My Musings

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Three Zones Of Musical Communication

"Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;"
~ Ephesians 5:19

In a previous article, The Language Of Music, we established that music is a language. We established that music can speak to us or influence us. We established that music is a universal language, or that it speaks to people of all languages. We established that music influences us whether we want it to or not.

Because music is a channel of communication, it can speak to us across the three levels or three zones of communication. Let me explain.

1. Social Zone - Social statements that we would make in public would be considered the social zone. This type of communication would be characterized by individuals standing at least three or four feet away from one another speaking about topics with no regard for who else may hear them. For example, as you pass someone in church, you will shake their hand and say "Hello. How are you?" This public statement would be considered a part of the social zone of communication.

2. Personal Zone - Personal statements that we would make to a friend or a close acquaintance on a level in which we do not want others to hear would be considered the personal zone. This type of communication would be characterized by individuals standing between one and three feet away from one another. For example, you may pull your son aside from the crowd and say, "Son, How would you like to go out for ice cream after church today?" This personal statement is not intended for the entire group, but rather only for your son. This is a part of the personal zone of communication.

3. Intimate Zone - Intimate statements that we would make to a spouse or to one of our children in a manner in which we would not speak to others would be considered the intimate zone. This type of communication would be characterized by individuals standing so close that they are either touching or within a foot of the person being spoken to. For example, you may pull your son close to you, give him a hug and whisper, "I love you son. You behaved very good today." You would not hug just anyone or whisper your love to just anyone except the few people who are allowed into the intimate zone.

When we hear someone sing, they invite us into a social interaction. This social interaction will take place in one of the three zones of communication.

At church you will sing congregational songs where we all join in and sing together in the social zone. There are also, however, some songs that speak to you on a very personal basis. Songs that may invite you to make a personal commitment to or decision for Christ.

There is also the third zone of communication that the music of the world very often invites you into...this is the intimate zone. Most people, we will never have an intimate conversation with. This zone is almost entirely reserved for our family. However, there are singers who will take a microphone and act as if it is their lover. By doing this, they will invade into your intimate zone without you wanting it to happen. This style of singing is a violation of your intimate zone.

The world will step into the intimate zone intentially because they understand that by having their listeners experience that intimate or lover relationship they will sell their albums. There are even some gospel singers who, though singing the words of God, sing in such a way as to invite you into an intimate communication with them.This style of singing is wrong and has no business in church at all. If there is any right place for this kind of singing, it would be at home between and man and his wife. There is simply no way to justify this style of musical communication in any other setting...especially in church!

We need to keep the music in our churches in the social or personal zone, but we must never allow it to slip into the intimate zone. We must examine every bit of music that we allow into our lives and into our churches and be sure that it is pleasing to God. We must take the time to understand the difference between good music and bad music.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."
Col. 3:16-17

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