Worship in the Modern World

Praising God with the Best of the Past and the Present

What Makes a Good Worship Song? Part 2

Part 2: The Music

Yesterday, we talked about the technical aspects of a song – the objective parts of the song that can quickly decide if it’s a potential keeper or not.  Today, we’ll look at the music.  Here’s where it begins to get subjective.  Personal preferences are important, as I believe that God can use them to help guide us to the right songs, but we can’t rely on them alone. You have to look at the whole picture, because it’s easy for us to get in the way.

  • Is the melody interesting? Songs that repeat the same note or two for large portions of the song will quickly bore the congregation. It doesn’t matter if the lyrics are deep and meaningful – if the music is lame, they won’t be able to get past it to the lyrics.
  • Is it singable? On the flip-side of the above question, a song can be too complicated for Joe Churchgoer to pick up quickly.  Most churches using modern worship music (read: not hymns) don’t use hymnals or printed versions of the songs with music. I’m not interested in debating the merits of having printed music or using a screen – that’s not the focus of this post. However, even if you are using printed copies of the song, remember that people are less musically literate than they used to be. Just because they can hold it in their hand doesn’t mean they know what to do with it!
  • Is it memorable? Another way to say it might be, is it different from your other songs or does it sound like everything else? One thing to keep in mind at all times: for every one time Joe Churchgoer hears a song, you (the one picking or performing the song) probably hear it five to ten times. It’s the nature of the situation. And just because he might hear it four or five times, it doesn’t mean he was actually listening and learning the song. (I’m talking here about hearing it in the car or on the radio – hopefully if he’s hearing it at church he’s listening!)

Up next: Looking at Lyrics

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