Teddy Boys. "The judge and juries, can settle this thing easily. I say that one thing to cool down this crime is to lash them with the old-time cat o'nine".
I certainly (as a 17-year-old) don't share the "spare the rod, spoil the child" sentiments, but I would have no problem singing it as a demonstration of adult attitudes to juvenile delinquency.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Ebbie
Date: 07 Jun 11 - 03:43 AM

Of course you don't need to. No more than you have to be in love when you sing a love song, or a widow when you sing a song of loss or homesick when you sing of home.

But in the moments of that song you do. As someone above mentioned, you respond to the sentiment that the writer felt and to the environment you find yourself in and the empathy that fills you.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 07 Jun 11 - 01:01 PM

you have to believe in the mu8sic, not necessarily in the message.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Jun 11 - 01:06 PM

You don't have to believe what you sing. But it helps.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: lefthanded guitar
Date: 07 Jun 11 - 01:14 PM

This may be an odd time to quote Harrison Ford, but I once heard him lecture on the process of creativity (regarding acting) and he had an insight I never forgot. He said that basically if you want your acting (aka art) to be successful, you have to be true- your art must stem from something real and genuine. You can't 'fake' it or it will be fake.

I agree with that outlook, and for me, I can only sing a song I believe in and empathize with for it to work. If I am singing gospel that stems from a fundementalist viewpoint (which is far from my own) I may tweak a verse or word, but I truly believe in the uplifting and/or spiritual aspect of the song. It moves me. Or why else would I sing it?
And I have heard atheists who say they are moved by spiritual music, because there is something so fundamentally touching jmho in talking about the creative spirit of the universe, however you view it.

For me it comes down to - is music a true expression of the heart, or is it just decorative wallpaper. In truth, there's no right or wrong, no grade on it; but I prefer music from the heart.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: John P
Date: 07 Jun 11 - 04:16 PM

Hmm, Needing to believe what you sing, outside of the necessary emotional involvement with the song while you're singing it, would mean that a huge amount of traditional folk music would be off limits. I, for one, prefer singers to not share too much of their personal beliefs in their songs. It's sort of like reading a novel where nothing happens that didn't actually happen to the author. Give me a good story-teller any day -- I'm smart enough to know fiction when I see it.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 07 Jun 11 - 04:35 PM

(QUOTE)
Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: dick greenhaus - PM
Date: 07 Jun 11 - 01:01 PM


you have to believe in the mu8sic, not necessarily in the message
(UNQUOTE)

I have to believe that there is a huge meaning in the mu8sic, but a meaning which is not yet apparent to me ...


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: JHW
Date: 07 Jun 11 - 05:17 PM

Some notes on my website say
'The multiplicity of variants of traditional songs fascinates me but I sing anything whose content feels right. The song must be worth the effort, worth the singing for its story or message or emotion. I sing some well known songs but only if something there has grabbed me.'
I have to 'believe' in the song even though I may know it is fiction; akin to watching a film or reading a novel. When I sing a ballad I'm watching it happen because if I can't picture it how can my audience. I have to believe IN it.
If you're lucky enough to hear Alan Prior sing 'The Star of the Bar' you will believe HE was the man in the song he is singing. HE drank his way down Rose Street in Edinburgh! Listen to Jon Boden sing 'Courting Too Slow'. I believe HE was the man who lost his love to the sailor.
By no means can every singer put across a tale like this but for starters you must believe it yourself.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 07 Jun 11 - 05:23 PM

Murray- I sometimes suffer from fat-finger syndrome.
If you want a prime example of fine gospel singing by someone who never believed in the words, listen to Helen Schneyer's recordings. Her comment? "Whatever you believe, sing Baptist!"


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Tootler
Date: 07 Jun 11 - 05:46 PM

I think "believing" is a bit strong but I think that having some sympathy with the sentiments expressed or the characters in the story helps.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Jun 11 - 07:57 PM

I was just listening to a recording of Pete Seeger singing the Leadbelly song Ain't It a Shame (to beat your wife on Sunday). It's certainly an interesting song, but I can't bring myself to sing it. I wonder how Pete did.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: John P
Date: 08 Jun 11 - 12:38 PM

Yes, there are some songs that are so despicable in their message that no amount of historical relevance or interesting turn of phrase would induce me to actually sing it. We used to introduce a song that had moderately offensive lyrics by saying, "the opinions expressed in the lyrics of this song do not reflect the views of the band, their management, or sponsors." It was usually good for a laugh and set up the audience for hearing the song lightly. I wouldn't want to say that very often, though.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: lefthanded guitar
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 01:34 PM

To JHW - you put it better than I could..when you believe the singer IS the person in the song, that's the music I want to hear.

And sing.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 02:52 PM

Why would you sing something you didn't "believe"?

Unless they were paying you a lot of money, of course. Then you'd just be a "professional."


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 08:09 AM

To add my two cents, I think you do, to a certain extent, but not necessarily in real life. One of my favourite songs is "Babalu", a prayer to the orisha Babalu Aye, who is in charge of death and disease. I'm hardly religious as such, yet when I sing that song, I act like I'm religious.
It's from the perspective of someone praying that their lover won't die, and that basic sentiment is common to anyone, even if you're not religious. When someone you love is in danger of dying, you hope and pray that they won't.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 08:11 AM

*other*


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Charmion
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 12:14 PM

I like to sing "Lilliburlero" (especially when doing housework), although I do not believe in hanging Catholics -- or indeed anyone else. I would not sing "Lilliburlero" in Northern Ireland, however, or anywhere near a branch of the Loyal Orange Lodge because my performance might give certain people reason to believe that I carry any part of its political baggage.

Political songs present much greater performance difficulties than songs with religious content do. Political songs are often angry, or designed to provoke anger or scorn in others, whereas religious-oriented songs -- at least in the Christian and Jewish traditions -- are generally intended to promote meditation, express joy or offer comfort. I have never heard a Christian or Jewish religious song that I could not sing with conviction, even if I do not personally believe specific statements in the lyrics, because the overall message is something I can support.

I am not commenting here on songs from other faiths because I don't know any.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 12:45 PM

I don't think you have to literally "condone the sentiments" of a song, or adhere to a specific faction or cause related to in the music.

But there has to be SOMETHING in the song's lyrics that get you. Doesn't have to be a message or a moral. Could just be some detail, some turn of phrase, some unfathomable energy. If that's not there, why do you want to sing it?

There are two or three songs I learned ages ago simply because I liked the tune. And there's nothing wrong with that. But I never play them any more; I often forget that I know them. And that's cos ultimately, there's little in the lyrics that does anything for me.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 12:55 PM

For any song I add to my repertoire there has to be a reason.....I mean there are so many songs out there! I agree with matt milton...there has to be something in the songs lyrics that have some meaning for me.   

I also agree that we, as singers, are also 'actors'.   But to put on a good performance I have to put myself into the script and find something about it I can believe.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Gurney
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 05:42 PM

Personally, I have to feel some connection with the words or thrust of the song, or I wouldn't have learned it. It isn't the same as believing.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Ebbie
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 06:21 PM

I figure that if I'm going to sing a gospel song I will believe at that momentin what the writer is saying. And if I sing a love song, for that moment I am in love. If it is a lament or a dirge, for that moment I am grief stricken.

Tom Russell's 'Guadalupe' (Is it Tom Russell?) can reduce me to tears when it comes to the recurring line: 'I'm the least of all your pilgrims here; I am the most in need of hope'. I have no idea of his religiosity or spirituality but it is a tremendous song.

I have often said that I like to sing a certain gospel song and added: although I don't necessarily agree with the theology. I have even written a couple of gospel songs, again from the point of view of the believer.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 08:21 PM

"I was just listening to a recording of Pete Seeger singing the Leadbelly song Ain't It a Shame (to beat your wife on Sunday). It's certainly an interesting song, but I can't bring myself to sing it. I wonder how Pete did."

The New Lost City Ramblers also covered that song. I certainly enjoyed singing it in college but I can't imagine leading that song in concert now except with prefacing remarks about the kind of insensitive songs many of us sang when we were young.

If you sing a song you don't believe in, don't blame it on the song.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 18 Sep 12 - 03:31 AM

Martin Carthy said Pavarotti has a god given voice and Bob Dylan doesn't but I can believe what Dylan sings.

Mike Harding asked Dick Gaughan how he chose his songs, Dick said, well first of all it's got to be something I believe .

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Joe_F
Date: 18 Sep 12 - 01:28 PM

I have often sung

My name it is Sam Hall,
And I hate you one and all --
You're a bunch of muckers all,

even tho my name is *not* Sam Hall.


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: CupOfTea
Date: 18 Sep 12 - 05:54 PM

I like the overall concept that you have to *believe* in the SONG when you sing.

At times this means there are songs I don't think I can be *believable* when I sing and even if I love 'em, I don't try to add them to my repertoire. Songs that are strongly from a man's point of view with the flavor of first-person narrative are the ones that are the most difficult. Yet, I sing "Lass of Glenshee" or "Kisses Sweeter than Wine" that are clearly songs about a man's attitude towards a beloved wife. Perhaps I can sing those 'cause I was a beloved wife once? I dunno... but what the songs express ... they *feel believable* to me.

Songs dealing with faith are a very interesting area, and get right down to the key of belief, and makes many of us find a place where we draw the line. Sometimes that's with simple folkprocessing "Goddam" into "goldurn, " or the like.

If a song details a theology (or specific lack thereof) I'm not comfortable with, I won't sing it. Fer instance, David Tamulevich's "Ours is a Simple Faith" is a lovely singable, joyous, song. I love David and lots of his songs. This one, I can't sing "there is no heaven or hell" because I seriously believe the opposite. I've also found there is a line to what I'll sing in the bawdy tradition, (which I LOVE,) that I just can't cross - I can imply alot, but out and out raunchy and pottymouthed? I back away from that. In that case, it's what I'd want people who hear me sing to *believe* about me, and who I am.

Joanne in Cleveland


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Musket
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 07:25 AM

Do I believe what I sing? Or indeed should I?

Problem is, over the years you have to learn new songs if that is the case. As a young 'un, I was out to blame everyone for everything and sang the usual left wing clap trap that got good applause, and I possibly believed it, as opposed to wanting the applause.

Then my balls slowly dropped.

Music is an abstract. It can be a view delivery system, but when people go out to be entertained, it is chiefly an abstract.

Bugger me, I don't believe half of what I write on this website, so be blessed if I believe some of the waffle I sing, even if I wrote it!

Troubadour and philosopher are not expressions of the same word...


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: GUEST,belief
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 01:42 PM

Obviously you don't HAVE to, but it certainly makes one a better singer if you do,it helps to feel the emotions of a song, and in turn helps to find little differences each time you sing it, there's nothing more boring than a mechanical rendition of any song


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Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 02:55 PM

But is that "belief" or is it simply an ability to understand others' viewpoints on a compassionate level, whether those views or feelings coincide with yours, conflict with them, or bear no relation? I think singing a song is more like watching television, where you can "identify" somehow with everyone. It requires no personal belief, but rather the "suspension of disbelief". Even a believer can sing a song woodenly; it takes an actor to sing a song convincingly.

I make song choices more on the basis of music than lyrics, since, if the words are good enough, there's always some emotional meat to latch onto, even in silly songs.


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