Hymns old and, err, older.

I often complain about the music in my church. Let me explain why.

The church I attend has an ageing congregation. It also has a choir made up of 15 or so people. It is a very serious choir. They take all their music seriously, sing it perfectly, and have robes and everything. Unfortunately most of the hymns that they sing were written in the 18th or 19th century. Very occasionally they sing something modern, by which they mean written after 1900.

Now, there are some very powerful hymns written in the last few centuries, the best of which are still sung in churches around the world today. Most of the hymns sung in our church, though, are at best obscure and at worst have no consistent tune, are completely unpredictable and are impossible to sing without being taught the tune and practicing extensively.  I get the impression that the music is selected to allow the choir to show off their technical competency. In contrast, modern church music (And I include anything written since 1970 in this group!) is normally easy to learn, easy to remember, and (to me anyway) much more meaningful during worship.

But this brings me to an important question.

What is the purpose of church music?

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